Ways Your Solar Installation Can Get More Expensive
It’s important to manage your solar installation well; otherwise your solar installation can get more expensive than you anticipated.
If you’ve been researching for a while and you have a general idea about the size of the system you want. You’re anticipating paying about $7/watt and with your desired system size of say 3kW you are looking at $21,000 before any solar power incentives.
However, you just got a quote and it wasn’t the $21,000 you were anticipating. How could this be? Well there are several things that can cause your home solar power system to be more than anticipated. The following are some typical reasons for your quotes departure from your expected purchase price.
Permits are something most people overlook. You aren’t installing a home theater system, this is an physical addition to your home/property. You will need the appropriate building permits to begin construction of your system. Depending on your locale these permits can be a little pricier than other areas nearby. So do your homework and know what to expect.
Ground mounting will increase your system cost because instead of just affixing the solar panels directly to your roof, the contractor now has to build the framework to mount your solar panels. This costs money obviously. But it can be worth it because instead of being constrained by the angle and direction your roof faces, you can tilt your ground mounted system in the optimal direction to maximize your panels exposure throughout the day.
Flat Roofs also require a framework to be constructed, however, it is no where near as extensive and will be cheaper than ground mounting. Nonetheless, the construction of the addition framework to ensure your panels are tilted in the direction of maximum sun exposure will cost a little more than an installation that does not require framework.
Roof Type and Construction can result in added cost when it is harder to seal or find studs for mounting your panels on your roof. So just be aware that this may add a little to the price tag.
Location can add travel time and cost to your installation. If you don’t live in the regular service area of your installer you might have to pay a little more to cover the cost of them getting their team and materials out to your location.
Extensive conduit installation fees could result from getting your system connected to your meter. This involves digging a trench for your conduit to be laid in; however, trenching is more typical of ground mounted systems discussed above. So if there is a considerable distance between your panels and your meter expect a slightly higher price tag.
Upgrading your solar power inverter to one that will accommodate future expansion of your system will result in increased costs. So if you plan to add a few solar panels to your system down the line you might want to consider installing an inverter that can handle a system capacity larger than your current needs or you could look into installing micro-inverters.
Monitoring systems are always a cool add-on feature, especially for techie-types like myself. Some solar companies sell monitoring systems that will upload your home solar power system’s energy generation data to the web. If you want the ability to monitor your system like this expect to pay a little more for the convenience.
Miscellaneous service upgrades can add a little more to your final price tag. If there is no room for a system component or an extra breaker panel is necessary or some other system element doesn’t meet the your system or utility requirements you will be incurring some additional costs. Just be understanding, especially if your home is old, these may be necessary for electrical safety reasons.
These are just a few, but typically are the major reasons that your final price tag will be a little more than anticipated. Just realize that this is a home improvement project and when was the last time that remodeling your kitchen cost you exactly what you had anticipated? At least when you install solar you can take advantage of solar power incentives, rebates, grants, and tax credits.
Would anyone care to elaborate on any other additional costs that they have encounter during their install process?