Alba Energy

Tips On Buying A Home With Solar

16 Nov 2017

Posted in General by Alba Energy

Over 1 million solar power systems have been installed in America, and home buyers are now seeing purchase options that include the existing rooftop set of solar panels transferred from the previous homeowner. Below is a guest post from a real estate professional who gives tips and suggestions to be aware of when moving into a home where solar power is in use.

Even the most reliable home components require a small degree of "tender loving care," or routine maintenance. It’s no different with solar panels, although they are among the least demanding of residential systems.

Solar panels are designed to give a homeowner years of relatively maintenance-free performance. However, in order to assure that panels perform at peak efficiency, there are several items it is wise to check on a regular basis.

By adopting a basic monthly routine, it’s possible to assure that small problems will never become major failures. Before beginning, however, read the fine print on the warranty to determine if there are limits to what things you can do yourself. Be certain that if you make any adjustments, you won’t be voiding a warranty, or risking damage to the system. Do all this and you’ll maximize the value your panels bring in over the years.

In addition, safety is a primary consideration. You may want to arrange for a professional to make periodic inspections of roof-mounted panels. Even if you can view the flat surfaces without setting foot on the roof, it’s important to check the mounting rack and the roof penetrations periodically, particularly in the wake of a major storm.

If you feel confident in your ability to climb a ladder to make visual inspections, you might be able to accomplish the important routine inspections and regular cleanings, but use only those tools — including hoses or brooms — that won’t harm the panels.

The Solar Panels

The solar array should be kept clean and free of debris. Weather, including snow, pollen and blowing sand, can affect performance. Other factors — bird droppings, squirrels, bees or leaves — may also block panel surfaces. If you aren’t able to examine or clean the panels yourself, ask the installer or the solar company for recommendations of a professional cleaning service. During the winter it’s important to limit the snow or ice buildup on the solar panels, and that may require the services of a professional.

Roof Penetrations

Head to your attic, particularly after a major storm or during the windy season, to view the solar panel mountings from the underside. It should be relatively easy to determine if there are attachment or structural issues. Look for evidence of leaks or unusual drafts, and take note if you see any daylight.

If you suspect mounting damage, it is probably wise to contact your solar company or call a professional to make repairs. Catching this early on can help you avoid anything substantial later on.

Potential Corrosion

Visually inspect the panels and the connecting materials for any signs of corrosion issues, or a buildup of suspicious-looking film or surface discoloration. Although uncommon, the manufactured materials can corrode over time, compromising the integrity of the installation. This will not normally be a problem with newer systems. Speak with your provider to know whether this will be something to check for or not.

Wiring Abnormalities

Loose or snapped wires may be easy to see, but the wiring efficiency may be faulty or underperforming even if there are no detectable signs. Depending on the age of the system, there may be a monitoring app to alert you to a possible problem. Power production tracking via a web portal or app is a valuable tool to determine if a new system is performing efficiently. With an older system, monitor electrical bills in order to diagnose a probable electrical problems with your solar array. However, any serious diagnosis or repair work should be performed by a professional.

Broken Glass

Tempered glass that constitutes the silicon "sandwich" of solar panels is designed to withstand a considerable amount of abuse. But it can shatter or crack under extreme circumstances. If you experience any glass breakage, contact your supplier or installer immediately, and arrange for professional repair or panel replacement. This is one area that should definitely not be undertaken as a DIY project.

While solar panels have few moving parts, the specialized equipment, including the inverters that tie the panels into the home’s electrical system, must be maintained in proper working condition. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth the effort. Luckily, it doesn’t take all that much effort- just keep an eye on them here and there to make sure everything is okay.

About The Author

Kris Lindahl is a Minnesota native and owner of The Kris Lindahl Team with RE/MAX Results.

About Alba Energy

Alba Energy specializes in the design, engineering and application of beautiful commercial and residential solar power systems. Click to view the Alba portfolio of solar panel installations in Texas, or request information about an install at your location by contacting the solar installer nearest you.

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