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Are There Any Hidden Solar Panel Charges?

As energy bill prices are going through the roof, we’re all looking for ways to cut back on our spending and avoid excessive energy charges.

Installing a solar panel system in your property can be one of the best long-term investments you can make. 

Solar energy gives you a little more freedom from dependence on the National Grid, and eventually the investment pays for itself.

If you’re thinking about going solar, then one of the questions you probably have is whether there are any hidden solar panel charges.

Here’s all you need to know before you take the first step on your solar journey…

 

Maintenance and Cleaning Costs

In order for solar panels to function well they require a regular cleaning routine and some maintenance, which of course involves solar panel charges.

Unlike traditional energy supply methods, any problems with the power supply are your responsibility and you have to take care of the panels yourself.

You should organise an annual inspection of your rooftop solar panel system and it’s recommended that you also get your panels cleaned at least once a year.

It’s not advisable that you do the cleaning yourself as that would require some tricky manoeuvres on the rooftop and could lead to potential damage of the solar panels.

In spite of the extra solar panel charges, if you look after your panels well, then the average lifespan of the panels will be around 25-30 years. That means that, apart from the maintenance costs, the panels still remain a sound investment.

You’ll also need to invest in a battery system if you’re looking to become more independent from the National Grid.

You should try to keep an eye on the physical condition of your system, ensuring that the solar panels are not dirtied with debris or dust. 

More often than not, a light shower of rain is enough to clean away normal levels of dirt. You can hose them down with lukewarm water if necessary, but it’s still important to get them professionally cleaned from time to time.

You should also watch your system’s energy production levels to monitor for any issues. Occasionally solar panel function can be obstructed by falling debris  – be especially wary of nearby trees as their branches can fall down onto the panels. On that note, another potential ongoing solar panel charge is contracting tree trimming services.

 

Repairs and Replacements

Solar panels are very durable, as they have no moving parts. That means that they rarely require repairs or replacements.

However, occasionally they do break – usually due to extreme weather conditions or falling debris, as mentioned earlier.

The good news is that one faulty panel doesn’t normally compromise the whole solar panel system, which reduces solar panel charges.

You should also look out for animals around your solar panel system. It’s not unheard of for animals to make their home underneath your panels, and even chewing wires and damaging panels.

It’s a good idea, then, to install a critter guard. These guards also reduce fire risk by preventing debris from gathering underneath your panels.

In the case of damage, the warranty should cover the repairs from accidental damage or faulty goods. If you’re not sure about the warranty and how it will affect your solar panel charges, get in touch with us today.

 

Insurance Costs

Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems are a serious investment, and if taken care of properly, can endure for many years.

Manufacturers’ warranties offer significant protection, but don’t cover extreme situations such as emergencies and acts of God.

In those cases, one solar panel charge that is absolutely necessary is an insurance cover that keeps the equipment safe. 

The insurance policy should insure against fire, strong winds, severe weather, or theft. 

General homeowners insurance is valid to cover rooftop systems, and you can increase the premium to cover this investment.

 

Utility Company Charges

Many people mistakenly believe that investing in solar power means cutting away totally from traditional energy suppliers.

For now, that still isn’t the case.

Energy suppliers work in tandem with solar energy providers, supplementing any energy supplied with renewable resources.

There will still be extra solar panel charges including customer service fees, demand fees for large farms, delivery fees, and others. Most of these fees can be paid monthly.

What solar does offer you is increased independence from the national grid and a reduction in energy bills. What’s more, if you produce extra electricity, your utility company will compensate you for it.

 

Landscaping for Ground-Mounted Solar Panels

Landscaping can be one of the biggest solar panel charges and should be taken into serious consideration if you have ground mounted solar panels.

Vegetation should not be allowed to grow too high as that can lead to shading, which reduces your solar system’s efficiency.

Herbicides can be used to keep the area vegetation-free or mow around the area.

In rural areas, goats have been used to control weeds and grass, although great care should be taken. Animals can damage the wiring, affecting the system.

The standard is to leave two to four feet of clearance below the panels which only leaves room for small livestock.

 

System Monitoring Costs

If you’re serious about saving some extra cash and becoming more independent from the grid, then it’s important to make sure that you monitor and track your energy production.

By doing so you can deduce the amount of energy produced and discover any arising issues. 

In order to be able to monitor your energy production, you’ll need to have a  reliable source of internet. 

So is Solar Power Worth It?

So there you have it – all the information you need to make an informed decision about your future with solar power.

Although there are some extra solar panel costs involved, it must be said that, generally speaking, solar panels save money in the long run.

If you’d like to know more about solar panel charges and how solar could work for you, get in touch with our friendly team of experts today.