Choosing an installer and options

I recommend getting at least two bids from contractors before deciding on a solar power installation. I didn’t follow that advice because I knew from the start that I wanted to install the system myself so I would understand everything I could about it. I have learned about home power systems over the years and understand the theory and practical aspects of how they work. Our goals were to have a backup power source when the grid power is down, have a manual transfer switch to switch to the solar/battery power, and eliminate, reduce or reverse our power bill. We did achieve the first two goals but we have not entirely eliminated our power bill or reversed it. We did reduce our power bill to a maintenance/connection fee. Since we produce more power than we use on the average we paid about $22/month last year and at the end of the year we got a credit for the excess power we produce but that credit has not yet cancelled our maintenance fee for more than a few months.

So it is important to educate yourself on the goals you want to achieve. Do you want to achieve energy independence and operate off the grid? Do you live in a remote area where power is not reliable and want to have power when the grid power is down? Is operating off the grid for temporary or extended periods important? Are you willing and able to invest the capital to own the system? or Do you mainly want to sell power back to the grid to reduce your power bill? How you answer these questions will determine what options you select and the kind of installation you need.

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