What to Know Before You Go Solar

Thinking about installing solar panels on your home? Here are some things you should know.

For most residential customers, solar panels can’t replace the need for electricity from the local power grid, but they can reduce your bill. That’s why Champion Energy is proud to offer affordable energy plans that are compatible with a wide range of home solar solutions, including a no-hassle solar buyback option.

Installing home solar is a major financial commitment, so it’s important to understand your options and make sure you are getting the best return on your investment. Too often, we’ve heard from homeowners who took the plunge based on big savings promised by solar installation providers, only to be left disappointed. In fact, 74% of respondents to our recent solar survey said the savings promised were worse or somewhat worse than expected.

So, here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line:

More Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better

Meter ReadingMore panels don’t necessarily result in bigger savings. Typically, the best returns come from the first panel, because all of the energy from that panel is consumed by your home. As more panels are added, the system begins to produce surplus generation, power in excess of your energy demand, that goes back on to the local energy grid. You can be paid for this surplus generation, but it is typically worth far less than the power directly consumed by your home because of avoided costs including utility delivery charges. With most solar buyback plans, the best return comes from reducing your home's need for power from the grid while subsequently minimizing the amount sold back to the grid.

Your Installer Matters

Meter ReadingIt’s important to compare multiple options before picking a solar panel provider. As with anything, please be sure to read the fine print. A general rule of thumb is that a quality installer will ask quality questions. For example, did they ask about your home, what time of day you use the most power, and what your power consumption looks like during non-peak hours?

Be on the look out for red flags. If a solar provider says that you can eliminate your monthly energy bills completely, you may not be getting the best advice. Respondents to our solar survey who reported the most dissatisfaction after installing solar panels were told their bills would be eliminated.

Understand Your Bill

Meter ReadingEven with battery storage, nearly all residential customers need more power than their panels can provide. Those costs include delivery fees, to ensure that power is there when you need it.

A solar buyback option – which allows you to sell surplus energy back to the grid – can help generate additional credit toward your monthly bill, but excess energy from residential solar systems won’t typically offset the energy purchased for a home at night or when demand is higher than what the installed panels can produce.

Remember, when it comes to home solar, the biggest impact on your bill will be the number you don’t see – the cost of energy that never had to be pulled from the grid to power your home.