Without a doubt, transitioning from conventional grid power to solar power comes with many benefits - but only if done right. Broadly speaking, there are two fundamental questions that cross people's minds when thinking about a solar-powered home: what are the returns on investments and how can we get quality components that promise both longevity and efficiency? But we'll get to those questions later.

How Do Solar Panels Work to Power Homes?

Solar-powered homes usually have solar panels connected node-to-node in an array on rooftops. When it comes to sunlight reception, solar panels convert light energy into electricity that powers electrical appliances and devices in your home depending on the power output capacity of the solar array. The solar panels are linked to a local grid (power storage system) that stores excess energy that a household might use at night or during power outages. You could also sell excess energy back to the main power grid for credits on your upcoming electricity bills.

Location and Rooftop Considerations

Although the amount of power that your house needs is an important factor, the first step is to address your location and rooftop conditions. It's only natural that someone who lives in Texas might receive more sunlight than someone in Washington State, for example. This might affect the amount of energy that solar panels can produce. However, with rapidly-evolving solar technology, solar panels can now generate energy even in locations that witness heavy rainfall or snowfall. Although snow-covered panels might not produce any electricity, snow doesn't stick to inclined, slick panels for too long.

At the same time, you need to check if nearby structures or trees are blocking the sun from your rooftop. Furthermore, the complexity, age, and incline of the roof could also affect power output. The roof needs to be made of good quality material and shouldn't be too old. Ideally, it shouldn't be more than a decade old or have at least decade of life in it without needing any replacements or major repairs. This is because it would take up a lot of time and money to dismantle and reinstall a solar panel setup once the solar panels have been installed.

What Type of Solar Panels Do You Need?

While solar panel efficiency is definitely a factor to consider, installing the highest-efficiency solar panels on a very large roof isn't necessarily a smart money move. Firstly, you should figure out how much power and backup storage your home needs. This brings us to roof size.

Higher efficiency solar panels may cost more, but they also produce more energy than average ones. So, if you have a smaller roof, using high-efficiency solar panels over a smaller area might make sense. In case you have a larger roof and want to utilize its entirety, you can notch down on solar panel efficiency. Since you will need more panels for your energy requirements, this would be an effective purchase. Conversely, you may opt for the highest-efficiency solar panels and use fewer of them on a huge roof instead of tiling up the entire area. As a rule of thumb, you should look for solar panels that offer an efficiency of at least 20 percent.

Solar Panel Structural Integrity

Efficiency and power output won't make much sense if your solar panels end up getting damaged by dust or heavy rainfall. As such, the structural integrity of solar panels is very important. Generally speaking, solar panels are designed to withstand inch-sized hail, snow, and rainfall. If you live near a dusty region, occasional cleaning by professionals will do the trick.

Since solar panels tend to degrade in efficiency over time, make sure to inquire about degradation levels to gauge the long-term gains over investment. In general, standard panels could retain up to 90 percent of their efficiency over two decades.

How Do Warranties Work for Solar Homes?

There are three kinds of warranties that you should get with your solar installations. Firstly, a product warranty must be in place to cover any component defects. Secondly, performance warranties ensure that the efficiency of the solar panels won't degrade by certain levels annually and will produce the minimum energy as rated by the manufacturer for a particular number of years. Ideally, you should look for product and performance warranties that cover a minimum of 25 years.

Thirdly, a labor warranty covers any possible shortcomings in the work of installers or any potential damage caused to any part of the property during work. The tenure of labor warranties could range from three to ten years.

All of that aside, there is one more aspect that you should consider. Solar-powered homes comprise multiple components that often come from different manufactures with a varying tenure of warranties. As such, your choice of solar panels might not be compatible with the best energy storage system out there. Finding a company that manufactures or oversees all components could therefore help immensely in terms of warranties or future upgrades.

How to Shortlist Companies

There are so many questions you must ask every energy consultant or manufacturer you get in touch with. How many years of experience do they have? How and when did they start their business? What kind of warranties do they offer? Where do their components come from? And of course, how much would it cost?

Ideally, you should choose a company that has been in the business for a long time, is willing to take care of the whole setup, and will be in touch for any post-installation crisis through the tenure of warranties.

SunPower is one of the few companies out there nowadays that has outlived the warranties that they offer with their complete solar-home systems. The California-based company was founded in 1985, and offers a 25-year complete system warranty. They design and deliver complete systems that start from solar panels to state-of-the-art energy storage units.

SunPower's Solar Panel and Energy Backup Systems

The SunPower Equinox System features solar panels capable of generating up to 60 percent more energy compared to traditional solar panels in the same space. Their sturdy copper-based foundation, anti-reflective coating, and absence of grid lines make it possible to reach efficiency levels as high as 22.7 percent. Their cutting-edge technology also enables maximum possible light absorption while staying corrosion- and thermal-resistant.

SunPower's SunVault energy storage system was designed to be compatible with the Equinox system. The energy storage system may include multiple batteries, and SunPower estimates that a single battery could offer power backup for up to three days when fully charged for a certain amount of usage. They have hundreds of patents in designing solar-based units and have transformed over 44,000 residential homes into solar-powered homes in 2020 alone. In the process, they have added over 985 megawatts of solar products and have offset an estimated 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in the same year.

SunPower also has a smartphone app that allows you to easily monitor the entire system. You may use it to check the daily power generation and consumption trends, as well. Moreover, their smart tech will factor in utility rates to dynamically switch to the excess solar energy stored in backup systems during peak time charges so you can save on electric bills.

With flexible purchase and leasing options, SunPower aims to offer energy independence and seamless power backup, as well as reduce your carbon footprint over time. While efficiency and power generation are important, they also make sure to follow a minimalist approach to installing hardware so you can retain your property's aesthetics.

Check out SunPower's website for more information today.