What should I know about solar panels?
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I see that solar panel prices are now significantly cheaper than 5 years ago. I am educating myself what installation I should have, what panels etc. Therefore, I have the following questions if you might advice me on:
1. It feels like there are no bad solar panels around at the moment as long as they are new and modern – monocrystalline, 25 years warranty, low deterioration rate (less than 8% in 10-12 years) and the power is typically 315-345 W. So, the difference is mainly aesthetic. What should I pay attention when choosing one panel over other?
2. Probably the key element is inverter – I was told they break more often than anything in the set up and typically won’t last beyond 15 years. And:
a. I was told that SolarEdge has unique patented design that no other manufacturer can copy – you can monitor what any panel is doing and partial shading of any panel won’t affect others. There is also Enphase microinverter, but I feel this is less reliable because I will have more inverters, thus significantly increasing chances a panel will go wrong. And replacing each broken inverter on the roof is more difficult than on the ground (I assume sensors of SolarEdge attached to panels are too simple and reliable to break). Are my assumptions correct?
b. It is important to know what each panel is doing – if I have a traditional inverter, then I won’t know how each panel is performing and the overall performance will be affected by the worst panel. Is this true? This is how I understood SolarEdge’s advert, I would prefer validating this statement
3. Battery storage is still ineffective. Yes, Tesla and one another company make good batteries, but they are too expensive and not worth the money. I made quick estimations and feels like it will take me more than 15 years to pay off the battery, so not cost effective. What is your experience?
4. Heating up water with Solar iBoost+ using solar electricity. Is it not cheaper to use gas, and sell surplus electricity to the grid? Or feeding to the grid is too complex and expensive that this is not cost effective? Or feeding in tariff is too low that it is cheaper to use it for heating water?