Common Mistakes to Avoid During Solar Panel Removal in New Jersey
Solar energy is booming in New Jersey, with homeowners installing the technology at an average cost of about $10,000. But what happens when a homeowner moves?
Solar companies have been accused of misleading consumers with various practices, including liens, built-in annual rate increases and ironclad “you-can’t-sue-us” clauses.
Not Inspecting the Roof
Solar energy is booming in New Jersey, and the state’s residents are reaping the benefits. However, if homeowners aren’t careful, they could face many problems that could ultimately derail their investment and cause them to lose thousands of dollars.
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is not having their roofs inspected before solar panel re-installation. This mistake can lead to severe roofing damage and void any roof warranty. This is because solar panels put a lot of weight on your roof, and if the top isn’t in good shape, it can be easily damaged during solar panel removal in New Jersey.
Also, spotting leaks or missing shingles can be difficult if the roof isn’t properly inspected. And if these issues aren’t addressed, they can worsen over time, leading to expensive repairs or roof replacement.
Homeowners need to consult their installer’s professional recommendations regarding how often they should have their roofs inspected. Many solar companies recommend inspections two to four times a year, depending on the type of system and how much use it gets. These inspections can help homeowners notice debris build-up and deteriorating wiring before it becomes a major problem. They can also ensure that all rack screws have penetrated the roof rafters accurately and that no shingle has been ripped or torn during installation.
Not Inspecting the Electrical Connections
When installing solar panels, the junction box is the most crucial part. This small box houses your electrical wiring and should be protected from the elements. It can easily get wet, causing damage and even failure. This means that it is essential to inspect your junction box and make sure it’s properly sealed.
Another common mistake people make when installing solar panels is purchasing the wrong size system for their homes. A system that is too small will not provide enough power, while one that is too large will be costly. It is important to have a site assessment performed to ensure your solar energy system is the right size for your home.
It’s essential to hire a solar company that is trustworthy and honest. Although most homeowners have positive experiences with their solar companies, some do not. The Better Business Bureau has processed 125 complaints about New Jersey solar companies in the past three years involving contract misrepresentations.
Reviewing customer satisfaction data online and asking your neighbors for recommendations is also good. While it’s not always possible to avoid dishonest contractors, being educated about the process and comparing options can help. If you work with a less-than-trustworthy solar company, contacting your homeowner’s insurance may be a good option to recover any monetary losses.
Not Inspecting the Panels
The idea of solar panels bolted to the roof generating pollution-free electricity is attractive to many homeowners, especially those looking to cut energy bills. And the fact that many companies offer to lease the panels instead of having a homeowner pay upfront costs can be appealing, too.
Nevertheless, consumers must carefully review contracts before signing up for solar power. Some complaints received by the Better Business Bureau against solar equipment dealers have involved problems with lease agreements, such as a clause requiring early cancellation. Others have been regarding difficulty contacting the company to resolve issues.
A typical solar system requires two to four maintenance inspections per year. These are usually performed in fall and spring to ensure the panels are clean and debris-free, such as bird droppings and tree sap. Inspecting the wires and connections is also a good idea to ensure they are in working order. Critters like birds and squirrels can gnaw on the wires, which may cause them to short-circuit or stop working altogether.
During a maintenance inspection, a representative from the solar company will typically turn off the panel to check the connections and wiring. Having the panels shut off for an extended period can help prevent overheating and damage to other parts of the home.
Not Inspecting the Wiring
Solar installation is complex work that requires expert knowledge. When hiring a company, ask about their experience. Ask how many projects they have worked on, how long it takes them to complete their work and what they guarantee. If they cannot provide an accurate timeline or they come across as annoyed with your questions, it’s best to move on.
One of the most overlooked pieces of a residential solar system is the junction box, which connects all the panels and stores the electrical wiring. While a sturdy layer of glass protects the back of the junction box, the front is susceptible to damage from rain and debris. This can cause the wires to short and become hot, resulting in a fire or power outage.
The front of the solar panels is also susceptible to dirt and other debris that can decrease efficiency over time. Bird droppings, moss and other environmental contaminants can clog the panel’s inverter. They can also cause the so-called “snail trails,” which are dark spots in the panel that resemble snail tracks but are caused by moisture.
Building department representatives will turn off your solar system during a home solar inspection for a safer inspection process. They will review the electrical requirements and assess fire safety before granting permission to operate (PTO). Building departments also require emblems on homes with solar power that notify first responders that a renewable energy source powers a building.