Series Introduction: This article is part of a 10-part series to shed some light on what your solar salesperson is NOT telling you. It is my hope this will help consumers to better understand the “small print” items when deciding if installing Solar panels is the right decision for you and your family.

Solar Panels have recently become more affordable and easier to obtain for homeowners. It is hard not to get sucked in by commercials with uplifting oldies blaring and people dancing and singing the praises of a Solar Life with the spokesperson declaring it is now an affordable option for homeowners. As a REALTOR® I have been asked by many past and present clients if they should do this? This series will cover the following issues of the solar home craze. You can also click topics below to jump to that particular topic.

What’s the catch?
Potential savings or smoke and mirrors
What’s the real cost?
Life expectancy and maintenance mortgage and appraisal pitfalls
How does this affect my homeowner’s insurance?
What sellers need to know?
What home buyers need to know?
Less expensive alternatives to solar panels.
Why I made the decision I made regarding Solar Panels.


Based on the entry about cost and the offer for the Solar company to finance my new panels for 30 years it was reasonable to conclude if I am around in 30 years then I will begin to see the real savings, RIGHT? 

So I asked what’s the life expectancy of these panels. I mean solar panels don’t last forever right so how long before this technology is going to change, get better, or the system that I have is going to be obsolete and I’m going to need to upgrade the panels or the system?  What the salesman told me was you can expect these to last about 25 to 30 years. What! They it will only last for the term of the loan, or less?

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight!  

You’ve been telling me that once I get this paid off, I’m no longer going to have this monthly payment and I will be able to enjoy the benefit all of the savings that I’m going to get by lowering my electricity cost.  But now you’re also telling me that about the time this loan is paid off I will need a new system and I’ll have to start all over again?   

Yes that was what he was telling me, although he threw in most people pay them off early. So the cost is cyclical, by the time it is paid off there is a good chance it is time for your next investment.

PANEL MAINTENANCE & Roof replacement

Who is responsible for the repairs and what is the estimated upkeep, you might ask and what care and maintenance might be needed?

Solar panels should be cleaned, it is recommended every 6 months. You should not use a power washer. You can hire pros to do this for about $300 so factor in at least $600 a year.

Maintenance depends on the warranties you are able to get. My research generally found that the panels have warranties for 10-12 years. In reading the small print, I found that the warranties cover equipment malfunctions or failures, but they may not cover the labor or shipping costs involved. And remember only for 10-12 years. Some of the repairs may be covered by insurance but individual polices vary (see the section on insuring your panels).

Also, what happens when your roof needs to be replaced? A roofs life is often 15-25 years, less then the life expentancy of these panels, then what. When I. posed that question I was told, in order to replace a roof you must first hire smoeone to remove the panels and make sure none are damaged and then hire that person to return and reinstall them after the new roof is put on. This is a case of you get wht you pay for, you waont to hire a pro to do this and also read the fine print and make sure this process doesn’t void any warranties you might have.

It is probably a good idea to get a new roof at the same time to align the life of these items.


Hopefully you found this to be a helpful series, I would love to see your comments and hear about your experiences so others can benefit from your stories as well.  Direct links to each topic in this series.  Also, I would love for you to subscribe to be notified when new posts are available or follow.  Look on the top right to do that.

SOLAR PANELS – What’s the catch?

SOLAR PANELS – Potential savings or smoke and mirrors

SOLAR PANELS – What’s the real cost?

SOLAR PANELS – Life expectancy and maintenance

SOLAR PANELS – How does this affect my homeowner’s insurance?

SOLAR PANELS – What sellers need to know?

SOLAR PANELS – What home buyers need to know?

SOLAR PANELS – Mortgage and appraisal pitfalls.

SOLAR PANELS – Less expensive alternatives to solar panels.

SOLAR PANELS – Why I made the decision I made regarding Solar Panels.

Have you thought about selling your home?

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