A Solar Panel Buying Guide: Best Practices for 2024

Buying solar panels for your home is a big deal. While these new installations will eventually pay for themselves over the years, a new system will require quite a hefty investment. This means robust financial planning for your household. Then, there are lifestyle changes that come in the wake of switching to solar.

Choosing solar panels can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time solar user. So many options are available today, and analysis paralysis is common for homeowners.

This comprehensive solar panel buying guide will help you with your decision—you will learn how to buy solar panels and choose the best options for your household. Let’s get started.

1. Ask Yourself Why You’re Going Solar

Energy independence is the reason why most homeowners want to go solar. But, if you’re buying solar panels, you must clearly define your expectations and use case.

More and more people want to go off the grid and adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle. Others simply want to lighten the load of electricity consumption and install backup power in emergencies. Given the regular rate increases for utilities, another important reason for learning how to choose solar panels could simply be saving on monthly bills.

All of these are valid reasons to make the switch. However, you must keep your primary motivation in mind, as this will affect every subsequent step in the process of buying solar panels.

2. Find Out if Your Home Can Support Solar

Your roof should have enough room for your full solar setup. This entails around 100 to 250 square feet per kilowatt of solar capacity. If it does, you need to inspect your roof thoroughly to identify any repairs or adjustments needed to accommodate your solar panel setup.

While newly-built houses are often solar-friendly, some older structures may need reinforcements. Typically, south-facing roofs with a 15 to 40-degree pitch are the best for solar users. But even east-west roofs with low pitch can support solar panels if there is ample space.

Find Out if Your Home Can Support Solar

If you don’t have the luxury of rooftop space, you can learn where to buy solar panels and put them on the ground. Note that this type of installation is often more expensive than rooftop solar.

Solar panels need four to five hours of direct sunlight for optimal function. Consider nearby trees or structures that will shade your installation and adjust as needed.

3. Choose Your Solar Panel and Setup

Some homeowners prefer doing research and choosing solar panels by themselves. If you’re one of them, you must consider multiple factors for finding the most efficient solar panels for your home.

How to choose solar panels?

Start by calculating your household’s electricity consumption. This will help you determine the total wattage of solar panels that you need. On average, standard American homes consume 30kWh of power every day, and a 5kWh to 8.5kWh solar array can fully offset this consumption.

The type of solar cell that makes up your solar panel, its roundtrip efficiency, size, durability, and warranty are other key factors. The solar panel payback period should also be taken into consideration. It tells you how long it will take for your solar investment to break even.

Remember that going solar is not only about choosing solar panels. You should also consider energy storage systems (ESS), especially if you want to go off the grid or have backup power. This is where solar batteries, inverters, etc., come into the picture.

You may not need backup if you’re a grid-tied user. Either way, it is an effort-intensive and time-consuming process, and you need sound knowledge of solar panels to make an informed decision.

You can simplify the process and talk to a solar consultant. AMECO is a leading solar company in California for residential solar panels. You can get in touch with us and let us do the hard work for you.

Choose Your Solar Panel and Setup

4. Shortlist Your Solar Supplier

Once you have all the data you need, you must decide where to buy solar panels. Shortlist three to five solar panels per your requirement.

You can buy solar panels from:

  1. The manufacturer’s website
  2. Certified solar suppliers or companies in your area
  3. Home improvement stores like Home Depot, etc.

The first two options are your best bet because they have proven solar expertise. You will not have much flexibility in terms of pricing if you buy the panels directly from the solar manufacturer, but you can get good discounts.

If you decide to go with a local supplier, compare solar companies that have your selection of products before you reach out to them. Do your due diligence on your solar supplier’s credibility, track record, and experience.

Some solar suppliers provide installation and maintenance services in the long run. However, in some cases, you may need to hire your own solar installer.

Regardless of your choice, always get multiple quotes from these professionals. Buying solar panels is a hefty investment, and it should pay off in the long run. So, choosing a reliable solar supplier is essential if you want to make good returns on your investment.

5. Plan Your Financing Options

Are you wondering how to buy solar panels without breaking the bank?

The next step is to finalize the financing options for solar panels. Most states provide solar incentives to homeowners buying solar panels. You are also eligible for the federal solar tax credit introduced by the Biden government.

You can find a good deal on a cash payment, but buying solar panels upfront may not be practical. Many elements go into solar installation, which can be quite expensive.

So then, how to buy solar panels otherwise? Go for solar loans. You can save on upfront costs and pay minimal interest over time. Again, consider multiple options before you pull the trigger.

Before buying solar panels, decide which financing option suits your budget the best.

Plan Your Financing Options

6. Watch Out for Local Laws

Learn about solar laws and regulations in your state before buying solar panels. There are no federal solar access regulations, but local entities may require you to apply for certain permits. Before installing solar panels, you should also check with your local homeowner’s association.


Now you know how to buy solar panels. This solar panel buying guide has outlined all you need to get started. Consider partnering with AMECO for all your solar needs!