Solar arrays are a popular way to improve energy efficiency that can be added on simply to an existing home. Through either rooftop or sidelong installation, solar electric panels can help you cut down significantly on electricity and utility costs. But with the rise in popularity of these installations – a growth rate of approximately 400 percent since 2010 – often comes builders and developers who cut corners in an attempt to save on manufacturing costs. When it comes to adding solar to your home, you want to be sure it is done correctly so you get the most out of your panels that you possibly can. If you are considering a new installation, you definitely want to hire a reputable solar company like Golden Solar to handle the process responsibly. But if you have had panels already installed in or on your home, there are a few ways to tell if it was done properly. Here are a few ways to inspect your array for faulty installation: Electrical – While electrical fires are rare, they do happen on occasion, and more often than not, they are the result of hasty or improper installation rather than a defective panel. Good solar installers will know that running the wiring properly, as well as using sufficient insulation around the wires, is critical to the system functioning properly. Generally, any certified electrician, home inspector or professional solar installer can evaluate your system to ensure there are no electrical issues. Low quality components – Whether structural or electrical, defective elements in a panel contribute to premature wear and tear. One common defect throughout the solar industry is the disintegration of the panels’ protective coating, which in some cases happens within a few years. This can lead to water leaks and electrical issues, which obviously impact the effectiveness of the unit. Other areas to check for quality are the inverters, controllers and connections. Racking – Larger arrays pose risks when it comes to installation because ensuring that they won’t move or be damaged in high winds or inclement weather is a challenge to installers. That is where racking comes in. The structure that holds panels down should be inspected semi-regularly, especially if the array is installed on your roof and could pose danger if dislodged. Best practice is to check the unit for loose bolts and indicators of stress or wear. Sitting – Solar panels only work if they receive sufficient sunlight to store energy. One of the most difficult faulty installations to overcome is poor sitting. This means that where the units are located does not receive enough lighting to constitute a worthwhile return on investment. It is important to consult a professional solar installer for an at-home consultation so you can evaluate the location together and best understand the pros and cons of installing a panel on your property. Water – No matter where you install your panels, they are going to be exposed to the elements. This means that the coating on the panels needs to be top-notch to protect the integrity of the unit. Additionally, many homeowners choose to have the panels installed on their roofs as a way to maintain the aesthetic of their homes and surrounding yard space. According to Proud Green Home, “Most roofing types require penetrations in the roof in order to secure the panels. If these are not properly flashed, the resulting water leaks can damage the integrity of the roof, its underlying structure, and even the interior of the home and its contents.” For the best in rooftop solar installation, contact Golden Solar today. Our staff will come for a free on-site consultation and help you determine the best way to install your own panels.