5 Common Mistakes Made with a First PV System

Home energy management · Mar 21, 2024

As the world moves towards sustainable energy solutions, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have emerged as a popular choice for homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.

However, the journey towards harnessing solar power isn't without its challenges. There are common mistakes often made when planning, installing, and using a PV system, things that can compromise its efficiency and longevity. Here are five critical mistakes and how to avoid them.

Franklin Home Power

Mistake 1: Neglecting Proper Site Assessment

One of the most critical steps in installing a PV system is assessing the site where it will be installed. Factors such as shading, roof orientation, and structural integrity play a significant role in determining the system's performance. Unfortunately, many homeowners skip this crucial step or rely on rough estimates, leading to suboptimal energy production.

Solution: Hire a qualified solar installer who can conduct a thorough site assessment. They will analyze shade patterns throughout the day, assess the roof's condition, and determine the best orientation and tilt angle for maximum sunlight exposure. Investing in a proper site assessment can significantly increase the system's efficiency and shorten the payback period in the long run.

Mistake 2: Opting for the Cheapest Components

The initial price is often a significant consideration when investing in a PV system. However, opting for the cheapest components can be a costly mistake in the long term. Low-quality solar panels, inverters, and mounting hardware may save money upfront, but they can lead to poor performance, frequent breakdowns, and premature system failure.

Solution: While it's essential to stay within budget, prioritize quality over cost when selecting components for your PV system. Research reputable manufacturers with a track record of producing reliable and efficient products. Investing in high-quality components may entail a higher initial investment but will pay off in terms of performance and durability over the system's lifespan.

Mistake 3: Underestimating Future Energy Needs

Homeowners often underestimate their future energy needs when sizing their PV systems. Failing to account for potential increases in energy consumption due to lifestyle changes, home expansions, or the addition of electric vehicles can result in an undersized system that fails to meet demand.

Solution: Work with a knowledgeable solar installer to accurately assess your current and future energy needs. Consider factors such as household size, energy-efficient appliances, and planned lifestyle changes when sizing your PV system. Investing in a slightly larger system upfront can provide peace of mind and ensure that your energy needs are met as they evolve.

solar panels

Mistake 4: Ignoring Maintenance and Monitoring

Many homeowners install a PV system and assume that their work is done. Neglecting routine maintenance and monitoring, however, can lead to a decline in performance over time and even system failure. Dust accumulation, shade from foliage, and equipment malfunctions can all affect the system's efficiency if not promptly addressed.

Solution: Implement a regular maintenance schedule to keep your PV system operating at peak performance. This may include cleaning solar panels, trimming overhanging branches, and inspecting electrical components for signs of wear or damage. Additionally, invest in a monitoring system that allows you to track energy production and identify any issues before they escalate.

Mistake 5: Failing to Understand Financial Incentives

Many homeowners are unaware of the various financial incentives available for installing a PV system, such as tax credits, rebates, and net metering programs. Failing to take advantage of these incentives can result in missed opportunities to offset the initial cost of the system and maximize long-term savings.

Solution: Research the financial incentives available in your area and take full advantage of them when planning your PV system installation. Consult with a tax professional to understand eligibility requirements and maximize your savings potential. By leveraging available incentives, you can make solar power a more affordable and attractive option for your home.

Franklin Whole Home


While installing a PV system can be a rewarding investment in renewable energy, it's essential to avoid common mistakes that can compromise its performance and longevity.

By conducting a thorough site assessment, investing in quality components, accurately sizing the system, prioritizing maintenance and monitoring, and leveraging financial incentives, homeowners can ensure that their first PV system delivers reliable and cost-effective solar power for years to come.

Get FranklinWH