The cost of energy is rising with every passing day, and more people are getting interested in generating their own electricity.
While solar power has been around for several years now, prices have only started to drop quite recently; to the point that it is now becoming a viable option for the average homeowner.
In the past, even a small system that produced 1Kw would cost a lot of money; it just wasn’t feasible to run the entire house on solar electricity. Today, solar power is a more viable option than using electricity from the grid.
However, when installing a solar system, there are a number of factors to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of it. Here are a few things for you to consider.
1. Power Requirement
Figure out exactly how much power you need, and then work your way backward. If you look at your electricity bill or your electricity meter, it should tell you how many Kilowatts per hour you consume and what your monthly total is.
Look at the average of the entire year to determine how big or small of a solar system you need. If you are consuming 5Kw per month, for example, you need to get a system that is roughly 50% more than that requirement.
This is because a 5Kw solar system will not produce exactly 5Kw every single hour. There is inefficiency in the system itself and the amount of light also varies, which causes power production to vary as well.
2. Inverter Type
Generally, you can either have an on-grid or off-grid system. On-grid systems are connected to the electricity supply grid, while off-grid systems are used where there is no grid electricity.
If you have grid electricity, you can use either of them. This will determine the kind of inverter that you need to buy. Talk to an expert and read more about what will work best for your situation.
Also, keep in mind that you will need electricity at night. If you are running an off-grid solution, then you will need batteries to store the energy, so you can use it later. In on-grid systems, you can have batteries, or you can use grid power when the solar system isn’t producing energy.
The same 5Kw system will produce vastly different amounts of energy depending on where you are physically located and the kind of sunlight that you have access to.
The ambient temperature also impacts the efficiency of the system. Take a look at the different factors before investing in a solar system so that you’ll form a realistic expectation of what it will be able to produce in your chosen location.
Everything from the angle of sunlight to the length of days in your region will play a role. You might find that in your area, due to geographical constraints, you will need something much larger than 5Kw.
4. Roof Condition
Solar power systems have few components, but when combined they can weigh quite a lot. Just the panels and the frame on which the panels are installed can weigh hundreds of pounds.
Before you get started with installation, be sure to check whether your roof can even support this weight. In many cases, the roof will need reinforcing pillars or other structural support to bear the weight of a solar power system.
In a solar power system, there are the solar panels, the inverter, the wiring, and the batteries. There are many different kinds of each of these components, so you need to see what exactly you will need for your situation.
Also, you need to see how the installation can be made efficient in your particular scenario. Ideally, the distance from the panels to the inverter, and to the battery should be as short as possible. The longer the wire, the less efficient it becomes.
6. Permits And Benefits
Check with your housing regulation office to see if you need any special permits, electricity meters, or certifications to ensure your house is suitable for this installation.
In some regions installing a solar panel is simply not permitted, while in other regions there are other certifications that you need to get before installing a solar system.
Also, check to see if you are eligible for any tax benefits or kickbacks of any kind if you choose to switch to solar power. A lot of places give subsidies and have benefits for people wanting to switch to solar.
With our current society and everyday life being heavily dependent on electricity, there is no doubt that our electrical consumption will continue to rise over time.
For some people, the current state of technology and the price tag will be enough reasons to switch. For others, this decision might not be worth making just yet.
There is still a lot of work being done on high-efficiency panels and in the future, we are likely to see systems that take up much less space and produce far more electricity.