This post is part of a series on installing solar panels for your home. Check out the rest of the series.
Installing solar panels for your home is a relatively new and popular kind of home improvement that’s taking North America by storm. Solar panels boost the value of your home, and provide enough savings over time to pay for themselves –and yet so many avoid the prospect of doing so because it seems like such a daunting task.
Installing solar panels doesn’t have to be a nightmare; here are a handful of tips to make the process a little easier (and less scary) for the uninitiated.
With a little help, it isn’t difficult to size the system yourself, select components, or even mount and install solar panels, inverters, and appropriate safety disconnects.
The cost of your solar panel system will depend on electricity usage, which dictates how many solar panels you need. To start installing your very own home solar panels, there are nine things that you should consider:
1. Get help from a consultant who knows the process. An experienced consultant is worth their weight in gold, as they’ll typically be able to help you avoid making costly mistakes along the way.
2. Before you begin to invest time and money installing your solar panels, consider how much space you have available for them. Your historical electricity consumption will illuminate how many panels you’ll need –and then you’ll have to figure out where to put them. Will they all be on your roof, the ground, or a combination of both? You must also study the sun’s movement and see if the location of your solar panels would get constant, reliable sunlight. Avoid placing solar panels in the shade or areas that have shadows from nearby structures throughout the day. If you decide to have panels on the roof, you must check if your roof is durable enough to support the weight of the solar panel and its racks.
3. Calculate your energy needs. You can do this by averaging out the kWh number that is located at the bottom part of your electricity bills – just make sure you take each season’s energy needs into account. Ensure that the energy you’re able to produce and store can handle your requirements, even at peak times.
4. Research, research, research. By educating yourself, you’ll be able to better understand the basics of electricity and solar panels. Knowledge is the key to safety and never being caught without enough power. Here is a good place to start.
5. To help you decide on which type of system is right for you, you have to learn the difference between a grid tie and an off grid system.
6. Once you decide what system best works for you, you have to size the system.
7. After figuring out the number of panels it would take to produce the amount of electricity you consume, set a realistic budget by looking at comparable systems.
8. Don’t forget to investigate solar subsidies such as local and provincial or state incentives, federal tax credits, and utility rebates while setting up your budget.
9. Ensure everything is up to your local building codes, as doing research online might open you up to factoring in requirements for a geography other than your own! This will qualify you for incentives. It is better for you to contact your electrician earlier on to ensure your home solar panel installation is safe and up to snuff.
If you are still having doubts on installing your own solar panel at home, just think of the energy cost savings you could achieve.
And if you install solar panels on your own, you can have as much as up to 20%-80% savings on the cost of your solar electric system overall. This potential savings is worth doing a bit more research and buying a few more new tools!