The advantages of taking on Solar energy by homeowners are being talked about a lot. From saving up to 80% on monthly electricity bills to promoting a sustainable society, going solar has proven to be a rewarding investment for homeowners all over the country.
Diminishing energy utilization from the grid and switching to solar technology can not only bring significant savings of some bucks but also help you go off-grid entirely. However, before installing a Solar System in one’s home, there are a few points one needs to keep in mind.
1. Choose the suitable Components for your system:
The solar system consists of two main components: Solar Panels and an Inverter.
● Solar Panels
Photovoltaic (PV) is a type of Solar System that allows you to produce electricity. The two fundamental choices of Solar Panels for PV Solar systems are-
(a) Monocrystalline and (b) Polycrystalline.
Choosing a reputable brand of Panels will have a significant impact on the energy generation of your Solar System.
An Inverter is a device that converts the DC (Direct Current) generated by the Solar Panels into AC (Alternating Current). They are of two main types:
1) The String (or Centralized Inverter)
2) The MicroInverter
Choosing a good quality Inverter becomes crucial since it is the most important part of any Solar System. If one is not sure whether to pay out more money for a premium Panel or a premium Inverter, one should always go with the premium Inverter. The shelf lives of Inverters are approximately 12-15 years, whereas the lives of the Solar Panels are about 35–40 years.
2. Measure your in-house energy use:
By measuring the average amount of energy you will be consuming, you can settle on an educated choice on the number of Solar Panels you need to install and the volume of your energy consumption that can be generated from the system.
3. Look for the financial incentives provided by your Government:
In countries like Germany, India, China, Australia, and the US, governments provide incentives to those wanting to install Solar Systems in their homes. Two of the main incentives are:
1) Investment subsidies, in which the installation cost of Solar Panels is subsidized partially by the Government.
2) Feed-in tariffs or Net Metering, whereby the electricity produced can be sold to the electricity utility which is operating the grid.
4. Decide the correct positioning:
Positioning your Solar Panels can have a prominent impact on the total electricity generated by them. There are two main decisions about the correct positioning of the Panels:
1) Direction – North, South, East, or West
For Example, East and west-facing Solar Panels, obviously, produce less energy all through the whole day compared to those facing towards the equator. However, unless you plan on installing a battery, this can bring about more optimized usage of your electricity.
2) Angle – To Tilt or Not to Tilt?
Improving the tilt angle does result in a few % increase in efficiency and thus slightly more electricity generation. The best angle to tilt a Solar Panel is directly defined by the latitude where the Solar Panel is installed.
5. Decide whether you want a battery:
Last but not least, it is crucial to understand that, the time at which most electricity is generated, during the middle of the day for Residential Solar PV installations doesn’t usually coincide with the time at which most electricity is consumed, in the morning and evening. In fact, most electricity is consumed only after the sun sets when most people use televisions, air conditioning, heating, kitchen appliances, etc.
Accordingly, both from a monetary & environmental perspective, it appears to be logical to store energy during the day with a battery to be utilized in the evening. But, batteries can be expensive compared to the savings they can potentially provide. So one needs to run a cost-benefit analysis before deciding on batteries.
Once you are well informed on the above topics it is important to choose a trustworthy installer for your Residential Solar Installation that will ensure all the safety guidelines as well as correctly advise you on the latest technologies and equipment.