If you care about the environment, or just how many dollars you are spending on your electric utility bill, you might be considering going solar at home. Installing technology to harness the power of the sun seems ideal, since you can theoretically draw free power every day the sun is out, but you need to take some preemptive steps to make the best of the situation before tearing out your whole roof. Keep reading into the following paragraphs for more.
Find out whether or not your local utility company is willing to buy power back from you. It can take some work and mindful lifestyle to get your home to a place where you are actually generating enough juice to have surplus you can sell off, but if that is an economic possibility where you live, it is worth shooting for. Why just save money when you can make money?
Tip: Especially in extremely warm climates, it is important to do as much as you can to save on cooling costs. One thing you can do is to use trees and bushes to shade your home, and this in conjunction with other strategies will save you much on energy consumption and costs.
Consider your latitude and local horizon. You cannot just point solar panels at the sky and expect to be set. In the northern half of the world, you have to point your panels in a southerly general direction, but the horizontal angle has to be 15 degrees plus your geographic latitude. There are calculators online that can help you with this determination. Find that angle in your yard and look for obstructions. Are there trees, buildings or mountains in the way during parts of the day?
Compose a list of all your electric appliances, and also write down their hourly power usage. Any specialist you consult with about solar installation who knows what he is doing is going to need this information. In many cases, going full solar is not always possible, but you can go partially for particular appliances. Also, you might be able to squeeze in full solar power by only using combinations of appliances at one time, but never all of them at once.
Tip: Opt for rechargeable over disposable batteries. The debate on using disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries has long been a heavy conversation.
Keep in mind that your panels are going to have to stay clean. Any debris or dirt on them is going to reduce their effectiveness. Can you afford a roof cleaning once a month? Are you willing to do it yourself?
Do your power calculations based on winter numbers rather than summer. Your winter season likely has half the total hours of light than the warmer months do. If you do not account for your minimums here, you will have to draw off the local grid or a backup source for power. The positive side of this is that if you are prepared for solar self-sufficiency in the winter, you will have lots of power in the summer for air conditioning, and perhaps to feed into the grid.
Tip: Think small. If you are unable to use alternative energy for your entire house, start with just one room.
Do whatever you can to make your home consume a minimal amount of power before you go solar. This can range from small steps like using energy-efficient light bulbs to removing your clothes dryer in favor of a clothesline in the backyard. The more energy efficient your home is prior to going solar, the more you can save on your solar installation.
Going solar in the home is a wonderful way to support the environment and save money, but there are steps you should take before you start pulling up roof shingles. Apply all the ideas within this article to make the most of this potential investment.