Solar power has become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative energy source for homes. With solar panels, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and save money in the long run. But setting up a solar system can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.
That’s why we’ll show you how to evaluate your energy needs, choose the right type of equipment, and find qualified professionals who can help with installation, as well as some tips on financing options and incentives that could make going solar more affordable than ever before!
Table of Contents
Getting The Right Equipment First
Before you start shopping around for the right type of equipment, you need to do an energy audit of your home and determine exactly how much power you’ll need to generate. You can use a calculator to help with this.
Once you know what size system you require, it’s time to select your solar panels, inverters, and other components. Make sure they are certified by a reputable organization such as the Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC) or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
A quality solar inverter is a necessity here as it will convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar panels into alternating current (AC). Additionally, if you live in a particularly sunny area, consider getting a solar tracker to ensure maximum efficiency.
How Many Panels Do I Need?
The number of solar panels needed will depend on your energy needs and the size of your roof. Generally, a 4 kW system (which is around 12-16 solar panels) should be enough to fully power a standard three-bedroom home.
However, if you’re looking for complete energy independence, then larger systems may be necessary. And while you don’t technically require any batteries with a solar system, it could be worth investing in some if you want to store excess energy for use during periods when the sun isn’t shining.
Finding An Installer
Once you’ve selected all of the components for your system, it’s time to find a qualified installer who can properly set up and maintain your solar equipment.
Ideally, look for an experienced contractor who has completed numerous installations in the past and is accredited with one or more of the following organizations: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), or International Code Council (ICC).
It is also important to make sure any installer you hire carries adequate insurance coverage in case anything goes wrong during the installation process.
Financing & Incentives
Although solar power can be an expensive investment, there are several ways to make it more affordable. Government incentives such as the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and state-level rebates and net metering programs can help offset the cost of purchasing and installing your solar equipment.
Additionally, many utility companies offer special rates that allow you to purchase power directly from them at a lower cost than purchasing it through the grid. Finally, there are many financing options available such as solar leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that can make going solar even more budget-friendly.
Solar leasing and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) are two of the most common ways to finance your solar system. Solar leases allow you to pay a fixed monthly amount for your equipment and installation over an agreed-upon term, typically 10-20 years.
With a PPA, you make payments for the power that is produced by your solar system. The price per kilowatt-hour usually decreases each year as the cost of energy from other sources increases. In both cases, you can gain access to solar power without having to purchase all of the equipment upfronts or worry about maintenance costs.
Maintenance & Monitoring
Once you’ve installed your solar system, it’s important to monitor its performance and make sure it is running correctly. Install a device such as a solar meter which will measure the amount of electricity your panels are producing so you can ensure they are working efficiently.
Additionally, regular maintenance such as cleaning the panels and replacing parts that have worn out over time is essential for keeping your system up and running smoothly. Of course, make sure you keep any warranties and documentation that come with your solar equipment in case you need to make a claim.
With all the options available, solar energy is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce your reliance on the grid and save money in the long run. By taking proper measurements, selecting quality equipment, finding a qualified installer, and taking advantage of financing programs or incentives, you can make going solar an easy and rewarding experience.
Additionally, with regular maintenance and monitoring, you can ensure that your system runs efficiently for years to come.