Solar power is one of the most amazing ways to power your home or business. If you get it right you will power your needs for free for quiet along time after your initial investment.
If you get it wrong it it could put you in a situation where doing nothing would have been better. How does it all go so wrong? Money. Customers want to install it to save money so sales reps sell systems that the numbers appear to work up front and most of the time you find out that the calculations the sales consultant gave you were not what he or she promised! And really what are you going to do about it? There are already loads of websites that advertise the good the bad and the ugly installers and sales companies.
The best thing you can do is educate yourself on how it is all going to work.
Here are some basics that will help you get started.
The first thing learn about is your load, how many Kilowatt hours you use per day, how you can reduce it. I guarantee, I can help reduce anyone’s daily load. By reducing your load you will get a better result from your system. Sometimes you will reduce you load and it want be financially viable to install solar. Our Family uses 5kwh per 24 hours on average. Find out how much of your load is used of a day. The more you use of a day the better it is for everyone if you are installing a grid feed system, energy companies included.
If your house faces north and you have a roof angle of your latitude plus 12.5 degrees you have the perfect roof to install a solar system that will give you what it says on the box. If they are good quality panels. A flat roof is also good as the installers can put a mounting system that will give you the perfect angle.
Just to keep it simple we will use one round number, which is the number 20. OK so if you roof faces west you will loose about 20% of production and the same as if it faces west. For example if you in stall a system with 1Kwh of panels and on average in perfect conditions those panels would give you 5 hours of peak performance you would produce 5Kwhs for the day and you loose 20% of that because you roof doesn’t face the right way you will end up with only 4kwh of production for the day. The same goes for the angle of your roof you will loose about the same. If you have both you can see how you will get 40% less production. It also changes with the seasons as the sun angle changes and length of sun we get each day. Winter equinox (21st June) you will get 3.5 peak hours of performance from your solar panels. Summer you would get 7.5 hours and this also will all change depending of where you live?
The reason to understand the importance of this is we all use energy different. For example you might love the Air con cranking cold in summer and there for having a solar system installed facing west will be perfect as in the hottest part of the day your panels are producing at peak performance. Learn how you use your energy you will get more out of your system.
Feeding energy back into the grid to make money has been one of the worst things possible for the industry. If you can reduce your load at night and self consume as much as possible from a grid feed solar system for very little cost you can almost power your home for free depending on your load and the size system you can install on your roof.
Remember the cheapest form of energy is the energy that you don’t have to create. If you can cool your house naturally or grow trees on the western wall have all your insulation done properly,external shading devices, you reduce you need to create power to heat and cool you home.
Another calculation that is important to consider is the temperature of solar panels. Yep they produce less when they get hotter than 25 degrees.Depending on where you live that could mean a 16 degree day! This is not all solar panels. A poly or mono crystal panel will normally be rated at 250 watts in a factory compared to a thin film 160watt C.I.G.S panel that are heat tolerant can can reach temperatures of 80 degrees before the performance reduces, They also perform better on cloudy days. Over a 12 month period you will get a more consistent performance from a C.I.G.S panel. Bigger is not always better!
And lets talk about losses, no one wants to talk about it when their sports team loses and no one wants to talk about negative stuff when they are selling you something! There will always be losses in electrical devices. Did you know that the grid looses up to 90% of the energy created at the power plant to get it to your home? Your home solar system will loose about 20-30% depending on your climate and system.
Expectation is the key, if you know what your are going to get you will be happy, if your promised the world and it doesn’t perform? well un-happy you??
Getting solar right will change your life for the better. And as anything in life your normally get what you pay for. Cheap system you will be replacing it in a short time and it will cost you more in the long run. Government rebates also help to cover up and hide cheap solar systems.
The best money you can spend is educating yourself on how they work, there are plenty of weekend or online courses from $200-2000 to learn all about it. You will never waste money on anything if you educate yourself.