Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How To Buy Solar Panels For Your Home

Future Changes To The Electricity Market

How Many Solar Panels Should You Buy?

The electricity grid in Australia wasn’t originally designed to cope with large numbers of homes exporting solar power into it. There are proposals for how to modernise the grid and manage it more effectively and fairly, and these include a possible surcharge or “solar tax” to owners of solar PV systems who want to sell their excess power to the grid. What’s this all about, and does it mean a storage battery becomes a better option?

What’s the problem with the electricity grid?

The electricity grid in Australia was originally built with the expectation that electricity went in one direction only, from power stations to homes and businesses. It wasn’t designed to also allow for solar-generated power to flow back the other way. While that’s been possible to a reasonable extent so far, the grid is starting to hit the limits of how much electricity it can handle from domestic rooftop solar.

The grid needs a lot of work to update it to become flexible enough to take full advantage of renewable energy sources including domestic solar feed-in, but also allow flexibility for all consumers. This work has to be paid for somehow. Currently, some consumers have little access to the benefits of solar power but must still pay for electricity, and to some extent they subsidise the benefits that solar owners obtain.

What’s the solution?

The proposal includes the option of a surcharge to solar PV system owners who export power to the grid .

When is all this going to happen?

Solar Power For The Home: Benefits

A significant benefit to PV installation is a lower energy bill, but the magnitude of this benefit depends on the amount of solar energy that can be produced given the available conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity.

The first consideration is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.

Similar maps and data are available in other countries as well, often from government environmental agencies or renewable energy organizations. Equally important is the home’s orientation for rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.

The final benefit is the potential effect on a home’s value due to the addition of a solar array. In general, it is reasonable to assume that solar panels would raise the value of most homes.

If You Decide Solar Panels Are Right For You Find A Registered Installer And Get Three Quotes

As we’re MoneySavers, not electricians, picking installers isn’t our speciality. You can see the firms shortlisted for the British Renewable Energy Awards 2020, run by the Renewable Energy Association, or ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.

The system and the installer should meet the standards of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme . And make sure the installer is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code.

As always, get at least three quotes, and get ’em in writing. When comparing quotes, check the following are included: scaffolding, removal of the existing roof and other roofing works, internal wiring works, sorting out a connection agreement with the energy supplier, electrical connection work, and a generation meter. Fitting the panels themselves is a one or two-day job.

Once they’re fitted, registering your panels is a must you’ll need an MCS certificate, which you’ll use to register for smart export guarantee payments with a licensed energy supplier.

Never borrow from solar companies to pay for the panels

Some installers let you buy solar panels on credit. If you don’t have the cash upfront, panels aren’t for you. The loan’s interest could dwarf the savings.

Solar panels are generally low maintenance

The Energy Saving Trust says little maintenance is required on a properly installed, well-designed solar PV system, though you’ll likely need to replace the inverter a gadget that is a key part of the mechanism within about 25 years .

Read Also: What’s The Cost Of Solar Panels

Should You Lease Solar Panels

There are several payment options that bundle solar installation costs into a consumers electric bill, either as a solar panel leasing option or as a power purchase agreement . Solar leases allow the homeowner to install solar panels without paying anything up front reducing the overall solar panel cost. After the panels are installed, the homeowner pays only a flat monthly fee. The fee includes the installation costs, which are spread out over time, and the cost of electricity supply.

Generate Energy No Matter Where You Live

Is It A Good Time To Buy Solar Panels?

One common concern potential buyers have is whether theyll be able to use their panels if they live in an overcast area.

Its true that the more sun you have, the more use youll get out of your panels. Still, that doesnt mean the panels dont work in rainy areas. They still absorb whatever solar energy is available and turn it into something you can use for your home. As such, you dont need to live in sunny areas to reap all the benefits!

Also Check: What Do I Need To Install Solar Panels

Bottom Line: Are Solar Panels Worth It

Solar panels are worth it both for the long-term utility savings and the environmental impact. When you’re choosing a solar energy company to power your home, look for one that has a high efficiency rating to maximize the amount of power your solar system generates and a good warranty to protect you from future maintenance costs.

Find Out How Many Solar Panels You Will Need

Next, its time to roughly understand your solar needs, so youre well-equipped to compare solar quotes. We estimate that a typical home needs about 20 to 25 solar panels to cover 100 percent of its electricity usage, but the actual number youll need to install depends on many factors. Location, panel efficiency, panel rated power, and your personal energy consumption habits all play a role in determining how many solar panels you need. Importantly, the number of solar panels you need for your home directly impacts the price you pay for solar.

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The Benefits Of Solar Panels

Why would you want home solar panels? Solar panels for your home come with many benefits:

  • Savings on energy: The most direct benefit is that you can gain the opportunity to power your own home outside of the electrical grid. That will save you money, and if you generate extra power, you might even be able to get credit on your bill from the electric utility.
  • Solar is an abundant power source: According to the US Department of Energy, just one hour of noontime summer sun meets the annual US electricity demand. Even if you’re in an area with a lot of rain or shade coverage, you can still save on your electricity bill.
  • Help with your home value: If you plan to sell your home down the line, having home solar panels can be a major perk to buyers and can help increase your home’s value.
  • Going green: Since solar is a renewable resource, you can minimize your carbon footprint.
  • Independence from electrical grid failures: Some areas have electrical grids that are less than reliable. If you experience frequent power outages in your area, your own solar power can keep the lights on.
  • Power your camping: Some small solar panel arrays fit right onto RVs or you can take them camping so you have electricity, no matter how remote the location.

How Are Solar Panels Installed

Buying a home with Solar Panels

In a sense, all the research youre doing now is the hardest part of installing solar panels on your home. The time between when you get a quote from a solar energy company to solar panel installation can be anywhere between one and four months. The whole process can be described in six steps:

  • Purchase your solar panel equipment.The two most important pieces of equipment in any residential solar power system are the panels and inverters. Your installer will likely make recommendations about both, but most people find that understanding how solar panels work makes it easier to decide which solar panels are the best for them.

    Consider hiring a good electrical engineering consultant to look over the proposed system prior to purchase as well. This will help ensure that you get the right system for your needs.

  • A solar installation engineer will visit your property.After you sign a contract, the first sign of progress in your solar panel installation is meeting an engineer at your home. They will make sure that your roof can support solar panels’ weight and check your circuit breaker or electrical panel. Once an engineer determines that your home is structurally sound enough to support solar panel installation, its time to start filling out forms.
  • Flip the switch.Finally, your local electric company sends a representative to officially connect your new solar panel system to their grid.
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    Do Not Let The Price Of Panels Discourage You

    There are many panels available that are low cost. However, if you want an effective system that will produce high quality power, you will need to invest in one.

    You should buy the best solar panels for your home when you find out how much power each of them can produce. One way to determine this is by looking at how many watts per minute the panel can generate. The energy it produces is measured in watts per minute. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the panel. This can be important when you want large amounts of energy produced from the panels.

    How to buy the best solar panels for your home is also dependent on how they will be installed. Some panels require you to drill holes into the roof. Others just hang from the roof.

    If You Already Have Solar Panels And Get The Feed

    If you already have solar panels and get the feed-in tariff, the closure of the scheme won’t affect you. Depending on when your panels were installed and certified you’re guaranteed to get the payments for at least 20 years:

  • 25 years if installed and certified before 31 August 2012
  • 20 years if installed and certified between 1 September 2012 and 31 March 2019
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    How Old Is Your Roof

    Dont forget, roofs will weaken with age. If you know that your roof is very old then you might want to consider some smaller, more lightweight solar panels. However, I might admit if you are looking for a high return from your system its best to replace the roof so both panels and roof will last over 25 years.

    Its not the most important, but its definitely something you should consider. Now, I know that unless youre an experienced roofer or a solar design engineer, how will you be able to tell if your roof is weak, old or unique in shape?

    The truth is, your best option is just to get help from a solar expert. A site engineer can come out to your home and do an inspection. With the information, the solar engineer will then be able to go and design the right system for your home. When it comes to stuff like this, I wouldnt suggest designing your own system because it is best left in the hands of engineers.

    Avoid High Pressure Sales People

    Thinking of buying a home with solar panels? Here are a ...

    High pressure sales tactics are unfortunately common in the solar industry. Try not to make decisions on the spot, just ask the person to let you consider the offer. If its as good as they claim, it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Pressured decisions on the spot often turn out to be less advantageous in reflection.

    High pressure sales people are only one of the pitfalls that may await you when you shop for a solar power system. Learn more about the potential issues and how to avoid them in our consumers guide to solar power avoiding tricks and traps.

    One of the best buying solar tips is to make sure to use an accredited solar power system installer, certified by the Clean Energy Council.

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    What Direction Is Your Roof Facing

    The direction of your roof is considered very important because it will be the same direction the solar panels will end up facing. Although consider, what time of day do you use the most energy. If its in the afternoon, you may consider placing some solar panels in the areas where the sunshines after 2-3pm.

    This will maximise your energy output and require a specific kind of solar panel that can allow for a flexible design again. You may also want to consider solar panels that absorb more light or use anti-reflective properties to maximise your energy output as well. Looking into bifacial solar panels might be an option for you as well.

    Get A Few Solar Quotes

    It always wise to gather a few solar quotes when making a major purchase as you will find that prices vary widely between providers. But dont be just swayed by price as inferior components can reduce the up-front cost of the system. However, they may wind up costing you more in the long run in terms of reliability and efficiency.

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    Faq: Buying Solar Panels

    Can I just buy my own solar panels?

    You can buy your own solar panels directly from manufacturers, from hardware stores or online. However, installing panels on your own when unqualified to do so can result in safety issues, an inefficient system or issues to the structural integrity of your home. With an investment as significant as solar, we usually recommend hiring a professional.

    How much does one solar panel cost?

    Solar panel costs differ widely due to variations in quality, efficiency, warranty and power. One solar panel for an off-grid or small DIY project can cost as little as $100. A standard 350-watt, high-efficiency residential solar panel will cost closer to $300 or more.

    Are solar panels a good investment?

    When properly planned and executed, solar panels are one of the best investments you can make in 2022. This wont be the case for all homeowners, however. If your energy use is already minimal, your roof doesnt receive enough sunlight or the cost of solar in your area is unusually high, you may not get enough out of your investment to make it worthwhile. Its best to consult with a solar company near you to determine the solar potential of your home or business.

    Solar Panels Ca Purchase Tips

    Home Solar Panels – Top 10 Tips for Buying

    The sun is a free, ecological, and eternal source of energy. With the appropriate technologies increasingly represented nowadays, we can use this natural power source in the best possible way. With renewable and clean energy, we protect the world around us and improve living standards in the best possible way.

    This technology doesnt come cheap. But its good to know that the initial cost of a solar system in California is often much less than the long-term savings it brings. Also, by following some simple steps, youll be well on your way to enjoying the benefits of sun-powered energy without breaking the bank.

    Prices vary greatly between solar providers, and it can be tempting to choose the first one that comes along. Or to find the manufacturer with the lowest prices. So, one of the essential tips for buying California panels is to research different companies before making a final decision.

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    Can I Make Money From The Energy My Solar Panels Generate

    If you have a solar PV system and generate more power than you need, the surplus will go back into the national energy grid. Under the Smart Export Guarantee , which was launched in January 2020, electricity suppliers offer payment for each unit of power you export to the grid. The previous feed-in tariff scheme was far more generous, but it closed for new customers at the end of March 2019.

    If you’re selling electricity back to the national grid, you can select the best SEG tariff available, separate from any contract you have with an energy supplier that powers your home.

    SEG tariffs can be fixed or variable. A fixed SEG tariff will pay a determined rate per kWh of electricity exported over the length of the contract. A variable SEG tariff will vary the price based on market demand, with the only requisite that prices never fall below zero.

    Solar Energy UK has a helpful league table which reveals which suppliers currently offer the best rates. Alternatively, Ofgem publishes a list of SEG licensees every year and you can contact an energy company directly for more information on its tariffs.The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a household in London could save around £295 a year on its energy bills by having solar panels installed if there is usually someone at home all day, and could save an additional £90 a year by selling surplus energy under the Smart Export Guarantee.

    Help You Get A Better Price On Your Home

    Interest in renewable energy is increasing, and many families are considering installing solar panels.

    Because of this, a potential buyer might be willing to shell out the extra amount to buy a home already equipped with renewable energy. So, when you buy solar panels, you also increase your ability to sell your home at a fantastic price!

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