The Net Meter And Battery Backups
Net MeteringAs you know, your power meter measures the amount of electricity you take from the grid. It is very likely, however, that you’ll need to get a special meter that is able to spin backwards – without it, you can’t accurately measure the amount of energy you’re giving back to the grid. In most cases, you can call your utility company and they will provide one of these meters for free. As I said before, having a power station in the middle of the grid – even a tiny one – takes a lot of load off of the system, and the utility company will gladly assist you with your solar home.Battery BackupsAlthough solar battery backups are outside of the scope of this article, I find it necessary to at least mention them and why they are useful. First, battery backups are good in the event of a blackout. Unfortunately, your solar panels will not power your home if the lights shut off. This is to prevent your system from frying a lineman who’s repairing the grid. A battery blackout will let you keep your refrigerator running while the power’s out. Second, if you are running an off-grid system, you’ll need the batteries when the sun’s not shining.
Advanced Considerations To Optimize Your Design
The above rules will ensure that your stringing configuration will comply with the specifications of your inverter and that the energy production of the system wont be negatively affected by mismatches in the conditions on the panels.
However, there are additional factors that a solar designer can consider to arrive at the optimal design . These factors include inverter clipping, the use of module-level power electronics devices which include microinverters and DC optimizers, and design efficiency provided by software tools.
Sometimes it may make sense to oversize the solar array that you are connecting to the inverter leading to a theoretical maximum voltage that is slightly higher than the inverter max. This may allow your system to produce more energy when it is below its maximum voltage, in exchange for reduced production during the times when the DC voltage of the array exceeds the inverters maximum.
If the production gains exceed the production lost to inverter clipping, then you can produce more power without paying for an additional inverter or one with a higher voltage rating.
Of course, this decision should be made with care and a clear understanding of how much production will be clipped compared to how much additional production will be gained at other times.
Net Metering And Grid
On a sunny day, itâs common for solar homes to send excess electricity into the grid in the middle of the day when power generation is at its peak. How you receive credit from your utility company is dependent on a policy called net metering.
Adequately describing net metering requires an article by itself – which you can read here – but the graphs below give you a quick idea of what it looks like over the course of a day.
In the first graph, you can see that when the sun isnât shining, a solar home will pull power from the grid, and tend to generate excess electricity in the middle of the day.
With net metering, you get full credit for the extra electricity sent into the grid, which is used to offset any power that you need to draw from the grid at night or when solar power generation is low.
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How Solar Panels Work
Solar panels work by letting photons from the suns rays knock electrons free from atoms inside of photovoltaic cells to generate a flow of electricity. Each panel is composed of many solar cells linked together . Each cell contains a positive and negative layer that combine to form an electrical field in which energy is created.
Phosphorus inside the top silicon layer creates the negative charge, while boron in the bottom layer provides the positive charge. The two fields interact with one another to turn the suns rays into the energy that flows from your panels to your inverter.
How Much Does It Cost Total For A 1500 Square Foot House
The typical 1500 square foot house can use around a 6kw solar panel system. The total cost of the panels and full installation can be estimated at about $18000.
To get an estimate for your home and how much you can save, contact a local energy consultant. They can provide you with an installation quote and answer any questions you have about solar systems for your home.
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Set Up The Conduit And Platform
First, you will need to pick a suitable platform for your solar panels, these can be anything flat or tilted towards the sun. The most ideal location is the roof of your house, however, this can pose some installation problems you need to consider:
- Not all roofs are built the same way.
- Some do not have the most optimal exposure to the sun.
- Some roofs need to be serviced periodically meaning dismantling your panel set up to do this.
- You have less freedom how to install your panels.
However, a good roof should save you the trouble of having to build a custom platform for your solar panels. If your roof is not the best though, you will need at least four concrete pillars and at least a lot of 4×4 wood or steel tube for the panels, the amount and width depend on how many panels you have.
As for the conduit, it needs to have a secure connection from the platform to your house, its easier if the platform is your roof because that generally means a shorter conduit.
Are There Solar Incentives Or Tax Credits Available
The most well-known solar incentive is the federal solar tax credit, also referred to as the Investment Tax Credit or ITC, which provides homeowners with a tax credit equal to 26% of the total cost of a solar panel installation. Battery installation costs are covered, as well.
However, the solar tax credit drops down to 22% at the start of 2023 and expires completely at the start of 2024. So if you want to secure the highest tax credit possible, you need to go solar before the end of 2022. If you wait, your solar savings wont be nearly as impressive as they could be.
The solar tax credit isnt the only incentive for going solar. There are tons of solar incentives throughout the U.S., even ones just for battery storage! You can get a better idea of the savings you can get through rebates and incentives in your area with our detailed state solar incentive guides.
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The Utility Interconnection Process
As mentioned earlier, the majority of solar homes are grid-connected. This means that part of the process of having solar installed is getting permission from the utility company and applying for grid interconnection.
In most cases, your solar installer will take care of the paperwork for you. Thereâs usually no work for you except for supplying your signature.
The interconnection process also typically involves an onsite visit for an inspection. With utility companies that offer solar rebates, the inspection is often a qualifying requirement. If youâre curious, your utilityâs website will often have the interconnection agreement forms available for you to look at. In most cases, the requirements are technical in nature and specify the wiring and equipment requirements for the solar PV system.
Many utilities charge a fairly small fee for the interconnection application, which may include a separate fee for the new utility meter. This fee is often in the range of $100 or less.
Hiring A Solar Installer
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Best How To Connect Solar Panels To My House’s Electricity
Item warranties can vary anywhere from five or 10 years to 25 years. Numerous of these service warranties consist of security on efficiency, labor, and parts, along with a high level of called for power output. To discover out if a solar panel system is a worthwhile and obtainable investment for you, utilize the solar calculator to collect the details you require to decide.
As soon as photovoltaic panels are established on a home, they have actually fairly upkeep complimentary. This is due to the fact that most of solar panel systems have no moving parts as long as they’re getting sunlight and the products aren’t faulty, they will be a dependable source of electrical energy for 25 to thirty years .
What parts are required? And how do they all connect to produce power for your home? Here’s a fast introduction to the most crucial planetary system components, and how they’re set up on your house or service. The most essential piece of your solar panel system will be the variety itself.
Will Installing Solar Panels On My House Be A Good Investment
In some areas, installing a solar panel system on your house can now offer a better return than traditional investments like property or shares. However, this is not the case in every situation. The residential solar calculator above will help you determine whether solar panels are suitable for your home and give you local information about costs, savings, tax credits, and other local incentives.
The calculator above will also show you what your payback period is likely to be based on your location and energy use
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Acquiring Your Solar Electric System
Connecting Charge Controller To Battery
Once the voltage has been stabilized by the charge controller, it can now be channeled to the battery for storage. You can set the desired voltage on the charge controller depending on the capacity of the battery. If it is the usual 12 Volt battery, set the controller to 13.8volts. You can use one or more batteries if you have them.
In the event you have more than one battery, connect them in parallel. The same voltage of 13.8 from the charge controller can charge all the battery connected in parallel. Same applies to two or more solar panels.
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Planning A Home Solar Electric System
There are a number of steps to follow when planning to power your home with solar energy. After choosing which option is best for you to use solar , follow the steps afterward that apply to you. Your solar energy installer and local utility company can provide more information on the exact steps you will need to take to power your home with solar energy.
Solar Benefits For Non
Solar panel systems offer a common benefit, regardless of their size: they generate electricity from sunlight, reducing the amount of electricity you must pay your utility company for each month. Solar power also lowers the environmental footprint of your home, especially if you live in a region where most of the grid electricity comes from fossil fuels.
Homeowners get a few extra benefits when they install a traditional solar system, including:
- Their property becomes more valuable, and many states don’t charge increased property taxes for the portion of home value that corresponds to solar panels.
- Homeowners also qualify for the 26% federal solar tax credit as well as any additional incentives from state governments or utility companies.
- There are permitting and grid connection requirements to meet, but once the solar PV system starts operating, it provides electricity for decades with minimal maintenance.
While mini solar panel systems may not be eligible for these perks, they have their benefits compared with rooftop systems. For example, they are much easier to install, with no permitting involved, and any maintenance is much simpler. Small-scale solar systems also have a lower price, and they are easily relocated.
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Calculate Your Power Load
Before getting to the solar installation task, it is crucial to sum up the power that you use at your home. This isnt rocket science. All you have to do is to note down the home appliances that you use on a daily basis, which include television, lights, fan, and so on. Next, add the time for which these appliances run in a day. Go through the specification chart in your household electric appliances to check their usage duration or run time, and their power rating.
Now calculate the Watt-Hour by multiplying the runtime of an appliance with its power rating. Follow this step for each electrical device, then sum up the individual watt-hour numbers to get the grand total. You can also simplify this calculation by using an online off-grid load calculator.
A Good Solar Installation Is Critical
A bad installer can take good brands like the ones above and make a dogs breakfast of the installation.
Such systems not only look crap but can be unreliable, under-perform and be unsafe. Remember solar systems can have up to 600 volts running through them. The install quality is critical.
To get a better understanding of how a great solar power system installation looks click here.
If you are sourcing your own quotes, weed bad installers out by:
- Checking multiple review websites. Some reviews websites are easier to game than others.
- Look at the 1-star reviews. These tell you a lot about the true culture of the company. All companies make mistakes but some companies make lots of really bad mistakes. Avoid them.
- Looking for consistency in ratings across Facebook, Google, SolarQuotes and other review sites. Look for a difference of less than 0.2 stars on their average ranking. Inconsistent average scores is a red flag they are gaming one site.
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Are Solar Panels Worth It For Your Home
Solar panels are almost always a worthwhile investment, especially in places with solid net metering policies and local solar incentives.
Of course, there are certain scenarios in which rooftop solar panels arent a good fit, like if you have nowhere to put the system, you plan to move soon, or your energy costs are already low.
To guarantee that you have access to net metering and the 26% tax credit, the best time to go solar is now. Plus youll get to see solar savings sooner, which puts more money in your pocket to use on things you actually care about – instead of your electric bill.
Installing solar panels not only allows you to save big on your electric bills, but it also helps you lower your carbon footprint while giving you more independence, especially when you pair solar with battery storage.
Although battery storage doesnt make sense financially everywhere just yet, as we see more states eliminating net metering and blackouts becoming more common, more homeowners will start adopting storage along with solar panels.
The best way to know if solar is right for you is to use our solar calculator. Our state-of-the-art calculator provides accurate cost and savings estimates for your specific home, so you can get a better idea of whether or not solar is a worthwhile investment for you.
See how much solar panels will save you over their 25-year lifespan