Installing Solar Panels & Solar System
1. First you must make sure that your roof or where ever you’re going to be mounting your solar panels is strong enough for solar panel installation and to support the weight. There’s no point in installing solar panels on a roof that is going to cave in and ultimately cost you more money to repair.
2. Unless you’re using solar roof tiles, the next thing you must do in the process of solar panel installation is measure the dimensions of your roof and insure that your solar panels can fit in the available space. When installing solar panels, you may also want to consider using an area where there is considerable space for the addition of more panels in the future. For proper solar panel installation, ideally solar panels should go on a roof top that faces the direction that the sun comes up from. So if in your area the sun rises in the east, your panels should face east for maximum exposure. Just make sure the roof has no shade on it from other homes, buildings, trees, etc.
One important thing you must know about solar panel installation is that, having just one solar panel in the shade can stop your whole solar array from working. Also when you are installing solar panels, make sure that shade won’t come with the changing of the seasons or with the future development in your neighbourhood. Install solar panels no closer than 12″ from the edge of the roof and 16″ from the eaves.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need To Power My House
We estimate that a typical home needs between 20 and 25 solar panels to cover 100 percent of its electricity usage. The actual number youll need to install depends on factors including geographic location, panel efficiency, panel rated power, and your personal energy consumption habits. Importantly, the number of solar panels you need for your home directly impacts the price you pay for solar.
Are Solar Panels Worth The Investment
Thanks to the lower-than-ever cost of solar panels and various solar incentives, solar panels are a cost-effective investment for the majority of homeowners that will provide an excellent return on investment.
Not only do they lower your energy bills, but you also get to power your home with clean renewable energy and reduce your dependence on your local utility company.
Even though spending up to $20,000 is daunting, federal incentives eliminate 26% of solar system costs after 1 year. There are also various ways to finance a solar system – from solar loans and leases to PPAs – so you can pick whichever option that works best for you.
Plus, solar panels provide significant utility bill savings in most areas. An average home solar panel system can save between $1,000 and $1,600 per year on electricity bills depending on the states net metering policy and the homes energy consumption.
Actual solar savings will depend on the system size, the cost of electricity, home energy usage, and what net metering policies are in place, but the average solar homeowner can expect their solar payback period to be between 8 and 11 years. After that, theyll be enjoying completely free solar electricity for at least 15 more years!
If youre still not convinced, you can use our solar panel calculator to find out how much solar costs and can save you for your specific home based on your average electric usage and prices in your area.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
Another thing no one bothered to mention to me was that the roof on your house generally doesnt last as long as these systems. So lets say you have a 10 or 15 year old roof. There is NO WAY its going to last as long as the panels. What do you do then? If you have to do any work on the roof you have to deal with the solar array first. I still havent figured out what Im going to do about that.
Whos going to look after the system? And how? In our case since we have a flat roof I also installed a hatch so that I can get up there and mess with things whenever I want. I stayed at home and participated during the install so I could learn how things were connected, and if something needed minor repairs I could do it myself.
If you have a pitched roof, you probably dont want to be getting on it to service your panels. So make sure the company you choose has been around a long time so you dont have to rely on service from someone else.
What Is Needed To Install Solar Panels
It is a simple process to install home solar panels. Your solar contractor should take care of the entire process for you. Below are the documents required for solar panels on homes:
1. An electrical permit. This is pulled by a Master Electrician and lets the local electrical authorities know what work is being completed and where. Homeowners can pull their own permit, however we do not recommend completing any electrical work unless you are a qualified electrician.
2. A micro-generation application from the Alberta Utility Commission . This allows you to export your solar energy back to your electrical retailer for a credit. You will see a Micro-Generation Credit line appear on your monthly power bill to see exactly how much energy you exported that billing period.
3. A development/building permit. This is not required in every jurisdiction,but is sometimes required.
4. Grant Application. Depending on what classification the solar installation is you may be eligible for rebates or incentives. Once again, we will complete this step or as much as possible for you. Most grants require a few different documents to receive funding. As of 2019, the Alberta Residential and Commercial Solar Program has been withdrawn and is no longer accepting applications.
Commercial solar power systems most often require a building and development permit, both of which will involve more engineering work.
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How Much Will You Save With Solar
The first question youre probably wondering if youre considering going solar is: how much money will you save? And for good reason! Afterall, solar is an investment so youll want to understand your payback period before making any decisions. Most property owners will break even on their solar investment in seven to eight years but as you start exploring your solar options, there are a few key questions you should ask to approximate your personal return on investment:
If You’re Likely To Move Home In The Next Decade It Probably Doesn’t Add Up
As it takes typically more than 10 years to recoup your installation costs, if you’re considering moving it’s probably not worth it .
While you could physically remove the panels from your old home and install them on the new one, this could prove costly. Plus, while you could still use what you generate yourself at your new address, you’d no longer get paid for what you export. To receive payments your panels need to be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and the organisation told us it wouldn’t certify panels that have been moved.
It’s also worth noting solar panel installations are tailored to each home to fit the roof and be positioned to maximise the level of sunlight they receive so it’s likely they wouldn’t perform as well if you installed them on a different home anyway.
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If You’ve Decided To Install Solar Panels On Your House Here Are The Steps To Expect Along The Way
For nearly everybody who is thinking of getting solar panels installed on their house, its their first time going through the process.
Most people have an idea of how to buy common things like a car or dishwasher, but the process of getting solar panels installed is entirely new to most people.
Its really not that hard! A good installer will take care of most of the nitty gritty details, leaving you with the key task of interviewing contractors and hiring the best one. Then, you wait. Here are the main things you can expect:
- Work out your payment strategy
- Select a solar installer
- Apply for any contractor and local incentives
- Inspections and permits
- System activation and monitoring
S For Solar Panel Installation
By installing a home solar power system, you can reduce your dependence on traditional utility companies, offsetting the majority of your monthly energy bills. Plus, it offers a tangible method to curb your environmental footprint, making for cleaner, healthier communities.
Somewhat counterintuitively, the majority of what determines a successful solar project has little to do with the installation itself. Before getting into how to install solar panels, there are a couple of nuances to note off the bat.
First, installing solar panels requires thorough knowledge of solar technology, design and engineering. In other words, the average person will likely want to avoid a DIY solar panel installation and leave the process to professional local installers. A properly designed PV system will provide far more savings on the backend than most DIY installations will save on the front.
The second thing to consider is that solar panel installation wont happen overnight. Even after you choose the best solar panels for the job, there are a few vital steps in the installation process essential for ensuring a reliable, effective and efficient renewable energy system.
Here are the basic steps of solar panel installation:
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How Do You Calculate Solar Savings
Solar panel savings are calculated by comparing the cost of a photovoltaic system to the cost of traditional electricity. Solar energy is a renewable resource that costs less in the long run, making it a smart financial decision for homeowners. Solar panels can be financed over time or they can be purchased outright. Solar panels can be financed over time or they can be purchased outright.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels
The average cost to install solar panels in the United States is about $12,000 after federal tax incentives. On the low end, you can install a smaller system for around $5,000, while a high-priced Tier 1 solar panel system can cost $40,000 or more.
There are additional costs that go into an installation project beyond the price of panels. In fact, only about a quarter of the installation costs are actually for the panels. Labor costs, operational costs and additional equipment, such as inverters and control circuitry, make up the rest of the price.
Solar energy companies install the solar panels, provide maintenance and offer warranties on both the panels and the work. These additional services arent free, but they are often worth it. A few additional factors affect the price of solar panel installation.
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The Complete Guide To Solar Panels Video
In case you dont want to read the book below heres the movie version. It doesnt include everything but hey, you dont have to read!
So, youre interested in getting a solar panel system for your house? Let me be the first to congratulate you, and also console you. After spending over $30,000 to install a 10,000 watt system on my roof Ive learned a lot! So, hopefully I can help shorten your learning curve by at giving you a few tips and tools and giving you a set of things to be on the lookout for. Youre gonna need it! So lets get started
Cost Of Solar Panels For Home Over Time
Solar panels are made up of Photovoltaic Cells. Photovoltaic cells are made of silicon, which is very common. The cost of solar panels has dropped significantly due to the high demand and low supply of solar cells. Solar power is becoming more popular so the demand for the product will increase but with that, you will see an increase in price because there will be less available with increased consumer affordability.
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Solar Photovoltaic Costs Considerations In Bc
The cost of installing solar PV systems has declined steadily over the last decade as a result of technology improvements and more efficient systems yielding a higher power output.
In B.C., a 1 kW solar PV system, south facing and tilted with no shading, will generate about 1,200 kWh per year or about 30,000 kWh over its 25 year lifetime. This is taking into account an industry average solar panel efficiency degradation rate of 0.5% per year.
At a turnkey installation cost of about $3,000, it would take you over 25 years to recoup your investment at today’s average electricity rates.
In remote locations where there is no grid to tie into for power, off-grid solar PV systems can be used to store power in batteries which can be used throughout the day or even at night. In B.C., off-grid systems make for a sound investment when installed in locations where alternative power sources such as diesel generators are required.
Batteries are obviously an added cost to an off-grid system and, depending on the type of batteries used, they require regular maintenance and/or replacement during the system’s lifecycle.
Solar Installation: The Big Day
The actual installation is an exciting day for every solar homeowner who wants to rely on renewable energy as opposed to a utility company. There are several individual steps to the actual installation day:
The timeline for the installation will range from one to three days, completely dependent on the size of the system you are installing. One additional factor that can add time to your installation process is putting in a power meter for net metering. If your installer needs to add a power meter, this will add a few hours to your solar panel installation.
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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.
Understanding How Your Home Uses Solar Energy
Your solar system installation will only ever operate in one of 2 modes:
Mode #1 Your system is generating more solar power than your home needs.
Here, my solar power system is producing 4.4 kW.
0.9 kW is going into my home, with the surplus 3.5 kW simply going into the grid.
My retailer pays me a feed-in tariff for each kWh of solar energy that I export. Here in SA at the time of writing, Im getting 14 cents per kWh of energy exported.
Mode #2: Your home is using more power than your solar system is generating
My home solar power system importing grid electricity because Im not generating enough solar electricity at this point in time.
Here my home needs 2.1 kW of power, but my solar power system installation is only generating 1.8 kW. The grid simply tops up my home with the extra 0.3kW required. Obviously, you have to pay for any imported energy.
In Adelaide, I pay 36 cents for grid electricity and get 14 cents for exported solar energy. This means self-consumed solar power is more than twice as valuable as exported solar electricity.
This is why I have my appliances set to run when the sun is out and dont feel guilty when I switch on my aircon to pre-heat or pre-cool my house during the day, for a comfortable temperature at night.
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Dc To Ac Inverter Connected To Charge Controller
For this setup, we recommend a Sine Wave power inverter . Youll connect the positive and negative terminals of the inverter, directly into the load section of the charge controller. Once this entire system is setup, youll have a complete solar power system ready to go.
To run your entire home, youll need to scale this up GREATLY. Regardless of the size, the setup will be mostly the same with exception of more expensive hardware due to increased power and load.
Run These Cables Into Your Home
Its now time to run these cables directly into your home. You can drill a hole through the shingles, run the wires through and use roof caulk to seal-off whats remaining to ensure no water makes it through. You have TWO options as to what you want to do with that energy.
Do you want to use and store it for later use, or do you want to simply use it yourself and when you are not, feed it back into the grid and let others use it. The latter is called Net Metering, and this is options from state to state .
We will dive deep into the system if you wanted to store it for later using batteries, but first.. lets quickly cover what you do if you want to do Net Metering and feed excess back into the grid.
BONUS Step 6.5. Net Metering, How Its Done.
Lets say you want to do Net Metering and use the solar energy for yourself, and when you are not, feed it back into the grid. To do this, youll need to run your DC current from the panels, through an AC inverter.
For example, if you have 4x solar panels putting out 400 watts MAX, youll need to do next is get a 400 watt alternating current power inverter. Using that inverters AC current, you can then wire it into your homes electrical service panel which feeds electricity into your household.
In the event that your solar panels produce MORE electricity throughout the day than you actually used, your electrical meter will spin backwards, putting the excess electricity back into the grid for others to use.
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