How To Reduce Your Solar Energy System Cost
Above we have seen the different factors and points which influence different costs and budgets of solar energy. Below we are going to look at how to reduce your solar energy system cost.
Use your appliances minimally daily
The less number of hours you use your appliances the huge the difference of your solar energy system and this means you will need small size of solar Components.
Use of solar-friendly appliances
Use of solar-friendly appliances such as LED bulbs and solar refrigerators lowers you system cost by a significant amount of dollars.
Use of direct current
Though it is not that common, using dc current eliminates the inverter budgets.Connecting your system to the grid. It can be worth to mention that this is the most common way to reduce your solar energy cost or pay back the cost of your system.
This is because you feed your energy to the utility grid rather than in the batteries. More so if you dont use all the energy you feed to the grid, the utility company pays you for the remaining energy. This is also regarded as the investment aspect of solar energy.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need
The number of solar panels you need depends on your homes azimuth and roof tilt as well as how much electricity you use. You can only install as much solar power as your home or business needs.
1kW of installed solar power will produce approximately 1,000 to 1,200kWh of solar energy annually. This number may be larger or smaller based on your tilt and azimuth.
The average home in Alberta uses roughly 7,000kWh of electricity per year. This means the average home will need roughly 14 to 18 x 400W solar panels to cover their annual energy needs.
If you use 2x the electricity of the average Alberta home,you will need 2x as many solar panels to be net zero electrically.
The Simple Solar System: The Minimalist Solar Setup
A simple solar system that helps power your entire house and stores energy isnt as easy to set up as youd think. To ensure that you capture some of the suns energy while you save up enough for a whole-home solar system were offering a few DIY solar tips.
In our previous post, DIY solar, we walked everyone through the process of installing solar systems. Today were going more into detail about how you create a minimalist off-grid solar setup without spending too much. Lets dive in!
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Questions About How To Install Solar Panels
These five steps represent the basics of how to install solar panels. But of course, these are just general guidelines, and specific steps can vary from home to home and from installer to installer.
If you have additional questions about how to install solar panels, a good next step would be to seek out the top solar companies in your area and make an appointment for a consultation. You can ask more about specific solar panel installation processes and what you might expect if you decide to make the leap into solar power.
You can fill out the quick form below or use this tool to get a free quote and book a consultation with a certified solar energy installer in your area.
How To Calculate The Savings And Payback Of A Solar System
Exactly how much money solar power will save you depends on a few things:
- The size of your system, in kW
- The output of your solar power system
- Your self-consumption ratio. This is how much solar electricity you use in the home vs exports to the grid.
- Your feed-in tariff. These vary from retailer to retailer and state to state.
- Your usage tariff. This what you pay for grid electricity.
The main way solar power saves you money is by offsetting your grid electricity usage.
Lets say you pay 36 cents per kWh, as I do in Adelaide, and your solar power system generates one kWh to offset that. Youve just saved 36 cents.
But what if your system generates a kWh when your home does not need it? Its sent to the grid, and your retailer pays you a feed-in tariff.
Using my own plan as an example, Im paid 14 cents as a feed-in tariff by my retailer, AGL.
14 cents is less than half of 36 cents. So self-consuming my solar power saves me more than twice as much as exporting it does.
Now, imagine being somewhere like Perth. In Perth, you can only get an averaged 4 cent feed-in tariff and pay 28c for grid electricity.
So in Perth, self-consumed solar energy is worth seven times as much as exported solar electricity!
Here are some payback calculation examples for a 6.6 kW system. Theyre taken from my solar calculator using its default settings.
Pro-tip: Your circumstances will vary make sure you calculate your own estimates if the payback is important to you.
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Metering And Data Logging:
If you are interested to know how much energy is produced by your solar panel or how much energy being consumed by your appliances you have to use energy meters.
My DIY energy meter
Besides this you can monitor the different parameters in your off grid solar system by remote data logging
For a DIY based energy meter you can see my instructable on building an energy meter which have both metering and data logging capability.
Thank you for reading my instructions!
Order The Right Equipment
Once you have all the correct permits and paperwork in place, your solar installer will be ready to order your equipment.
Note that, by this point, you will already have picked out the types of solar panels you need and the best solar batteries and inverters for your home. These decisions are typically laid out in a solar proposal, sent well before you sign your contract.
Naturally, youll want to make sure you research how solar panels work and the different options available to you. Whether you want the most efficient solar panels or the most affordable, your solar installer can help you pick equipment that will help you achieve your solar energy goals.
Once your solar equipment is ordered, your name will be added to the installers queue. Basically, this means youll be put on the schedule for an installer to assemble your solar panels as soon as they arrive from the distributor.
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What Is Battery Bank For Solar Power System
After understanding 4 major types of solar power systems, lets talking to battery bank. The battery bank means several batteries with parallel and series connection set up into an energy storage bank, which store solar energy from solar panel and provide electricity to loads via DC-AC inverter. Battery bank is core item in a solar power system as an energy storage.
Who Should I Use To Install My Solar System For Home
Proper installation can be as critical to future performance and return on your investment as the quality of the equipment. Extensive training and a complete understanding of each element are essential.
Many of the best manufacturers have partnered with qualified solar installers in each geographic area. These companies provide onsite training and verification of professional installers before certification.
To find out if a solar panel system is a worthwhile and attainable investment for you, use the solar calculator below to gather the information you need to make a decision.
See how much solar panels will cost for your home
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Supercharging Your Return From Solar Power
Want to save as much money as possible from your solar panels? Maximise your self-consumption.
Think whats running outside of daylight hours that you can put on a timer? Washing machines, dishwashers and pool pumps are some of the easiest wins.
Pro-tip: Avoid any solar energy company that calculates your solar system savings based on 100% self-consumption. Make sure you see the savings for more realistic scenarios such as 20% and 50% self-consumption.
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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Determine Your Power Needs For An Off
For any type of DIY solar project, you must determine your power needs as previously discussed. With off-grid, you take that value and figure out the number of batteries youll need to store it in. If youd prefer to have a supply that lasts for several days or weeks, you must take that into account, too.
This gets complicated with batteries since theyre rated to be stored at room temperature or slightly above. This means their storage capacity is significantly reduced if youre in freezing conditions. So, when youre in a cold location or season, you may need to increase your battery bank size significantly for this reason alone.
The voltage of your battery bank whether 12V, 24V, or 48V matters, too. It affects the thickness of the connecting wires between them and the cable going to the inverter.
To determine the voltage, consider how many watts you need to power all your appliances. A 12V battery bank may be adequate for a cellphone and a few 12V DC appliances. But if youre looking at generating 2,000 watts or more, a 24V or 48V battery pack makes more sense.
Yet another important consideration is the number of sun hours that your panels will receive every day. This number does not equal the length of daylight and varies with the seasons.
It depends on the angle of the sun in relation to your panels orientation. Maps of sun hours for the U.S. are available through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory .
Choosing The Right Place For Your Panels Is Essential
Next, we take care to find and plan for the right site. Often, the top of the house is not the most efficient place for an off grid solar array. Choosing the right spot to prevent excessive shading and to ensure proper access and passive cooling for your solar panel can more than double the efficiency of your solar panels over their lifetime.
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Avoid Solar Panel Shading At All Costs
Secondarily, solar panel suffer greatly when they are even partially shaded by trees, building, and any obstructions that might be present. You might think that having your panels only 10% shaded we just reduce the power output by 10%. Yet in most cases it will reduce the total power output by at least 1/3. And depending on how your panels are wired, it could reduce the total array output by 1/3, not just the one panel. So, unless your home is completely free from shading, especially in the winter, it is frequently cheaper overall to put your panels a little distance away from the house where they will receive full sun all your long.
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.
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Using Altes Loads List Calculator
Confused about determining how much energy you will need for your off-grid solar electric system to create? Thats where our loads list calculator can help. The altE electric loads list calculator will help you tally all of your appliances to get the how many watt-hours per day your system will need to cover. Take a look at the video then head over to the loads list calculator page to get started.
Solar Power British Columbia
Congratulations! Youve found the ultimate guide for installing solar power in British Columbia!
Published by Rylan Urban on Feb 15, 2018. Last updated May 1, 2021.
British Columbia is currently ranked the #6 province in the country for installing a solar power system, scoring as one of the best provinces for installation costs and utility-related factors.
This page contains all relevant information about installing solar in BC including utility policies, system financing, solar incentives, and natural factors
The guide begins by answering the two most common questions about solar systems, then it explores each solar ranking factor.
You can read from top to bottom, or skip to your preferred section by clicking on it below:
|Other Energy Financing|
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Make Sure Your Solar Panels Are Accessible
Lastly, solar panels need to be clean and cool to work a maximum efficiency, and have a nice long life. Dust, dirt, and snow will naturally accumulate on solar panels, which need to be cleaned off periodically. Snow accumulation on your solar panels will reduce their life. Placing your panels closer to the ground where they are easier to access can go along way towards making routine solar panel maintenance actually get done in a timely manner.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Diy Solar Panels And Solar Systems
Most DIY projects have their pros and cons, but because solar systems deliver electricity to your home, having properly made panels is very important. It is the difference between saving a few thousand dollars versus having solar panels that you know will be safe.
As you can see, the cons greatly outweigh the pros.Pros and cons of building your own solar system
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Install The Proper Solar Inverter
Installing a solar inverter takes expertise because it will need to be hooked up the electrical grid. For this, we recommend utilizing the help from a professional installer, as they will do this safely and effectively with the right permits.
Request quotes from top-rated solar installers in your area
Utility Bill Rate Design
Good electricity rate design allows you to save money when you save energy. This might sound intuitive but not all provinces are same. Superior designs have low fixed monthly fees and tiered electricity rates. Inferior designs have high fixed fees and flat electricity rates.
Manitoba scores in the middle of the pack when it comes to these factors having flat rates and fixed monthly fees of $9.
For example, reducing your electricity bill from 1,500 to 750 kWh per month will save you 54% on your electricity bill in British Columbia, 47% in Manitoba, but only 41% in Alberta!
Note that fixed monthly fees dont disappear even if you switch to solar youll pay them as long as you remain connected to the grid. But this isnt a bad thing $9/mo is a small price to pay for using the grid as your back-up energy source!
The only way to completely remove your fixed costs is to go off the grid, something most homeowners in Manitoba dont do because of high battery costs.
Disconnecting from the grid also means that you wont be able to participate in your utilitys net metering program.
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Deep Cycle Solar Batteries
Deep cycle batteries that are used in solar power systems are designed to be discharged over a long period of time and recharged hundreds or thousands of times, unlike conventional car batteries which are designed to provide a large amount of current for a short amount of time.
To ensure long battery life, deep cycle batteries should not be discharged beyond 70% of their capacity. i.e 30 % capacity remaining. Discharging beyond this level will significantly reduce the life of the batteries.
Deep cycle batteries are rated in Ampere Hours . This rating also includes a discharge rate, usually at 20 or 100 hours. This rating specifies the amount of current in Amps that the battery can supply over the specified number of hours.
As an example, a battery rated at 120Ah at the 100 hour rate can supply a total of 120A over a period of 100 hours. This would equate to 1.2A per hour. Due to internal heating at higher discharge rates, the same battery could supply 110Ah at the 20 hour rate, or 5.5A per hour for 20 hours. In practice, this battery could run a 60W 12VDC TV for over 20 hours before being completely drained.
There are many factors that can affect the performance and life of a battery bank. It is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced solar power system installer or solar battery provider prior to making any significant battery purchase.