Many consumers are considering the move to solar power, but are unaware of the best method for choosing solar panels for your home. There are hundreds of vendors out there, and not all solar panels are the same. Like any technology, there are various generations available for sale. As a consumer, it is important to have some basic knowledge of how solar power works, and to have an understanding of the process.
If you simply type the phrase “solar panels for your home” into a search engine, you will get thousands of hits which can cause confusion. It is important to figure out early on what your goal is with solar power. Some people wish to eliminate their power bills, while others may simply want to reduce monthly costs while doing something good for the environment.
Eliminating your monthly power bill is a great option, but your location and what type of house you have play a big part in whether it can be pulled off. In areas where there is an abundance of sunlight, such as in Arizona and Nevada, it is much easier to completely eliminate the monthly power bill and actually get paid by the power company for excess generation. In other areas, such as Seattle where it is cloudy a lot of the time, this may simply not be possible. It comes down to understanding what is possible in your area based on the goals you set.
Once you have decided that solar is right for your home, it is important to understand how solar power works.. Almost every installation is a grid of many solar panels, and the efficiency of the whole grid is determined by the output of the least efficient solar panel. In other words, if one panel is in the shade or partially covered, it will pull down the efficiency of all connected panels. This is why most reputable installers will perform a shade test prior to installation to compute not only how many panels may be needed, but the overall efficiency of the combined array. Since most panels are installed on rooftops, it may be suggested to trim or remove trees to get maximum impact from your investment in solar power.
The size of the home on which the solar panels are to be installed also has a big impact on the amount of panels needed to meet the desired goal. The larger the house, the harder it is to completely eliminate power bills because most installations are limited to rooftop placement. Think about this – the only difference between a single story and a two story house is another level connected by stairs. The total rooftop surface area remains the same for both, making two story houses more difficult.
While there are many more considerations to take into account than discussed here, but these are a good start. Any good installer will compute a cost vs benefit chart for you before starting any work. This allows you to know how long it will take to recoup the initial cost of the solar panel installation. When searching for solar panels for your home, it is important to keep all of these tips in mind.