The decision to consciously go green and opt for renewable sources of energy is one that is worth celebrating. This is a great step towards caring for the environment and is one that we wish would start being the norm soon.
Now, regardless of whether you are opting for solar panels for your home or your business, you want to make sure that you commit to the process. There are a lot of things that need to be considered and it will take some time before you are done figuring out all of the details and finally get the right panels installed.
Getting solar panels installed should not be a haste job. This is a long-term investment and you want to be able to have the big picture in mind. Getting solar panels installed can either look good or bad on your building depending on the condition of the building or the locality of the area you are in. So, functionality, aesthetics, and integration all come into play here.
One common misconception a people have is that solar panels can help raise the property value of your home, so they end up selling their property with the panels still installed, but a lot of real estate agents will tell you otherwise. So, there are some mistakes that people are still making without realizing it. This is why this article is dedicated to covering a variety of tips and areas of concern when it comes to solar panels and their installation process so that you can make a more informed decision about several things like the installation, maintenance, and upkeep of solar panels. If you are interested in learning more about the solar panel installation process, then you can keep on reading below:
Understanding The Layout & Orientation
You want to make sure that your solar panels are situated in the spot that receives the most sunlight. While the experts that come to install the panels usually do this themselves, it is still better to already know the perfect spot yourself. When you are getting your panels installed, you want the panels to remain undisrupted, so you do not want other buildings, trees, hills, or anything block or get in the way to your panel’s access to sunlight. South to South-West is usually a great orientation for placement if you happen to live in the Northern hemisphere.
If you still find yourself confused, you can use the Google Earth Mapping application, enter the necessary details including your address, and then see how the sun usually positions over and shines over your house throughout different times of the day. This will give you a good idea of which place the sunlight hits your property the best, allowing you to map out where you want your panels placed.
The Importance of Considering The Latitude
Your geographic location is not something that you should take out of the equation when you are considering getting solar panels. Ultimately the area you live in, the size of your solar panel, and the amount of sunlight you get on average every day will affect your outcome. For instance, if you are living in a tropical country, you can benefit greatly from the solar panels because you have plenty of sunlight throughout the year. However, if you live somewhere up North like Alaska, solar panels won’t be beneficial for you given how summer only comes for a short time throughout the actual year.
Checking With The Law
You cannot get solar panels installed without checking things with your local government office first. Different states and localities have different legislations when it comes to the process of solar panel installation. There is usually paperwork that needs to be dealt with, and you usually need to get an application written, reviewed, and then approved. Do not try to get the panels installed without going over your locality’s regulations first because some places tend to limit the location, size, and/or coverage solar panels. Some localities only allow installations on the rear roof while others might allow for both front and rear roof installations, or even just a ground-based installation option.
Ultimately, your location will help determine how much you can spend on solar panels, the space and placement options you have, and the size of your solar panels and so on.
Learning The Basics
A lot of people look towards solar energy as an eco-friendly means of living, and that is true. By opting for Solar Panels for our home, we can drastically reduce our carbon footprint and help the environment, which is great. However, it is important that you do your research and educate yourself about the process and how you can potentially benefit from it.
One way you can reap the benefits of solar panels is by looking at whether or not your State gives out Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC’s). This is an initiative that encourages the use of green energy by incentivizing solar panel installations for businesses and homes. Any surplus energy that is produced by your solar panels which you might not need can be sold to other energy companies. Of course not every State issues SRECs, so you need to look into that as well. Secondly, you can make use of a Solar calculator to help figure out how much energy you need to power your home or business, and then get the appropriate sized solar panel that can meet the said requirement.
Looking at Structural Integrity
You do not want to be hasty when it comes to the process of buying your panels and getting them installed. Before you decide on a size for your panel, you also want to make sure that your roof is strong and structurally sound enough to bear the weight of your panels not just immediately, but throughout the panel’s lifespan as well.
If you want to ensure that your installation goes smoothly, you will want to look into your roof’s condition first. You want your roof to be stable enough to withstand the weight of the panels. So, if your roof has slate tiles, shingles, or is just really old, then you might want to reconsider here. At the end of the day, you want a stable roof with a solid foundation that can withstand the weight of your solar panels.
You can hire a contractor and have them examine your roof and let you know whether or not your roof can support the added weight of panels. This will help you avoid working hastily and potentially having to deal with a disaster later on.
Roofing material is worth paying attention to, as the type of roof you have may need special attention or to be removed entirely for an installation to be successful.
Comparing Panels & Inverters
One of the worst things you can do when making a purchase, especially when it’s an expensive purchase is not considering your options. You must compare different brands, models, and types to each other in terms of pricing, performance, and overall output. This ensures that you get the best possible product at the best price.
You can make use of the internet and browse through many websites where experts review and compare efficiency reports and overall performance of different panels. Solar Reviews is just one of the many websites that are dedicated to giving you the rundown and an overall review of every solar panel and similar product. This will help you get a better idea of your options, and help you make better decisions every single time.
Talking Junction Boxes
The PV, known as the Photovoltaic junction box plays a very important role in this process, and that is to protect your entire system and setup from the elements. So, when your sunny day suddenly turns sour by a sudden onslaught of heavy rains, you want to make sure that you are keeping everything safe and sound.
You want to make sure that you have the right junction box installed to make sure that your setup remains secure. You want a junction box that can complement the geographical area you live in. So, if heavy rains tend to be a casual visitor in your area, you want a watertight junction box, so you will want to opt for a junction box with a moisture-proof IP rating of IP66 and IP67.
On the other hand, if you live in an area with harsh sunlight, you will want a junction box that offers UV protection and so on. A good junction box will be able to prevent corrosion, water damage, and other damage caused by the elements to your setup.
Your solar panel setup is going to be reliant on batteries, and choosing the right kind of batteries for your system is very important. You can choose from three different kinds of batteries, namely Lithium-ion, Saltwater batteries, and Lead-acid batteries.
Now, when you are reviewing these batteries, there are essentially three things that you want to look into – cost, Depth of Discharge, and lifespan.
Among these three types of batteries, there are three other qualities to account for – cost, lifespan, and Depth of Discharge (DoD).
Depth of Discharge (DOD) is the amount of charge or energy that your battery can use before it needs to be recharged. If your battery has a high DOD percentage, then that means you have more electricity available for use from a fully charged battery. So, you want to look into which battery type can give you the higher DOD.
When you are looking at costs, it might be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, but it is important to remember that cheap is not always the best, as is the case with lead-acid batteries. These are significantly cheaper batteries, but they are known to have a poor DOD and a shorter lifespan compared to its other counterparts. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries are known for being much pricier, but at the same time, they have a better DOD and they happen to have the longest lifespan out of all other options currently in the market.
However, one drawback with Lead and Lithium batteries is that they happen to contain heavy metals, so they need to be disposed of very carefully or else they can contaminate the earth. So, depending on the laws of your state and locality, you will have to follow the designated means to dispose of them safely. This is where Saltwater batteries have an advantage because they do not have any heavy metals in them, so they can be disposed of more easily. Saltwater batteries can be placed between Lead and Lithium battery options since they happen to have a good lifespan, a good DOD score, and decent pricing as well.
Choosing an Installation Company
Solar power has been developing as an industry over the years with the increasing demand for renewable energy options. Of course, when there are so many companies that happen to have great portfolios and years of experience in the bag, it can get a little daunting to choose, but you essentially have two options: you can either opt for a local installation team, or you can opt for a large company that is recognized on a national level.
By going local, you are not only supporting smaller companies, but you are also saving money because local companies usually charge much less compared to bigger companies. Plus, they have a much better understanding of your locality, the laws and regulations, and the kind of panels that are usually opted for in your vicinity.
By going for a bigger company, you are opting for companies that have more experience in the bag, more resources, a bigger portfolio, and a brand name. Bigger companies have a reputation to maintain and for some people, this helps create a sense of security, making them more willing to trust the company.
Your third option in this situation is to have a go at it yourself. There are solar kits that can be set up in a DIY style and can be another option for people who are skilled and want to save money. However, you need to take your safety and expertise into account here because you do not want to end up causing more problems than you would like.
Each option has its pros and cons at the end of the day, so you want to weigh in your options before you leap.
Maintenance & Upkeep
Maintenance and upkeep are an integral part of taking care of and ensuring the longevity of anything be it a relationship, a car, your house, and your solar panels. Maintenance when it comes to solar panels does not involve whipping out a toolbox and going at it, rather maintenance in this case usually involves keeping your panels free of debris, clean, and just away from any sort of obstruction. You can go a step further and have bird spikes set up to avoid having to deal with birds nesting or causing any problems to the panels and so on. You should also have an expert come in and inspect your solar panels at least annually as well to make sure that everything continues running smoothly.
We have covered a range of subjects when it comes to the process of solar panel installation from choosing the right material, reviewing your options, factors to take into account, and so on. By remembering these things and taking them into account, later on, you are very likely to make the right decision.
You can continue doing more research and try to figure out all of your options and all of the possibilities to ensure that you make the best decision possible so that you end up with a solar panel that meets your energy needs, and makes you satisfied.