5 Simple Ways to Determine if Solar Energy is Right for You
Solar energy is one of the most prominent alternative sources of energy, and experts predict the solar energy market will experience a record 14% growth in 2020 (1).
Unfortunately, solar energy is not for everyone. Different locations necessitate different configurations, and in some areas, solar energy might not reap many benefits. Read on to find out the five most important factors you should consider before installing solar.
1. Your Energy Habits
To determine your property’s suitability for solar power, you must analyze your energy consumption. Your energy consumption determines the size of the system you will need and, consequently, the size of the initial investment.
If you spend much of your day away from home and are only in your home for a few off-peak hours, solar energy might not save you much, and may not be worth the investment.
The same logic applies to households with minimal energy requirements, regardless of time spent in the house. If, however, your energy bills are off the charts, solar power will reduce costs.
2. Where You Live
Solar panels work almost everywhere. However, they work best in areas where there is lots of sunlight. Not all places receive the same amount of sunshine, so before taking the plunge, you should look up your location’s average number of days of sun (2). This method will help you get a feel for your system’s level of productivity.
3. Your “Green” Status Currently
Many home listings these days indicate the energy efficiency of the home. If your efficiency scale is in the reds, it might be worth installing solar panels. However, if it’s in the greens, the panels may not yield as many savings as you expected.
4. Your Home’s Configuration
The layout of your home matters. Is your roof flat? Is your backyard safe and open to sunlight? Which way does your roof slant? How do these factors affect the installation of solar panels at your home?
The Style and Shape of Your Roof
You almost always mount solar panels on the roof. However, your roof style determines the number and the type of panels that you can install, and, consequently, this determines how much electricity the system will generate.
Which Way Does Your Roof Slant?
Different locations will require different roof slants for solar to be practical. For instance, in the United States, south-facing roofs are the most productive, followed by west and east-facing roofs. North slanting roofs are ruled out by many people because the sun rarely hits them right.
How Big is Your Roof?
The bigger the solar panel surface area, the more power generates. You might be able to afford lots of panels, but your roof has to be big enough to accommodate them.
What is the Angle of Your Roof?
The ideal angle is usually the same one as the latitude of your location. If your roof is flat, you should consider mounting the panels on an incline for maximum output.
Your roof might be facing the wrong direction, or it is too small. So what do you do? This is where backyard panels come into play. These are more expensive than roof panels, but sometimes you don’t have a choice.
Backyard panels can be mounted on a pole, or a simple frame. Regardless of which you choose, make sure your backyard is:
- Big enough or you won’t produce much power anyway
- Doesn’t have obstructions such as trees or bushes
- Out of harm’s way. Backyard panels are more likely to get damaged by stray baseballs or children poking around. Make sure your backyard is well away from any hazards.
5. Your Budget
Even the best location, roof configuration, and a green heart won’t buy the panels. There are various financing options to help lessen the load, but you should always figure this part out before opting to install panels.
Most solar panels come with a 20-year warranty, so it’s pretty much a one-time investment. If your roof needs replacing sometime down the line, it might be wiser to have it replaced before installing the panels to avoid extra costs in the future.
We do not have to wait until oil and coal run out before we exploit solar energy to its full potential.
Once upon a time, solar panels were for hippies who cared more for the environment than for their well being. This is not the case right now, and going green has become a worldwide trend for people who want to fix the earth.
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