Plan a solar home system in 7 steps

Plan a solar home system in 7 steps

Installing a solar self-consumption system in your home may seem like a complicated process, but it’s really about following 7 basic steps.

The process may vary slightly depending on your power company and the regulations or laws of the country or region where the solar installation will take place.

Planning a self-consumption solar installation.

Reduce the energy needed.

The first step is to determine how much energy you need or use in your home, so you know how much solar energy you will need.

You may find that you are using more energy than you thought. It is very important to evaluate how you consume this energy, because it is better to improve the energy efficiency of your home than to invest in more powerful solar self-consumption equipment. Think that you are investing in the production of energy that you are wasting somewhere in your house.

This can include a variety of techniques, including using your appliances more efficiently, replacing old light bulbs with efficient LED bulbs, investing in more efficient heating or air conditioning, or investing in insulation. , windows and doors, which reduce heating and cooling costs.

The ideal would be to hire a specialist to do an energy audit of your home, where they will study the amount of energy you currently consume on average and suggest ways to reduce your consumption if necessary.

Calculate the energy needed.

Next, you need to consider whether the location and orientation of your home is suitable for installing rooftop solar. Solar panels generate power using both direct sunlight and diffused light (on cloudy days, for example), but of course the solar potential of your home depends on the amount of sunlight that can reach the panels.

There are several calculators online to help you calculate your home’s solar potential, and many of them also provide information on suggested system size, how much you could pay, what your energy and energy savings could be. other relevant details. depending on your location.

Although these tools are of great initial help, they can give you a lot of information to be able to assess whether or not you are interested in continuing the project, they will not be able to take into account absolutely all the variables that will apply to your specific installation.

My advice is to seek out a solar specialist who can provide you with a more accurate assessment of solar potential, as well as price estimates, system sizing suggestions, and equipment recommendations.

Things to consider when evaluating your home’s solar potential include factors such as:

  • Possible shade or shades (trees that may grow and possibly shade your roof).
  • Neighboring construction that could block the sun, etc.
  • The age, quality and condition of your roof.
  • All the regulations for rooftop solar power systems in your city.

If your roof is deteriorating or you think it is nearing the end of its useful life, it would be wise to replace it before installing solar panels, as panels can last 20-30 years, and remove them for replacing the roof and reinstalling the panels will be unnecessarily expensive.

Investigate your solar power options.

There are many different options that allow you to benefit from solar power. The most common, of course, is to buy your own solar self-consumption system and install it directly on your roof.

In recent years, a popular trend is for homeowners to choose to add a battery bank in combination with their solar power system to power their home.

However, if your home does not have adequate solar potential or if you are unwilling or unable to install solar panels on your roof, you may choose to invest in a community or shared solar energy program.

These programs allow you to invest with other people to buy a solar system that works for everyone, which may be near you or far away, it doesn’t matter. This can be a great option if you live in a rental, apartment building, or don’t have enough rooftop space or don’t want to have your own solar system.

Calculate your actual solar production targets.

Study the energy consumption of your home by analyzing each month individually to determine your maximum and average consumption throughout the year.

Take into account planned changes that could increase your energy consumption, such as a future extension of the house, the purchase of an electric car, the construction of a swimming pool, etc. Conversely, planned efficiency improvements can reduce your energy needs over time.

Installation offers.

A photovoltaic solar self-consumption installation is an excellent investment, so you should research several offers from local companies to compare projects, services and prices.

Questions to ask potential specialists include:

  • Local authorizations concerning installation and connection to the commercial electricity network.
  • Does the installer have experience and projects that you can assess?
  • Is this an official installer?
  • What type of warranty do you offer?

Also, make sure that all offers refer to the same or a similar system, so that you can easily compare them.

In the offers, look for information such as the maximum generating capacity of the system, an estimate of the number of kilowatts the system will produce per month, the total cost of the installation, including all equipment and utility costs , and an estimate of the cost per watt (which makes it easier to compare offers for different sized systems).

Look for aid and financing options.

Look for help locally, regionally and nationally, which can reduce the initial cost of your solar installation.

These incentives only apply if you own the system, not if you lease it or sign a power purchase agreement.

You can also look into solar financing options to help spread the costs over several years. As solar power has grown in popularity over the past two decades, there are now more solar financing options than ever before, making solar power more accessible to more people.

Control the project and the installation.

Once you have chosen an installer, you must control and review the final project, there the final decision will be made on the size of the system based on the expected energy consumption, sunlight available in your home, the orientation and pitch of the roof, where the panels will be mounted, the efficiency of the panels you select and other factors detailed in the financial offer.

You should go through the installation process verifying that everything is as promised.

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