Installing solar panels is big step for a consumer, their power generation and the environment. Solar panels are a worthy investment that provide sustainable and cost-effective power generation that can supplement or replace grid power completely. It can be a relatively daunting investment and significant change for any business or household looking to move their power generation off-grid. Beyond the environmental, financial and societal benefits of installing a solar-powered system; it turns the user into their own supplier. Game-changing…
Here are some things you should know before installing solar panels:
First Thing: Finding the right technology
Choosing the right solar technology for your circumstances is the absolute priority. No one wants to be stuck with a solar system that only heats water or will not work if one panel is out of order. It is vital that all users select the right solar panels, inverters and storage solutions for them.
There are several, brilliant solar technologies on the market with some serving different purposes. For example, thermal panels are limited to running geysers while photovoltaic solar panels allow the user to produce electricity. There are two primary options within photovoltaic systems: the monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon. Monocrystalline silicon panels are preferred for their higher generating efficiency and, when paired with a reputable brand, they massively impact the amount of energy that system generates.
An inverter converts the solar-generated direct current (DC) into the more manageable and more widely-used alternating current (AC) we recognise. There are two types of inverters: the string (or centralised) inverter and the microinverter. The string inverter is more cost-effective technology that centralises all panel-generated DC power however it is limited in its potential as all the panels are treated like a series of Christmas lights. Whereas, the microinverter is more expensive solution as it places a tiny converter on every panel which makes the system more tolerant of panel issues, shade and energy supplies.
Choosing the right converter is the most common issue faced and will have consequences for the 15 years it should last.
Second Thing: Measuring energy use
Measuring the energy use of your business or home can help determine how much energy you must generate. The solar installer should assist with this measurement and help you make a fully-informed decision about everything solar. Like how many panels are needed, times of energy usage, where panels should be placed and what proportion of your consumption can be covered. Once established, the range and times of energy use will provide the insights required to set up a reliable and sustainable system that works in the space it is being installed.
Third Thing: Choosing the right position
Finding the ideal position to place all your new solar panels can seriously impact power generation like the technology itself. A direction based on property geography must be used to face the sun in the sky. In the northern hemisphere, solar panels are placed on a south-facing roof to catch the sun. In the southern hemisphere, it is better to face the panels north to get the most direct sunlight. The positioning of solar panels (especially facing them east or west) always has the potential to limit the possible power generation of any solar system, no matter the hardware.
This includes the angle of the panel. Solar panels can be angled towards the sun by placing them on tilting frames. This can be more or less necessary depending on things like the flatness or angle of the roof or how trees block light from reaching the panel. The small percentage increases in power generation that someone sees from tilting panels may not be worth the additional costs to them. On the other hand, someone trying to generate a specific amount of electricity or a company with dozens of panels may find those small increases more valuable.
Fourth Thing: Batteries?
Deciding whether or not to create a battery-storage system, has a lot to do with what kind of customer is using the solar power. For larger corporations running office buildings on electricity generated using solar-panel systems; it is a must. That power is utilised all day and would need to remain as accessible, during the evenings, as it is in the middle of the day.
It is a much more difficult decision at home level. Batteries are already very expensive to install and can take years to pay off. At the same time, most common times for electricity use in the home are early mornings and early evenings (before and after work). These are not ideal times for the sun and, in some situations, being able to utilise the midday sun throughout the day can be incredibly beneficial to those who prioritise versatility.
Fifth Thing: Understanding local financial incentives
Knowing the local financial incentives for installing a solar system can be very influential to a corporation or household trying to decide the manner in which they want to consume electricity. Before installing – or even shopping for – a new environmentally-friendly solution to your energy needs it will benefit you to understand the incentives provided by your national government. If your business or you become fully self-reliant on solar-generated electricity, you may be entitled to hugely helpful tax deductions and rebates given to those considering this eco-conscious investment. This might become a major deciding factor in where, how big and what type of solar system will be installed.
Last Thing: A good installer
To recap, you must: inspect your situation, find your ideal technological solution, receive the appropriate permits and paperwork, get it installed and get the correct connections set up. This is not an easy feat but, it will be made so much simpler with the help of a reputable solar installer who knows exactly what they are doing. Certified professionals with expertise in solar power will make the decision-making and installation processes easier than ever.