Residential Solar Systems
Benefits of Residential Solar Systems
With residential solar system many families have saved thousands of dollars each year. It can save you from being chewed up by electricity bills. An average household saves $2160 annually.
Increases Property Value
Having solar panels on your roof will improve the value of your home. Investing in solar is more like investing in your home.
Residential solar system is a great way to reduce carbon footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is a great solution for global warming.
Once installed, solar panels require a minimal maintenance. They come with a product warranty of 5 years and performance warranty of 25 years.
High Return on Investment
Life span of solar power system is 25 years. Payback period is less. Within the first 4 years of installment, we can return the initial investment.
Types of Residential Solar Systems
Residential solar systems are available in 3 types – grid inter-tied, grid inter-tied with battery backup and off-grid. They are categorised on the basis of how they are connected to grid. An assessment of your energy consumption and potential solar energy production helps in the selection of a solar system that best suits you.
GRID INTER-TIED RESIDENTIAL SOLAR SYSTEM
A grid is the traditional power utility infrastructure. Grid inter-tied residential solar system is directly connected to the grid. With this solar energy system, home owners have the freedom to choose power either from utility grid or from solar system. When the system produce more power than is required for household consumption, the excess can be sold back to the grid. This is called net metering. It is a solar incentive available in most of the states. This utility billing mechanism offers a credit to their customers for exporting excess power to the grid.
Various factors including change in climatic conditions can lead to a lesser production of power. In such cases power can be drawn from the grid for household purposes.
Grid inter-tied residential solar system is the cheapest type of residential solar system. It has a simple design and require only few components. So it is much cheaper compared to other solar energy systems.
GRID INTER-TIED RESIDENTIAL SOLAR SYSTEM WITH BATTERY BACKUP
Traditional grid tied solar systems operate only when utility power is available. With battery backup, uninterrupted power supply is assured. When the grid is available excess energy produced is sent to it. This can be later drawn when solar production is lesser. With a battery backup solar energy is stored in batteries and it can be used during a power outage.
Combination of solar energy and battery storage works seamlessly to power the house during power disruption. A backup gas generator could be added on so as to rule out power interruption in case of a long term blackout.
Battery backup makes this system more expensive than the traditional grid inter-tied residential solar system. Complexity of design makes it more pricey. A major disadvantage of grid inter-tied residential solar system with battery backup is that the overall efficiency of the system gets affected by battery charging and discharging.
OFF GRID SOLAR POWER SYSTEM
As the name suggests, this is fully independent of traditional electric power grid. It is also known as Stand Alone Power System. Battery plays a major role in storing electricity that is excess. During times of under production, solar energy for residential use is withdrawn from the battery.
This system uses electricity from solar panels to run the connected load and store balance power in battery base for later use. An electric generator is added to the system to avoid situations where solar system is under production and batteries are discharged.
Off grid solar power system is more expensive due to the high cost of batteries and inverters. It is usually used in remote areas that are far from electricity grid.
It is ideal to seek advice from a solar installation professional while deciding on the type of solar system to be installed. Various factors, like location of the house, availability of power grid, basic household requirements, are detrimental in choosing an apt system. Once the professionals are aware of the situations and requirements, they will come up with the best solar panels for home.
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Preparing Your Home for Solar Installation
POINTS TO FOCUS ON:
Calculating Energy Efficiency of Your Home
The amount of solar energy you need depends on the total energy consumption. So it is essential to cut down your usage to the maximum. Start with an energy audit. lt enables you to understand the total energy used up and ways to support it. Switch to energy conserving practices like using LED bulbs, weatherising your home efficiently, replacing air filters in air conditioning, heating systems, vents and other appliances.
Determining Size of System Required
Size of the system and its exposure to sunlight are decisive in determining the amount of power generated by solar panels.
Mapping service and tools help in ascertaining your solar energy potentials. These tools give information about the system size, cost and service, compare and fix solar installers. This can be thought of as an initial step. For all the variables that needs to be considered, it is better to work with a solar installer. They can give you an accurate assessment of your solar potential and recommendations on how to improve the yield of your residential solar system. It is their responsibility to provide best solar panels for homes.
After a careful scrutiny of electricity bills, the representatives will be able to assess electricity requirements and then finalise the appropriate size for your system. They take into account future energy needs as well. The decision takes into consideration the availability of sunlight, system location, position and tilt of solar panels and the capacity of the system to convert sunlight into electricity.
Assessing Installer’s Reliability
Installer should be trustworthy. Credentials and references are very important. You can make use of online resources and reviews or discuss with friends and relatives who have already installed solar panels. You can compare solar panel dealers before taking a decision. It will be better to check whether the installer is familiar with local permitting and inter connection processes.
A strong warranty ensure the quality of equipment. Terms and conditions related to repair and maintenance must be vivid and transparent.
Bids should state the optimum generating capacity of the system (measurable in Watts and Kilowatts), yearly or monthly estimate of energy production, total cost inclusive of hardware, installation, connection, permission, sales tax, warranty etc.
Consider Best Suited Finance Options
Primary price tag of solar installation may seem high. But this becomes considerably low after applying credits and rebates.
One must be careful enough to understand and check out all the solar financing options. Every situation varies from the other and the best option must be chosen by weighing all. Solar energy for residential use is a long term investment. If you go for the best solar package for your home, you can reap monetary benefits in few years’ time.
How Residential Solar Works
Depending on the size of your solar power system, the number of solar panels varies from home to home. Solar panels are connected in a series and secured to the roof with the help of a mounting system. The solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity. The solar electricity inverter converts DC electricity produced by solar panels into AC electricity. It can be used for domestic purpose and for the grid. The meter box and switch board connect your solar power system to electricity grid. This enables you to participate in energy buy back and feed in tariff.
Savings from Residential Solar System
For residential purpose, the size of solar system is usually 3KW – 5KW. The average energy production for 3 KW system is 14 units. If the daily consumption is 10KW, you can export the remaining 4KW to the grid for which you are paid 7cents per unit. Cost of each unit of energy from utility supplier is 24cents.
Electricity savings = 10 KWh x 24 cents= $2.40 per day.
Amount saved from feed in tariff = 4KWh x7 = $.28 per day.
So the average savings for a day is $ 2.68
Likewise from a 5KW system, we can save $4.62 per day. This is just a calculation. The savings can soar depending on the yield of your residential solar system.