Renewable Living | Warm Roofs, Solar PV, Wood Pellet Boilers


5 Things to Consider Before Installing Solar Panels on your Home

There are many reasons why you might consider installing solar panels.

Traditional fuel sources are predicted to run out shortly. Carbon emissions released when producing electricity for the grid is harmful to the earth’s atmosphere. There’s also the increasing cost of energy bills, but are solar panels the solution?

Installing Solar Panels in your Home

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient

1. Is Your Location Suitable?

Making your array of solar panels worth the cost of installation means harvesting the maximum amount of energy from the sun’s rays. Many homes receive some sunshine during the day, but the system becomes more effective if your location is ideal. A south-facing roof is the best of all. It should align with the sun for the longest exposure time from morning till night. Facing west is the next best option as the declining sun is more powerful than at dawn. You can still install solar panels on a north-facing roof, but in general, they produce approximately 30% less energy.

Even if your home has a flat roof, solar panels can be fitted with tilting mechanisms that ensure an effective alignment with the sun. Regions that are noted for receiving high amounts of sunshine will benefit the most. In areas that are often cloudy or wet, the panels operate at around 25% efficiency.

2. Which Solar Panel System should You Choose?

The most familiar solar panel system is the photovoltaic system. This uses flat panels composed of crystalline cells. They harness the sun’s heat and directly convert it into electricity. It’s ideal for powering the appliances of your home. The more panels your roof can accommodate, the more electricity the system generates. An alternative system is solar thermal. This typically takes up much less space, making it more suitable for a small roof, particularly if it’s south-facing. The system usually incorporates a water tank alongside the solar panels.

Solar thermal operates with around 70% more efficiency when collecting the sun’s heat than photovoltaic solar panels. Solar thermal is generally used for heating your water supply, but it can also be used to heat your home.

3. Should You Include Battery Storage?

Photovoltaic solar panels operate during the hours of daylight. They soak up the energy of the sun, supplying electricity as you require during the daytime. The system can only provide electricity at night if you include a battery storage unit. The majority of households use larger quantities of electricity during the evening. It’s only through installing a battery storage unit that you can realistically reduce the amount of electricity you need from the grid.

Depending on the battery size and the number of solar panels you have, it is possible to be completely independent of the grid. The smallest battery has a capacity of around 2kW, while the largest is at least 10kW. The battery size is usually decided by the output of your solar panel system. An average 5kW battery produces approximately 20 kWh each day.

Check your daily electricity usage to help work out how much battery storage you might need.

4. Can an Electric Vehicle be Powered by Your Home’s Solar Panels?

To help reduce harmful carbon emissions, many countries have begun the process of phasing in electric vehicles. Many households are contemplating how this additional electricity usage will impact their utility bills. However, EV chargers are becoming a popular option for homes with solar panels. Providing you have a solar panels system with battery storage, you could generate enough electricity to recharge your car overnight completely for free. A Smart system enables you to control the recharging through your mobile phone. Alternatively, your car can be left plugged into the EV charger overnight. Once the car’s battery is full, the EV charger regulates itself to prevent wasting electricity that’s not needed.

5. Is a Home Solar Panels System Cost-Effective?

Installing an array of solar panels is a sizeable investment. Based on average figures for a typical three-bedroom home, you can expect a system consisting of around six panels to compensate you for the installation and the running costs within seven years. Battery storage can increase the amount you initially have to spend. However, it often balances out the cost by producing electricity for using appliances in the evening and for charging your car. After the initial investment has been canceled out, the electricity your solar panels provide is virtually free of expense.

Over the system’s twenty-five-year lifespan, you could save huge amounts on energy bills.

Final Thoughts

Turning to the sustainable green energy of solar panels has many benefits. It helps reduce your carbon footprint and it can help you save considerable amounts of money. Consider a system that suits your home’s requirements, either for heating water or powering appliances and cars. The orientation of your home can influence the number of panels you need. Solar panels help you gain independence from the grid and rising fuel costs. 

Author Bio: This post was written by Martin Desmond of Wizer Energy. Martin and his team provide comprehensive Domestic and Commercial PV Systems installation services across Ireland.


Posted in: Sustainable Living

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