How To Choose The Right Size Solar Panel System?
A home solar system is made up of a number of components, which must be scouted out and considered before buying.
Factors like efficiency, location (resource), placement, available roof space, altitude, and electricity usage should all come into play when determining the appropriate size for your system.
It also pays to know what you’re working with financially so as not to exceed or undershoot your budget.
Choosing the right size for a solar photovoltaic system below factors should be taken into consideration.
PV Power Rating
Photovoltaic systems are rated in terms of peak DC power generation capacity, which is measured in watts or kilowatts.
A kilowatt is 1,000 watts, and operating capacities are typically less than lab rates, which should be considered when predicting the output.
Available Solar Resources
The sun is not always at its brightest. When the sun’s rays strike cells at an angle, it reduces solar intensity and output from a PV system.
To estimate the likely peak power of that system for any given day, a professional uses what they call “peak hours.”
Peak hours are defined as how many sunny hours there were where sunlight was striking your array head-on to equal radiation received by your panels during those same number of hours in which you had full access to direct light.
PV Electricity Generation
Estimating the power output of a photovoltaic module is an easy task.
Simply multiply the expected operating power capacity by time to get kilowatts, then determine how much electricity will be generated over that period of time with some free software programs available online.
In order to size a home solar power system:
Know your Home’s Energy Consumption
It is important to know your electricity use before making a decision on solar panels. To find out, you will need to check your electric bills or contact the utility company and calculate how much energy you have used in kilowatt-hours for the past year.
Once determined, look at the expected future production of new solar PV systems which should be less than what we would consume from this point forward.
Know How Much Electricity Cost
You’ll want to check what you’re paying per kilowatt-hour. Once you have that, compare your utility rate with the cost of solar power over time by comparing our rates and savings projections for a system.
You’ll also want to ask about any recent spikes in your utilities’ prices and see if they match up with expectations held by solar providers on their projected returns long term. Because only then can we answer how much money this will save you.
Define How Much Energy Your System Will Generate
If you are considering installing a solar panel system on your roof, it is important to measure the area and make sure there’s enough room.
A small starter system can use up as little as 50 square feet of unshaded space while large output systems will need over 1,000 sq. ft.
You should also be aware that larger panels would not work well over vents or other obstacles blocking sunlight from reaching them.
Know The Limitations of Your Roof
How much space you have on your roof is an important factor define which solar panel system to use.
You can’t go wrong with high-efficiency crystalline PV panels since they are a great option for homeowners who want to save money on their electricity bills without compromising aesthetics.
However, if you have a limited roof area and are able to afford the price tag for lower efficiency then thin-film solar systems without might be your best option.
Check Net Metering Regulations
The size of your solar panel system should never exceed the limits set by local authorities and utility companies, otherwise, they may no longer provide any benefits.
Also, if you plan to join a net metering program, it’s important to understand what your state requires in order to get a solar panel installed.
Net Metering is required by law in some states, so it’s crucial that you know about these requirements before installing panels on the roof of your home or business building.
In many cases this process doesn’t come with any major hurdles, but if there are they might require an electrician and sometimes even permits from local authorities like zoning boards which can make the installation much more expensive than originally anticipated.
Installation Considerations and Tips
A solar array can be ground-mounted, roof-mounted, or building-integrated.
The rigid crystalline modules are easier to install on some types of roofs than others but the most important thing is that it’s worth investing time and money into finding out which type will work best for you.
The composition shingles are easy to work with and don’t penetrate the roof. Clay tile is difficult, but slate offers a more unique aesthetic than metal roofs for your home or business building.
Roof-mounted crystalline modules are usually installed on racks made of aluminum. Racks should create an air space between the array and ground to help lower the PV module temperature, which is key for more electricity production.
Roof-mounted crystalline panels require a rack created from durable material like aluminum that creates airspace under it so as not to make it too hot with exposure to direct sunlight all day long; cooler panels produce more power than hotter ones.
Replacing your roof before installing a solar system will save you time and money in the long run. Roofs typically last between 14-20 years. So if yours is at or near its life expectancy it’s best to replace it with one that can support an installation of panels.
The solar panels on your porch can be used to produce just as much energy for the house. Unlike installing them in an already crowded roof, a covered patio or porch is perfect because it’s been designed with space and shade taken into consideration.
A rooftop panel may have heat buildup problems if there are no other options available for keeping things cool enough (like shades).
With a ground-mounted or pole-mounted array, the orientation and tilt can be optimized to accommodate most house roofs. It also allows for easy adjustment of said angle in order to reflect seasonal changes.
Roof-mounted arrays have two major drawbacks: the potential for roof leaks at connection points and the need to remove them when there is a chance of replacing your roof.
However, because these panels are so lightweight they can be just as easily removed without any risk of breaking or damaging anything in that area.
It can be installed just a few feet above the ground or raised to a height suitable for use as a landscape shelter.
However, bear in mind that a ground-mounted array necessitates a location free of trees or buildings to the east, south, or west.
You may not know it, but there are loads of ways to incorporate solar systems into your building.
In fact, a lot of roofing material is offset by the use of thin-film installations and adhesive PV sheets can be fitted between metal ridges that blend in seamlessly with both colors and installation costs.
Pay close attention to the weather patterns of your area, as high winds and hail can damage solar panels.
Be sure that you have chosen a material for your system which is strong enough to withstand wind and hail without being damaged.
Check with your homeowner’s insurance company (if applicable) to see what kind of coverage they offer in case anything happens.
Inverters need a place to live where they will be safe from the elements. You should find an area in your garage or on the north-facing side of your home for inverter placement, preferably under a shade structure that can protect them and help extend their life expectancy.
No matter where you are, make sure that fire codes and zoning requirements have been taken care of.
This includes checking for any permits needed or utility grid connection rules and procedures to ensure everything is in place before finalizing your location choice.
One of the many safety measures in place to prevent house fires from spreading is allowing firefighters easy access onto roofs.
In order for a firefighter or any other emergency responder with an ax, saws, and a ladder can have quick safe entry into your home they require open space on the roof where these items are stored.
In some communities, this requirement means that at least ¼ of your roof has to be unoccupied by solar panels so as not to impede their ability to provide aid during emergencies such as fire outbreaks.
Working with a professional will help you get the most out of your solar system. They’ll be able to guide you through how much electricity it can produce and whether or not that is enough for your needs, all while balancing what kind of investment level makes sense in terms of cost versus savings over time.