5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Solar Home

by Editor on September 3, 2013

2009 Solar Decathlon

Installing solar panels is not without expense. It is estimated that the average home requires somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000-$50,000 worth of solar panels initially in order to go off the grid. Of course, some companies are starting to offer plans that include no up-front cost and require that you pay monthly installments (sort of like a loan) over the course of, say, 20 years, virtually replacing your energy bill with a loan payment. In any case, if you go to the time and expense of installing a solar array to power your home, you’ll no doubt want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your products. So here are just a few tips that should help you to get the best value from this green energy option.

  1. Situate panels appropriately. You’ve no doubt factored the amount of sunlight in your area into your decision to install solar panels. Now you just have to make sure that they are placed properly in order to soak up the most rays and deliver maximum energy output for your home. This will require you to consider not only where to put your array (on the roof, in the yard, etc.), but also which direction panels should face and at what slope they should rest in order to get the best sunlight throughout the day and throughout the year.
  2. Consider moveable panels. Although you can get fixed panels if you like and spare some expense in the process, you might want to think about the benefits of an array that is computer-controlled. This type of system can be manipulated through programming to move solar panels so as to better position them in relation to the sun, making it possible to absorb maximum energy regardless of where the sun is in the sky. In some cases they can be set to adjust automatically as the sun moves. Or you can set a schedule for movement or even adjust them manually as desired. You might also be able to set up a wireless component that allows for remote control via smartphone or tablet.
  3. Use charge controllers. A charge controller is an element of your power system that helps to regulate the amount of energy that is collected by your solar panels and stored in your battery bank. It can ensure that your batteries are never overcharged or undercharged, which can not only increase efficiency and prolong the life of your battery, but can also optimize performance across the board, producing maximum energy output for your home.
  4. Get sufficient storage. The relative capacity of your battery backup could determine how much energy you have available to you throughout the year. Consider that during the winter, for example, there will be far fewer sunny days than in summer and the days will also be shorter. This means that you’ll have less solar energy on the whole. But if you have additional battery storage you can bank energy for use on days when the sun may not be shining.
  5. Conserve energy. If you want to make the most of your solar energy you need to do your part by finding ways to cut back on usage. You might consider using natural light as much as possible, perform¬†ductless mini split system maintenance¬†to optimize output, and power down electronics when not in use. The less energy you use, the more you’re going to get from your solar setup. So don’t rely on your system to do all the work for you – conservation is a lifestyle choice that ensures you’ll get the most from your solar home.

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