Get Multiple Solar Quotes, and Check the Math
To make sure that your return on investment is maximized, it is always better to consider multiple solar panel installers and figure out the trade-offs between the options. Currently, the roof’s pitch can be determined without any on-site assessment due to advanced technologies. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) combines data on location and distance by recording it with the help of a scanner and then generating a 3D model of the site. Along with the building and tree heights, it calculates the irradiance and shade metrics as well. As a result, the sites can be screened for their potential in terms of solar energy production. Besides, the accuracy of the system design can be checked as well to make the information more complete. Therefore, the process is hassle-free enough to get multiple quotes and compare them with each other before making your purchase decision. Criteria that may be taken into account while making the comparison are, for instance, the equipment choices and financing options. It will enable you to understand which of the suggested options is the most suitable for your needs. Particularly, you may need to have high-efficiency solar panels to be used for EV charging, and getting several quotes will enable you to make the right choice.
You may implement some reverse engineering to find out the amount of your electricity bill that can be eliminated with solar. By deciphering your electricity bill you will see how many kWh are used per month. Thereafter, the volume of the produced energy can be calculated for each of the quoted systems. The size of the solar panel system should be considered together with the amount of energy that can be produced during an average year for every kW of panels. A neutral third party may help to make the comparisons in terms of equipment, solar panel cost, forecasted energy production as well as savings. Its presence will ensure that the estimates are appropriate and supported by the available data. You may have a quicker estimate of your solar potential with the help of a solar panel calculator basing the estimation on your roof, electric bill, and the available alternatives in your area.
Choose The Right System
Depending on your objective and electricity consumption, the size of the needed system can be different. You should also take into consideration your future needs in terms of adding battery storage, having a pool, or getting an electric car with an EV charger. Therefore, the panels should be efficient enough for you to have space to grow and add more items to your solar panel kits. The reliability of inverters needs to be considered as well, as they are the engine of the whole solar energy system. Make sure that the solar panel installation companies offer good value for money. In particular, you should think about how long the system is going to last, how much energy will be produced, and finally, how much money will be saved in the long run.
Check With Your Local Council
There are rules and laws for solar panel installation specific to each state. Namely, depending on the state you plan to have the panels installed in, the amount of money to be saved for each kWh of solar energy is different. Those regulations also determine whether or not you can cover the solar panel installation cost gradually or have to pay the whole amount upfront. It is important to consult your local council as their planning and building group can be helpful by providing information on land use, permit requirements, planning and development in the available area, as well as overshadowing. The latter should not be more than 20 percent of the system surface. Otherwise, energy generation will not be effective enough. The system can be split to ensure that the shade impact is minimized and the underproduction of a panel will not affect the rest. To figure out why it is the case you need to understand the logic behind solar energy production. So, how do solar panels work? Photovoltaic (PV) cells absorb sunlight to produce an electrical current, which is converted to alternating current (AC) through an inverter. Therefore, PV panels should be placed in such a way to capture the sunlight as effectively as possible. Normally, north-facing panels operate most efficiently. However, if the space on the roof is limited, they may face west or east as well.
Be Mindful Of Your Neighbors
To have the best possible result for solar energy production and to avoid the costs that may arise from overshadowing, you should not place the panels close to a neighboring building. The reason is that it will distract the direct supply of sunlight, which is vital for the effective functioning of solar panels, especially during peak hours. Some policies protect the panels of homeowners from overshadowing. They vary from one state council to the other. Though there is no law specifying solar panels’ right to direct sunlight, some regulations for “reasonable” protection of sunlight do exist. Usually, higher building density indicates less protection for direct sunlight. It can also depend on some individual circumstances and the possible adverse effects the already planned building might have. You may negotiate with your neighbor and have the development plans changed in a way that benefits both of you. For example, a way to increase the separation between the buildings is to have a side boundary with a driveway or a path. As a result, the risk for shadows to be cast over the panels will be minimized.
Consider Building Codes
Building codes aim to ensure the safe installation as well as the operation of PV systems. They refer to the materials used, fire classification, and wind resistance. It is required for the system to pass permitting and inspection processes before its commissioning. Sometimes those processes are not only lengthy but also costly and even uncertain in particular jurisdictions. The International Building Code establishes criteria for estimating the maximum amount of energy the designed system can produce. It also includes some guidance on engineering calculations for wind load.
So, you should consider the solar panel installation as a home improvement project and invest enough time for proper research. In that way, you will minimize the costs and maximize the returns, as following those rules will lead you to the best possible choice for your needs.
Author of the article: Nvard Hakobyan