If you’re looking for a way to bring solar power into your everyday life, there are a few things you need to plan for. Through this planning and understanding of the different ways you can incorporate solar energy into your home, you’ll soon realize that you need to know if you want to be on-grid or off-grid.
This tends to be where people get a bit confused.
First, let’s clear up what on-grid and off-grid even mean. Basically, on-grid solar panels (also called a grid-tied solar system) are hooked up to your municipality or area’s electrical grid. Every state and local area is different on their guidelines and laws when it comes to on-grid solar panel systems, so you should always do proper research and get into contact with local authorities before you make any permanent decisions or begin to invest in your own solar energy system.
On-grid solar panel systems also tend to be much cheaper than off-grid systems. The only equipment needed to create solar PV systems is as follows: photovoltaic panels (PV panels), inverters, meters, charge controllers, disconnect switches, fuses, battery banks (to store the solar power), grounding equipment and surge protection that the government requires to be installed. Compared to the equipment needed for off-grid solar panel systems, this is a relatively small list.
Therefore, off-grid solar panel systems are just that: off-grid. These systems tend to be great for people who live in more rural areas or who are far from other residences. For this article alone, we’ll just discuss on-grid solar panel systems.
To make things simple, we’ve broken down the solar PV systems and some technologies that could be used for you to make your solar energy experience on the grid much better than normal.
What do you need?
When you’ve finally decided that you want to install an on-grid solar panel system, it’s time to start planning and thinking about what would be best for your house or residence. There are a few things you really need to consider:
- What’s your budget? This may be a bit unnecessary to state, but you really need to figure out what your budget is. There are a few different investments you need to make when first taking the step to go full solar and you need to prepare for that. Luckily, solar energy is something that many people want to take advantage of recently. That means there are a lot of different prices that range from cheap to incredibly expensive. Of course, the higher the quality the higher the price tends to be so make sure you keep that in mind. Also, it’s worth noting that, no matter how much you spend on this new solar energy system, you’ll still be saving money in the long run. Even the most expensive solar panel system will be saving you money, compared to if you just stayed with your current system that you have. Make sure you finance and save ahead of time so that you can invest in an on-grid solar panel system.
- What size do you need? This depends on your house size and what kind of system you really want. Rooftop solar panels come in a variety of different sizes and you can experiment and see which one would work best for you. Once you narrow down the size of the whole system and all of the equipment you need, you should make sure you actually have room for all of the equipment. This, again, goes hand in hand with planning prior to actually buying everything. You never want to invest in something that you realize you have no room for!
- What type of material do you want? This question goes hand in hand with your budget, mentioned above. A lot of the time, if you want high-quality material, you’re probably going to have to spend a bit more. Depending on what type of overall system you’re installing, there are a lot of different materials you could get. This is why it’s important to talk with a solar installer to learn more about which materials are being used and which is the best. These solar panels can be made of many different materials, such as crystalline silicon, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and many more. To get the best information and learn which materials would work best with your system, make sure to talk to your solar installer.
- Do you want fixed or mobile solar arrays? For the most part, a lot of residential owners that have on-grid solar panel systems have fixed arrays. This means that they don’t move as they gather and produce solar energy. These are the most common in residential areas for many reasons—but mainly because they’re easy to install compared to mobile solar arrays, and their much cheaper. Mobile solar arrays move with the sun’s rays, attempting to gather the most output of solar energy possible.
- How do you want your on-grid solar panel system placed? Again, planning is everything! Once you figure out the size that you want, it’s important to make sure that you actually have enough room. Then, finding out the placement of your solar panels is imperative. Now, placement is everything. If you put your solar panels in an area where trees cover them or there’s always a shadow, you’re not going to get the energy that you need. The panels getting sunlight is so essential to making sure the whole system works. Plan ahead and make sure the installation and placement of your solar panels are situated so that you get the most sunlight possible. For this reason, a lot of panels are situated atop roofs. However, if your roof is in poor shape or still covered by trees and shadows, you can put them on the ground as well. Just find out what works best for your house or residence and find out how you can get the best production possible.
As you can see, finding the best on-grid solar panel system depends on what works best for your own residence and way of life. By talking with a solar installer and planning ahead of time, prior to investment, you’ll be able to find which panel system works best for you.