With each passing year, more homeowners are becoming interested in learning how solar panels work for your home. It turns out that apart from reducing their monthly energy bill, they are becoming increasingly conscious about saving the environment.
Solar panels create electricity by harnessing the sun’s energy. When you do this, you don’t have to purchase all your power from the electric company. Any amount of excess energy generated by your panels will be transferred into the grid, which can make your electric meter run backwards (a very good thing to have). Your generous power donation will help you incur credits which also means you will pay less every month. In addition, in case of a power outage, you will always remain connected to the grid and enjoy continuous electricity.
Here’s a brief explanation of how solar panels can help you go green and save money:
Determining Roof Capability and Sun Exposure
A solar energy professional will visit your home to determine whether your roof can handle a solar panel installation. In addition, they will try to figure out the best angle of exposure for your panels. Ideally, a southern exposure is best but a southeast or southwest will also work well. The solar expert will also help identify potential issues such as:
- Presence of trees — Some shade is okay but too much can hamper the performance of your panels. Walk around your property to see if there are any obstructions that are casting a shadow over your roof.
- Roof Size and Orientation — Some roofs do not have adequate roof space to accommodate panels. In such cases, homeowners will have to opt for a panel installation in their back or front yards, called a ground-mounted solar array.
- Age of the Roof — A new roof is always recommended for a solar panel installation.
- Type of Roof — On certain types of roofs such as clay tiles or wood shake shingle roofs, the cost of installation is slightly higher.
Depending on your roof and whether you’ve made the changes required to enjoy maximum benefit from your panels, you can proceed with a solar panel installation. The actual procedure can take up to two days. This again depends on the height of your roof, its orientation and accessibility. The installer will also advise you on the care and maintenance of your panels.
Understanding how your Solar Power System works
Solar panels capture sunlight and produce direct current (DC). This is sent to the inverter which is typically located near your home’s electrical panel. Due to recent technological advances in solar energy, micro-inverters are quickly replacing conventional inverters. These are very small in size and affixed to individual solar panels. The inverter will turn DC power into alternating current or AC. This form of energy is used to power your fridge, washing machine, dishwasher and other aspects of your home.
Excess Electricity Returns to the Grid
On sunny days, it’s very common for your solar system to generate excess electricity than is required. When the entire family is not home during the day, extra energy is generated. This surplus energy flows back via a bi-directional meter to the utility company’s electric grid. When the family returns home, the electricity flow reverses.
Receive Credit for Excess Energy
When your panels produce extra electricity, the amount of power generated will be credited towards your utility bill through an arrangement called net metering. This allows homeowners to receive credit for the power they produce. It also helps owners forgo batteries which require regular maintenance and storage. With net metering, excess energy is not stored on site. Rather it is sent to the utility grid.
Solar panels for home are an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of producing and using electricity.