With energy trends heading away from fossil fuels and into green energy, the time has never been better to jump on the wagon and look at installing some solar paneling for your house. Solar panels have the ability to save you hundreds of dollars on your energy use throughout the year, and can even create so much electricity that the electric grid ends up paying you. There are some things to keep in mind, though, to make sure that they are working efficiently for you.
Solar Panels Need Sun
The fact that solar panels need sun may seem obvious, but it’s something that Is partially overlooked by many homeowners. Ideally you want to place the panels in a location where they will get full view of the sun from dawn until dusk year-round. This means that mounting on one side of a roof may not necessarily be the best location, as it can reduce the amount of sun the panels get during either half the day, or half the year, depending on the direction they’re facing.
For most people, though, placing at a slight angle with the surface facing south is a decent option. You don’t want the panels flat, they need to be able to have water run off them and debris slide off as well. The reason for them facing south is because for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the sun is in the southern-half of the sky a majority of the time. The further north you are, the higher the majority, with those in the south of Texas having the smallest majority.
You Don’t Have to Think Big
If you aren’t sure how solar would work where you live, there are smaller options for you to test your feet in first. Solar path lighting is a good first step, giving you a glimpse into how solar can work for you. As someone who grew-up in the Pacific Northwest, I’m very aware that because of weather, some locations are simply unsuitable for large-scale solar energy. These path lights can give you an idea of if a larger scale solar project is worthwhile for you.
Contact Your Electric Company
With traditional sources of electricity slowly being eroded, more and more electric companies are looking for ways to cut costs and the amount of electricity they have to actually provide. For this reason, many electric companies are starting to offer incentives for getting a solar project going, including financial assistance. You’ll also need to find out what their policy on buy-back is. Essentially, buy-back is a process where excess electricity your panels generate gets put back into the electrical grid, and money gets credited to your account.
The final tip is to seek out other solar panel users in your area. Arrange a meet-up to discuss how to get started, and any ideas they have on the subject. Often they have gone through much the same process you are about to undertake and can help guide you in the right direction and give you advice on things like dealing with the local electric company that can save you time and headaches.