f you're considering going solar, you're in the right place. Making the decision to switch to renewable power can be a big one, and it's important to take the time to do your research and make sure it's the right fit for you. In this article, we're going to discuss the steps you should take when deciding whether solar power is suitable for you. So if you're ready to dive into the world of solar energy, keep reading.
Step 1: Discover the benefits of solar energy
Going solar is a smart move for a variety of reasons, but it's important to weigh both pros and cons before making a decision. We would advise you to begin your research on photovoltaics with grasping its advantages – and there is a lot to learn about it.
These are the top benefits:
- It is a clean and renewable energy source. Unlike natural gas or coal, solar installations don’t release harmful pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. By using PV modules to generate electricity, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help combat climate change.
- Solar energy can help you take control of your electricity bills. A PV energy system will allow you to avoid peak electricity rates and provide backup power when the grid goes down.
- PV modules allow you to generate your own electricity, making you less reliant on the power grid. This can be especially beneficial in areas with unreliable or unstable electricity supply or during natural disasters when the grid may be disrupted.
- Last but not least, a house with a photovoltaic installation will have an increased value if you decide to sell it. This makes solar power financially appealing.
Step 2: Make sure you know about the cons solar power may have
Solar power is definitely an excellent choice for most homeowners. However, like anything, it's not perfect, and there are a few drawbacks to consider before taking the plunge. So let’s look into some of the cons that you should take into account. But pay attention to possible solutions since many of these “dark sides” are not as problematic as they might seem.
Here are some most frequently listed disadvantages:
- The high upfront cost of PV energy systems is the main reason most people turn away from the idea. Still, the price is much lower nowadays than it was ever before.
- Photovoltaic modules don’t produce electric power at night or generate little when it is cloudy during the day. Although it is true, adding energy storage is a solution to this problem.
- If your home does not receive enough direct sunlight, installing a PV power system may not be practical. However, even if your location experiences moderate amounts of cloudy days, the panels can still be installed, though they may not be as effective.
Step 3: Estimate the solar energy potential of your home
If you're considering investing in PV modules, it's essential to know how much energy you can expect to generate with them. The solar potential of your home depends on a variety of factors, including the size and orientation of your roof and the amount of sunlight your site receives. You can identify your solar perspectives by yourself following a respective guide or use one of the online tools that can help you with it:
- PVWatts Calculator by NREL. This calculator assesses the energy production of grid-connected photovoltaic systems. The tool produces its estimates based on your location, the type of equipment, and your installation site.
- Project Sunroof by Google. This calculator tracks down your address and uses a digital model to identify the direction your roof is facing, its angles, as well as shade factors, which allows it to determine how effective your rooftop photovoltaic energy system could be.
Step 4: Learn about the incentives in your area
This might sound as insignificant, and that is where you would be really wrong. When deciding whether to install a solar energy system, gathering all the information on solar tax breaks and rebates available in your place of living is essential. Such initiatives might change your perspective on whether a solar installation is financially feasible, as they can help solve one of the main things that may hold you back from buying PV panels - the upfront cost.
When it comes to U.S. solar energy incentives currently available, these are the websites you should check first of all:
- the website of the Department of Energy;
- the website of the Department of Agriculture;
- the website of the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
- the local government’s website, as many initiatives vary from state to state.
The bottom line: Do your research about solar to make the best decision
If you're interested in solar energy, you'll want to do your homework. One of the best ways to learn about solar power is to read as many articals on it as possible. Make sure you gather information from multiple sources to get a well-rounded understanding of solar energy. This will help you to get a better idea of how black solar panels work, what kind of benefits they can provide, and what to consider when choosing the equipment. Based on the learned information, you will easily decide whether photovoltaics is a go-to or a no-go option in your particular case.
Of course, you'll also want to talk to a solar energy professional to get their perspective. They can give you specific information on what it will take to set up a PV system in your home. But it's always good to do your own research to get a deeper insight into the topic.