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Planning a Solar Electric System for your Home

February 29, 2020

Renewable energy is steadily becoming a way of life in residential and commercial areas. Environmentally conscious homeowners are seeking to use solar energy to power their homes while keeping a lid on utility bills. The sun is always present, which makes this renewable resource a sustainable option as compared to the regular grid, which can fail under specific circumstances. Also, there are remote places where the regular network doesn't cover, and such sites could use a solar power connection.

Sun Solar Electric (SSE Inc.) is a full-service shop for all electrical and solar projects for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and municipal, residential buildings. We are firmly behind the movement of going green to save the planet, and this goal starts with embracing solar energy even in your homes. If you are contemplating switching from the regular grid to solar power, we have prepared this guide to help you achieve this aim.

What Are the Advantages of Installing a Household Solar Electric System?

  1. Environmental Friendliness

The overarching aim of investing in solar power is to reduce the number of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Apart from reducing carbon dioxide levels, this renewable energy reduces the levels of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to the planet.

For most people, this benefit is the most significant pull factor towards embracing solar energy not only for commercial purposes but for home use too. More so, this renewable resource comes with less water consumption when compared to regular electricity which requires geothermal power to produce.

  1. Saving Costs

Whether buying, renovating, or building a new home from the ground up, the price will be a primary issue to consider. Solar power helps you make considerable savings by cutting back on your utility bills. Nonetheless, the amount of savings largely depends on how much energy you usually consume as a household. Buying or leasing the system, the size and angle of the roof are other factors that determine how much you save. The number of hours of direct sunlight and the size of the system is also crucial factors that determine how much money you save.

  1. Low Maintenance

The cost of maintaining a solar electric system is significantly economical as you only need to clean them a few times per year. You can do the cleaning or enlist a specialized cleaning company to do it at a small fee. The inverter, which turns solar energy into heat and electricity, needs replacing every five to ten years and so do the cables. Reputable manufacturers give a warranty of 20 to 25 years so you can rest assured that you get value for your money.

  1.  Diverse Usage

You can use solar power in different ways, such as generating electricity for areas that are far from the grid connection and to produce heat. We also incorporate solar energy into building materials to make them more power-efficient. Regions with a limited supply of clean water typically use solar power to distill water before it is channeled into the piping system. Solar energy can also be used to power satellites in space.

  1. Solar is Everywhere

Most parts of the country boast of ample sunshine throughout the year which means more access to solar energy to produce electricity and heat. California has beautiful weather all year round which means great solar resources to help homeowners as you switch to this renewable option. During summer, one hour of the sun at high noon is equivalent to the country's electricity demand for one year.

  1. Continuous Innovation

Technology is rapidly evolving, and the solar power industry is undergoing many changes, now and in the foreseeable future. Nanotechnology and quantum physics are some of the recent innovations that are poised to make solar power systems more effective and efficient. Upgrading your home with green energy puts you in the path of benefiting from these radical ideals as they take root in the market.

What's more, the cost of photovoltaic (PV) systems is dropping so more customers can find them affordable. We urge you to support this burgeoning industry and lead the way for your neighbors to follow.

What are the Steps to Planning a Home Solar System?

Having seen the many benefits of using solar power for your residence, you must be eager to know how the process works. In this section, we cover the steps to planning a solar electric system for your home.

Learn Your Home's Energy Efficiency

The first step in switching from the regular grid to solar power is understanding how much energy you consume as a household. How much is the average electric bills? A home energy audit is essential in pinpointing appliances or amenities that consume too much power. Investing in energy-efficient lighting fixtures like energy-saving bulbs is helpful and so is weatherizing your house to keep heating and cooling costs low.

Weatherizing is the process of finding and sealing air leaks to retain the heat inside during the winter months. In the same breath, you need to insulate your home to prevent heat from escaping. Sealing the attic, caulking plumbing fixtures, sealing heating ducts in the basement, and insulating pipes to prevent freezing are examples of weatherizing. The U.S. Department of Energy credits this process with cutting heating bills by roughly 32%, and this adds up to approximately $400 per annum.

Know Your Home's Solar Potential

Investing in solar energy systems costs money, and you want to ensure your home has great potential to utilize this renewable resource. The amount of energy produced depends on how much direct and scattered sunlight hits your home. PV technologies can produce electricity from either kind. Satellite maps, real-time bids from installers, and irradiance data can help you determine this from your computer.

There are mapping services that can measure your home's solar potential so you can make informed decisions. You will learn about federal incentives in California, expected payback, and get the most befitting system for your household specifications. Online rooftop-solar remote assessment tools help obtain relevant information before you invest in a solar system.

Do not forget to speak to a solar installer for a more accurate assessment of your property's solar potential. Installers will recommend a few systems and their corresponding estimates, so you are in the know. These professionals will cover more variables than the scope of mapping services, and their advice is tailor-made for your home.

If you recently moved into a new area, speak to the neighborhood association to see if there are any restrictions about solar installation. Other considerations like repairing or redoing the roof are vital – make such changes before installing a solar system.

Owning or Leasing a Solar System?

After clearing your home for solar usage, the next big decision is buying or leasing a solar unit. Ownership will cost more at the beginning, but you will make significant savings down the line. You can purchase cash upfront or take out an affordable loan if the upfront capital is not forthcoming. Homeowners get tax credits for making improvements on their properties, so find out which ones apply to your case. Buying a solar system is ideal if you are ready to assume maintenance practices and repairs, and you are eligible for tax credits by the state or federal government.

Net metering arrangements are available to owners of solar power units. You are allowed to kick back excess power from your PV system back to the grid and get paid for this. Sun Solar Electric highly recommends ownership over leasing as it increases your home's value. Environmental awareness is sought-after, and if you do list your home, you are likely to attract high bids and walk away with great returns.

Renters or people with limited roof space may find other options more appealing. You can opt for a solar community program with other tenants in the building. In this arrangement, the solar system is owned and maintained by a third party, such as utility companies or solar developers. Shared solar helps you cut utility bills while residing in a rental property. Leasing is yet another option involving a third-party, and you pay in fixed installments.

Household Consumption of Power

Understanding how much electricity you need to run the home is vital irrespective of whether you buy, lease, or use community solar. Get your bills for the past six months or so to estimate how much power you consume per year. You will find the bill goes higher during certain months, for instance, the winter season.

Remember to factor in planned changes such as starting a family, expanding the square footage, or investing in an electric vehicle. If you plan to make the home more energy-efficient (see weatherizing above), consumption will go low. Accurate estimates of power usage will help the contractor recommend the kind and size of the solar system you need.

Compare Solar Installers

The solar installation industry is booming as more people wish to upgrade their homes and stop relying on the grid. You will find many installers who promise to do a thorough job for a fraction of the price you can get elsewhere. Bear in mind that investing in a PV system is expensive, and you want the installation done correctly.

Sun Solar Electric is highly experienced in installing solar panels for households, and we do so with utmost professionalism and skill. Our installers are experts at their craft and will give you sound advice during this process. Get different quotes based on similar traits and metrics, for comparison purposes and insist on getting client references.

The installers must be familiar with the political processes such as applying for building permits. They must also have an electrical contractor permit to operate in that jurisdiction, including the subcontractors. Discuss warranty and maintenance of the system – installers with a generous warranty usually have quality equipment. Perform due diligence on the contractor's business. Check with relevant municipal departments to see if there are pending court cases or liens against the installer.

Remember, you want only the best installer for the job so you can rest easy knowing things were done correctly. Our clients have entrusted us with this critical life decision, and we have delivered exceptional service each time.

Secure Financing

As mentioned above, acquiring a solar electric system is cost-intensive, and not many people can raise the necessary capital. You don't have to get a less superior solar unit because of costs; homeowners like you have various financing options available to them. The federal government is offering a 30% tax credit for homeowners who own their solar power units. Knowing your utility incentives is essential, and you can get this information from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).

Size of Solar Electric System

The installation company will advise on the right size of the solar unit, and various factors influence this. How much sunlight is available on the roof? The desired efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity also determines the size and if there are other utility sources such as fossil fuels or wind turbines.

The unit must be oriented and tilted correctly to maximize the hours of sunshine. Billing rates vary from one area to the next, so you will need to understand this and how net metering can make things easier for you.

Find a Solar Installer Near Me

The choice to get a solar electricity system is noble not only for your pocket but for the environment as well. Homeowners have many varieties of units to choose from, and the size depends on how much power they wish to produce. California has plenty of sunshine throughout the year, so you don't have to worry about this resource. Sun Solar Electric has partnered with many clients to bring this invention to their homes so they can start enjoying the cost-saving benefits of renewable energy. Contact us today at 707-658-2157 to speak to our expert installers. They will make arrangements on when we can begin the assessment process.

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