Solar power is a great alternative for powering your home or business. It is a renewable source of energy that is both better for the environment and better for your pocketbook. You can choose to add a few solar-powered items to your home to make small but positive changes, or you can decide to undergo an entire green makeover and put your whole home on solar power.
Switching to solar power doesn’t need to be complicated or burdensome. You can easily make the switch by getting a few key pieces of equipment. Here are the top 5 items you will need to get your home on solar power and start reaping the environmental and financial benefits of choosing this renewable energy resource:
Of course, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a series of solar panels. You can purchase them individually or buy a solar panel kit that has multiple panels and other pieces of equipment you’ll need, such as micro inverters and racking. Determining the number of solar panels you will need depends on an equation that takes into account how much power you need to run your home and how much sun-hours your home gets. It’s best to consult with a solar representative to help you determine your individual needs.
Grid-tie inverters are necessary to help you convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) power from your solar panels. Solar power energy is direct current, whereas the type of power you need for your home is alternating current.
Grid-tie inverters also allows for net metering, which can help you to sell surplus energy that your solar panels create back to the energy company.
Racks and Mounts
You’ll need a way to mount your solar panels, and racks and mounts will help you do that job. Obviously, the best place to mount solar panels is a south-facing location where they will get the most direct sunlight during the day. For many homes, this will be the roof. However, you may also find a good location to ground-mount your array.
If you’re considering adding battery backup…
The intensity of the sun will vary from day to day. On especially bright days, you may get more voltage in your solar panels, which can overload your battery bank. By using a charge controller, you regulate the charge to your batteries so they don’t become overcharged and damaged. You’ll want to be sure your batteries are always protected in case you need to rely on them for power backup.
You never know when you’re going to get a patch of rainy or cloudy days. You might want have a battery bank to provide backup power for your “days of autonomy” when you solar array won’t be producing enough electricity to run your home.
Keep in mind that most solar systems are going to be grid-tied, so their “battery” is the utility grid. A home solar system with a battery bank is somewhat of an anomaly.
Getting started with solar power is largely about making sure you have the right equipment. These essential items will help you to set up full or partial solar power to your home so you can start lowering your energy usage and your bill today.
Guest Post by Amber Satka
Amber Satka writes on financial topics, and much of her research can be found at her app site: carloancalculator.org. Amber is a former office manager and current mother and writer.