Solar energy actually is an unlimited source of energy that you get daily to power up your specific appliances or you can even take the entire house power on solar. So, do you want Solar Energy at Home?
For this, you need to install solar panels along with a few accessories like batteries and a different wiring system to use solar energy at home. We will be discussing the components and installation procedures of the solar system.
Solar panels tap the energy from the sun and help you save a few bucks in your electricity bill.
But, before you indulge in this venture, you should be knowing why you should use this power for your home. What benefits you will get and what are the concerns you need to pay attention to.
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9 Reasons to Use Solar Energy at Home:
1. Investment Option:
We all plan our future and invest our savings to get returns. Solar panels are one of the great options out there for you in terms of investment.
And how is it an investment is explained in the next part.
2. Return on investment:
You need to invest an amount initially, but you can recover that cost within 8-10 years.
And after that, you can enjoy FREE electricity with solar energy at home. In addition to this, if you can contribute to the grid, then you can even get credit on your electricity bill! The extra power that is not used by you is transferred to the power grid.
3. Life of Solar System:
Now, as you invest in the system, you don’t have to worry about it getting worn out in a few years. Or, you will not be able to obtain the returns after the 8-10 years as mentioned above.
Most of the system comes with a guarantee of 25 years! And this can represent the trust the manufacturer has in their product.
If you are wondering what to do for the time when the sun doesn’t shine out there? You can store the solar power in batteries. To know more about it, continue reading below.
5. Encouragement by Government:
Many subsidies are out there in the market for the installation of solar energy at home. The government wants to encourage the usage of renewable sources in the country and solar is the easiest one.
You can find that the government aids you in the form of subsidies or incentives or tax savings to encourage the use of solar energy.
6. Increase the Value of your Home:
The valuation of your home is the estimated value of your home, which you can get in terms of getting a loan against it, or while selling your house.
Installation of solar energy at home can boost the value of your home.
7. Go Green- a Step Towards Saving the Planet:
The electricity generated through solar panels is a renewable source of energy. By using this, you are contributing your part in saving the environment.
The fossil fuels that are used in the production of conventional power plants like coal, causes huge disturbances to our environment.
8. Reducing Nuclear Risk:
Nuclear power plants involve the handling of substances that emits harmful radiation. Not only handling, but even the disposal of the residue is also a huge concern.
As solar power is a renewable source, no such problem is there.
9. Conservation of Water:
You contribute to the environment is not just limited to a reduction in the carbon emissions that comes from burning coal.
The boilers used in coal require a huge amount of water to cool it down. You save that too!
Planning of Solar System Installation:
1. Know the Energy usage Pattern for Your Home:
Before considering the buying of the panels, know how much energy do you require in your home. And decide what appliance you want to run on solar.
It can be the geyser in your bathroom, or lights and fans, or the entire wiring system of your house.
But, you can know what to go after once you know how much potential solar energy can you utilize.
The amount of power generated at your home depends upon multiple factors:
- How much sunlight is available
- The capacity of the unit installed
- Shades by huge trees in the vicinity
(Do take into account the trees that are still young, but will become massive eventually. Remember the system is for 25 years!)
Restrictions on approval, if any for your area by the association of your society.
However, most of the governments have restricted such rights.
2. Find an Installer:
After knowing that you want to install the panels, find the right professional or reputable solar company for the installati
Some of the points to review before finalizing the installer are listed out below:
- Make sure that the company is familiar with the procedures of permits for your area so that you don’t face any issue during the installation and interconnection.
- Check the testimonials from other customers the company has delivered service in your area.
- Don’t forget to enquire on the after-services or resolution of queries by the company
- Ensure that the company is certified by an electrical contractor’s license.
- Never forget to check the warranty period. You are making a considerable investment without the expectation of immediate returns. Hence, the system should cover a long warranty period.
- Check the maximum generating capacity of the system in Watts or Kilowatts.
Additionally, also demand an estimate of energy generated by the system annually or monthly in kW-hrs.
When you decide to use solar energy at home, there are lots of subsidies that you can avail for the installation on the solar panels, you get additional tax credits varying with the country.
4. Get Familiar With the System:
With the installation, the system provider will help you in determining the size of the system based on your electricity needs and available solar energy. He even helps you decide the orientation and the tilting angle.
Familiarise yourself with the billing and net metering as you need to regulate them after installation.
Components of the Solar System:
1. Solar panels:
This is the main component that taps solar energy at home.
Few things to note for the panels for choosing the right one for you are efficiency, cost, warranty, etc.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline are the two popular solar panels for residential purposes. The former is more efficient and a little bit expensive.
Placement of solar panels,
- The solar panels are not placed directly on the roof parallel to the flooring.
- To use solar energy at home effectively, proper placement of solar panels is required.
- They need to be inclined to a proper degree so that maximum benefit can be taken.
- Placing the panels facing north is recommended as it can derive the maximum benefit of the sunlight.
2. Net Metering:
The additional power generated when you don’t have many usages is supplied to the grid. Credits are offered for this.
When the required power is not generated, power is drawn from the grid. This system is termed as net metering.
3. Solar Inverters:
All your appliances run on the AC power. While the solar power produced by the panels is in the form of DC.
Therefore, you need a converter to transform this DC into AC.
Three types of inverters are the most popular:
I) Centralized Inverters:
This is the cheapest option to use solar energy at home. But, you will also suffer from production losses during shading. Thus, efficiency will be compromised.
These inverters are attached to each solar panel. Even if some of the panels are shaded, these work in an efficient manner.
These are a bit more expensive than centralized ones.
III) Power Optimizers:
This is an intermediate option if you are looking for a cost-effective one. They first optimize the DC output generated from each of the photovoltaic modules.
Then, it is fed into a centralised inverter so that the DC is converted into AC.
4. Solar Racking:
As mentioned above, solar panels are not laid flat on the roof.
They are to be mounted on racking systems to obtain the optimum tilt for maximum efficiency.
5. Solar Storage:
You need solar batteries to store solar energy at home for later usage. If you are not connected to the electric grid, then this is a must.
6. Solar Performance Monitoring:
You need to keep a check on the performance of the system you installed in terms of electricity generated per hour, per day, or in a year.
This helps you to know if there are any performance changes.
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Important Information about the Using Solar Energy at Home:
i) Is Electricity Produced During the Night?
The answer is NO. The photovoltaic cells of the solar panels require sunlight to produce electricity.
So what are the solutions? Two of them are discussed below:
1. Net Gridding:
You can connect your solar panel to the electric grid. Excess electricity is poured into the grid on which you get credits by the electric company. You can, later on, use those credits to withdraw the energy when the solar power system is not working.
Do check the credits and debits of the energy inflow and outflow. Sometimes, the electric company charges you more for drawing the electric power and offers you less pay for the electricity going into the grid.
2. Solar Batteries:
To resolve the issue that originated in the above point, this is the other solution.
You can store the energy for future use in solar batteries. They store the energy generated from the panels.
You can be smarter and combine both the above options. In this way, before consuming power from the grid, your own power is utilized.
This prevents the reduction in the value of the electricity that occurs when it is sent into the grid.
II) Is Electricity Produced During the Monsoon:
In monsoon, the cloudy atmosphere restricts the direct sunlight.
However, the panels utilize the photons to generate electric power. Hence, they can produce electricity even in the absence of direct sunlight.
III) Cleaning of Solar Panels:
Occasional rains can serve the purpose of cleaning. However, if you live in a windy location with too many dust particles, then you may require periodic cleaning.
Be careful of scratching or damaging the panels while cleaning.
You can dip a sponge or soft cloth in warm water to clean off the dust accumulated on the panels. Even a hose can be a good alternative for cleaning dust off the panels.
If the panels are stained with oil, clean them using propyl alcohol. However, the efficiency is not affected much because of the reduction in sunlight reach because of the accumulation of the dust. The reduction in efficiency is even less than 5 %.
Clean the panels once or twice in a year and you are good.
Concerns for the Installation of a Solar Power System:
- Solar energy at home has the initial cost is higher and you need to invest a considerable amount.
- No power is generated at night; however, there are solutions for this issue.
- The energy is eco-friendly; however, the manufacturing of the components of the system does release pollutants in the environment.
- The system is not portable. If you move into a new house, then you cannot move the system there.
- Of course, as the panels are fixed on the terrace, it consumes the roof space.
- The storage of solar power in the form of batteries is a bit expensive.
- It is not reliable everywhere.
- Solar energy at home is sometimes useful only in case of power cutoff.
The efficiency of the system greatly depends on your location. It decreases as you drift away from the equator.
So, how can you decide if the solar power system fits for you? (Solar Energy at Home)
There are two sides to every coin. And so is every solution equipped with pros and cons.
Here, the pros outweigh the cons. Analyze this for yourself.
You can take it as a safe investment option. Additionally, you will be contributing to the conservation of the environment. You are gifting our future generations a bit of a clean environment.
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