If you're doing things to reduce your carbon footprint, you may be wondering if you should switch to solar power. A solar system can pay for itself in energy savings eventually, but you may appreciate the environmentally friendly aspect of solar power more. Here are four things to understand about solar panels.
1. Several Factors Affect Whether Your Roof Is Suitable
The ideal situation is when your roof is in full sun all day. However, if you have mature trees, you may not want to cut them down to get rid of the shade on your roof. A solar power company will assess your property and take into account how much of your roof is in the shade, how the shade moves across your house, the slope of your roof, and the direction the largest expanse of your roof faces.
All these factors determine how suitable your home is for solar power. Solar panels might not be suitable if your roof is in heavy shade all day, and in that case, it might be possible to install solar panels on the ground if your yard is large enough.
2. Energy Is Collected In Solar Cells
A solar panel is made up of solar cells that collect energy, and several panels are connected to create an array. The solar panel company will determine the right number of panels your home needs and how they should be positioned.
The panels create DC energy, and that has to be converted to AC energy so your home can use it. The conversion is done by an inverter. In addition to panels and an inverter, you may want a battery to store power so you can use it on rainy days or at night.
3. Panels Fit On Most Roofs
The important thing is that your roof is in good shape and not due to be replaced for several years. When your roof needs work, the panels have to be removed first, so it's good to have the panels installed on a roof that's in good shape. Panels are attached to rails placed on your roof or by using clamps depending on the type of roof you have.
Panels can be put on sloped or flat roofs. If you need to put a new roof on before you get solar panels, you may want to talk to the solar power representative about the best type of roofing to use with the solar panels.
4. Net Metering Ensures You Always Have Power
One concern you may have is that you'll run out of power during a rainy spell that lasts for days. One way to avoid that problem is with net metering. On days your solar panels make excess energy, the energy is sent to the power grid and you earn credits for it. Then at night when your panels aren't making electricity, you can use your credits to draw power from the grid. With this setup, you don't have to worry about running out of power for your home.