Solar panels are a great way to save money on your energy bills and add value to your home. But before installing them, you should know a few things. There is a lot of paperwork involved in going solar. Many reputable solar installers handle this on your behalf, but it’s still important to understand what goes on behind the scenes.
Assess Your Energy Needs
Before beginning the solar panel installation in New Jersey, assessing your home’s energy usage patterns and how much power you consume annually is essential. Then, you can determine how many solar panels will be necessary to power your household and meet your financial goals. Start by gathering electric bills from the past year or two and determining the kilowatt-hours (kWh) used each month. Ensure to include electricity used for your house and your agriculture or home business. Use this information to calculate your household’s hourly energy demand and divide it by your area’s average daily peak sunlight hours.
Determine Your Roof’s Solar Potential
Your roof’s solar potential determines how much solar energy you can generate. It’s essential to have this number because a solar expert will use it to design your system. The tool considers your roof’s size, the direction it faces, and whether or not it has obstructions like chimneys or vents that reduce the space available for panels. It then estimates how many kilowatts per hour (kW/h) your roof can produce using standard 320-watt solar panels on a typical day. The number you get will vary slightly by season, but you’ll know how big a system you need to meet your energy needs.
Determine Your Home’s Energy Usage Patterns
The wattage required to run household appliances and electronics plays a significant role in electricity consumption. Look at past electric bills and calculate how many kilowatts you consume on average per month. Idle load electricity – devices like computers and video recorders powered on but in sleep or standby mode — contributes to 23 percent of American households’ energy usage. You can find out how much these devices use with intelligent plugs, whole-home energy monitors, or apps that track electricity costs and usage in real-time. Solar power can reduce dependence on traditional utility companies, offsetting the majority (or even the entirety) of your monthly electric bill. Reducing fossil fuel-related greenhouse gas emissions can help curb your carbon footprint.
Choose the Right Equipment
The equipment you choose will impact how much energy your solar system generates. Look for a manufacturer that offers quality, durable equipment with an extended warranty. Also, look for an installer with a good track record. Ask friends and acquaintances with solar systems if they’re satisfied with their installer, or check online consumer reviews. Working with electrical components can be dangerous, so having a professional install your solar energy system is best. This includes establishing an electric breaker and meter. You’ll also need to choose a ground or pole mount for your solar array.
Plan Your Installation
Harnessing solar energy can be an excellent option for homeowners. It can provide them with a significant boost to their home’s value and help save on energy costs. Your panels should be angled correctly for optimal sunlight absorption. The exact angle depends on your latitude, but an installer can determine it. A representative from the power company will then check out your system before approving it for grid interconnection. Once this happens, you’ll be able to flip the switch! Do-it-yourself installation is possible, but it’s not recommended unless you are comfortable working on the roof and have proper fall arrest equipment.
Secure Your Solar Components
Recent surveys have shown that solar panels are a popular target for thieves. Luckily, there are many ways to make your solar panel system more secure from theft. A fence can make it difficult for criminals to get to your solar panels. You can also use a rail and one-way screws to lock the array together. While this makes transporting more challenging, it may void your module warranty. Using wire gauge mesh around the panels can help to prevent secondary damage from hail. It still lets sunlight in so that the solar panels can continue to operate, but it provides a rigid covering that keeps even significant rain from damaging the panels.
Install Your Solar Panels
Solar panels consist of solar cells containing silicon semiconductors that absorb sunlight to produce electricity. The solar panel’s inverter then changes the DC power into usable AC electricity. A battery bank stores the energy, while a generation meter tracks and records the electricity produced minute-by-minute. You’ll also need to install a new electric meter; sometimes, a local government representative will conduct a final installation inspection. They’ll double-check the wiring and ensure everything is up to code before giving your solar system the green light.
Maintain Your Solar System
Clean your solar panels with a garden hose twice a year or more, depending on weather and environmental conditions. It would be best to do this after heavy rainfall, which will wash away dust and pollutants collected on the surface. Check online monitoring of your system to see how much energy it produces daily. This will help you spot any problems and inform any necessary maintenance. Record your inspections and cleanings to ensure everything is in good working order. It’s also a great way to avoid costly damage and to catch any issues early before they become a significant problem.