Residential Solar Installation Guide For New Homeowners

When you are in the market for residential solar installation services, a lot of things are bound to sound unfamiliar. And if you are not informed enough, you might become vulnerable to weird tricks played by solar installation companies especially on new homeowners. 

Here is the essence of writing this guide. With the content, you’ll be able to compare residential solar installation costs among other things. 

With the rise of energy-saving systems, the world has gradually adjusted to using more eco-friendly systems. 

Solar panels were mostly used in industrial engineering and industries. As time went on, the study on how to domesticate solar energy and use solar power energy became a reality.

For over 11 years now, many homes have used solar panels as a source of power. Since solar energy is powered by the sun, residential buildings and even smaller industries are going solar as it does not pollute the environment. Also, as more research is carried out, the cost of installing solar systems keeps reducing. Solar Energy Technologies Office’s investments have contributed a whole lot to the spread of solar energy. 

With all these developments, you may be thinking about installing a solar panel or better ways to utilize the energy from the sun. Let us discuss some pointers that can guide you in making the right decision.

Residential Solar Installation: The Basics 

Light from the sun contains energy that produces different results when it hits different objects. For instance, when the sun hits materials like oils and water in their solid forms, it melts them. 

Likewise, when the sun hits certain special materials, it produces electrical energy which is the electricity that we know and use to power our homes and electrical machines. Solar technology makes use of crystal-made silicon that produces an electrical current when hit by light from the sun. 

But using silicon is very expensive so other materials like copper, gallium, etc that can be used to create crystals are used. However, this may not be strong enough to power industrial plants, but mostly for residential use.

Using Photovoltaic, that is, solar panels commonly planted on rooftops is one-way solar energy is used. The panels trap sunlight and release electrical energy. 

Moreover, the use of Concentrating solar power, usually for large industrial plants. It uses mirror reflection to trap sunlight and focus it onto panels that convert it into electrical energy.

Can My House Host Solar Panels Effectively?

To determine if your roof or home is suitable for electric solar panels, you might want to consult a professional. He will explain some factors that will determine if you can use a solar panel at home. 

But in the absence of a professional, some factors can help you determine if a solar panel can be used at your home. 

Note that a solar panel needs to be hit by direct sunlight. So your rooftop or wherever you intend to hang the solar panel should be free of obstructions like trees. Any shade prone to block the sunlight out should be removed especially if it will stop the panels from facing South. This is because that is the best position for solar panels, between 15 and 45 degrees to the south. 

You also have to make sure that your roof is in the best condition and will not need to be replaced anytime soon. This is based on the fact that your solar panel may be difficult to remove and reinstall. 

So ensure that the conditions for installation are the best you can get. 

Do not get discouraged if a professional tells you that you cannot install a solar panel at home or you have checked and weighed the factors and seen that it will be impossible to install one at your home. 

There are other solutions and ways to enjoy solar energy at home. The use of solar power is encouraged, so there are a lot of programs and organizations that help to install solar systems. It could be a community project, so try to get involved and see how you can install and get to use solar power at home.

Steps To Residential Solar Installation Services 

The first step to take is to call some residential solar installation companies. Look up solar companies with good reviews and records. You can find out from individuals or organizations that use solar power. When you get a representative from the solar company, try to answer all questions honestly to help determine the best course of action to take for your residential solar installation needs. 

He might want to know things like – 

  • how much energy you consume, 
  • Types of appliances you are using 
  • the reason for installation, 
  • budget. 

He will be able to tell you if there will be challenges in the installation and what those challenges are. He will also recommend the best options for you, tailored to fit your budget and your environment.

Your home solar system, once installed, will have to be connected to the local power grid. So the next step will be to contact your audit team. 

They’ll likely suggest installing your solar system on the roof, underground, or building a platform for it. These are some of the salient factors you have to compare when requesting residential solar installation quotes from different companies. 

Bottom line is that they are there to ensure you do not fault the community while installing your solar system.

The solar installation company has engineers and professionals who will handle the installation. They’ll present designs to you to pick from and also tell you about some electronic devices you have to switch to, to benefit fully from the solar system.

If you feel it is too expensive, you might consider partnering with neighbors. The more people involved, the cheaper solar installation gets.

How Much Power Does Solar Produce?

The best solar panels produce about 250-400 Watts based on several factors. How much sunlight the panels are getting, how long the sun stays up, the angle of the panel, and the shades around the panels will determine how much power it will produce.

For instance, if a solar panel produces 300 watts and you receive 6 hours of sunlight, the solar output will be 1800KWh. 

It is best to work with professionals who will calculate correctly, the energy produced, and suggest the best ways to handle your solar system.

There is also a tool developed by The National Renewable Energy that measures how much energy is produced. It is called the PVWatts. It makes it easy for residential buildings to calculate the energy produced and you can even compare it to normal electrical and utility bills.

Is Going Solar Cheaper?

One thing is certain, you will definitely be saving energy. If you want to know if going solar is cheaper, you will have to check how much electricity you use up.  

After setting your solar system up, but the size of the system into consideration, if you are sharing the solar system or own it fully, how much power it generates, and how much sunlight it gets. 

Weighing these factors, try comparing it to how much energy you expended while using other forms of electrical energy, before installing it. 

You can also check the utility rate database to see how much other forms of electricity cost. Compare it with how much you are spending while on solar. Remember that you get rewarded for the spare solar energy you send back to the utility grid.

Since solar is global, research and studies are becoming easier and simpler, solar energy is becoming cheaper. It will continue getting cheaper especially when you follow instructions given by professionals in upgrading your electrical devices to the ones suitable for solar panels. 

How To Compare Residential Solar Installation Cost

Regardless of how you look at it, different solar installation companies are likely to give you different quotes and costs. However, understanding the key factors that influence residential solar installation costs in your area will help you to make a proper comparison. 

Below are the specific areas you should be looking at. 

  • Current energy usage in your home – if you have the actual numbers in this regard, it will be easier to compare home solar installation quotes. In the end, this is the key information they will be used to give you a quote. 
  • Local Labor Cost – whether you look at it from a state, city, or county level, there are bound to be differences in residential solar installation costs. Getting the best offers in this regard may warrant contacting the service providers in different locations. While doing that, take note of the company’s distance and the movement of materials for the job. 
  • Required Wattage – when the appliances in your home and energy consumption levels are determined, it becomes easier to estimate the size of the solar panel that will be required. From 2 – 8 KW, determining the solar panel installation cost by watt will help you to compare quotes from different companies. The price of solar installation in this regard often ranges between $6000 – $24,000. 
  • Price of Solar Panel – where do you want to buy from, in terms of location? What size of the solar panel will serve your home? These are the key questions that will influence the final cost. Most importantly, try to compare the difference between a solar company supplying the panel as opposed to buying on your own. Depending on where you look, the average price of a solar panel is usually between $200 and $1000. 

How Does Solar Benefit The Environment?

Other forms of fuel and electricity like generators and turbines pollute the air and environment. Solar is conservative and helps to reduce pollution and control pollutants. Solar energy is clean and helps control pollution enabling a better and cleaner environment.

Is It Safe To Install Solar Panels Myself?

With the progress being made with solar system installation you will likely be able to install your solar system panels yourself in the future. There are DIYs on how to install solar systems but it is highly recommended that you contact the Solar system installation company. 

Even though you may know how to install it yourself, you may not have access to the right authorities who approve projects like this. 

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners awards certifications to qualified Energy Practitioners. 

There are smaller solar panels used to light up bulbs and low-energy fans. Panels like these can be installed by yourself, easily. But to power up a building, consider consulting a professional.

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What Hazards Am I Likely To Face With Electric Solar Panels?

Like every other electrical appliance, you should note that solar panels use the same principles to supply electrical energy to the devices at home. 

So take charge and try to avoid all the problems associated with common electrical devices. The two major problems you should look out for are high voltages and fire breakouts. Try to ensure that all your electrical appliances are in good working condition and you have a professional check out your solar panel systems regularly. They will also help you recommend the best solar panels for home use.

Safety Principles For Solar Panel Use

The use of Whole-house Surge Protective Devices is important. It should be installed inside your electrical box. They help monitor and detect high voltages that are dangerous and send out a warning. Some solar panels now come with automatic rapid shutdown when a problem is detected.

In cases where your solar panel does not have an automatic rapid shutdown, you can purchase an external threat and shut down the system, and fix it with your solar system to help prevent electrical damages or even fire outbreaks.

Also, make sure that all your electrical devices are in sync with the version and model of your solar panel system. 

Making Sure Your Home Solar Installation Is Safe.

Life is precious, so you want to ensure that you take all necessary steps and precautions to ensure the smooth installation of your solar panel system. Ensure you:

  1. Consult and employ the services of only certified Solar panel installation companies.
  2. Allow professionals to examine your housing conditions and answer all questions you are asked, truthfully.
  3. Avoid DIYs. You may cause damages or unnecessary repairs and also pose a threat to your life.
  4. If your solar panel system is faulty, contact a professional for repairs, never attempt to do it yourself.
  5. Carry out regular checks and maintenance regularly on your solar panel system.
  6. Install an automatic rapid shutdown to help monitor surges and related dangers.

Electricity should not be played with. The fact that your solar panel generates electricity from a natural source, doesn’t make it harmless. Contact a professional when in need is and follow all instructions you are given.

How To Evaluate Certified Solar Installation Companies 

This is a very important step because there are so many companies that take care of solar panels. The market is becoming saturated, so it may be difficult to get the best solar panel installation companies. 

There are also possibilities that fake solar panels are being sold and it will take only a professional to identify a fake or faulty solar panel.

States take it upon themselves to have a comprehensive list of qualified and Certified installation companies. That is a good start. But we also know that a person may have the Certification but not be adequately qualified.

Consider consulting individuals or firms who already have their solar panels installed. 

Ask for details and a possible connection to the solar panel electricity company that supplied their solar panel kits and carried out the installation. This may also be a good way to find out if it is within your budget.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) has been in charge of monitoring qualified installation individuals and companies since 2003. These companies have to go through a series of tests and exams before being certified. 

This is done to make sure that they are actually qualified and not just paper-certified. So you can check the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners for companies that can be trusted to handle your installation.

Home solar system kits help you play your part in the maintenance of your solar panel system. Installation companies will not be there all the time to carry out checks on your solar system panels. So you would need to carry out random monitoring to ensure that your solar system stays up and running and avoids all the unnecessary damages or even repairs!

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