Making the Most of Your Solar Power System

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Solar energy is the most renewable and cleanest type of energy. It is captured through panels that produce electricity or heat.

For those thinking of installing a solar power system on their roof, there are several factors to consider to make the most of it.

It’s very important for the household that will use solar energy to have energy efficiency measures in place. Solar installers usually recommend energy efficiency measures before going ahead with the job, so it may be an idea to perform a home energy audit before getting started with solar power.

There is a wide range of options in terms of manufacturers so do shop around and find out which solar panel is the most suitable for the type of roof you have. Also look for solar panels that use higher grade cells which means the system’s rate of conversion of sunlight to electricity will be higher. This is improving all the time so get the highest you can find.

Annother aspect of home solar power to bear in mind is so-called insolation, which means making sure the panels are exposed to as much sunlight as possible. To find out how much you can expect to get in terms of solar radiation, check out the National Renewable Energy Lab’s calculator.

The angle (‘slope’) at which the solar will be mounted on the rooftop and the orientation are of paramount importance. The closer to the equator, the flatter it can be. The farther from the equator, it should be getting as much light as possible from the South. In the United States, the ideal slope ranges between 20 and 60 degrees.

Shading is another factor to be taken into consideration. It is important that that all panels should be exposed to the sun as they are all connected to one single inverter. Trees are common sources of shading so make sure any trees around the building are trimmed. Buildings and power poles are also sources of shading so the panels must be placed in a way that they do not get shaded by them.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • http://stlouisrenewableenergy.blogspot.com Green Builder, Scotty

    I agree that when weatherization and Solar Photovoltaic systems are installed on a Home it increases the needed Clean Energy Production needed to reduce climate change and Americas dependance on Oil Imports. *****5 Stars

  • Amanda

    These are really important points that you mention for home owners. For business owners who are looking to finance their commercial solar system, the list gets a little longer. This is a good Commercial Solar checklist