As more homeowners become environmentally-conscious, the idea of adopting alternative energy is growing in popularity. One of the more popular options has always been solar power, using the warmth of the sun to produce energy. As technology has evolved, it’s now possible to install solar panels in residential homes, allowing families to “get off the grid” and say goodbye to high electrical bills. While installing solar panels requires specialized knowledge, it has been made easy enough for almost any person to complete.
The Right Calculations
Before installing the panels, a person needs to determine how many will be needed. To do so, an electric bill from the previous month showing usage from the previous several months will be needed. Using an online solar calculator, it’s important to find out the average number of hours of sunlight where you are located. After doing so, it’s a matter of dividing how many watts of power a home uses daily by the hours of sunlight, and then taking the number of watts needing to be produced daily and dividing that into the type of panel needed. Solar panels come in different watts, such as 500 watts and so on, so individual results will vary as to how many will be needed.
Get Off The Grid
While the initial cost of converting to solar energy can sometimes run into tens of thousands of dollars, there are many options homeowners have to greatly reduce the cost. One of the most popular is to do business with a solar energy provider, which is run very similar to a regular electric company. The solar energy provider will evaluate the home and its energy needs, install all necessary equipment for free in exchange for the homeowner agreeing to pay a monthly fee, much like they had been doing with electricity. To make sure this will be economical, compare the current electric rates with what the solar energy company is quoting. Usually the savings will be substantial, so many people opt for this method. Others are determined to go their own way, and build their own panels with materials found in hardware stores or obtain discarded panels in need of slight repairs. Whatever method is chosen, people determined to “get off the grid” usually find a way to do so.
If installing panels yourself, it’s not that difficult. Locate them facing the sun and with little obstruction to sunlight, attaching them to the rafters to ensure a secure hold. After drilling the holes and bolting them in place, make sure they are flush with the roof so they will be able to draw in as much energy as possible. Once all this is done, simply connect them to the power inverter. A line should be run from the solar panels to the power inverter, which is found inside the home. Once this is done, a homeowner is officially “off the grid” and using nature’s energy to power his house and everything inside. Installation is pretty easy, with most panels able to be installed in no more than two or three days if all goes as planned.
Jason Kane is a former construction foreman and avid blogger. Jason writes for www.FallProtectionUSA.com, a provider of construction safety equipment.