If you’re looking for good deals on solar energy, the very best we have found is from Wholesale Solar. Here’s how to get started with designing a new renewable energy system using their online tools.
The first step is to examine your energy use today. Where can you conserve? If you can lower your energy usage, you won’t have to spend as much on oyur solar PV system.
Many people mistakenly believe they need to design their solar system based on the area of their floor plan or roof – not true. The number you actually need is your kilowatt hours usage. Once you’ve analyzed and lowered your energy use, check how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use per month.
On the grid and off the grid – which is right for you?
There are different reasons for adding solar to a home – some people simply want to save money on their electricity bills, while others want complete independence from their utility company. Your reasons for wanting solar will affect your decision to either stay on or go off the grid.
Grid tie systems:
– supplement your power requirements from grid
– require a connection to your utility company
– route your excess production into the grid
– don’t require a battery backup (but when the grid goes down, your system will too)
– allow you to live and work in areas where electricity is unavailable (or too expensive)
– independence – be your own power company!
– can use a complete DC system
– inverter required for standard AC appliances
Many people choose a grid tie system with battery backup in order to get the easiest, most flexible system, but note that these systems are initially more expensive.
How to calculate an off-grid system
As mentioned above, you should try to downsize your power usage before you begin calculating your solar requirements. When you’re ready, Wholesale Solar provides online calculators for both on grid tie and off-grid systems:
You will need three numbers:
1. Average number of kWh used per month
2. The percentage of power you want to generate with solar power, i.e. 1–100%
3. Number of peak sun hours per day
(For the last figure, they provide a solar map you can refer to.)
This can give you a rough calculation of your solar costs. There’s no substitute for experience, though, so we recommend talking to the staff at Wholesale Solar. In addition to their expertise in designing renewable energy systems, they’ll be able to tell you if any tax credits or other incentives are available to you.
See more at wholesalesolar.com.