With solar panels being more affordable than ever, coupled with tax breaks and incentives, creating solar energy for your home has become easier than ever before. Maybe you’re ready to tap into eco-friendly form of energy — if so, let’s take a deeper look into it. Ideally, everyone would have a solar-powered home and then everyone would reap the benefits. Solar panels are only available to property owners so anyone who is renting is out of luck.
Photovoltaics or panels that generate electricity from sunlight can be mounted to just about any type of roof — from slanted to flat and just about any material — metal, gravel, composite, wood, clay or slate. And since solar panels can last for more than 30 years, the roof must be in good condition so any cracks or leaks must be repaired prior to installation. The general rule is that you’ll need about 100 square feet of unobstructed, shade free roof space for every kilowatt generated. Objects such as trees, chimneys or other buildings can significantly reduce the performance of a solar system and since you want the panels to absorb as much sunlight as possible, the ideal solar array should face south — eastern or western orientations will also work but might not be as efficient.
When considering the size of your solar system, it seems logical to inquire about how many panels you will need but instead, ask yourself ‘how much energy do I want to generate?’. To get an idea of the appropriate system size for your household, check your most recent energy bill to see how much electricity in kWh (kilowatts sustained in an hour) you consume then you can calculate how many kilowatts of panels you’ll need to fit your energy requirements. Check with your local government, utility company and/or homeowners association to see if you can actually put panels on your roof. If panels aren’t an option for you, there are several other ways to capture the sun’s rays via personal solar chargers, solar pathway lights or buying solar power from your utility are just a few of the possibilities.