If you’re looking for a reliable, clean way to power your home, solar panels could be a great option! Typically installed on the roof, solar panels work tirelessly to produce energy from the sun to power your home.
It sounds simple, but every solar panel installation is unique. That’s why Rockland and Orange County residents turn to solar companies in NY to design their systems. Curious about how the process works? Take a look.
Decide what components to include
Solar energy systems are comprised of a network of parts that work together to convert, store and send energy where it needs to go. Your system may include the following primary components:
- Solar modules: Also called solar panels, modules are the part of a solar installation that most people think of. They convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. It’s important for solar companies in NY to design a system that includes reliable, efficient solar modules.
- Inverter: This component doesn’t get as much attention as solar modules, but your system couldn’t work without it. The inverter converts DC output from the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that the appliances and lights in your home need to operate.
- Battery: Your solar system may or may not include a battery. It’s usually only worth the additional investment if you live off the grid and need access to energy collected by your solar panels at night and on stormy days.
- Solar charger controller: If your system has a battery, you’ll want a solar charge controller, too. This component regulates the voltage and current leaving the solar panels to prevent overcharging the battery, helping to prolong its life.
Calculate the load
Once you determine the parts you want to include in your solar array, the next step in the design process is to figure out how much energy your home consumes. The easiest way to do this is to examine your energy bills from the past 12 months. If you have air conditioning, you’ll undoubtedly notice that summer electricity bills are higher.
Now it’s up to you to decide how much of your energy bills you want to offset with solar panels. The more energy you offset, the larger your solar energy system must be. A larger system is more expensive up front, but it will provide a higher return on investment in the long run. For your consideration, a typical residential solar array is 5 kilowatts (kW.)
Remember, you can always reduce your home’s energy consumption with appliance upgrades and air sealing before installing solar panels. You also have the option to start with a smaller solar installation and expand its size in the future if you choose.
Work with your solar company to determine how much energy you want your solar panels to produce each year. Keep in mind that summer electricity production will be higher than in winter, but this is actually quite perfect since you consume more energy running the air conditioner in the summer.
Size the solar array
The number of solar panels you need depends on several factors, including your home’s energy load, the panels’ efficiency rating, climate and factors at the installation site such as shade and roof orientation. Solar companies in NY take each of these factors into careful consideration to determine how many panels you need to accomplish your energy production goals.
There’s no need to worry about producing an exact amount of energy. Fluctuations in light exposure and energy consumption mean the system will either under- or overproduce most of the time. If it underproduces, you simply draw power from the grid (or your backup battery.) If it overproduces, excess power is sent back to the grid and your utility company credits your account (or the energy charges your backup battery.)
For your consideration, many 5kW solar arrays require 25 solar panels.
Size other system components
Solar companies in NY use their expertise to select and size the inverters according to each individual project’s needs. They can also select and size a battery and solar charge controller if needed. Selecting the proper number and size of solar energy components is important to help your new installation perform at its peak.
Select the ideal installation location
With a preliminary design selected, now your solar company will make sure you have ample space for installation. The roof is the ideal place to install solar panels, but if you don’t have enough room, you may need to scale the project down. Roofs with less-than-ideal tilts and orientations may require you to get special solar panel mounts, which your company can help with.
Clearly, the design process is complex and should be left in the hands of professional solar companies in NY. Contact a qualified contractor in New York to get the design process underway!