Do you know your home’s energy efficiency needs?

U.S. Department of EnergyApril 2, 2019 1863 0

Know your home's energy efficiency needs

Turning to the power of the sun for your home’s electric needs is not only a good economic option, saving you thousands of dollars down the line, but one that will help the planet and the environment.

And there are several steps before you go ahead with the installation of solar panels on your roof.

One of them, says the U.S. Department of Energy is to investigate your home’s energy efficiency.

They recommend homeowners investigate their electricity usage, which can be done through a number of ways, including:

Home energy audits: A home energy audit can help you understand where your home is losing energy and what steps to take to improve the efficiency of your home.

Appliances and electronics: Use your appliances and electronics more efficiently, or consider investing in highly efficient products.

Lighting: Switch to energy efficient lighting, such as LED light bulbs.

Heating and cooling: If you use electricity to heat and cool your home, your heating and cooling needs will significantly affect the amount of solar energy you need. 

Review electricity bills to determine annual electricity needs. Your usage will be shown in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Review each month of the year; you may use more electricity in some months than others (e.g., if you run the air conditioner in the summer). 

Then divide the total amount of kWh by 12, to determine your monthly electricity consumption. For example, if that figure is 1000 kWh per month and you break that into 30, you will get 33 kWh per day.

Now imagine that a 250W solar panel produces 1kWh per day, it means you will need roughly 33 of these panels on your roof.

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Your Solar Potential

If after evaluating these factors, you determine that a domestic solar power system is the way to go, it’s time to analyze your solar potential.

Where you live in the country, the makeup of your home, trees in your property and the age of your roof can determine the amount of sun energy your system receives, and the size of the system itself.

Some things to consider:

Nearby shade trees. Consider your own or your neighbor's trees that are still growing and could shade your system in the future.

The age of your roof and how long until it will need to be replaced. If you expect to need a new roof within the next few years, you may want to consider making that improvement before the installation of solar panels.

Neighborhood or homeowner association (HOA) restrictions or approval requirements. Some states now have "solar rights provisions" limiting the ability of HOAs to restrict solar installations or limit solar access. These provisions vary state to state, and by municipality; check into your own HOA covenants and state laws.
It’s also beneficial to consult with a solar power installer who can provide an accurate assessment of your solar potential as well as detailed recommendations, estimates, and equipment expertise.

Options for going solar

Solar panel lease or purchase is something to consider. Buying and owning the equipment provides you with a tax credit and other advantages, but you may also opt for leasing it.

Consider any planned changes. If you will be purchasing an electric vehicle or are planning a home addition, your electricity needs may increase. If you are continuing to make significant changes to improve your home's energy efficiency, you may need less electricity than you used in the past.

To check the price for the installation of a solar energy system in your home or property, check out check the price for the installation of a solar energy system in your home or property, check out

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