This is a common question with quite a substantial answer. Brace yourself. How do I convert my house to solar power? There are, as you might imagine, quite a few steps to follow if you want to power your home with solar energy. They might be obvious once you read them but it’s always good to have a check-list at your side.
- Investigate your home’s current energy efficiency.
- Assess both your solar potential and potential limitations.
- Work out your electricity needs.
- Obtain quotes and site assessments from registered contractors.
- Know what grants and incentives are in place.
- Work with a trusted and registered company to install your system.
Breaking that down further:
Investigate Your Home’s Current Energy Efficiency
We’ve done a little legwork for a previous blog about understanding your home’s energy efficiency as not only does it help in planning your conversion to solar but it also helps you work out the payback period you will be facing.
You need to be well versed in what our monthly energy outgoings and electricity usage are. You should also consider low – cost and easy to implement measures before getting solar involved.
- Home energy audits. This will help you get to grips with where your house stands on efficiency. Are you losing energy? Can you improve on systems currently in place?
- Appliances and Electronics: Are you using them to their full potential? Are there more efficient products available?
- Lighting; choosing energy efficient lights can have a very positive impact on your monthly bills.
- Heating/cooling: If you use electricity across the board, for the day-to-day, lighting but also heating and cooling – your energy requirement is going to be significant. This is worth bearing in mind.
Assess Both Your Solar Potential And Potential Limitations
How much power you can generate via solar panels will be impacted by your roof’s aspect. While PV technologies capture both direct and scattered sunlight (you can read more about that here) , making it an attractive system, solar panels are utterly dependent on how much of the sun’s energy they can access and of course, the size of the solar panel system itself.
An assessment conducted by a registered and experienced installer will take these variables into account and give you detailed recommendations and quotes based on your location, aspect and household requirements.
They will look to the following:
- Obstructions; are there trees or buildings blocking your roof?
- What condition the roof is in. If repairs are required, it’s likely you’ll want to get those done before attaching solar panels to it.
- Planning permission. They will advise you on whether you need to talk to your local council about planning permission. This is impacted by the size of the system you want to have.
Estimate Your Solar Electricity Needs
–What is your average electricity usage? (This information is also helpful for your PV solar panel provider so they can determine how many solar panels you might need.)
– Review your energy bills. Give yourself the most accurate breakdown of your annual electricity needs that you can. Your usage will be shown in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Look at the changes across each month/season. It will increase your understanding and allow you to strategically plan.
– You don’t need to just consider your past energy consumption but also any planned future energy consumption. For example, if you’re considering an electric car or an extension your needs might grow. These are all items to think about when looking to improve your home’s green goals.
Obtain Quotes And Assessments For Solar Installers.
Before any work is carried out you should arm yourself with at least three quotes from solar installers. Of course you’ll see us there too and we’re here to answer any questions you may have, as well as provide an assessment and quote for works. In addition, we can also help you with the grant applications and walk you through what needs to be done in terms of planning permission.
When interviewing installers, consider asking the following questions:
- Do they have good customer references and testimonials
- Is the company properly licensed or certified? PV systems should be installed by an appropriately licensed installer.
- What are their warranties and do they offer follow up maintenance?
What Grants And Incentives Are In Place?
There are lots of carrots out there to encourage us to convert. Your provider will be able to talk you through the various incentives and grants available but here are a number of blogs we feel might be of interest to you at this point:
Once you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to walk away or bite the bullet and invest. Your installer will be able to assist you in answering most of the questions we’ve raised and help you complete a number of the steps.
They will assess and determine what size of system you need and what your roof can accommodate. They will also look at the system’s orientation so that it works to its optimum potential. And finally, they should ensure that the installation goes ahead smoothly, talk you through the finer details and address any concerns that may have arisen throughout the process.
Here’s the list of blogs we’ve mentioned above that we think you might find useful.