Low Cost Solar Integration

Posted on: 18 May 2015

Contrary to common misconception, adding home solar panel systems to your house doesn't require a five or six figure investment and won't mean complete reliance on the sun for your electricity. There is a lower cost alternative that can be employed to give you a portion of the cost savings, without sacrificing the convenience of municipal power. Known as a grid-tie solar installation, this approach gives you greater flexibility, but you'll still need to do some checking to be sure of how to proceed.

Your Solar Profile

Several factors should be considered when planning a solar installation using a grid-tie system, the first of which being the amount of your home's energy use that you want off-set. Start by having a home energy evaluation done, and identifying what kind of energy use your home currently requires, and make plans to replace a percentage of that. This will allow you to determine how many solar panels you'll need, and what size they'll need to be in order to achieve this goal.

The total surface area you have available for your solar panels will also play a pivotal role in just how much of your energy use can be augmented. However, the more efficient your solar panels are the less of that space will need to be used, so look into newer photovoltaic products for the best electrical production. Top tier solar panels convert approximately 21% of the sun's energy into electricity, but improvements are being made all the time.

Actual Savings

For the sake of clarity, it's important that you understand that a grid-tie system doesn't actually power your home directly with the solar power you generate. Instead, that electricity is fed back into your municipal power grid where it's distributed to your neighbors, community or city along with electricity generated by more conventional means. Your savings come in the form of a service credit from your electric company, though not all such providers handle that credit in the same way.

As you make your plans, contact your local power company to find out just what you need to do in order to receive credit for the power you generate, and what additional steps you might need to take. This will ensure that there is no delay in getting your service credit. You can also check with your local or state revenue service to see if your solar panels will qualify for tax credits, refunds or rebates.

The grid-tie system is important and must be professionally installed to ensure that, during an outage, workers are not at risk of electric shock due to active feeds from private solar arrays. More than this, it allows you to avoid the cost of installing battery storage systems, or back-up generators for use when your solar production is low.