Electricity plays a vital role in modern homes, given the fact that many domestic appliances require power for them to work. For instance, most people own and utilize TVs, refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves almost daily. Moreover, these appliances can only operate with a sufficient power supply. As a homeowner, there are several sources of electricity you can opt for depending on your needs and budget.
The most obvious option is to use the national grid, which sources its power from steam or hydro generators. Another one that you could consider is the use of solar panels. The latter method of power generation has constantly grown over the years and is a perfect choice for those looking to invest in green energy.
If you’re looking to construct a solar-powered house, there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind. The most important factors include the dominant weather conditions in your area and the roof’s elevation. You’ll also have to shop for the best solar powered generator for you to enjoy the full benefits of this clean-energy project. This article will provide a detailed explanation of all the factors mentioned and more.
What is solar power and how does it work?
Before getting into the nits and grits of this topic, you must understand solar power generation basics. Solar power is electrical energy tapped from the sunlight using special panels called photovoltaic (PV) panels. Among the main factors that have held back this technology over the years is the fact that it has very low efficiency.
As such, one will need to ensure that the panels cover a huge area for them to supply a sustainable amount of power. That means any person looking to install the same in their home should be ready to spend a lot of money. This makes the initial setup of solar power more expensive than other energy sources. The advantage, however, is that solar panels require little to no maintenance once the installation is done. Furthermore, when efficiently used, it can significantly lessen and even eliminate your monthly electricity bills. Below is a guide on how you can build your solar-powered home.
Consider the orientation of your roof
It’s important to note that not all types of roofing are suitable for solar projects. The size and orientation of your home’s roof determine whether the installation of your solar panels will be a success. Therefore, if you’re just beginning the construction process of your house, make sure you keep this factor in mind.
So, how should you design your roof to meet the needs of this project? The first thing you should consider is the direction of the sunlight. This factor varies with locations. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that’ll work for all projects. It’s recommended that you consult professional solar panel technicians in your area to know the ideal orientation of your roof for maximum power generation.
The solar panels should always be positioned to face south and tilted accordingly as a rule of thumb. The angle is between 30 and 40 degrees in some areas, while others require less or more tilting. Professional installers use the latitude of your home to determine the best angle to use in the process.
The reason why this is important during installation is because solar panels generate maximum energy when the sunlight hits them perpendicularly. Having a perfectly-sloped roof gives the technicians an easier time, which also means you’ll spend less on the installation of the panels. Another reason why solar panels should be tilted is to allow snow to slide off during the winter season.
Make sure there is access to sunlight
The primary source of energy in any solar project is sunlight. As such, the position of your house and its surroundings should be your main concern. The roof should be fully exposed to sunlight throughout the day. Keep in mind that any physical thing that obscures the sun can significantly reduce the amount of power you’ll enjoy in your home.
How, then, do you ensure maximum sunlight exposure? The first thing you should do is eliminate any tall trees around your home. These trees’ shades can frustrate the operation of your solar panels, especially during the morning or evening hours. While at it, also consider building your home away from tall buildings.
Decide the rainwater collection point
Once you’re committed to this project, many areas of your home’s setup will be affected. Perhaps the most significant of all is the flow of rainwater. Since the solar panels are mounted on the roof, they’re likely to interrupt water flow to your collection point.
Therefore, you should decide where to collect the water and then install the panels on the opposite end. For instance, if your plan is to have a collection point on the front side, you can consider mounting your power system on the backside of the roof. This way, the water will run smoothly through the front gutters. The ranking equipment and wire harnesses should also be installed in such a way that they don’t interrupt the flow of water.
Keep your energy needs in mind
Everyone has specific demands when it comes to energy consumption. While building your solar-powered home, you need to have an estimate of how much energy will be required to run all domestic operations.
For instance, do you have heavy-current appliances that’ll be operational most of the time? Such devices or machines include electric cookers, water heaters, and air conditioners. Of course, the amount of energy they’ll consume will depend on their usage. Another factor that’ll come into play here is the brand. Some manufacturers design their appliances to be energy efficient.
If you’re not sure about these needs, you can consult an electrician and let them estimate the total value. Once you have an idea of how much power you need, the solar panel installers will recommend the ideal size of your roof. Remember, the more the area is covered by solar panels, the higher the amount of power generated.
Remember the weight of the solar system
One thing that many homeowners fail to remember when constructing their solar-powered homes is the weight of the panels. This system comes with some considerable weight that requires strong roofs to support it.
Therefore, you must invest in a stable roof that comfortably supports this weight. This can be achieved by using strong and durable materials to withstand such conditions. The design of the roof will also play a significant role in its ability to support your solar power system.
Research the state laws in your area
Every area has several state laws governing the construction industry. Since this is a complex project, it’s very easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. This could be frustrating, especially if you’re forced to redesign the whole building again.
To avoid finding yourself in such a scenario, it’d be wise to research all applicable laws before commencing the project. Consult all relevant authorities to understand what you should or shouldn’t do during your project.
It’s also worth noting that regulations must be kept in mind when designing an energy system that exceeds a certain power output. Failure to do so will land you in trouble, and that could also lead to unnecessary financial frustrations. So, to be on the safer side, you might want to present your proposed project to the relevant authorities for approval.
Prioritize safety and security
Safety is paramount in any construction project, especially one that involves electricity. Poor installation of the cables can result in fatal accidents. As such, it’s important that you mount your panels so the cables can safely run to your home’s distribution point. While at it, make sure the wiring system of the whole house is properly done to avoid short circuits and other unnecessary issues.
The security of your solar panels is another important factor to keep in mind. Of course, professional installers are aware of this and will ensure that the panels are tightly secured to the roof. It’s still crucial, however, that you confirm the security of this system for your peace of mind.
Solar power has become quite popular in many homes today because of its benefits. Despite demanding a huge investment initially, it’s still one of the cheapest sources of energy, considering that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance after installation. However, to enjoy the best that solar energy can offer, you’ll need to have an effective plan in place.
Building a solar-powered house requires the services of expert installers who will recommend the best size and orientation of the roof. Remember, all these factors are determined by the latitude of your area and the expected electrical needs of your home. Therefore, be sure to do your research before commencing the project. Make sure you understand all the relevant laws in your area to avoid any legal issues. Also, prioritize the security of your panels and the safety of those who will be using them.