What is a solar ready home?

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The U.S. Green Building Council states that installing solar panels can help you significantly minimize energy bills, earn tax rebates, help the environment and start saving money the first day you use them. Solar energy can generate electricity for your home through a process called photovoltaics (PV).

If you're ready to reap the benefits of solar energy, it's important to understand what it means to have a solar ready home, the different types of solar sources available and the various components that will be needed.

What Does 'Solar-Ready' Mean?

A solar-ready home is one that is built and equipped so solar technology can be added whenever you're ready. If your budget doesn't allow for the installation of solar PV to be added at the current time, your home will be ready for proper and easy installation at a later date.

According to Solar Simplified, a solar-ready building will give you flexibility in a changing energy market and the ability to decide when it's the best time to add solar components. Even though these components may be added at a later date, it's important to note that the building must still be designed in such a way that solar systems can be easily added.

What Are the Different Solar Sources?

Your lot, home, budget and sun exposure should be considered when choosing solar power. The following are a few of the options.

  • Monocrystalline silicon solar PV - These are considered the most efficient type of solar panels.
  • Polycrystalline silicon - Polycrystalline is considerably less costly and delivers efficiency close to that of monocrystalline panels.
  • Thin film solar - Thin film solar PV is lightweight and portable. Solar Power World states that these types of panels are a good option if you require less power.
  • Concentrated PV cell - This type is very efficient, but needs a solar tracking and cooling system.

What Needs to Be Considered for a Solar Home?

There are several items that need to be considered to make sure the solar system you install will work as efficiently as possible.

  • Lot - The path of the sun at different times during the year in relation to your house will need to be considered. A shading analysis that tracks the sun over your home should be conducted to determine if any obstructions need to be removed.
  • Trees - The number and size of the trees surrounding your home will affect the ability to harness and use solar power. Roofs should be built so that solar panels won't be shaded by trees or any other type of structures, particularly on the south side.
  • Roof - The structure of your roof will be evaluated to determine where and how it can support a PV system. The lines on your roof will determine how the solar panels will be placed in order to work most effectively.
  • Materials - While solar systems may vary, there are generally several types of equipment you'll need. Primary materials include solar panels, batteries, a charge controller and a power inverter.

What Are Solar Ready Components?

There are many important components involved in a solar-ready home. According to the Southwest Technology Development Institute, the following are several evaluations that will need to be conducted.

  1. Initial evaluation - The home's location and the solar resources available will need to be evaluated.
  2. Roof orientation - It's necessary to evaluate the orientation and pitch of the photovoltaic array and the roof.
  3. Weight support - The roof must be able to bear the weight of a solar system.
  4. Chimneys & vents - The location of roof vents, chimneys and gables will need to be considered.
  5. PV output & inverter - There should be a minimum distance between the inverter and the PV array output.
  6. Mounting systems - It's important to plan the location of the rack and module mounting systems.
  7. Metal conduit - There will need to be a routing system to bring the DC wiring from the PV output to the location of a DC panel or the DC disconnect.
  8. Photovoltaic equipment - An accessible location and adequate space should be available for photovoltaic equipment.
  9. Size of PV system - There are requirements to be considered regarding the size of a PV system.
  10. Photovoltaic circuit breaker - It's necessary for a location to be made and labeled for a future circuit breaker for the PV system.

Can Solar Energy Be Sent Back to the Power Grid?

Solar energy can be sent back to the grid. How this will specifically work is dependent on each individual energy company and the rules and regulations they have in place. It will be necessary for you to call your electric company and find out what types of options they have available.

If your electric company doesn't accept solar energy back to the grid, you may want to consider using battery storage for any extra solar power. Another option may include limiting the amount of solar you're producing.

Who Are the Top Solar Manufacturers?

There are several excellent solar manufacturers that can provide you with quality panels. A solar company should have experienced technicians and understand your particular energy market. CertainTeed features different types of solar panels, including Apollo. They have been a leader in the building products industry for over 110 years.

A solar-ready home is a crucial part of a zero energy ready home. High Performance Homes (HPH) can help you design a home that's energy efficient, beautifully designed and solar-ready. They offer customers a unique combination of innovative technology and gorgeous design. Contact HPH for more information.

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