4 Ways to Maximize the Value of Your Solar Install
Installing a new solar system is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while also cutting your utility costs. While many homeowners dream of going entirely off-grid, not all homes can achieve 100 percent energy independence. Not everyone can simply add more panels to generate more power, but you do have other options to maximize the value of your install.
There are two broad categories of steps you can take to get the most from your solar panels: reducing energy usage and increasing output from your system. Below you will find four tips to help you achieve these goals.
1. Perform an Energy Audit
If you plan to install solar panels, you should evaluate your home’s current energy usage. An audit can help you to locate significant sources of energy usage in your home and even identify straightforward ways to reduce your consumption. For example, energy waste from drafty windows or leaky HVAC ducts can be particularly critical problems to identify and address.
If you spend some time and money on existing problems, this can help minimize your current utility costs and reduce your solar requirements. Additionally, a good understanding of your home’s energy usage will also help you to better plan and price your solar panel installation.
2. Consider Replacing Old HVAC Equipment
Nearly a third of the typical US home’s energy usage is devoted to heating and cooling. If your home includes an older air conditioning system, then you may be wasting a considerable amount of money every month. Check your system’s efficiency by looking up its SEER rating. Modern systems offer SEER ratings of 15 or higher, while many older systems may only provide single-digit ratings.
A new AC system can be a considerable expense, but it’s worth it in the long run. A newer, more efficient air conditioner may reduce your cooling costs by 20 to 40 percent; an energy reduction that large may help to pay for the unit itself eventually.
3. Consult With Your Installer
Once you’ve done what you can to reduce your overall energy consumption, consult with your solar panel installer. The right installer should be able to use the results of your energy audit to design a system that fits your lifestyle. Choosing an appropriate number of solar panels for your situation ensures that you do not pay for extra capacity that you do not need.
During your consultation, be sure to discuss your overall goals. A system designed to cover 50 percent of your energy costs will look different from a system designed to cover 75 percent or 90 percent of your energy costs. Your installer can help you to find the right balance between cost and system capacity for your home’s specific situation.
4. Make Necessary Landscaping Adjustments
When you’ve done what you can to reduce your energy usage, the next step is to increase the output of your panels. You can’t control the weather, but you can control landscaping shade. Large trees may diffuse or entirely block the light from reaching your roof, which can reduce the maximum output of your panels. Your contractor can help to provide advice on which trees may be creating problems.
When you make these changes, keep in mind that removing the shade can increase the heat load on your home’s interior. The extra load may cause your HVAC system to work harder, ultimately increasing energy costs. You may be able to offset this if you plant smaller shade trees or install window tint in rooms that receive a large amount of sunlight.
Mauzy Heating, Air & Solar can help you to design a solar power system that fits your budget and your energy requirements. Get in touch with us today to start planning your new solar system!