Top considerations to make before purchasing a solar power system

26 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Getting a solar powered system is now a worldwide trend. Over the last few years, chatter about how energy-saving these systems are has been growing, and adverts all over show how much your energy bills decline when using these solar panels. However, the number of solar panels out there is puzzling, and they all come in different shapes and sizes. Since this is going to be a huge investment, you need to get it right the first time and make the most out of it. So here are some of the factors you need to look out for before buying such systems.

Solar site analysis

Your home's orientation will determine how and where you place your panels. You need to predict how the rays will strike your roof to know the best angle for your solar panels. Also watch out for shade that trees and neighbouring houses will cast on your home. Aim for an area not affected by shade during the solar window when the solar radiation is at its maximum, which is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

You could also use various solar site analysis tools that are available to help you detect surrounding obstacles and the shade they'll cast at different times of the year. Normally, all you'll have to do is orient them on the ground, and they'll give you a clear sun path diagram. Some of them are even linked to software programs for easier planning.

Check the PTC ratings

Solar panels differ in their ratings, and one thing that confuses most is reading the specifications of a solar panel. There's more than one rating. There's the STC (Standard Test Conditions) rating and the PTC (PVUSA Test Conditions). The STC rating is done by the manufacturer under ideal conditions. Unfortunately, these are not the 'real world conditions'. That's why the PTC ratings come up. They are independent tests done one the solar panels at more realistic conditions. These tests give a better and more ideal rating. Use the PTC rating if you're looking for efficient panels. The higher the PTC rating, the better the panel is.

 Carry out a load analysis

The solar ratings can be used to show how much electricity you can get from them. But before deciding on the best value, you need to know how much energy you use. A load analysis determines the energy you use in your home by taking into account the appliances and all other electronics. Call a qualified professional if you're looking for accurate figures. That way, you'll be able to purchase the right-sized panel.