When you decide build solar PV system for your home, a lot of things you need to consider before spending money. And because that process is not like you go to Amazon website and buy something with just one click, it is a technical process. And on the way you go, you will make mistakes. So, in this article, I want to show you 7 common mistakes that everyone makes when build their solar PV system:
- Confusing daylight hours with sun hours
- Underestimating your power consumption and the various devices that you have in your house
- Not Decreasing Your Usage First
- Having Unreasonable or Unrealistic Expectations
- Bad Solar Panel Installation
- Taking a deal that’s too good to be true
- Buying Before Defining your Load
First, let’s discuss about mistake 1:
#1: Confusing Daylight hours with Sun hours
The Sun hour is a specific unit of measurement that we use in solar to define that period of time in the day, when we’re going to get the most out of solar panels . When it’s summer time we all think “Oh the day is super long we’ve got 12 hours of daylight”
Everything’s going to be great and solar panels are going to be working awesome. However, even in the the middle of summer – in July, the Sun may rise at 6am and down at 9pm, but you’re only getting 7 hours in the middle of that day, Where your solar panels working anywhere close to its maximum capacity. The rest of the day, the Sun will still shine, the solar panel will still work but at a very low rate.
#2: Underestimating your power consumption and the various devices that you have in your house
We all have a bunch of different devices in our homes but not very many of us know how much they’re consuming. So how are we supposed to know what this stuff consumes? There’s a couple different ways:
- You can get a device that will measure the electricity consumed over time and you can do some math
- Most appliances and electronic devices in your home will come with information from the manufacturer that gives you an estimate of especially appliances.
As you see here there’s an energy guide and it tells you an estimate of how much this device is going to consume.
Let pay special attention to air conditioners, heaters, blow-dryers, microwaves, stoves, refrigerators. At least get a grasp on those big devices you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to consume.
#3: Not Decreasing Your Usage First
There are lots of other ways that you can save on your usage before installing solar panel system and it’s a big deal (we are talking thousands of dollars on a whole home system) just by making some careful upgrades first before you do.
#4: Having Unreasonable or Unrealistic Expectations
However, you got interested in solar whether you’re going wanting to go green or you want to save money, you need to know the limitations of what you’re getting into.
It’s very tempting to go out to Harbor Freight or to Amazon or whatever find up a solar panel kit, it’s affordable $250 – $300. You have great visions of of doing lots of stuff with this system.
I get questions all the time “I want to power my refrigerator with the solar panel”
Ok well, let’s think about this for a second. You got a 100 watt kit that you bought, but you have a 600-watt refrigerator. How’s that going to work?
Your solar panel would have to work six times longer than your refrigerator and your refrigerator runs 24 hours a day. It’s just not a realistic expectation and that’s just one example. I’d recommend that you start small something like a light and then you can scale up later.
#5: Bad Solar Panel Installation
This is not giving enough thought to how you’re going to mount the solar panel and all of the considerations that go into that. There are lots of things to consider when mounting your solar panel. I’ll just talk about really quickly
- It has to face South
- The angle that you mount the solar panel needs to be equal to latitude of where you live. If you can’t move it to track the Sun it needs to be approximately the angle of latitude
- This is not very well known is that solar panels are designed to run cool, they don’t like heat. That’s counterintuitive because they operate in the Sun but enough solar panels optimal range is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t leave enough air gap behind the solar panel or you put in an area that’s going to see excessive heat, it will never reach its rated efficiencies
#6: Taking a deal that’s too good to be true
Usually this is going to be with the grid-tied solar system – the least systems, people are selling door-to-door now. But it can also apply to off-grid solar system as well.
We’ve all heard the phrases “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” and “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”
When someone comes to your door and it’s telling you a solar panel system completely free to you, that’s going to completely eliminate your electric bill or decrease – it to almost nothing, there’s going to be some drawbacks to that.
You need to look into the finer print and the drawbacks of what you’re getting into.
Another scenario is that you do a lot of research before buying and you find a pallet of solar panels for 30 cents per watt. Well chances are that’s probably going to be B grade cells or something are just cosmetic. But they can very much affect the performance of your solar panel.
So know what you’re buying, get some pictures beforehand, get some guarantees or whatever before you buy something like that.
#7: Buying Before Defining your Load
The one that I made myself so I know what I’m talking about here.
This is buying solar panel system before having any clue what you want to do with it. That’s a little like buying a house without knowing who’s going to live there and what your needs are.
You may get a good deal on that one bedroom townhome. That’s amazing but then you promise your brother’s family that he can come live with you and he’s got four kids. How’s that going to work?
A lot of stuff of building solar system, just be patients. Knowing what you’re doing, do the research cover all the angles, ask people who have done this before and then decide what you want before you go out and and buy something.
I hope you learned a few things maybe I warned a few people before they make a mistake.