Biggest Mistake When Buying A Home With Solar
Even though solar has been around for a while, most non-solar homeowners do not understand just how it works. At first, the thought of buying a home with solar panels gets people excited. Everyone loves the idea of generating their electricity and paying lower electric bills. They typically do not grasp the limitations of the system and use electricity liberally. When the first bill arrives, they are shocked to learn that just because they bought a home with solar doesn’t mean they are generating unlimited energy.
Limitations of Buying A Home With Solar
Every household situation is different. Home solar systems are built to meet the specific power goals of the homeowner going solar. During the design phase, an energy consultant will look at their electric use over twelve months and consider everything from household size, near future appliances purchases, to the direction the home faces. If a household of 3 sells their home with solar to a larger family, chances are it will not be a big enough system to handle the new residents.
There are options available if this is the case. The new homeowners could cut their electric usage via more efficient appliances or monitoring coupled with smart home technology. Or they can upgrade their solar system outright. If you are unsure of the direction to take most solar installers can perform a system check and verify that all your equipment is functioning correctly.
In this case, a homeowner may opt to add more solar panels. Depending on the age of the solar system and the space available to expand, it could be an easy process. If it’s an older system, it may be challenging to match and add panels with the exact electrical specifications. Solar technology has gotten more efficient as the years have gone by, and many panels that were once popular are no longer produced. However, if the system is relatively new, it’s possible the panels are still being manufactured, so matching the aesthetic and electrical requirements would not be an issue. If space is limited, additional panels could be installed on a garage, gazebo, or suitable structure.
Upgrading Inverter Technology
When your panels generate solar energy, it is in direct current or DC. Since your home is powered by alternating current or AC, a conversion must take place. This happens via a solar inverter. Once popular for its simplicity of installation, the string inverter comes with some significant drawbacks. It is only capable of producing as much electricity as the least efficient panel in the string. So if a panel in that string is partially shaded or otherwise not producing as it should, it affects the production of the entire system.
An option for increasing your system’s efficiency and overall performance would be to upgrade to micro-inverters or install power optimizers. Microinverters are attached to each panel on an array. This way, the conversion from DC to AC happens at the source. If there is a panel failure or a shade obstruction, it will not affect the entire system.
In the same way, power optimizers can be installed on each panel, but instead of converting the electricity, it manages the flow of DC before it hits the string. This optimization makes the conversion to AC easier and resolves the efficiency issue if a panel is obstructed by shade. Both microinverters and power optimizers allow for monitoring the performance of the system down to the panel level.
If you’ve finally got the first bill from your new solar home or have received your True-Up bill and realize there’s a need to check your system’s health, contact us. We can evaluate your current situation and make the appropriate recommendations so your home solar system can meet your family’s needs. Call or text us today at 951-678-7733