Building a Solar Powered Home: 5 Things to Consider
If you’ve been thinking about building the home, in the midst of selecting a layout plan, the amount of rooms that you want and the kind of roofing and flooring that you’d like, have you stopped to think about how great it would be if it was solar-powered? Aside from the fact that solar power gets its energy from the sun (which means that it provides free and renewable energy to its users), it also significantly reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that goes into the atmosphere, it’s low-maintenance and it also doesn’t cost a lot of money to keep solar panels operating.
Now before you call your contractor to draw up some plans, we do feel like it’s worth noting that there are a few things that you should strongly consider first. Just in case, should you choose to build a solar-powered home, the process can go smoothly and efficiently.
Do you have the money? While it’s true that once you have the solar panels in place, you won’t have to pay much for energy, that doesn’t mean that it’s free to install them. Typically, each solar array is around $7-10 per watt. So, for around 7.5-kW array (which equals to around 7,500 watts), you can get your house done for anywhere between $50,000-75,000. (Do keep in mind that you do receive tax credits for this kind of eco-friendly improvement. Visit IRS.gov for more details.)
Do you get a good amount of sunlight? In order for solar power to work, it’s going to need a lot of sun. So, if you happen to live in an area where there is a lot of rain or trees (things that make sun rays getting to your home more challenging) that’s something to think about. That’s why cities like Phoenix, AZ tends to be more ideal than Portland, OR. For the record, that doesn’t mean that you have to live in certain places to get a solar-powered home. It just means that in the areas where sunlight reaches ground level more often, that is where solar power proves to be much more efficient.
Do you know how much coverage you’ll need? Aside from how much access to the sun your house will get, something else that you should check is what the electricity costs are like for homes within your area so that you can get an idea of how many kWh you use each day. As we’ve previously mentioned, you’ll probably need around a 7.5-kW array.
Do you notice how many buildings are around your house? Aside from trees and weather, something else you should consider is how many other homes or buildings are going to be around your house. The main reason is due to the fact that different kinds of solar panels react in a variety of ways when it comes to shade. In order for your panels to be as efficient as possible, they need very few shadows cast on them.
Do you know the kind of maintenance that is required? If you were to get a new HVAC unit put into your home and it is ductless, one thing that you should ask the technician about is the kind of temperature control with ductless heating and cooling units that you will have. Well, if you’re going to install a solar-powered home, something that you should inquire about is the kind of maintenance that is required for optimum efficiency. Luckily, in many cases, it’s not much. So long as you make sure to hose the panels down once a season, that should keep them pretty clean. And if you have a professional inspect them once a year, that you should be all the maintenance that you need. For more information on how to build a solar-powered home, visit SolarWorld-USA.com.