Going Solar: Making An Educated Decision

Switching to clean, renewable energy is one of the best moves you can make today. And given the number of reasonably competent solar companies in Ontario, going solar is a relatively easy move.

Ontario adheres to A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy plan which aims to accelerate climate action by having energy-efficient homes. With the rising cost of utilities and the growing concern of climate change, taking part in the commitment to ensure a clean economy is a worthy cause.

Solar Energy For Your Home

Electricity is inarguably one of the most important forms of energy today, especially in households.

One way to generate electricity – sustainably at that – is to harness energy from the sun. With solar technologies like photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors that concentrate solar radiation, sunlight is converted into electrical energy.

Many households have substantial daily electric consumption and would do well to consider solar panel installations. If you want to go solar, resources are available to help you make an educated decision.

5 Key Considerations Before Going Solar

  1. Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Before making the switch to solar-generated electricity, you should be familiar with your total electricity usage. Explore low-cost and easy-to-implement efficiency measures before going solar. Find solutions to reduce the amount of electricity you need to produce with solar.

  1. Your Location

Your address is a huge factor in your solar-power efficiency. As solar technology uses both direct and scattered sunlight, the amount of power it generates depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches it.

What you need to know here is your location’s insolation rating (amount of solar radiation in your area in a given time period). It’s measured in kWh/m2/day, and it tells you how much sunlight your solar panels will have to convert into electricity. The higher the insolation value, the more electricity your panels will be able to generate.

Be mindful of your surroundings as well, as trees and tall buildings near you can be a detriment to your solar panels’ energy production.

If you need help determining whether your home is suitable for solar, several mapping services and tools are available. Although for an accurate assessment of your solar potential as well as detailed recommendations, estimates, and equipment expertise, you will need to work directly with a solar installer.

  1. Your Solar Electricity Needs

Again, as a homeowner, you should know your home’s electricity use. Your usage is shown on your electricity bills in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Review your bills to determine annual electricity needs.

Consider any planned changes like home additions that may increase your electricity needs. If you are making significant changes to improve your household’s energy efficiency, you may need less electricity than before. Your electricity needs will determine the appropriate type and size of the solar energy system for your home.

  1. Your Options

On Solar Technology Installation: You have the option of adding a solar energy system to your home’s rooftop or finding another way of using solar energy at home. There’s no one-size-fits-all solar solution, and you certainly don’t have to purchase and install a complete rooftop system. You can check with local installers for your options and your utility for programs available in your area.

On Solar Installers: Be sure to find qualified and insured solar installers. In choosing among solar companies in Ontario, ask for references and research their credentials. Obtain at least three bids for the same type and size PV system installation, then compare. It’s also important to know the right questions to ask when interviewing installers.

  1. Cost

While recent development in the solar power industry has considerably marked down the price of solar panels, making it more affordable for more people, residential solar-power setups can still be expensive, so you must understand what you’re getting into.

The cost of your solar energy system would depend on how much of it you would need. If you need less electricity, of course, your expense is lower. If you qualify for tax credits, that’ll bring the cost even lower. Then again, there are bills and additional utility fees you may need to pay.

It’s best you understand the financing and incentives available to you. Again, your solar energy system may be eligible for a tax credit. You can search for additional state, local, or utility incentives as well. Also, explore available solar financing options and choose what’s best for you.

Takeaway

Planning to power your home with solar energy requires not just commitment but an understanding of how the system works and how you can best benefit from it. Although it’s still quite costly compared to other sources, and the money back in energy savings may take quite a while, there’s a payoff in knowing you do the world good by reducing your carbon footprint.

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