It’s not enough to simply invest in solar panels for your home if you plan on seriously impacting your energy costs. Solar energy will get you part of the way, but understanding how to maximize their production and efficiently putting that energy to good use will carry you much further. There is a lot you can do to improve your use of energy in your home, and with the right installation, your solar panels will help you drastically reduce your total energy cost.
Improving Your Solar Install
Even the best solar panels are limited by the nature of your installation methods. It starts with the orientation of your panels, and how their alignment relates to the path of the sun overhead. Apart from simply mounting them on a south facing slope, consider adding a motorized, self-adjusting frame as well.
Both two and three axis solar frames exist, which use the position of the sun and a small motor to continuously realign your solar panels for maximum energy production. By ensuring that the entire face of the panel is facing the sun throughout the day, you’re more likely to generate your solar panel’s maximum current from sunrise to sunset. Various models exist, and many solar contractors can help you choose the one that’s right for your home and your needs.
Improving Your Home
Even if you’re not relying on solar panels for most of your home’s energy needs, you can still cut your energy expenses with a few improvements. One of the most effective is simply to install an awning over your home’s southern exposure. This will cut down on the ambient heat striking the side of your home, and help keep the interior cool throughout the day, reducing the amount you spend on air conditioning.
With an awning in place, you can also consider opening up that southern exposure with large windows. As cooler temperatures become the norm, and the sun’s path tracks further south, large windows will help to catch more of the sun’s rays and heat your home in the winter. Add a natural stone or ceramic surface immediately in front of those windows, and you’ll enjoy radiant heat in your home long after the sun has set.
There are many ways to improve your home’s efficiency, and still more ways to boost the efficiency of your solar panels. A solar contractor (such as USA Solar Electric) can help fine tune your solar installation, and may be able to help with your energy efficiency too.