In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Translation? It does not do to leave building codes, your home’s orientation, or the roof’s load capacity out of your calculations when planning a new home with the prospect of adding PV solar panels several years down the road.
If you envision eventually installing solar panels on your new home, these tips may save you time and money in the long run. You will need to decide if you are going to go with a roof or ground mount installation.
- Plan your solar panels to face south or southwest.
- Plan your roof slope to be between 15 and 40 degrees if choosing a rooftop installation.
- If planning a rooftop installation, consult with your builder or structural engineer to ensure that your planned roof can support the additional load of solar panels. Reinforcement may be necessary.
- Choose roofing materials that are compatible with solar panel installation and allow for easy penetration without compromising integrity, if you go with rooftop installation.
- An inverter converts DC power from the solar panels into AC power for household use. Plan on locating your inverter in a cool, well-ventilated area.
- During the construction phase, have your electrician install conduit and wiring from the roof (if choosing rooftop installation) to your planned inverter location. This will make it easier to connect the solar panels to the electrical system in the future. If you're planning a ground mount, conduit would be run from the inverter to the planned ground mount location.
- Ensure that your electrical panel has enough capacity to accommodate the additional power generated by the solar panels.
- Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting to reduce overall energy consumption. This will make it easier to meet your energy needs with solar power in the future.
- Familiarize yourself with local building codes and permit requirements for solar installations. Ensure your new construction complies with these regulations.
- Factor the cost of a future solar installation in your overall budget. While you may not install solar panels immediately, having a budget in mind can help with financial planning.
- Stay informed about local and federal incentives for solar installations. These incentives can significantly reduce the overall cost of going solar.
- Plan for potential expansion of your solar installation in the future. Ensure that your roof or ground mount has enough space to accommodate additional panels if needed.
- Research and identify reputable solar installation companies. It's helpful to have a good understanding of your future solar needs when consulting with installers.
Careful consideration ahead of time ensures smooth installation of a solar power system later. This proactive approach can save time, money, and potential complications down the road.
Click here for inspiration from homeowners who planned for the eventual addition of PV solar panels.
Click here to see the savings geothermal heating and cooling paired with PV solar panels can deliver.
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