The consideration of investing in a solar energy system for your current home is a big one.
While you care about preserving the environment and sustainable living, you might be worried about the costs of solar, whether it will supply enough power to your house, and whether it will even be practical for your lifestyle.
Solar energy leads to large savings on your utility bills.
Many Kiwis are adopting solar for residential use, both to save money and to live more ‘green’ – but will it work for you, and your household?
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself, which reveal some important preparation tips for retrofitting solar to your house to increase your potential power savings.
Follow these tips, and you’ll prepare your home to make the most efficient use of solar, and get the best savings possible from your system.
Are you spending too much on wasted energy?
You might be unaware that your home may currently be wasting energy. That can make your monthly bill much higher than it needs to be.
If want to take full advantage of the cost savings of renewable solar energy, it’s important to find out where you’re wasting energy now.
We recommend you work with an energy provider who can assess your home and make a list of recommendations for saving on power costs.
There are quite a few independent vendors in New Zealand who can provide this performance assessment for you – including World Solar.
Have you insulated your home and sealed off air leaks?
An energy performance assessment, and your own inspection, might reveal areas where air is leaking from your home. This is very likely causing you to spend more on conventional energy to heat your house.
Make sure that you seal off any existing air leaks especially around windows and doors, and check that the floors, roof and walls of your home are insulated.
By doing this, you can ensure warmth and comfort at home, save much more on your current residential energy costs – and make solar retrofitting much more cost-effective.
Have you upgraded to energy-saving appliances?
Older, inefficient appliances, whether they’re refrigerators, air conditioners, or heaters, can contribute quite a large amount to energy waste.
Before retrofitting solar to your house, it’s a great idea to replace any outdated daily-use appliances with newer, energy-efficient versions.
This way you know, for example, that your future solar panels will power an already efficient house – not one that’s wasting power.
Does your home get enough sunlight?
On average, a NZ home receives 15 – 30 times more solar energy than it uses from gas and electricity.
That said, solar panels that get more direct exposure to strong sunlight produce power even more efficiently.
Are there any trees, or perhaps a chimney, blocking some sunlight from reaching your roof? Taking stock of this, and estimating how many daytime hours your rooftop receives direct solar radiation, will help you figure out how efficient your retrofitted solar system can be.
Do you know how large a solar energy system you’ll need?
Larger rooftop solar panels, and greater numbers of them, produce more power. But knowing your home’s energy needs will help you determine just how many solar panels you’ll need, as well as their size.
One way to calculate your home’s solar energy needs is to multiply current daily energy usage, in kilowatts, by 0.25. The answer will reveal how much power your home solar system will need to produce – and the size and number of panels you’ll need for your rooftop.
The bottom line?
Residential solar systems save money on utility bills, help New Zealand homeowners live ‘green’, and also save the environment.
By answering the 5 questions above and following the related tips, you’ll start your solar retrofit project with confidence, knowing your return on investment will be as high as possible.