So, you’rethinking of investing in solar, but aren’t sure how to get started?
Here is a simple list of things to take into consideration when investing in solar and/or batteries for your home:
What do I want?
This might a weird question, since you’re already here reading up on solar. Well, in order to find the best solution for you, you should be aware that there are different ways of investing in and using solar energy (we are only referring to Photovoltaics, or electricity from solar, in this blog). In general, there are two ways for you to use solar power: Grid-tied vs. Off-grid
Your solar system is connected via a utility power meter (often a bi-directional smart meter) to the electric grid run by your local government of private companies. This means that you use some of the electricity you produce, but any power that you cannot use is fed into the grid. This gives you the option of exportingthat power back to your utility and gain credits with your local utility. You will then, typically, get a monthly statement, where the utility provides the exact calculation of how much power you’ve used, versus how much you’ve produced. We will talk later about your options in getting such a system. The benefit of such a system is that you can nicely offset any power you use at night with what you produced during the day and you don’t need batteries. The major downside is that your system will shut down as soon as the utility grid shuts down, to ensure the safety of anyone working on the grid and first responders. It also requires at least the help of a certified electrician and a lot of paperwork.
You’ve probably guessed it. In this case you are completely dependent on your solar panels and a large battery system. Solar power cannot be effectively used to power your home without buffer batteries. Simply put, your solar panel never generates exactly the same amount of power for any lengthy period, with often wild fluctuations throughout the day. Your appliances, however, want stable power with enough juice to keep them running. The benefit of such a system is that utilities don’t get to have a say in your installation, if there’s no possibility of you feeding power back into the grid. It is also much easier to install and the electrical work not as daunting. There are loads of DIY videos on YouTube, as well as books (recommendation in Blog post #3) that explain how to size and install an off-grid solar system. Grid-Tied systems typically are the more labor intensive systems.
The CraftStrom product ecosystem allows you to safely take advantage of still being connected to your local grid without having to work with installation companies, electricians or through lengthy permitting processes. Your power stays behind the meter!