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Step number one in getting started with any solar power setup in your home is to perform an energy audit. This is where you evaluate the amount of power (in kilowatts/hour or kilowatt hours) that you'll need in any given day.


You will also need to take into account the site where your home is located. Geographical considerations such as climate, number of peak hours of sunlight per day, number of days of peak sunlight per year, and average rainfall will play a big role in how efficient a solar system you can design.

Any solar electric system will need, at the very least, the following components:

a collector (usually solar panels);
a mount (to put it on);
an inverter (to convert 12 volt DC power to 110 volt AC power);
a circuit breaker or fuse box and fuses & switches (to regulate the power transferring from the panels to your outlets and/or storage batteries);
(optional) one or more storage batteries;
(if you get a battery) a charge controller (to keep from over- or undercharging the battery and severely reducing its lifespan);

Once you've purchased all the elements of the solar system you've just designed, installation is fairly easy, though the simplicity of installing a solar power system does not mean you should necessarily do it yourself. There are numerous advantages to hiring a professional installer with training in both electrical systems and solar electrical systems, including knowing how to set everything up to code, should the building inspector ever have the need to look it over (ie. for insurance purposes).

If you find the right solar professional, they will instruct you in those parts of the installation that you are capable of and allow you to do some of the work yourself, saving you on some of your labor costs.

Even if you don't decide to have a professional install your solar system, it would be well worth your while to consult one with your design to make sure it's a viable design, one that's taken all the necessary considerations into account. For example, there is a wide selection of panels, controllers, inverters, and batteries, each one manufactured with different requirements, each one not necessarily interchangeable with the other.

To further minimize the chances of incompatibilities between components in your solar system, consider purchasing all the elements of your set up from the same company and consulting with someone on their sales team that is knowledgeable in solar electric power.

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In fact, many companies sell solar kits that contain all the components you would need to set your house up with solar power, with the certainty that all the components are compatible.

Whatever you decide, you don't have to break the bank to try and supplant your entire power grid reliance with solar power right away and all at once. If you're interested in availing yourself and your household of the multifold benefits of solar power, start small. Get yourself a single solar panel and see how well that works for you. When you're ready, add on more panels, batteries, etc., one at a time as you can afford it and as your needs evolve.

Retrieved from (ArticlesBase SC #125012)
Michelle Bery - About the Author:
For easy to understand, in depth information about home solar electric system visit our ezGuide 2 Biogreenlife.
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