Frequently Asked Question

How do I add a solar system to my home?

We have seen an explosion in questions that refer to grid tied systems. Specifically how do you select a system that is right for you. 

I have been so busy completing calculations for others that I have not had time to do the same for my house. So let me use my house as an example.

Let me first correct one misunderstanding that happens often. I have a 1800 square foot home. The size of the home has nothing to do with how much solar you need. It's all about power.

Step #1
If you are serious about using solar you need to walk around your house and look at ways to conserve. From the first day I moved in I have keep this in mind. This doesn't mean that you have to live like a hermit in the dark. If you drove by my house on any given night you would think I had a party going on. If I am awake almost every light is on with something going on in each room. 

Look at your lights. I use all compact flourescent lights (CP light), which are still bright but save substantial power. For example, a CP light that equals a 75 watt bulb uses only 20 watts. I saved 55 watts of power, per bulb.

Look at your appliances. Every appliance I have bought from the refrigerator, to the washer, to the oil burner (heat) are all Energy Star rated products. This simply means that they are design to conserve power and natural resources. The government sets a standard and all Energy Star products have to exceed this standard to carry the Energy Star label.

Step #2
Once you have conserved. Dig out your utility bill. You want to find out the average amount of power you use each month. I average 575 kWh per month. kWh stands for kilo-watt-hours.

You will find a US map showing sun patterns. Simply compare the color of the region you live in to the colors of the charts below. This is how much a solar system will produce on average.

Compare this information to your power generation goal, your roof size and your budget. 

I live in Baltimore, MD. Based on my garage roof size and my budget. A CP24120 best fits my needs. 

According to the chart this system will produce 296.5kWh per month on average. This is 51% of my electrical usage.

Step #4 Optional
If you are wondering how much power it would take to power 100% of your home, you can build a larger systems by using the small systems as building blocks.

For example:
(1) CP36120 444.8 kWh
(1) CP 12120 148.3 kWh
Total = 593.1 kWh

This is just over my usage of 575 kWh. This means at the end of the year. I would pay nothing for my electric power. 


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