Planning for Your DIY Solar Panel Placement Posted on 25 May 11:04
Your DIY solar panels will begin to pay off as soon as they’re installed, in the form of monthly savings on your energy bills.
But how much will you save?
The answer depends — at least in large part — on where you mount your photovoltaic panel array. Choosing the right placement can greatly improve panel efficiency and maximize the return on your investment.
Factors that Determine Placement for DIY Solar Panels
Most do-it-yourself photovoltaic panels are mounted on rooftops, as this location often provides optimal access to sunlight.
However, careful evaluation is necessary to determine the ideal spot for locating an array. In some cases, roof mounting isn’t possible or practical, and it isn’t always the best choice.
Several factors can affect whether a rooftop system or a ground-mounted system is better for your location. Is your roof strong enough to support an array? Does it have ample space? Is the direction and angle of your roof ideal for photovoltaic panels, or would you need to mount them on a tilted rack? Do other buildings or trees shade the roof?
Ultimately, you’ll need to determine where your panels will be able to capture the most sun.
Use Mapping Technology to Place Solar Panels
If you aren’t sure where to put your DIY solar system, don’t worry. You can use today’s state-of-the-art technology to evaluate the photovoltaic potential of your rooftop or lot.
Online solar mapping tools, such as Mapdwell, Google’s Project Sunroof and PVWatts (from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) can help you determine you how well-suited your location is for a photovoltaic system.
Simply enter your address, and these helpful tools will provide you with detailed information regarding the projected size, cost and performance of a photovoltaic system in your location.
By using high-resolution satellite imagery data, along with advanced analytical algorithms, solar maps are capable of accurately calculating the solar potential of your home. Some tools, including Mapdwell, even can help you map the optimal placement of your photovoltaic panels.
Ask a Professional about DIY Solar Panels
Online mapping tools can go only so far in helping you place your solar panels, so you may be wise to consult someone with more experience. For example, you can opt to have a professional design your system and its placement. This service isn’t free, but when you consider that a solar expert will help to ensure that your photovoltaic system is positioned for optimal energy production, it’s worth it.
Solar GOODs offers consultation services in addition to our impressive selection of DIY solar kits and custom system components. We can help you with any portion of the design, purchase or installation of your system (with the exception of electrical issues, which we always insist you turn over to a licensed professional).
Visit us online today to schedule your consultation or to get started on your own DIY solar panel system.