How to power your home with solar energy
Powering your house can be costly to both your wallet and the environment, especially if you're relying on non-renewable energy sources, like natural gas or oil. Fortunately, Canada currently gets 66% of its electricity from renewable sources like hydroelectricity, wind, and solar rays — but you can take it a step further by investing in a sustainable solar power system for your home.
Before making the leap, consider how solar energy works and whether it's the right fit for your home.
How does solar power work?
Solar is an efficient power system that can reduce your carbon footprint and your energy costs. To power your home, solar panels installed on your roof or property absorb the sun's rays during the day and convert them into electricity. How the electricity is delivered to your home will depend on the type of solar power system you've set up. There are two main types of residential solar power systems:
- A grid-tied solar power system is the most common solar power system and is connected to the electrical grid. The energy generated by the solar panels is used to power your home, and any excess energy is fed back into the grid, earning credits or compensation from your local utility companyThis is the best option when your grid system is reliable.
- An off-grid solar power system isn't connected to the electrical grid and is typically used in remote areas where it isn't possible to connect to the grid or the grid system is unreliable. This system requires battery storage to access excess energy when your solar panels are unable to keep up with your energy needs.
How to install solar panels on your home
Before you switch to a solar powered system, consider these quick tips to help you get started:
- Determine how much energy you need. Before you install solar panels, you need to know how many solar panels you need by calculating how much energy your household consumes. Review your electricity bills or use an online energy calculator to learn your average energy use.
- Find a solar panel installer. Look for a reputable solar panel installer in your area who can assess your roof's suitability for solar panels, help you select the right solar panel system, and provide you with a quote for the installation.
- Assess your roof. Check with a professional solar panel installer if your roof is suitable for solar panels. Roofs made of metal, asphalt shingle, or tile are better able to support the weight of solar panels. Your roof should ideally face south if you're in the northern hemisphere and north if you're in the southern hemisphere to receive enough sunlight throughout the day.
- Choose a solar panel system. Whether it's grid-tied or off-grid, the type of solar panel system you choose will depend on how much energy you need, where you live, and how reliable your grid system is.
- Apply for incentives. There are several incentives available in Canada for solar panel installations, such as the Canada Greener Homes Loan, which provides up to $40,000 for eligible sustainable home retrofitting projects.
Before installing a solar panel system, reach out to your group's licensed insurance broker to find out how installing solar panels could affect your home insurance coverage needs and whether your new solar panel system will be covered by your insurance policy.
Alongside solar energy, there are many other sustainable technologies available for your home. If you're looking for alternative ways to heat and cool your home, learn how a heat pump can keep you comfortable and reduce your reliance on carbon.
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