Should You Consider Solar In Your New Home?
In today’s environment, most of us are conscious of wanting to own a truly eco-friendly home. Going solar is one of the most positive steps towards achieving this, for several reasons. Deriving power from the sun’s energy can deliver positive results in many ways; reducing utility bills and environmental impact to name a few.
So what is solar power and how does it work?
Considering solar most obviously and most fundamentally involves the investment and use of solar panels. Supplementing grid electricity to power general appliances, the panels are strategically placed on the rooftop of your new home. The common concern is that your location may not be subject to massive amounts of sunlight, however natural sunlight, even in overcast conditions can generate enough electricity to keep your home powered and warm.
Steel framed home building has the added benefit of utilising passive solar design elements. These are design steps taken pre-construction that add to the benefits and further optimise the use of solar energy. For example, the most utilised rooms in your house directly in the path of the low winter sun can deliver naturally sourced heat. Certain fixed and non-fixed shading apparatus can have the opposite effect, keeping the sun off certain parts of the home in summer to retain cooler temperatures.
What should you consider before going Solar?
Solar power is evidently hugely beneficial when done correctly, but the right system for you has to be sourced and the installation has to be done correctly. These few things you’ll need to consider:
- The initial set up can be costly as the outlay for a solar system that includes panels can be expensive. However, these costs are re-couped over a number of years thanks to the savings on your power bills.
- The power you generate from solar can be intermittent so your solar system may generate too much power in the summer months and not enough in winter. In this case you may still require some form of grid power when the stockpiles run low unless you opt for a battery storage system.
- If you opt to store solar energy you’ll need to find room for the solar battery storage system. Depending on the manufacturer, this may take up more space than first planned.
Is Solar a good idea for everyone?
Getting expert advice on the best system for you is important if you are thinking of adding a solar system. Here at Evoke Living Homes, our design consultants are willing to provide that service, and insist you in making informed decisions. Whether building a modular or site built home, this can be addressed in the planning stage to ensure you get the most out of your system and incorporate the benefits of passive solar design too.
However, there are occasional scenarios whereby the use of active or passive solar just doesn’t fit your needs, and in certain scenarios it may not be possible. For example - if your neighbour has a huge multi-story house that casts a shadow on your house for the majority of a summer day or your site is located in a built up area that is full of sun blocking structures and natural features. In these situations passive and active solar principles just aren’t going to offer much, if any, advantage.
There are also situations where the design of your home may not suit a rooftop solar system, meaning further land area in your backyard or elsewhere will need to be used. Dwellings built within the absolute confines of their boundaries may not be able to accommodate a non-rooftop solar panel system.
But for the majority of homes, solar energy can be successfully incorporated into the existing design. And if you’re building you have the added benefit of including passive solar design features too.
So is it worth it?
The benefits of a solar powered home definitely outweigh the negatives. Whether you opt for an entirely off the grid, battery stored power solution, or choose to supplement with grid power, the key is to get the balance right.
Coupled with passive home design, it is well within your reach to achieve a true solar solution whether it is modular or site built. By taking advantage of the sun’s power and converting it, or retaining its heat and light properties, it’s possible to make everyday living with solar every bit as comfortable as living with traditional energy methods.
Want to know about the science behind solar energy? Download our guide now.