Solar power systems are an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint, bring down your utility bills, and help mitigate rising and unpredictable energy costs. However, solar systems aren't one-size-fits-all projects. People install solar panels for many reasons, including grid independence, environmental concerns, and more.
One approach to installing a solar system is to design for an energy offset. If you use this strategy, your goal will be to offset a certain percentage of your annual utility bills. Although this type of solar system won't provide grid independence or cover 100% of your energy costs, there are many reasons you may want to consider this approach.
Why Design With an Offset Target in Mind?
Under ideal circumstances, it might make sense to design a solar system that can cover all your family's energy needs. However, the real world rarely provides ideal circumstances. Building a solar system that can supply enough energy for your entire household requires many resources, including available space, access to sunlight, and money.
Limited rooftop space is one reason that it may be challenging to offset all your energy costs. Although there are options to expand your available space, these typically require costly approaches such as building free-standing solar structures. If you have limited yard space, even these options may not be sufficient.
Instead, the goal of an offset system is to reduce your annual utility costs by a practical and achievable percentage. For example, you may want to offset 40% of your household's energy usage. A lower target can be easier to achieve and more affordable, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of solar power without breaking the bank in the process.
How Can You Design an Energy Offset System?
Offsetting a percentage of your energy usage is relatively easy. You'll need to begin by estimating your monthly energy costs, which you can do by looking at your last year's energy bills. If you want a more precise estimate, most solar installers can help you perform a quick power consumption audit to determine your overall needs.
You'll then need to work with a solar contractor to determine how much power you can potentially generate with your home. This value will depend on your peak sunlight hours, available roof space, shade, and other factors. This information will provide a practical upper limit on how much solar power your home can generate.
Once you have these two pieces of information, you can work with your installer to develop a solar system to fit nearly any budget. Look into solar installation near you.