19. Research solar panels: The advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

if you've got high electricity bills and some sunny roof space then solar could be a great investment for you this is day 19 of the 30 day strength hey this is Lindsay I drink that footprint and in today's video I'm going to talk about how you can properly research solar power to decide whether it's a good investment for you the main components of a solar power system of the solar panels themselves the inverter which converts from direct to alternating current an isolating switch a solar meter and then a net meter for where meets the grid the Sun unit is where you live the more solar power you're gonna make more forgiving the panel this may seem obvious but it's really important because not only will you make more electricity but you may also be using a lot of electricity for air conditioning loads so it's a really good match in hot places to get the best performance out of your solar panels you need to face them towards the rotation of the Sun in the northern hemisphere that means facing south and on the southern hemisphere that means facing north as we can see in this orientation chart from the UK it doesn't matter if you vary a few degrees off north or south as long as you're in that general direction if you have to choose the twin piece of roof that face is more east or west then often go for the west because it aligns well with your afternoon electricity peak generally high in terms of tilt the ideal angle is about 85% of your latitude which means at the equator you want to quite horizontal whereas further away from the equator it gets steeper and steeper because of the sharp Falls and solar module prices the cost of solar systems is falling dramatically in the last few years although you can make estimates from data you'll find on the web it's not until you get a few quotes that you'll have a rough idea of what the market holds in your area an important way your system can make money is when you sell unused electricity back into the grid at a price in some places the feed-in tariff is for the total amount you generate while in other places it's just for the extra amount you put back into the grid you need to research your feed-in tariff policies locally because as you can see between these graphs in Germany and Australia they can vary dramatically depending on local policy in some countries there are handsome tax credits available to reduce the net cost of going solar in the u.s.

In particular you can sometimes get both a state and a federal level tax credit which will reduce the cost dramatically the more that you pay for grid electricity then the more potential benefit you'll have from using solar to displace that electricity if we look at electricity prices around the world it helps to explain why some of the early solar movers like Germany Spain and Italy installed so much despite not having the best solar resources if you are at some point looking at a payback calculation I'd really recommend you look at the assumptions of how much of the electricity you're going to use how much electricity prices are going to increase over time and what your opportunity cost of capital is I'm just going to give you three examples to show you why these assumptions matter so much using an excellent solar calculator from solar quotes.com today you in Australia this first chart shows you what effect changing the assumptions about how much of the electricity generated you will use has on both the internal rate of return and the payback in yellow if you look from left to right you'll see that using only percent of your electricity that payback is up to 14 years whereas if you're using 70% of electricity it's down to eight years we get a similar but less pronounced effect for electricity price inflation with slow rising prices at 2% on the Left it's a 10-year paper whereas it fast rising prices of 7% is down to eight years and finally many calculated don't account for the opportunity cost of capital where you could have burned some money by not investing in solar with an opportunity cost of 6% you'll see that the payback is up to 12 years whereas with no opportunity cost of capital it falls down to 7 years one thing that people often forget to think about is how getting solar panels will affect the value of their home this is particularly important if there's any chance you'll sell your home in the next decade or so studies from the US show that solar panels can add around 3 to 4% of value to a honey but let's be honest there's a massive difference between attractive solar panels and really ugly solar depending on where you live in the mix of generation technologies on your grid going solar is going to save a dramatically different amount of carbon cutting carbon is your main criteria then there are lots of more cost-effective ways of reducing emissions than solar your solar panels are going to be on that roof for 20 30 or even 40 years so you need to know they're decent the best way all I know off to find out if you're getting a decent solar panel is to check if there's any third-party laboratory testing of your panel and to see how its performed the Californians do an excellent job of testing panels and you want to check if the performance ratio on your panel is over 90 to make sure you're getting what it says on the tin as of 2013 seven of the world's top 10 solar panel manufacturers were based in China so there's no problem getting a Chinese panel you just want to make sure you get quality by far the most likely element to fail in your solar power system is the inverter so you should really pay a little bit more to get quality and make sure you have a proper warrant a good inverter should be from an established brand it shows an efficiency of more than 95% which you can check on the californian website and it should have a warranty of at least 10 years the top european brands like SMA power 1 and zan tracks make great inverters but if you're looking for a good quality chinese inverter then there's things like robot and sunbro that are also decent these days also if your solar array is likely to receive any significant shading then you should investigate whether micro inverters might be a better option for you because they'll stop the entire string of panels dropping down to a lower wattage if only part of the roof is shaded if you're up to the point of getting some solar quotes then it's worth jumping on the web to see if you can find any unbiased reviews of supplies in your area also you should never underestimate the willingness of your neighbors to talk about their solar panels so if you've got a neighbor and you talk to them and find out that they had a good experience then you should check out who this is why it was solar power is an expensive investment and like any expensive investment it makes sense get multiple quotes I really recommend you should get a minimum of three quotes I personally went for the most expensive of my three quotes because it had better panels a better inverter and I had a lot of confidence in batts of wire and finally if you are lucky enough to go solar make sure you keep a document file of all your stuff in case you have a problem or at some point you sell the house I just grabbed things five most important things out of my document file I've got the original quote the panel warranty the inverter warranty the MCS installer certificate and my registration for the feed-in tariff I really hope you learned something interesting about solar power and I'll catch you tomorrow for day twenty you

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