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PART 1

Before you start shopping for Solar Panels and related Solar Power Equipment, you must first determine your electrical consumption to size the system that is required to meet your needs. It is more cost effective to reduce consumption then to produce or harness the Solar Energy. There is no need to buy everything immediately. It is easier to proceed one step at a time and avoid buying equipment that will have to be replaced later.

Start by listing the electrical equipment that will be used and determine how energy will be consumed. There are products such as the cent-a-meter that is wired directly to your electrical panel and can be used to monitor and trend your electrical use. This research, monitoring and planned reduction will open your eyes as to how much electricity we waste. The more accurately you define your energy requirements, the easier it is to determine which photovoltaic energy system meets your expectations.

After you have accurately defined your present and extrapolated future needs and identified your consumption habits, you can decide what size of system you need. Some of the factors that need to be considered include:

  • the seasonal profile of the load, i.e. the period when electricity demand is highest and electricity output is lowest, which is usually in fall or winter.
  • the weekly/monthly profile of the load.
  • the daily profile of the load (power required and number of hours per day) for each appliance.
  • -type of load to be powered (motors, lights, etc.)

As the consumption for each household is different, so will the configuration of the system. Just remember, you do not have to create a 100% self sufficient Solar PV Array or invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to setup an off-grid or grid-tie renewable energy system. Start slow, research and plan... the point is to start and take action. Keep it Green!

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