Understanding Solar Power When Building or Renovating


Understanding Solar Power When Building or Renovating

The use of energy-efficient building processes, technology, and products has become the norm in new home construction. Furthermore, some homeowners are renovating and/or building additions that include more energy-efficient components. One of the most effective ways to conserve power is to install a residential solar power system. As you consider your next home building project, here’s what you should know about solar power.


Residential solar power systems come in two main forms: grid-tie and off-grid. The more common type is grid-tie. Here solar power is used to supplement a home’s existing electrical system. Alternatively, systems that allow homes to run on solar power alone are called off-grid. This type is rare in areas that don’t get year-round sun. All systems work on the same basic principle. Banks of photovoltaic cells are placed on the property, usually on the roof or in areas that are exposed to the most sun. The cells use crystals that convert sunlight to electricity, which can be used directly or stored in a battery.

Is Your Home Right for Solar Power?
When you’re considering the best placement for solar cells, the shape and size of your roof will play a key role. The availability of large open roof sections will dictate how many cells can be installed. The quantity of shade that your roof receives will also be a factor. If you live in a shaded location with ample tree cover, you may need to consider trimming or removing trees to gain access to sunlight. 

Financial Incentives in Connecticut
Connecticut is a particularly strong state when it comes to incentives for installing solar. State utilities offer a Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit in certain circumstances. Municipalities are empowered to offer property tax relief to homeowners who install renewable energy systems. Loans from the state to install the system are also available. There are plenty of financial incentives, depending on the type of home construction.

New Construction
Installing solar power on a custom home is a fairly simple process. You’ll want to discuss your intentions early in the process with your builder and architect, so they’ll be able to factor the system needs into their plans. You’ll also need to discuss the plans with your electrical contractor to ensure the panels are properly installed.

Retrofitting for Solar
The process of retrofitting your existing power system to include solar during a renovation or addition will require more cost and effort. When adding on, you’ll want to consider building the addition in a location that will get the most sun. Mechanical equipment will also need to be converted to operate with solar technology. With a retrofit, you really want to focus on the long-term cost benefits.

Despite the challenges, solar power is a great option for most homeowners. Solar is not only good for the environment, but it’s also an effective way to reduce utility demands and modernize our homes.