When it comes to measuring the cost of installing solar on your home, it’s essential to look at just how much power you’ll be getting from that new system. Most pieces of equipment and even whole system designs can be broken down into their cost per watt of power that they provide. The goal is to optimize your entire system so that the watt’s price is as low as possible. If you’re looking to improve performance for your solar power system, here are some critical pieces of equipment to look at.
One of the best ways to get the most from your solar system is to ensure you’re using all the energy you can from it. While grid-tied systems allow you to feed power back into the city’s grid in exchange for a credit on your utility bill, that’s not the most efficient use of your array’s excess power. Instead, storing the energy already produced by your system for later use can result in a significantly lower cost per watt when powering your home.
This is due in large part to a technique called peak shaving. Peak shaving employs your batteries as a backup energy source during peak utility hours, when power costs more per watt, instead of switching to grid power. Then, when the cost of power drops, it switches to the grid again, ensuring that you’re always paying the lowest price for your home’s power.
Inline Disconnect Switches
Most residential solar systems use a string inverter, which connects all solar panels on a single line to the inverter. While this is the most affordable option, it does mean that reduced efficiency in one panel can impact the entire string of panels, cutting down on your solar production immensely. While microinverters attached to each panel avoid that issue, they’re a more expensive option.
Instead, you can consider an inline disconnect switch. This is installed between each panel and can be used to disconnect any panel from the string that is impacting overall performance. That way, you can keep your array operating at peak efficiency until the malfunctioning panel is fixed.
Unlike the above recommendations, an inverter isn’t optional on a solar system. However, it’s still important to take a close look at any inverter you’re considering. Be sure to carefully consider its efficiency in addition to its upfront price tag so that you can get a better idea of the cost per watt for this piece of equipment. An efficient inverter like the Generac PWRcell will help keep your entire system running smoothly and efficiently.