Assuming that you and your installer are on the same page as far as deciding what the solar power system installation will look like is a great way to guarantee that you’ll end up in a bad mood.

Imagine coming home from a hard day’s work to find your new solar panels on the wrong roof or the inverter hanging on a wall right where its high voltage DC cables are guaranteed to get chewed by your Dog.

Here are two reasons you shouldn’t wait until the day of the installation to have a casual conversation about this:

  1. You’ll be under pressure to make a decision you may later regret.
  2. You’re locked in and committed, having paid a deposit and signed a contract.

Your installer may have different priorities when it comes to the location of your solar panels. He/she may be thinking about harvesting the best possible yield from the sun. That’s good. They may also prefer a location that’s easiest and most economical for them to do the job – maybe not so good.

On top of your list might be aesthetics. Maybe you don’t want these things flashed all over the neighbourhood. Although you might have a different opinion, symmetrical blocks of even-numbered panels are the best-looking solar arrays.

Concerning inverter location, there’s one major point of note: It should be located out of direct sunlight.

Your installer knows this, but don’t assume it will happen. Once again, ease of installation is usually high on his list of priorities.

You know your property better than they do, so a location they suggest may be impractical for your everyday life. They are, however, bound by a set of rules (actually laws) that dictate what they can or cannot do.

Another thing to think about is whether there will be cables or conduits running down the outside of your walls or in the wall cavity. The location chosen may dictate this.

Make sure you have this conversation in person (preferably with the installer, not the salesman) at your property before you sign up. Words sometimes mean different things to different people, so get them to provide you with a diagram prior to install day.

Knowing your energy consumption can be tricky. Using online tools for estimating likely savings from a solar power system is the way to go. One of such tools is found here solar calculator.

Enter your own figures, then compare the results against any numbers you’ve been given for a solar quote. Bear in mind it’s only an estimate. It will only ever be an estimate, because there’s no way of knowing 100% due to the multitude of variables that feed into the equation. But don’t let that bother you.

All you need is to try get your head around your own energy consumption habits. You’re probably aware that if you have solar power, it makes sense to use high-powered appliances when the sun is shining, so you draw from the solar panels and not the grid.

But what does that mean in real terms? How do we quantify high power or power usage in general? It’s hard to measure unless you spend thousands of dollars on data loggers and consumption meters for every circuit in your house. It’s not going to happen.

A simplified explanation of power usage

You’re trying to do the right thing by using what you think are high-powered appliances in the middle of the day when the sun is shining brightly on your solar panels. Your solar panels are now producing, say, 4 kW of power. You put a chicken in the oven to roast. Your oven is now drawing 3kW of power. Great. Your new solar power system is providing 100% power to the oven (3kW) and exporting 1kW to the grid. Pity about the crappy feed-in tariff you’re getting.

You’ve been working pretty hard, so you put on the kettle for a coffee. The kettle draws 2kW of power. The 1kW that was going from the solar to the grid is now diverted to your kettle instead; and it needs another 1kW, so imports it from the grid to make up the shortfall. It’s like an accounting balance sheet.

Oven (3kW) + kettle (2kW) = 5kW.

Solar (4kW) + grid (1kW) = 5kW

So is switching on the kettle to be avoided? No! You deserve that cup of coffee, and although the kettle will cause 1 kW of imports from the grid, it will only be for a couple of minutes. That means your coffee-related grid energy usage will be about one-thirtieth of a kilowatt hour (2 minutes is 1/30th of an hour, so 1/30 x 1kW = 1/30th of a kWh). About 1 cent’s worth.

This is important to understand if you’re hoping to install solar panels to save money. Your energy consumption habits will help you to achieve the financial returns you expect from your solar power system and also put into perspective where to focus your efforts (tip – it’s not the kettle).

As experts in solar repair and maintenance, we’ve been able to see several shades of a bad solar panel installation project. With this sequel, we seek to help educate future solar energy customers in order to avoid the top 7 common mistakes they can make when buying solar panels for their home.

Most new solar energy customers love the savings that comes with the installation, but find the process of getting solar a challenge. Adding solar panels to your roof can be a large financial commitment, and you should expect the best quality work for your home. By avoiding the top 7 common mistakes when buying solar, you can avoid having a poor solar installation experience. Avoiding these mistakes will help you reap more benefits from your solar energy system.

Mistake #1 Not getting a basic education about solar.
it won’t hurt to do a bit of research, irrespective of what your motivation is for thinking about getting solar power. Even though it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start, the internet offers a lot of information about every subject known to man.

Most people start with trying to assimilate so much information at once resulting in them giving up due to information overload. The problem with this approach is the lack of structure. No meaningful way of getting from point A to point B.

What you need is a ‘solar for beginners’ tutorial of sorts. A beginners guide is the best place to start your solar energy education.

Even if you don’t have enough time to get through it in one sitting. Take your time before you move on to the next solar installation subject area. In the words of a once famous Prime Minister we’d all rather forget about – “It’s not a race”.

We are pleased to announce the launch of our newly designed website.  Our goal with this new website was to create a more personalized, faster, easier to navigate, and more user-friendly website for 3KM Energy. We have created a clean, modern design and improved site navigation to help users find precisely what they’re looking for and better represent who we are as a company.

We will be constantly updating our content with helpful information, completed projects, articles, blogs, newsletters, and company announcements in the news section.

We hope you find the new website fresh and modern; For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us.