When you are planning to install a solar power system on your rooftop, the first step towards going solar is to estimate your energy needs.
Take out your last month’s electricity bill and see the consumption of units.
I can say that those units are your energy requirement for that month.
Know your electricity bill
But energy consumption is not the same in all months, I mean to say during spring or autumn season when the weather is pleasant, we use less AC or heaters and our electricity consumption is generally less when compared to the hot and winter season.
The best option to get a realistic view of the monthly units consumed is to take the average of the last 12 months.
This monthly average when divided by 30 gives the daily average of units consumed.
Let us understand the whole scenario with an example:
You can see the above chart that the units consumed are not the same in every month and taking the average is the best option to smoothen the extremes like 900 units in December and 500 units each in March, October or in November.
This is your daily energy requirement.
You need a solar power system to provide you 22 units daily.
I can understand that sometimes you don’t want a complete solar power system to run your whole house instead you need a solar power system to light part of it.
For that, you can customize your energy needs like choosing electrical appliances that you want to run on Solar Power.
I have made a table and chart below for the customized solar power needs:
In this energy pattern also, I have kept my day-time energy demand greater that of night-time energy demands.
You have 2 choices,
You check your electricity bill, take the average of the last 12 months and then divide the result by 30, the units obtained is your daily solar energy need for the whole house.
You can choose electrical items of your choice to be run on Solar Power.
Energy demand pattern
Hold on, let’s delve deeper.
We found that the daily energy requirement for the whole house is 22 units.
It means that:
But your solar panels will provide the current till the time sun is there in the sky.
After sunset, solar panels will not work which means your Night energy requirement is not fulfilled.
Therefore, we need an addon system that can fulfill this part of the energy need.
A solar power system with battery backup can fulfill day and night energy requirements.
During the day, the sunlight will provide the current to light your home.
In the night, the batteries will take the charge and provide the required energy to fulfill your needs.
I can say that at night your energy needs are fulfilled through solar power but indirectly.
(Solar panels charges batteries in the day in turn batteries run the appliances during the night).
You know batteries are a costly affair and affect the feasibility of the solar power system.
But that doesn’t mean that system with battery back is not feasible although it reduces the overall return of your solar power system.
You can act judiciously wherein you not only meet your energy needs but also get a great return out of your solar power system.
Analyze the pattern of your daily energy needs
You consume 14 units in the daytime and 8 units in night = 22 units for the whole day
You can easily meet your day-time requirement through solar panels plus it is going to be financially attractive too.
But before doing so, let us make some changes in the energy pattern to make solar financially more attractive and you to enjoy its maximum benefits.
Try to shift your energy demand pattern towards the daytime when there is sunlight.
I’m sure there are many activities which you might be doing at night can be done in the daytime like:
Ironing of clothes: We generally iron our clothes in the night to put on the next morning for office, school, college, etc.
We can shift this practice in the morning so that our iron can be powered by Solar Power.
Similarly, other activities like use of Geyser, running of motor, and charging of phones, etc can be shifted if not wholly but majorly in the daytime to shift the energy demand pattern towards daytime and we can enjoy maximum benefits of Solar Power.
Grid price and its smoothness
Your solar energy needs during night depend on the grid price and its smoothness.
In short, your solar energy needs in this case are limited to day time energy needs.
In case the grid supply is erratic or it is costly then you should look for meeting energy requirements through grid-tied solar power system with battery backup.
In the day, solar power will light your house and during solar power charged batteries will supply current to the electrical appliances.
The Net-Metering is another feature that one can enjoy with grid-tied Solar Power Systems.
Although solar is attractive but its amount of attractiveness depends on your energy consumption pattern.
If the energy demand is maximum in the day when there is Sun then installing the solar power system is a great idea as you and your family can enjoy smooth electricity for decades.
The idea of shifting energy demand pattern towards daytime will not only allow you to enjoy its maximum benefits but also will improve the financial feasibility of the system.
Because installing a large solar power system only to charge the batteries and provide power to run the electrical appliances during night would not be that wise decision.