If your solar electric system is part of a bigger plan which includes building your dream house, you can make design decisions which will help reduce your energy needs:
Natural Day Lighting–Locate windows (and skylights) so that they light up your most frequented spaces. Even on cloudy days a well thought out window placement can eliminate the need to turn on lights during the day time. Natural light can reflect from light-colored walls. South facing windows will not only provide a lot of light, but will also help heat the house in the winter when the sun is at a low angle. A properly extended eave will eliminate solar penetration during the summer.
Natural Cooling—Fans and air conditioning use a lot of electricity just to beat back the heat of summer. Properly placed vents for cool air entry and hot air exit will keep air in motion and lower the temperature in the house. Allow air to enter at the lowest point in the house, preferably on the north side, and have an oversized vent for hot air exit at the highest point in the house. Locate your refrigerator in a cool spot, and/or recess it in a wall and add rigid insulation around it. This can dramatically cut down compressor run-time and/or gas consumption. Insulate your house well, and it will hold heat better in the winter and protect you from radiant heat through your roof and walls in the summer.
If you’re adding a solar energy system to an existing structure, we will come visit your building and advise you on the best way to use solar panels and other alternative energy options.