If you intend to incorporate a solar energy system or a battery energy storage system into your new home, the earlier you plan for it, the more efficient and cost-effective the installation will be.
Bringing in your solar provider at the design stage can lead to a better outcome, according to Mr. Luke Morrison, the Manager of Business Development at Greenlight Energy.
“Greenlight Energy has been involved with numerous newly built homes at various stages in their development, but it’s certainly beneficial if we are introduced to the project in the design stage,” Mr. Morrison said. “We think of newly built homes as a blank canvas that provides Greenlight Energy with the opportunity to do what we do best – design bespoke solar and energy storage solutions, tailored to our client’s unique needs and without the limitations of preexisting site conditions.”
In Bermuda, and everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing roofs receive the most sunlight, since the track of the sun means it is always in the southern half of the sky.
When asked about the efficiency of solar panels at different roof angles, Morrison says, “south-facing roof faces will be slightly dominant in terms of productivity, but solar panels facing east and west will get strong sunlight throughout different times of the day.
“For homeowners who do not have a south-facing roof face, I would stress that it’s not the end of the road. Anyone who is interested in solar but unsure if their home is a good candidate, give us a call; you might qualify for a free at-home consultation.”
The tilt angle of solar panels also impacts their performance, bringing roof pitch into play as a productivity factor.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in the US suggests that an ideal roof slope for a PV system is equal to the location’s latitude, or up to ten degrees less. Bermuda’s latitude is 32 degrees, meaning the NAHB would recommend a slope of between 22 and 32 degrees, translating to a roof pitch roughly within the range of 5-8 in 12.
Morrison said, “Architects are unlikely to design a home specifically to achieve the optimal roof slope for solar panels, ” adding, “In architectural drawings the slope of the roof is clearly outlined but on occasion, it is practical and productive to make minor adjustments to accommodate the solar installation, which is why it behooves the homeowner for Greenlight Energy to be involved at the design stage.”
Electrical system and batteries
As with all electrical equipment, solar installations require cable, conduit, and wiring. Installing the necessary hardware can be accomplished more efficiently in a newbuild when compared to retrofitting an existing home.
By planning at the design stage for a solar installation, homeowners enjoy the benefits of invisible conduit runs and a well-designed electrical room – a design that can be reviewed and approved by their trusted architect and project manager.
The electrical room will house the system’s solar equipment and typically the proposed mounting location for battery energy storage systems, such as the Tesla Powerwall 2, exclusively available from Greenlight Energy.
Described as a “completely silent solar powered generator that can energize your entire home,” the Powerwall is designed to withstand outdoor conditions though Morrison says half of their clients prefer their Tesla Powerwall to be installed indoors.
Morrison also says there are cost savings when planning for solar energy at the time of newbuild, “By considering solar at the design stage of the project, rather than once the house has been built, our clients enjoy material cost savings, ultimately significantly reducing the payback period of their solar investment. He adds, “Depending on the square footage of the house, the readily available gables, and what you’re hoping to achieve, solar and energy storage will make a massive difference in how much you pay in utility bills for years to come.”
For more information, submit a contact request form or call Greenlight Energy on 295-3033.