Solar energy systems have been in use for more than 3 decades by national governments, ecologically minded individuals and those seeking a more cost effective means of generating electricity and heating water through solar photovoltaic and thermal systems. In recent years the sudden and sharp increases in costs for electrical energy generated by burning carbon based fuels coupled with very obvious climate changes on a global scale has sparked great interest in moving towards a more permanent solar energy solution. This in turn has brought about a global effort by thousands of manufactures to develop systems that can achieve the highest possible energy conversions and energy efficiencies to make using solar energy a viable solution to our ever growing energy needs.
So in a world of thousands of solar manufactures how can anyone actually know what is their best option? The answer is far simpler to make if you are using established Department of Energy requirements in your state. Probably the first thing everyone thinks when they have decided that solar is definitely their best option to use is the costs involved and they busy themselves with a relentless search for pricing. This may seem to be a reasonable approach, however, far more should go into your personal considerations than just the sticker price on this system or that. Over the past several years there have been standards developed by renewable energy professionals nationally to make this process far less painless than if you were to go it alone.
Solar panel manufactures, types, models, power outputs, energy conversion rates are all taken into consideration but the very first thing that absolutely MUST happen is this. You must get your particular location surveyed for solar use if you intend on trying to use renewable energy incentives being offered by your state utility, state or federal government. Solar site assessments are not only used to determine whether you have enough sunlight to viably generate energy for your home or business, but they also ensure that every possible consideration and requirement will be met according to the standards that are set by your states department of energy.
Most states have adapted the NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) standards as the requirements which all potential solar sites must meet in order to receive these incentive dollars. These standards were developed not only to ensure that your particular site will in fact be capable of generating the energy you want, but they also ensure that the chosen equipment, the installation personnel and the incentive dollars you will receive on your solar panel systems are all within compliance before you purchase or finance any part of it. Do-It-Yourself solar panel systems do not comply with these requirements although homeowners who decide to take on a project of this nature themselves and abide by their state requirements may do so. However as a precautionary measure I should inform you that taking this path could very well result in your project costing you far more than you planned should you injure yourself or others while attempting it. NABCEP professionals are experienced electricians or electrical engineers who know all of the hazards involved in working with electricity so if you are unsure then it is far better to be safe than sorry.