How To Prepare for Solar Panels: Start Small

small solar panel
March 7, 2019

As more and more homeowners look towards the future of their home energy here in California, solar is transitioning from a popular alternative source of energy to “the norm.” Especially in the wake of PG&E’s announcement of an increase in emergency blackouts for 2019, and 2019 being the final year of the full 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, solar energy is on the brain for many homeowners in the Sacramento area.

This has a lot of customers coming to Brower Mechanical asking “How can I best prepare my home for solar energy?” And our answer is always “Start small!”

Going Small Solar

So what do we mean by small solar? In short, it means reducing your home’s energy needs so that you can reduce the size of the solar photovoltaic (PV) system required to handle those electricity needs. The more energy efficient your home is, the less you will need to spend on your solar installation.

At Brower, we have seen our customers who make the necessary energy upgrades nearly cut their required solar panels in half, saving thousands of dollars even before any rebates or incentives are taken into account. So what are the things you can do to make your home more energy efficient?

Energy Efficiency and the Whole Home Approach

When you consider that your entire home functions as a symbiotic system, making an upgrade to one system will have an effect throughout the entire house. Decreasing the amount of energy that is lost through poor insulation and the holes and gaps that are present in a home could very well render any existing heating and cooling equipment too large, and additionally, require an active ventilation system to make sure the contaminants in a home are circulated back outside for healthy air quality.

If you aren’t sure where your home is losing the most energy, we recommend starting with an energy audit to uncover each aspect of your home performance. An energy audit is a will take a look under the hood of your entire home using a series of diagnostic tests, including:

  • Blower door testing to reveal air leaks

  • Infrared cameras to expose under-insulated areas

  • Efficiency tests on heating and cooling equipment

  • Analyzing 12 months of utility bills

Energy Audit Recommended Upgrades

After an energy audit, your Brower Mechanical technician will give you a report recommending the following home upgrades, so you can go small with your solar energy. Upgrades include:

Insulation

Upgrading any outdated or damaged insulation in your home is one of the most important upgrades you can make to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Insulation prevents the transfer of heat through the walls, attic, and crawlspace. This includes keeping the heat inside during the winter and the heat outside during the summer.

Air Sealing

Preventing air from freely moving in and out of your home is the second line of defense when it comes to preventing energy loss. If your home is properly insulated but there are still cracks and gaps present in your attic and ceiling (among other areas), your heating and cooling equipment will be working overtime to replace any outside air that has infiltrated your living space.

Ventilation

Once your home is air sealed and insulated, it must be properly ventilated. This removes any harmful contaminants that enter your home and prevents them from recirculating and causing an increase in allergy symptoms.

AC and Furnace Upgrades

The last system we recommend upgrading will be your heating and cooling equipment. If your air conditioner or furnace are over 15 years old, are too large for your home, or have required more that two repairs in the last year, it may be time to replace them with more energy efficient equipment.

Ready to Go Solar? Make Sure You Go Small!

If you are looking to invest in the renewable energy of the sun, make sure it is a lasting investment. Increasing the energy efficiency of your home will reduce your solar installation costs and save you more money in the long run. There are even rebates and financing options available! Reduce before you produce here in the Sacramento area, with the home performance and solar experts at Brower Mechanical!


Reduce before you produce, and go small solar! Schedule your energy audit today by calling (916) 624-0808 or contacting us.