Solar Energy 101 for Equestrians

Solar Energy 101

Have you driven around town and noticed that more and more homes have solar panels installed on their rooftops? Were you thinking that it might be time for you to do the same?

While solar panels are a great option for many homeowners, not every house is suitable. If you’re considering taking the plunge into solar energy, here are answers to some of the few basic questions you may have.

What are the benefits of solar power?

There are many reasons to be excited about using solar energy for your home, which include:

  • Greener living – solar energy is a renewable resource and no emissions are generated from the panels.
  • Low maintenance – once your solar energy panels are installed, there’s very little maintenance involved.
  • Durability – solar panels don’t contain any moving parts so they’re tough and durable, and most can be expected to last about 25 years.
  • Rebates – many states and municipalities offer rebates for switching to solar energy, which can save you money in the long run.
  • Property value – solar panels can even increase the value of your home!

 

Especially for those looking to run their own equestrian business, a solar powered horse property would help cut down the costs. Horse Channel states:

“In most cases, a barn’s (or home’s) solar generator system is connected to the local power grid, and if you produce more electricity with your system than you use, you can get money back from the power company.”

Why wouldn’t you want to have a more eco-friendly and cost efficient equestrian property? However, before even thinking about installing a solar generator you must first determine if your barn is equipped for a solar power system. A south facing roof is said to be the best, as it collects the most sunlight. Additionally, if your barn’s roof isn’t strong enough to hold solar panels on its own, a pole-mounted array may be necessary to ensure the stability of the panels. Horse Channel also mentions the following regarding arrays:

“The array must be located in an area that is from shade at all times of the day. You may also need to use a pole-mounted array if the pitch of your barn roof is too steep. A roof with a strong slant will not allow maximum sun exposure to the panels.”

A main concern that should immediately pop into your head is “Will the panels hurt the roof?” While we can only imagine the worst-case scenario the answer is no. No solar panels will crash through the roof and into a stall in the middle of the night. In fact, it is said that the panels actually shield roofs from weather related damage. Some homeowners have even said that the panels keep the certain areas cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

SolarHow does solar energy work?

While the science and technology behind solar panels is somewhat complex, what it boils down to is that the panels use photovoltaic cells to generate electron activity when exposed to the sun. In turn, this activity is captured and converted to DC electricity. For systems that are connected to the main power grid, a grid connect inverter then converts that electricity to 120v or 240v AC, which is what is used to power most electrical appliances.

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