While people tend to think of going solar as nothing but putting in electricity-producing panels, a solar contractor can help you connect a wide range of systems. Before you make your decision on how to proceed, it's worth considering these three options.
Connection to the Grid
Yes, going off the grid sounds like an exciting leap into the future, but many locations don't get consistent enough sun to make that feasible. There are, thankfully, two solid options for staying grid-connected while also making a dent in your energy consumption.
First, you may want to use a fully grid-connected system. This will allow you to feed electricity back into the power grid, and then you'll get a credit if you contribute more than you take. Especially for heavy power consumers, this is a great option because it keeps things running on cloudy days.
Secondly, you can store electricity in a large battery. These systems are now frequently smaller than refrigerators so don't let the word "large" intimidate you. The main benefit of this approach is that you'll have backup power for up to a day when the electrical grid goes down.
Notably, folks planning to go totally off the grid need battery systems in place to ensure they'll have power at night. With some electrical work, it's also possible to set your system up as a hybrid, switching onto the grid or using battery backup power as necessary.
Although the focus for the average solar contractor is electrical systems, many configurations are available for heating. The most popular setups typically use water that's heated by panels. The water is then piped into your home, providing a form of radiant heat. You also can use solar energy collection as a way to heat a pool. Some people use solar to heat their water tanks, too. Water recirculation systems can be employed to reduce heat loss from water that's left in the pipes between uses.
Air Conditioning Systems
Unless you live in a nearly jungle-like region, there's a good chance that most days that require air conditioning will also be fairly sunny. Rather than try to power an entire home with a solar system, you may want to focus on just powering an air conditioning unit. This will take the edge off your energy bills in the summer, and it can also be used to provide dehumidification throughout the year.
You can learn more about solar energy by contacting local solar contractors.