If you're installing solar panels, you may wonder if you can take your house off the electrical grid. Providing your own power can cut your utility costs by a substantial amount, and you'd be safe from systemic problems like outages due to excessive drains on the grid during heat waves. Solar power that's connected to a utility grid can go down if the grid goes down, so it seems like going off-grid is a smart move.
At least, at first it does. Then you learn about how much more is involved in going off-grid, and suddenly you realize it may take more effort than you had thought. What you can do is optimize the panels that you have installed to better help them get the maximum sunlight available.
The problem with going off-grid really has to do with storage. You need backup power for times when the solar panels don't pick up enough light to create adequate power, such as at night or on really dark, gloomy days. If your solar panels produce a lot of energy normally, then finding a way to store excess energy so you could use it at those other times sounds great. Except, storage batteries for solar are still prohibitively expensive for many people. Plus, you have to replace the batteries if you don't take care of them properly.
Technology for storage is getting much better, but for now, storing energy in a battery for use later is not something many people can do effectively. In fact, many people with solar can rely on the grid for those times when solar power isn't adequate.
Panel Location and Direction
So if storing energy and going off-grid isn't an option for you at this point, you have to figure out how to best provide solar energy to your home for at least the majority of the time. You can do this by installing an appropriate number of panels for the energy you want to produce, and you can position the panels so that they catch the maximum amount of light. You may want to speak to an electrician or solar installer about rotating panels, which follow the sun throughout the day, moving the panel faces so they tilt toward the east in the morning and the west in the afternoon. If you have room for only roof panels, place panels in more than one area if possible so that you can always have a panel getting direct light.
Contact a home solar panel system installer for more informtion.