We are renovating our 1908 prairie farmhouse, once abandoned and then saved in late 1980s. Here on the Dakota prairies, we find ourselves wandering and wondering on solar for residential use. We have searched *2* years without finding companies doing residential solar! or even consulting do-it-ourselves.
We know the basics: lots of unencumbered south-facing roofline (we are on ten acres). But :::::
(1) Most important, are solar panels, the size needed for a 2400-sq-ft house, in danger of hail and Dakota winds?
(2) How do we determine how much we need to get us off the grid? (No buy-backs in SDakota by the utility companies; we realize that has been a huge impediment to residential solar implementation.) We also have three barns and an unattached garage/garden shed that eventually we would also like to take solar, later; as well as a planned-for RV cover of some sort.
(3) How close do the panels need to be to the house? We would prefer they be on the garden shed, which is about the size of a 1-and-1/2 car garage. It is about 150 or 200 feet away from the house. The house roofline, while very cool, presents shade from different angles at different times of the day, so not all panels would be in unobstructed light all day no matter how we configure them. The shed, however, is one-story so installation and maintenance would be easier, and there are absolutely no areas that would be in the shade, ever.
(4) Back to the hail danger, and winds on the prairies: would there be a way to implement a cover during threats of storms?
Any ideas, suggestions or stories of experience would be appreciated. Any companies willing to serve as a consultant, we would be glad to talk to them. We want to do this right. We are newly retired and want our freedom, to travel and to garden, as well as to return this house to its personality.