Best Solar Options For Your Home
Before you make the decision to invest in solar panels for your home, there are several factors you need to consider. There are, as discussed above, a relatively large variety of solar panel types to choose from, so it is important that you discuss your personal energy needs and budget with your solar professional before making your final decision.
Your professional will also be able to tell you the best angle, direction, and size required in order for your solar panels to achieve maximum output. Generally speaking, a 5 kilowatt panel would probably be suitable for a family home.
.If cost is an issue, there are several government grants and community solar projects that can help to spread the cost of your solar panels over a period of timesome areas even have local solar parks that can be accessed by members of the community for a much lower cost.
How Does Photovoltaic Energy Work
The solar photovoltaic cells in your solar panels are the mechanisms which convert sunlight into energy. When you install solar panels on your house, the PV cells convert sunlight into direct current and an inverter connected to the system is what converts direct current into alternating current which is the type of current needed to power your household appliances. This power runs through your electrical panel box, just like electricity you get from the grid, and you can potentially run your entire house on solar power than power taken from the grid.
Most residential solar energy systems are still connected to the grid. This is to allow for uninterrupted electricity in occasions when you dont have enough solar energy to continue to power your house . If you generate enough energy from your solar panels such that you have extra energy left over, it will get fed back to the grid and you will get credit for this contribution of energy. Termed net metering, this transfer of electricity allows some customers to still maintain a $0 electric bill even when using the utility companys energy from the grid.
When it comes to the process of solar energy conversion, the sun releases photons. When this sunlight hits the semi-conductor metal of the photovoltaic panels, electrons are released, which is what creates direct current electricity. Solar panels are made up of hundreds of photovoltaic cells, which are most often composed of silicon as the semi-conductor.
Solar Panels And Snow And Cold
One common misconception with solar panel energy is that solar panels use heat to create energy. However, it is actually the light from the sun that is converted into electricity, not the heat.
Therefore, solar energy can still be an excellent option for people who live in cold regions.
However, there are some instances in that solar power in winter has a lower electrical output. For example, since solar panels must absorb sunlight, heavy snow can decrease your output for your solar panels if the snow is sticking to your solar panels.
In addition, you may experience fewer daylight hours during the winter, and it may be darker longer. Since there are fewer hours during the day for the solar panels to soak up the light from the sun, this can also result in less electrical output.
There are solutions for these problems and can help with the lower electrical outputs you may encounter during the winter.
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Will Solar Affect The Value Of My Home
Yes! Each case is different, but on average homeowners see a rise in home value of $15,000. Beyond that, it can generate 10’s of thousands of dollars in savings in your utility bill over the lifetime of your solar system. However, if you want to lock yourself into 2021âs incentives, you should act now.
How Do Solar Panels Work Off
Off-grid means disconnected from the national grid. This means off-grid solar panels need battery storage to operate.
An off-grid system must:
- generate enough electricity all year round
- have enough battery capacity to meet the needs of the household
As these systems are expensive to maintain due to the expense of batteries, inverters and back-up generators, they are typically only found in remote areas where connecting to the electricity grid isnt possible.
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How Will You Pay For Your Solar System
Whether you choose to buy or lease your solar panels will have a major impact on your savings. If you have enough to make a cash purchase, youll save more than with any other option but even with a zero-down solar loan, your savings could still be in the tens of thousands. While solar leases and power purchase agreements require no money down and promise a maintenance-free option, they come with a trade-off: your total savings will typically be just 10 to 30 percent of your utility electricity bill.
How does this play out in the real world? Check out the EnergySage Solar Calculator to see how your long-term savings will differ depending on whether you choose a cash purchase, a solar loan, or a solar lease or community solar, if thats something youre considering!
What You Should Know About Off
- Off-grid systems are more expensive due to the added costs of the battery banks and charge controllers.
- Battery banks are one of the highest lifecycle costs of an off-grid solar PV system as they require regular maintenance and/or replacement to ensure optimum system performance and longevity.
- Depending on the type used, batteries have a life span of anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Speak with a professional to understand your battery options for your specific application.
- Off-grid systems need to be sized appropriately to ensure that the battery banks are being used at its maximum capacity throughout the year.
- Consider hybrid solar PV/diesel generator systems for remote locations to ensure an adequately sized solar PV system and reliable power even during long periods of cloudy weather conditions.
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Maintaining A Solar System
With solar panels being a serious commitment, you may be wondering how much work is involved in the upkeep of your solar installation. Thankfully, keeping your solar panels in great working order doesnt require too much effort.
Because solar panels work best when theyre in direct sunlight, youll want to make sure that any trees that surround your home dont start to overshadow your panels.
You will need to make sure your solar panels are kept nice and clean. Debris and dirt could affect their efficiency. With this in mind, cleaning your panels often is essential.
You may find cleaning companies in your area that offer solar panel services, or you might want to have a cleaning system installed to make the job easier.
If you choose to undertake the cleaning yourself, use a long-handled wiper along with biodegradable soap to clean the panels from ground level to ensure you dont injure yourself or damage your panels.
Because solar panels have no moving parts, you wont have to worry about anything rusting or seizing up. This means that theres no need to worry about having your solar panels serviced or maintained.
How Do Solar Panels Work With Batteries
With solar panels, you use the electricity as its generated. However, solar batteries are now available which store the power your panels have produced during the day so you can use it later.
There are different types of solar batteries, all with different features and capabilities. Some are about the size of a car battery, while others can be as large as a generator or a washing machine.
Most people who have solar panels installed go without a battery as theyre happy to revert back to the power from the national grid when their panels arent generating electricity themselves. Its usually people who are determined to live off-grid who decide to use solar batteries.
Step : The Cells Produce Electrical Current
Within each solar cell is a thin semiconductor wafer made from two layers of silicon. One layer is positively charged, and the other negatively charged, forming an electric field. When light energy from the sun strikes a photovoltaic solar cell, it energizes the cell and causes electrons to come loose from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.
Types Of Solar Installations:
Connected to Grid
- Net metering is a state law that defines how solar interacts with the electricity grid.
- Under net metering, you can buy energy from the grid when the sun isn’t out, and sell energy back to your utility when your solar produces more than you are consuming.
- No solar batteries or solar storage is needed – the grid is your perfect energy storage mechanism.
- Provides the highest return on investment.
- Does not produce electricity when the grid is down.
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How Are The Suns Rays Harnessed
Solar cells today are usually made from N-type and P-type semiconductor materials. These materials use the visible light spectrum to generate electricity via photovoltaic cells. The visible light spectrum knocks the electrons from the weak bonds in these materials and thus create electrical currents.
Types Of Solar Panels
There are a variety of types of solar panels on the market today. While the vast majority of solar panels are made from silicon, a non-metallic semiconductor that is used to make electric currents, there are several significant differences between the various kinds of solar cells.
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels are both made from silicon, but they differ slightly in their construction. Monocrystalline panels are composed of the highest quality silicon and are the most energy efficient – and most expensive – option for residential polycrystalline PV panels are made from raw silicon melted into molds. Because the process here uses silicon that is not as pure, it is less expensive than the production of monocrystalline panels and costs less for homeowners to purchase.
String ribbon solar cells have the same basic composition of polycrystalline solar cells, but are formed out of thin strands of silicon and therefore use less silicon than other traditional solar panels. This process is relatively complex, so the price of string ribbon panels is higher than that of mono or polycrystalline cells.
Thin film solar cells can be made from a variety of photovoltaic materials, including silicon, copper, and cadmium. These panels are perfect for mass production but require large surface areas in order to provide maximum efficiency, so theyre not ideal for residential solar panels.
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Who Are The Best Solar Panel Installation Companies Near Me
As the largest consumer reviews site for the residential solar industry, we have reviews of most solar panel installation companies.
We also have rankings for solar energy companies so that you can refine your search for the best local solar company to only those companies that service your local area.
Compare the prices of the best-rated solar providers near you online
So Are Solar Panels Worth It For Your Home
As you can see, there are many factors that go into determining if solar panels are worth it for your home. The return on a solar investment depends on where you live, your roofs features, your electric rates, and who installs your panels.
The easiest way to answer the question are solar panels worth it? is to use our solar calculator to get an accurate cost and savings estimate tailored to your home and energy usage.
Then you can be on your way to powering your home with clean energy – all while cutting your electric bill.
Find out how much will a solar system cost you after federal, state, and local incentives in 2021
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Calculating Solar Power Costs
Once the above costs and benefits are determined, a solar system can theoretically be evaluated using the discounted cash flow method. Outflows at the beginning of the project would consist of installation costs , and inflows would arrive later in the form of offset electricity costs .
Rather than using DCF, the viability of solar power is usually evaluated by calculating the levelized cost of electricity , then comparing it to the cost of electricity charged by the local utility. The LCOE for household solar will typically be calculated as cost/kilowatt-hour – the same format commonly used on electricity bills. To approximate the LCOE, one can use the following equation:
LCOE = Net Present Value of the Lifetime Cost of Ownership / Lifetime Energy Output
The useful life of a PV solar module is generally assumed to be 25-40 years. The cost of ownership includes the maintenance costs, which must be discounted to find the NPV. The LCOE can then be compared to the cost of electricity from a utility remember, the relevant price is that which occurs during times at or near peak PV solar production.
What About Alternative Solar Technologies To Photovoltaics
Weve been talking about , or PV, in this article, because its the most common type of solar energy generation, especially for homes and businesses. But theres more out there, and they work in different ways than traditional photovoltaic solar panels. Two of the most common alternative solar options that work differently than PV panels are solar hot water and concentrated solar power.
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Advantages Of A Solar Battery Bank
If you do choose to install a battery bank on your home, here are some of the advantages that youll be able to experience.
- On-demand power whenever you need it.
- Security during power outages.
- Cleaner energy is better for the environment.
- A quiet solution to power outages. No need for noisy generators and their gas fuel consumption
- Lower electric bills because you wont be using traditional power almost at all.
There are more advantages than that, but these are the most important advantages weve found over the years. If youre sold on the idea of a solar battery bank, contact us today, and we can estimate your cost for a solar battery bank.
How Does Solar Energy Work And How Do We Use It In Our Homes
There are no moving parts. No combustion takes place, nor is any noise generated. No space is required other than the surface of your roof. It requires no fuel, just sunlight. And despite all that, it can power your entire home and produce surplus power for you to export to your neighbors.
Yes, Im talking about solar energy. The way it works seems so remarkable and mysterious that it seems almost like magic. But solar power production is actually pretty straightforward. And, believe it or not, the solar technology used in modern solar panels has remained essentially unchanged since the 1950s.
So, how does solar energy work? What has to happen for plain ol sunlight to be converted into electricity that can power your home appliances?
This blog will answer those questions. It will also look at how solar energy works at night, and the role batteries play in solar power systems.
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Excess Solar Power Is Exported To The Grid
If you have solar panels installed, its common to generate more solar power than your total electrical loads require . When this happens, the excess energy flows out from the home to the electric grid via your utility meter.
The utility meter will need to be a special net meter, which can keep a separate record of what electricity you export to the grid and what you consume from the grid.
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Whats My Return On Investment
How much will you save from installing a residential solar energy system? The average 5kW system that is installed in homes can average about $12,500 to $15,000. Note that solar energy system pricing has dropped dramatically over just the last few years alone. Its becoming more and more affordable and more and more convenient for use.
So, when will your savings start and when will you hit your return on investment? Well, your cost savings will happen immediately. Just compare your first utility bill pre- and post-solar energy installation and youll realize how much you are saving every month from relying solely on the grid for power. By the time the system has paid for itself in cost savings, itll only take about 5 to 10 years this is of course dependent on the size of your system, the type of panels you get installed, and also the climate you live in. Naturally, residents in high-sunshine states like California and Arizona will garner much more solar energy conversion than residents with similar systems in Seattle and Boston.
Solar energy is no longer something that is coming in the future. Its here and the solar business is thriving. Costs are dropping every day and systems are getting more and more advanced and efficient. You might readily notice solar panels set up on homes you pass on your drive home or in fields used by commercial businesses. What an incredible time to save money and invest in solar energy.
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When Was Solar Power Discovered
Solar energy was used by humans as early as the 7th century B.C., when humans used sunlight to light fires by reflecting the suns rays onto shiny objects. Later, in 3rd century B.C., the Greeks and Romans harnessed solar power with mirrors to light torches for religious ceremonies.
In 1839 and at the age of just 19, French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with a cell made of metal electrodes in a conducting solution. He noted that the cell produced more electricity when it was exposed to light.
In 1954 photovoltaic technology was born when Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller and Gerald Pearson developed the silicon PV cell at Bell Labs in 1954 the first solar cell capable of converting enough of the sun’s energy into power to run everyday electrical equipment.
Today satellites, spacecraft orbiting Earth, are powered by solar energy.