You Can Use Solar Energy For Different Purposes
Did you know that you use solar energy for diverse purposes? You have the option to generate electricity or heat, whatever you want.
You can also use solar energy to produce electricity in those areas that do not have access to the energy grid. This means that these areas are in need of a number of resources, including clean water. Without the energy grid, solar energy makes it possible to distill water in areas that have a limited clean water supply.
Solar energy is more than capable of powering satellites in space. You can also integrate the energy into the materials that are needed for buildings. A little while ago, transparent solar energy windows were introduced by some companies as well.
Consider these best solar panels for your home to get started living more sustainably.
How Big Are Solar Panels
Panels come in two standard configurations: 60-cell or 72-cell. If you want to know when you might choose one over the other for your solar project, read our breakdown of 60 vs 72 cell solar panels.
60-cell panels measure 39 by 65, while 72-cell panels are 39 by 77. In reality, these dimensions can fluctuate by up to an inch because manufacturers use different frame sizes. But the 60 and 72 cell layouts are standardized across the industry.
There are also smaller options for RV / mobile use, and some companies are experimenting with larger 96-cell panels, but these sizes arent common enough to be standardized at the moment.
Learn more: Solar Panel Size Guide
Install The Solar Panels
Once the frame has been attached, the installation of the solar panels can begin. The panels are clamped to the aluminium frame but not too tightly at first, in order to have some space to adjust them slightly later. Once all panels are set up in their position, they are firmly secured to the frame.
Utility Bill Rate Design
Good electricity rate design allows you to save money when you save energy. This might sound intuitive but not all provinces are same. Superior designs have low fixed monthly fees and tiered electricity rates. Inferior designs have high fixed fees and flat electricity rates.
Alberta score near last in this respect having flat rates and high fixed monthly fees averaging $40.
For example, reducing your electricity bill from 1,500 to 750 kWh per month will save you 54% on your electricity bill in British Columbia, 48% in , but only 41% in Alberta!
Note that fixed monthly fees dont disappear even if you switch to solar youll pay them as long as you remain connected to the grid. But this isnt a bad thing $40/mo is a small price to pay for using the grid as your back-up energy source!
The only way to completely remove your fixed costs is to go off the grid, something most homeowners in Alberta dont do because of high battery costs.
Disconnecting from the grid also means that you wont be able to participate in the your utilitys net billing program.
Components Of A Solar Panel
The components of a solar panel arent as complex as you might think. Some of the first solar panels were developed in the late 1800s. The most important solar panels component is the photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and transfer the energy to the inverters that change the DC electricity to AC electricity. Each photovoltaic cell is contained within a larger silicon cell encased in glass and metal to protect it from weather and water damage.
The glass that covers the silicon PV cells is covered in an anti-reflective coating to help the panels collect the most sunlight possible and, in turn, generate an optimal amount of electricity. A solar inverter is the portion of the solar energy system that acts as the systems power plant and converts the energy to alternating current .
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Review Your Electric Bill
Solar panels generate their own power and can therefore greatly offset your monthly electricity bill, if not eliminate it. The higher your bill, the more likely you’ll benefit from switching. But you should note that electricity rates and usage the main charges on your statement are volatile.
“If a utilitys electricity prices fluctuate, so could the amount of savings,” says Garrett Nilsen, deputy director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s solar energy technologies office. “Similarly, if energy consumption changes, the amount of savings can also vary.”
Visit the EIA website to view the most recent prices per state.
Cost Of Solar Power In Canada 2021
Published by Rylan Urban on Jan 14, 2019. Last updated March 11, 2021.
The average installation cost of solar power in Canada is $3.01/watt, or $22,500 for a 7.5kW system.
However, the cost of solar power changes depending on the size of the system required, your eligibility for solar incentives, the type of equipment used, and even on the province that you live in.
This page explains how to accurately calculate the cost of solar power for your property in just 3 steps. You can read from top to bottom or jump to your preferred section by clicking on it below:
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What Solar Financing Options Are Available
There are three common approaches to secure financing for your solar system. In order from highest to lowest value, they are:
- Personal Loan
- Solar Lease
- Solar PPAs
A personal loan will typically have the lowest interest rate. In addition, taking out a loan to buy the system means you own it yourself. Owning the system allows you to claim the Federal Tax Credit for going solar. That 30% kickback when you file your taxes can help you pay back your loan ahead of schedule.
Solar leases and PPAs have lower ROI because the installer owns the system, which means they have the right to claim the Federal Tax Credit for themselves.
Is It Worth Buying Cheap Solar Panels
Solar panels can indeed be expensive, and some will want to find the cheapest solution. Cheap solar panels can make the setup costs more affordable, but they may not be worth it in the long run. After all, investing in solar energy is a decision with long-term implications. Cheap solar panels are likely to have a shorter lifespan and lower efficiency, and for that reason, your savings might be less significant.
When considering installing solar panels in your home, solar panel prices should not be the only factor. It will pay off, in the long run, to invest in high-quality panels and especially in a premium inverter from an MCS-certified installer that has a good reputation in your area.
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The Further South You Live The More You Can Make
While you don’t need a summer home in Hawaii to get some juice from solar panels, the further south you are can make a difference when it comes to their effectiveness. Remember, this is about daylight, not hours of sunshine. Northern homes get slightly less, so where you live needs to be factored in.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that panels in Manchester could save you between £95 and £230 each year on your electricity bills, compared with around £100-£240 in London and £90-£220 a year in Stirling. See Does buying solar panels add up? below for full analysis.
Solar Powered Air Conditioner
If you ever thought of going off the grid, you may have said, This is impossible. and well, its quite tricky, but now solar-powered appliances have made off the grid living a foreseeable future for many earth lovers.
Now imagine a hurricane knocks out everyones power in the city, I can see it now finicky, panicking, oh no, what are you going to do?, Well go out to that kitchen of yours and pour a glass of wine.
All of your appliances run off the sun, marvelous right? Thats just one example, summers in Florida are brutal its consistently hot and humid but a solar-powered air conditioner!
Now thats a heatstroke of genius proportions.
If youre not set up but ready for the change:
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Benefits Of Solar Energy
Is solar a good source of electricity?
The short answer is yes, because the solar energy, while not absent from disadvantages, has several advantages:
1. Receiving electricity from solar energy can help you lower a buildings utility bills, so you can save money by installing a system for the collection of solar energy.
2. The fact that traditional means of receiving electricity impact global warming is a well-known fact, but by using solar energy to produce electricity you may improve the situation by reducing air pollution.
3. Further, solar power does not belong to anyone, as it is with fossil fuels, which means that anyone can use solar energy to produce electricity with no need to buy it from other countries.
This possibility means that countries that do not possess old fashioned means of producing electricity can gain some independence from those that do.
4. The sunlight is a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuel, and it is available for a long time from now while being an excellent source of energy.
These are only four of the most obvious benefits of solar energy, but there are more reasons why solar panels are good.
Leases And Power Purchase Agreements
With a lease or power purchase agreement , you pay little or nothing upfront and the system is installed, owned and maintained by a solar service provider. You make lease payments or purchase the electricity produced by the system on a monthly basis.
The rate you pay for the solar electricity may or may not be less than your current electricity rate. When your agreement ends, usually after 20 years, you have the option to remove the system, renew the agreement or purchase the system. If you move, there are usually options for buying out the system or transferring the agreement to the new homebuyer.
If you choose a lease or PPA, Energy Trust will pay the incentive to your solar service provider. You see the benefit as a more affordable lease or power purchase price.
The solar service provider owns the Renewable Energy Certificates produced by your solar electric system. Read this fact sheet for more information on Renewable Energy Certificates.
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Make Final Connections To The Consumer Unit
After the panels are wired to the inverter, the final connections to the consumer unit will be made. A generation meter will also be connected, which measures how much electricity your panels actually produce. Smart meters and solar panels work together very well and can make meter reading far easier.
Measurement Of Solar Radiation
The photograph at left shows equipment for solar irradiance measurements. via NREL information exchange.
In PV system design it is essential to know the amount of sunlight available at a particular location at a given time. The two common methods which characterise solar radiation are the solar radiance and solar insolation. The solar radiance is an instantaneous power density in units of kW/m2. The solar radiance varies throughout the day from 0 kW/m2 at night to a maximum of about 1 kW/m2. The solar radiance is strongly dependant on location and local weather. Solar radiance measurements consist of global and/or direct radiation measurements taken periodically throughout the day. The measurements are taken using either a pyranometer and/or a pyrheliometer . In well established locations, this data has been collected for more than twenty years.
An alternative method of measuring solar radiation, which is less accurate but also less expensive, is using a sunshine recorder. These sunshine recorders , measure the number of hours in the day during which the sunshine is above a certain level . Data collected in this way can be used to determine the solar insolation by comparing the measured number of sunshine hours to those based on calculations and including several correction factors.
A final method to estimate solar insolation is cloud cover data taken from existing satellite images.
Solar radiation for a particular location can be given in several ways including:
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Is A Solar Installation Right For You
Use our residential solar adviser tool to explore considerations and estimated costs for a solar panel installation on your home. Get real life figures to help you determine the best solar program for you and your goals.
You can solar too, without rooftop panels! Purchase a monthly Community Solar subscription and receive energy credits on your monthly bill based on the amount of energy produced at our solar farms.Click now to learn more.Lets solar!
The sun offers more than just days out on the green. Get more from the sun by matching your monthly energy usage with Renewable Energy Credits generated from solar facilities.Go solar!
Learn more about our behind-the-meter solar programs, including the new Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources program, and how to interconnect your system.
Georgia Power purchases 100% of the solar energy generated and retires the RECs on behalf of the participating customer, giving them the ability to claim the renewable benefits.
Disadvantages Of Solar Panels
- Specific solar panel placement
High Initial Costs
Investing in solar panels can be expensive. You can expect around £5,000 to £10,000 in up-front costs. Although you can earn money back on your solar panels by exporting energy to the grid, the high set-up costs can be difficult to meet for some.
Significantly More Efficient During Daytime
Solar panels are dependent on sunlight. Although they do not require direct sunlight to work, they lose efficiency if they are not fully exposed to sunlight. In addition, they cant produce energy during the night and are less effective during dark winters.
An effective solution to this is to switch to the main power grid at night. Alternatively, homes with a grid-independent system can store energy in solar batteries during the day, which can then be used at night.
Solar Panel Placement
Inaccurate placement of solar panels can majorly reduce the effectiveness of electricity generation. If you live in an area surrounded by large buildings or tall trees, the efficiency of your solar panels will be very limited.
Ensure there are no buildings or trees blocking sunlight, and always clear branches and leaves from the panels.
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Do Solar Systems Require Maintenance
Solar panels require very little maintenance. Most of it is centered around clearing debris off the panels, which would block sunlight from hitting the solar cells and hinder production.
In cold climates, snow can pile up on your panels. Use a soft brush or broom to wipe them down without scratching the glass surface.
Same goes for dry climates where dust can settle on the panels. Its a good idea to wipe down the panels a few times a year to clear off dust and debris. In more temperate climates, once a year is probably fine.
Thats about all there is to it. Solar panels are very durable because there are no moving parts, so theres very little maintenance on the mechanical and electrical systems. If you keep panels clear, your system needs very little oversight.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost
The average domestic solar panel system costs £5,000 to £10,000. The total cost of solar panels depends on how many panels you need for your home, which in turn is dependent on your energy consumption.
Generally, the more expensive the system, the more electricity it can generate and therefore, the more savings it can bring. The table below shows the annual savings on your electricity bills per system size, how much you can earn through Smart Export Guarantee payments, and ultimately, how long it can take to break even.Average Solar Panel Costs and Savings in the UK
A small house with 1-3 residents can sufficiently cover their electricity costs with a 3kW solar panel system, which costs £5,000-£6,000. With that system, you can save £160 per year on your electricity bill thanks to the free energy produced by your panels. Whats more, with SEG payments you can even earn £75 per year.
A household with a family of 3-4 people would commonly have a 4kW system installed, which has a price range of approximately £6,000-£8,000. In this scenario, you can save approximately £270 on your electricity bill annually, and can even earn £100 per year on top of that.
For larger homes that house 4+ people, a 6kW solar panel system would be required. This can be anything from £8,000 and upwards. With a 6kW system, you can save a whopping £430 on your electricity bills every year, and earn £151 from SEG payments additionally.
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Get Solar Energy Free Service That
Arcadia Power is a completely free service that will help you switch to clean energy for no upfront capital cost.
If you use my link, you will get a 20 credit off your electric bill when you link your utility account.
What is a Community Solar Farm In recent years, more people have come to realize that they can shift to solar power even without installing solar panels.
How To Find A Solar Partner For Installation
When you start looking for solar installers to help with your home solar installation, youll likely have a lot of questions. Before diving in and working with just any old solar installer, take your time to thoroughly vet each company that you might work with. Youll want to find a company that has your best interest in mind, and thats willing to work with you. Here are a few filters to put them through and questions to ask.
- How long have they been in business? Look for five years as a good threshold.
- Do they have a clean and easy-to-use website? A professional company will put time into its online presence.
- Do they offer a warranty? Not all companies will offer workmanship warranties. A good warranty is vital.
- Do they offer professional customer service? How youre treated in the sales process will likely be how youre treated throughout the time you work with them.
- Will they be there for you in the future? Finding a company thats willing to partner with you throughout the future and not just right now is a huge advantage.
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