How Do Solar Panels Work
A solar photovoltaic system changes sunlight into electricity. Sunlight is caught by the solar panels and converted into usable electricity by the inverter. This can then be used to power appliances in your home directly, or stored in a battery for use later when the sun is not shining. If not used or stored, the excess electricity is directed back to the grid. Learn more about energy storage.
Wiring Solar Panels Of Different Ratings In Series
Here is a series connection of solar panels of different voltage ratings and the same current rating:
Picture of wiring solar panels of different ratings in series
You can see that if one of the solar panels has a lower voltage rating compared to the remaining panels, the output power is lower than in the previous example but the loss is not significant. Things, however, are entirely different if you connect in series panels of different current ratings.
You should, however, have in mind that the current produced from solar panel depends on the ambient temperature, solar cells temperature, and solar irradiance.
If the lower wattage solar panel is from different series or a different brand, it might behave differently under the same ambient conditions.
For example, if under the same environmental conditions the solar panel of the different wattage has a lower current , it would drag the performance of the whole solar array down, because it would limit the solar arrays current to 7.5A.
The performance of the solar array is as strong as the performance of the weakest element.
In a series connection, such a weak element is the solar panel with the lowest current.
The following example reveals this in more details.
This time we have a series connection of solar panels of different voltage ratings and different current ratings:
Picture of connection of solar panels of different voltage ratings and different current ratings
Impact Of Solar Panels On Property Value
These factors can all have an impact, too:
- the age of the solar panels
- whether theyre owned by a company rather than the homeowner
- their effect on the appearance of the property.
Also, remember that the system’s inverter might need changing over the 25-year period and that, over time, the panels will reduce in efficiency. These factors need to be considered if you invest in solar PV and want to sell your home later on.
If youre buying a property with solar panels installed, its worth getting a surveyor to check them.
We’ve spoken to solar panel experts and solar panel owners for their top tips onMake the most of your solar panels.
**NAEA Propertymark surveyed 1,252 estate agent businesses for Which? in June 2017.
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Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone
Practically, it is not often possible. This is because solar only works when the sun is shining – which means when it is cloudy or nighttime, they do not generate electricity. There are some battery solutions to provide power during these times, but they still tend to be quite expensive. Most homes with solar panels still rely on the grid from time to time.
Dont Buy Solar Power If Your Roof Is Completed Shaded
Having partial shade on your roof is no longer the major issue it was a few years ago. By using Enphase Micro-Inverters, solar output in shady locations can still deliver great value for money.
However, on roofs that have serious shade issues, it is important to understand that micro-inverters dont increase output from a panel in shaded environments, rather they make each panel independent from the rest of the array so that if one panel is shaded it is only that one panel that is affected.
This means that if your roof is completely shaded for most of the day, for example from a neighbouring building, then solar power may not be suitable for your house or business. Yes, premium panels such as the LG Solar NeON 2 module will work better than others in low light conditions, however, there are no panels on the market that work well in heavily shaded conditions, because panels work off light rather than heat, and it is only when they have direct sunlight that they start performing well.
It is worth remembering that for many houses, shade is only an issue in the winter months, and as a solar system produces much of its annual output in the summer half of the year, it is normally worth checking with us to see to what extent shade will impact your systems performance, a lot of the time it is not as bad as you may think.
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What Rebates And Incentives Are Available
Rebates and incentives significantly reduce your cost of solar and can actually put money into your pocket each month, translating to substantial long-term savings. The best solar incentive is the investment tax credit , which allows you to deduct 26 percent of your solar installation cost from your federal taxes theres no cap on its value, but your individual tax liability will determine whether youre able to take full advantage of this incentive.
Depending on where you live, you may also qualify for other various incentives that help you save more: in addition to the ITC, local incentives like state tax credits, cash rebates, solar renewable energy certificates , and performance-based incentives can increase your solar savings up to 50 percent!
Look Into Getting Portable Solarpanels
If you havent purchased your solar panelsyet, you may want to consider portable solar panels especially if you thinkyoull need to cover your solar panels once you have them.
Portable solar panels generally fold up and can be moved when theyre not in use. That way, you dont have to cover them at all you just need to take them down and move them.
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How To Install Solar Panel Brackets
Solar panel brackets are just a nut and bolt attachment. They come in a variety of styles, and each is slightly different. Many slide onto the solar frame railings and then tighten to hold the panel in place.
The basic is to position the bracket to capture the panel and then tighten the bolt that clamps the bracket to the panel. You may need only a single socket wrench with the correct socket type, or you may need two socket wrenches one to work the top bolt and one to hold the nut onto the bolt.
If you use a kit, you will find that the clamps that hold the solar panel to the framing will match, and most slide down to lock the panels in place with an easy-to-access bolt that chinches the clamp to the panel.
- Once you have installed the first panel, it is a simple task to place the second panel and then clamp it. The slide clamps sit between the panels, so you would lock the first panels top into place as you lock the bottom of panel two to the frame.
- The process is straightforward. For roof applications, you may need to wire the panels as you install them. Many styles of solar panels for roof applications will have a hinge that allows the panel to swing up so that you can access the roof, frame, and the backside of the solar panel. That is an advantage over a clamp system.
Other Benefits Of Solar To Consider
The benefits of solar dont stop at just financial savings and environmental benefits. There are plenty of additional reasons to go solar.
For instance, going solar contributes to local jobs, helping to boost your local economy. According to The Solar Foundations annual Solar Jobs Census, the solar industry employs over a quarter million people, most of whom work for local solar companies in your area. By investing in solar, youre also investing in your local jobs.
Home and business owners are also increasingly looking to solar plus storage as a way to avoid power outages as storms increase in severity throughout the country. Many install solar to be on the cutting edge of technology. And a not-insignificant number of EnergySage solar shoppers are looking into solar for the aesthetics: todays solar panels are quite sleek!
There are myriad reasons to go solar, beyond just the ones weve outlined above. Whatever your motivation for going solar, get started today with EnergySage.
EnergySage is the nation’s online solar marketplace: when you sign up for a free account, we connect you with solar companies in your area, who compete for your business with custom solar quotes tailored to fit your needs. Over 10 million people come to EnergySage each year to learn about, shop for and invest in solar. .
Enter your zip code to see solar quotes near you
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Other Reasons Why You Might Go Solar
Here are just a few others reasons you might want to go solar:
Youre A Self-Proclaimed Tree Hugger.
Going solar is perhaps the biggest thing you can do, aside from walking to work and living with the Amish to save the planet. Coal-fired power plants produce 2.1 pounds of carbon emissions for each kilowatt-hour produced.
An average-sized 5 kW solar installation in northern California produces 7,650 kWh per year. So, if the utility actually derived 30% of their electricity from coal, that average-sized solar installation would therefore avoid almost 2,300 pounds of carbon emissions from coal each year. Not too bad!
Your Neighbors Gone Solar
Weve all got to keep up with the Joneses, right?
Your Neighbor Hasnt Gone Solar. Yet.
A study from professors at NYU and Yale found that when one homeowner in a neighborhood installs solar, others in the neighborhood follow. So by installing solar, you could be starting a localized green revolution!
Estimate My Solar System
The battery schemes above are included because they can apply to a new solar PV system which includes a battery.
Rebate schemes change from time to time, so it’s worth checking the federal government energy website to see what’s available in your area.
Always check the terms and conditions for any rebate scheme carefully to make sure you’re eligible, and what steps you need to take. For example, many schemes apply only to certain regions or postcodes, may have limited places available, or are only available to households below a certain income level, or you might need to have your proposed system approved by the scheme before it’s installed.
What is an STC?
An STC is a form of currency available to owners of small-scale renewable energy systems. Under the federal government’s Solar Credits Scheme, eligible households receive money for STCs created by their PV systems. STCs were formerly known as renewable energy certificates or RECs. Currently, the scheme allows you to cash in the certificates you could earn over the next several years straight away.
A new solar PV system will generate a certain number of STCs depending on the size of the system and its location. Generally, the bigger the system and the sunnier the region it’s in, the more STCs it will generate. As an example, a 6.6kW system in Sydney installed in 2021 will generate 91 STCs.
Is the STC rebate going to end?
How to sell your STCs
How much money will you make selling STCs?
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Before Your New Solar System Is Installed
Before you begin the installation process, your installer will need to do a survey of your property. This is an important part of the installation process that will make sure you get a system and design that is right for your property. Your surveyor should assess your property and talk you through your shading analysis for the most accurate projected figures. They should leave you a written, fixed cost quote, including projected performance of your system. You don’t have to commit to anything on the day. Ideally, get a few written quotes from different installers three is a good number.
You should also consider pigeon proofing solar panels. This is easier and cheaper to do during installation rather than after. You just need to ask your installer about this before getting the solar panels up.
What You Need To Know Aboutcovering Solar Panels When Not In Use
As the introduction above indicates, you dontneed to cover your solar panels whentheyre not in use. However, if you wish, you can cover your solar panels whentheyre not in use. Why is that? What are some of the reasons solar panelowners want to cover them?
What are the benefits, risks and rewardsassociated with covering or not covering your solar panels when theyre notbeing used? Well go over all these points in detail, starting with the basics:a brief background on solar panels.
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Are Solar Panels Efficient
Conditions for solar panels are never perfect, and so they are never 100% efficient. In fact, most residential panels have an efficiency of around 20%, which sounds low but is actually enough to cover most of a households energy consumption.
As the solar technology industry continues to advance, we can expect more efficiency from residential solar systems in the future.
Are Certain Types Of Panels More Effective
While you might not be aware of it, there are many different types of solar panel from a range of providers. The two most common are the cheaper but less efficient polycrystalline solar panels and the more expensive but more efficient monocrystalline solar panels.
While these panels work to achieve different levels of output, this is not down to their positioning, so you can choose the panel that is right for you separately from deciding its placement.
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So Are Solar Panels Worth It It All Depends
If you can save money and energy, yes, solar panels are worth it. The bottom line for homeowners is that solar energy represents one of the best ways to reduce your dependence on traditional utility companies. And for many homeowners, solar power ROI is more than high enough to justify the steep initial investment. With that said, the startup cost can be prohibitive, and not every homeowner will achieve the same bang for their buck.
As you consider whether solar panels are a sound investment for your home, make sure you take into account cost, warranty, longevity and overall efficiency, all while seeking guidance from qualified solar experts.
So How Often Should You Clean Solar Panels
ANSWER: At least ONCE per year
If you live near a freeway, airport, or industrial building, you may want to be more conscious as pollution can dirty them quicker.
WHY? Because leaves and other debris will immediately affect the production of the panels. If your panels sit close to trees, be aware that when Fall comes, foliage can block the sunlight to your roof.
PRO-TIP: The efficiency of your solar system goes up, on average, by 3-5% a year with CLEAN panels.
QUICK TIPS FOR CLEANING YOUR SOLAR PANELS:
- Check the manufacturers directions for cleaning. If there were no instructions provided when you purchased your panels, check online or contact the manufacturer directly. NOTE: Its important to make sure there are no special instructions or warnings for cleaning.
- Keep in mind the panels might be hot, so try to clean them first thing in the morning or later at night. Cooler days tend to keep your panels cooler.
- Use your garden hose to spray down the panels. In some cases, this will be enough to get them clean, but sometimes youll need to do amore thorough cleaning.
- Fill a bucket with warm, soapy water or a cleaning solution designed for solar panels. Use a soft cloth or sponge and wipe them down with the soap solution and then rinse them with the hose.
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Look Into Rebates And Tax Incentives
While solar panels can seem expensive, especially as you are facing the sizable up-front costs, you’ll want to keep in mind the fact that some places have incentives to encourage you to go green.
The federal government offers tax credits to home owners who install solar panels. Some states similarly offer tax breaks and rebates when you embrace solar power. Make sure to capitalize on these opportunities to shrink the cost of switching to solar.
Wiring The System And Components
If you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring standards, you should leave wiring the system to a solar professional or an electrician. Your goal is to connect the solar panels into strings or groups and then attach them as a unit to the conduit wiring and to do so safely.
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Your Electricity Costs Are Already Low
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 96% of homeowners have installed solar, or are considering doing so, to save money on utility bills.
This makes perfect sense. Many American households spend hundreds of dollars every month on their power bills and solar panels are often the most effective way to slash that amount. Financial modeling by SolarReviews shows 25-year bill savings in the amount of $62,803 for solar panels installed in San Francisco in 2021, for instance.
However, some homeowners dont spend very much on electricity. This could be because of one or more of the following factors:
- You have a small home
- You have a small household size
- Your home and appliances are energy efficient
- You enjoy low electric rates from your local utility
If thats you, and you pay $50 or less a month for electricity, then installing solar probably isnt worth the time and effort.