Saturday, July 13, 2024

What I Need To Know About Solar Panels

What Do I Need To Know About Solar Power

180. Solar 101 – everything you need to know about going solar!

4.8/510 Things You Should Know about Solar Panels

  • The concept of harnessing energy from the sun is not new.
  • Solar energy is completely free and renewable.
  • What are they made of?
  • There are two types of solar panels.
  • The initial cost.
  • Solar panels do not need direct sunlight to work.
  • Potential issues.
  • Solar power is the most abundant energy source on Earth.
  • Solar panel costs have fallen 99% since 1977.
  • Solar Energy is cheaper than fossil fuels.
  • Solar power plants can last 40 years or more.
  • China is the world leader in solar energy by a lot.
  • 6. California is the U.S. star in solar.

Also Know, how does solar power work for dummies? As photons of light hit the top layer, it allows electrons to flow from the top layer to the bottom, creating a current. When sunlight hits the top silicon layer, it ‘excites’ the electrons and gives them enough energy to move. The electricity generated by PV solar cells is DC .

Accordingly, what are the basics of solar energy?

There are five basic parts to the process of actively harnessing solar energy for everyday use: Solar panels, made up of photovoltaic cells, capture sunlight particles or photons. Using a semiconducting material such as silicon, the PV cells convert the sunlight into useable direct current electricity.

Why solar energy is bad?

Where To Buy Solar Panels

Many businesses specialize in selling and installing solar panels for homes. Search online to locate solar panel suppliers and installers in your area.

You can even shop for solar panels at major home goods stores like Home Depot. Stores like this can even set you up with professional installation to help you get a residential solar panel setup.

Many of these services also help you access financing for your solar panels for your house. It’s common for people to lease solar panels and pay monthly. Many programs offer $0 down and rebates might even be available in your area through local utility companies. You might also inquire about any active tax credits, such as the 26% solar tax credit as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, which might help pay for a substantial part of the array.

Bring your home up to speed with the latest on automation, security, utilities, networking and more.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need

How many solar panels you need will depend on how much electricity you need it to generate and how much space you have on your roof.

It’s important not to buy too large a system, because you can’t meet 100% of your electricity needs with solar PV .

Solar panel system sizes are measured in kilowatt peaks . This is the maximum output of your system.

The most common system size, from our survey of more than 1,000 solar panel owners, was between 3.6-4kWp.*

Which? members can log-in to see the most common system size for bungalows, terrace, semi-detached and detached homes. Or join Which? to access all of our content.

Make sure the surveyor takes into account your household’s electricity use, when you’re at home and out, so you can get the right-sized system for your needs and budget.

Find out how much solar panels cost.

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Can Lightning Damage Solar Panels

Lightning can damage solar panels because lightning is electricity. This means it has a large amount of energy that could cause physical harm to the system or destroy its components.

It may not happen immediately, but lightning might be able to shorten the lifespan of your panels over time if you are unlucky enough for lightning bolts to strike them directly.

If lightning hits a solar panel, it can cause current to flow through the entire system and damage components such as inverters or wiring that is not lightning resistant.

If lightning hits your roof where you have installed solar panels, the electrical surge from lightning may travel down conductors into electronics in other parts of your home if they are not lightning protected.

Lightning strikes roof

If you have an off-grid system with batteries, lightning can damage the batteries or the systems charge controller if lightning conductors are not installed.

There is no protection against lightning damage for solar panels that are connected to the power grid and consumers should take additional precautions such as protecting their main electrical panel with a lightning arrestor and surge protector.

A direct lightning strike can damage solar panels in a number of ways, including:

As you can see, lightning does impact solar panel systems. Solar panels are designed to work through normal conditions, but lightning poses a real threat for solar owners because it occurs very quickly and is incredibly powerful.

Do I Get Any Government Incentives By Going Solar

What You Need to Know About Pole Barns and Solar Panels

Many countries around the world, including USA, endorse tax incentives & refund on the purchase and installation of solar energy systems.

These programs paid the owner higher rate per watt generated by their solar systems and these watts are than added to the grid and they essentially buy back what they need at a much lower cost.

These incentives radically lower the cost of a solar system and can make the difference in turning your solar project into a profitable investment.

US Governments incentive programs are varying significantly from state to state. Find out more about programs in your area by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy .

If you are in California, rebates are governed through the California Solar Initiative .

Some banks allow solar system to be move into a credit or even offer special rates and terms to finance solar system installations.

Over the last few years, solar panels cost keep decreasing, and the demand of home & office keep increasing. Also the efficiency of the solar technology keep improving, thus the cost of solar installation will continue to drop and overall return on investment will rise.

So all in all going solar is the best way to not only save money but also get involved in a good cause of saving the earth by utilizing the renewable energy.

Go solar and pay less for electricity bills and save overtime as the electricity rates are continue to increase.

Also Check: How To Use Solar Energy At Home

Looking To Reduce Your Dependence On Traditional Power Sources Heres How To Figure Out Whether Solar Is For You

If youve been thinking about adding a solar power system to your home, you arent alone. Some 3 million systems sit atop American roofs, including about 400,000 that were installed each year in 2019 and 2020, according to Becca Jones-Albertus, director of the Solar Energy Technologies Office at the U.S. Energy Department.

How Much Roof Space Do You Need For A Home Solar System

After you estimate how many solar panels power a house, the next step is calculating the roof area needed for their installation. The exact dimensions may change slightly depending on the manufacturer, but a typical solar panel for residential use measures 65 inches by 39 inches, or 17.6 square feet. You will need 528 square feet of roof space to install 30 panels, and 704 square feet to install 40.

In addition to having the required space for solar panels, you’ll also need a roof structure that supports their weight. A home solar panel weighs around 20 kilograms , which means that 30 of them will add around 600 kilograms to your roof.

You will notice that some solar panels are described as residential, while others are described as commercial. Residential panels have 60 individual solar cells, while commercial panels have 72 cells, but both types will work in any building. Here are a few key differences:

  • Commercial solar panels produce around 20% more energy, thanks to their extra cells.
  • Commercial panels are also more expensive, as well as 20% larger and heavier.
  • Residential 60-cell solar panels are easier to handle in home installations, which saves on labor, and their smaller size helps when roof dimensions are limited.

Some of the latest solar panel designs have half-cells with a higher efficiency, which means they have 120 cells instead of 60 . However, this doesn’t change the dimensions of the panels.

Also Check: Are Solar Panels Tax Deductible

Does My Solar Energy System Need Batteries

Batteries are mandatory for off-grid systems and optional for grid-tie systems.

Every solar energy system needs a method to store the power generated by the panels. With grid-tie systems, you can feed that energy into the utility grid, essentially using the grid as a giant battery.

Under a net metering agreement, the utility credits you for anything you contribute, and you can use those credits to withdraw power from the grid whenever you need it. With the grid serving as an energy storage system, grid-tie systems dont need batteries to function.

Off-grid systems are different. Without grid access, you need to store your own power, and that means batteries are mandatory. Off-grid systems are quite a bit more expensive due to the inclusion of batteries, but can still be cost-effective as an alternative to running power lines to a remote property.

Solar Industry Research & Reporting

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying Solar Panels? 3 Critical Things! (I.C.E. Chats)

DSIRE stands for Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. It is a federally backed database that tracks renewable energy incentives in all 50 states. It also tracks any local policies and laws that will impact your solar project .


NREL is a government research center with 18 research programs that produce over 1,000 scientific and technical reports every year.

They are without a doubt the organization that produces the most original research and data-driven analysis in the renewable energy space. This is the best place to find historical data on pricing trends and reports on the health of the industry.


SEIA is the national trade association for solar industry professionals in America. You dont need to be a member to use their site, which has valuable resources like a state-by-state breakdown of solar incentives and a national database of solar companies.

Energy.govs Homeowners Guide to Going Solar

If you own your home and want to go solar, has a fantastic list to guide you through all the questions youll need to ask before committing to a purchase.

Read Also: How To Apply For Federal Solar Tax Credit

Solar Panel Buying Guide Checklist

  • Assess what energy you currently use and the system capacity you need .
  • Check if your roof faces the right direction. Only north-facing panels will produce their full capacity.
  • Make sure there are no trees, power lines or other structures shading your roof.
  • Find out what local council approval is needed. Increasingly, local councils have staff on hand to help people make the best decisions on solar.
  • Try to figure out your system’s payback time.
  • The inverter is a key part of the system. See our guide to buying a solar inverter for all the details.
  • If you’re considering adding a battery, see our guide to solar storage batteries to understand the pros and cons.
  • Get multiple quotes from installers to ensure you’re getting a good deal, and make sure your installer is CEC-accredited .
  • Make sure your solar panels meet the required standards .
  • Check your solar panels’ product and performance warranties see below for what these are.

How Do You Protect Solar Panels From Lightning

While lightning may damage a solar panel, a lightning protection system is available to mitigate these risks and protect your investment in solar energy.

Some companies offer a dedicated lightning protection system designed specifically for use with photovoltaic solar panels. These lightning protection devices protect the solar system from lightning damage by creating a low-resistance path for lightning currents to follow around your solar panels.

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Do Solar Panels Work When The Power Goes Out

Most people think that solar panels will keep their lights going when the power goes out. Unfortunately, unless you add battery storage , they wont.

Solar power systems automatically go offline in the event of a grid power outage as a safety measure for utility workers who are repairing power lines.

The only way solar panels will power your home during a blackout is if they are paired with battery storage.

Will Installing Solar Panels On My House Be A Good Investment

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need

In some areas, installing a solar panel system on your house can now offer a better return than traditional investments like property or shares. However, this is not the case in every situation. The residential solar calculator above will help you determine whether solar panels are suitable for your home and give you local information about costs, savings, tax credits, and other local incentives.

The calculator above will also show you what your payback period is likely to be based on your location and energy use

Also Check: Does Cleaning Solar Panels Help

Can You Increase A Solar Panels Output Or Efficiency

Theres no way to increase the solar panel output and efficiency a solar panel was designed to achieve.

What you can do is make sure that the solar panels are performing as efficiently as possible this is achieved by performing routine cleaning. Dust, debris, and snow can lower the efficiency of the panels, so youll want to keep them clean.

How Is Solar Panel Efficiency Measured

The concept of solar panel efficiency is often misunderstood. Most panels have an efficiency rating in the range of 15-25%, which sounds really low without context.

Some people hear this and think, wow, I only get 20% of the production from my panel? That sounds like a waste. The assumption is a 100-watt panel would only produce 20 watts of power. But thats not what we mean when we talk about efficiency.

In reality, the efficiency rating measures how much of the suns potential energy is converted to solar power. Using the same example, a 100-watt panel with a 20% efficiency rating will absorb 20% of the potential 500 watts of continuous power coming from the sun.

Dont sweat too much about panel efficiency. The only real benefit to more efficient panels is that they fit more solar in less space.

High-efficiency panels matter if youre trying to build in a tight space, but theres nothing wrong with building a larger array with less efficient panels. The latter option typically reduces the overall cost of the system .

Learn more with our guide to solar panel efficiency.

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What Is A Solar Panel Made Of

Inside the solar panel, there are solar cells . These are made out of semiconductors and work by converting sunlight into electricity. As light hits solar cells, electrons are removed from atoms and then flow throughout the cell. This is what actually generates electricity.

Modern solar cells used in homes can convert close to 20% of sunlight into electricity. Commercial systems can even reach an efficiency of 40%. What should be remembered is that technology evolves really quickly and we never know what efficiency might be a reality in the future.

Is My Home Suitable For Solar Panels

Everything You Need to Know About Solar panels

While solar works for a large number of properties in the UK there are still some areas and types of roof that are not suitable. The following questions will help you work out if your home could be suitable for solar panels:

  • Do you own your home?

    If you rent your home you can’t install solar panels, unless you negotiate this with your landlord. If your property is leasehold, you’ll need to get permission from the freeholder.

  • Do you live in a flat? If you live in a basement or mid-floor flat then solar probably won’t be the right solution for you.

  • What direction does your roof face?

    South-facing roofs tend to be the best, but some schemes accept other roofs.

  • Is your roof in the shade?

    Heavily-shaded roofs aren’t ideal.

  • How big is your roof?

    There are different solutions for different sized roofs, but the more space you have, the better.

  • Do you live in a listed building, or a conservation area?

    Regulations can sometimes pose a problem.

Remember, there are exceptions to every rule, so the best way to check if solar is right for you is to get in touch with the company in question. They’ll talk you through your options and do a survey if necessary.

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Uses Of Solar Panel Energy

The energy generated by solar panels can be used in many situations, such as:

  • You can use it for outdoor lighting & indoor lighting
  • It can be use for home or office ventilation
  • Heat your swimming pool with solar energy
  • It can be used in heating your water it can also heat your home
  • Use it in power pumps
  • Use it for charging batteries
  • Power your home with solar energy
  • Use it in your kitchen for cooking

Solar Panels For Your Home: Pros And Cons

In these times of environmental crisis, lets look at solar panels pros and cons.

You might want to start producing your own energy, and that is a great idea. Electricity is expensive, and its production can be very damaging for the environment.

If you have decided that you dont want to contribute to air pollution anymore, or just want to adopt cleaner energy for the good of the planet, take a look at these solar panels pros and cons.

Read Also: How To Make Your Own Solar Cells

Heating Cooling And Ventilation

In the United States, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems account for 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings and nearly 50% of the energy used in residential buildings. Solar heating, cooling and ventilation technologies can be used to offset a portion of this energy.

Thermal mass is any material that can be used to store heatheat from the Sun in the case of solar energy. Common thermal mass materials include stone, cement, and water. Historically they have been used in arid climates or warm temperate regions to keep buildings cool by absorbing solar energy during the day and radiating stored heat to the cooler atmosphere at night. However, they can be used in cold temperate areas to maintain warmth as well. The size and placement of thermal mass depend on several factors such as climate, daylighting, and shading conditions. When duly incorporated, thermal mass maintains space temperatures in a comfortable range and reduces the need for auxiliary heating and cooling equipment.

A solar chimney is a passive solar ventilation system composed of a vertical shaft connecting the interior and exterior of a building. As the chimney warms, the air inside is heated, causing an updraft that pulls air through the building. Performance can be improved by using glazing and thermal mass materials in a way that mimics greenhouses.

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