Solar Panels 101: A Guide to Solar Energy and Systems
In today’s world, it is important to have a roof over your head and a reliable source of energy from the sun to keep it warm.
With solar energy systems becoming ever-popular in places like San Francisco or other parts of California, Australia, and Europe, the pros and cons of going green need to be considered carefully before you go ahead with this investment.
The initial cost might scare people off but when you consider the long-term benefits for both homeowners and the environment, this will make sense.
In this guide to Solar Panels 101: A Guide to Solar Energy Systems we will cover all aspects required for you to make an informed decision on whether investing in a solar panel array is beneficial for your home or.
We will also explain how a solar panel works and the different types of panels available on the market today.
So what exactly is solar energy?
In simple terms, it is converting natural light from the sun into electricity using photovoltaic cells or PV cells.
The cells have been around for over 100 years but they have only been used in modern-day applications since about 1950.
These cells are basically made up of semiconductor material that acts as a conductor when exposed to sunlight.
Usually aluminum and steel along with silicon surround each cell making them slightly thicker than a piece of paper stuck together so they can stand up to the elements when installed onto your roof.
These panels have an adhesive backing that allows them to attach directly to the roof without the need for screws, bolts, or clips.
This is one of the most important factors when considering solar energy panels on your own rooftop.
The output of power from each cell is determined by the surface area so having more cells translates into a higher amount of energy being produced at about five percent efficiency for every square meter added.
This means you will need around 30 square meters of space for each kilowatt-hour of energy you are looking to create during peak times.
Most systems use silicon-based photovoltaic cells which require direct sunlight to function properly and if they are covered up by any shade, snow, or dirt then this will affect their ability to turn the sun’s light into power.
An inverter is a device used in solar panel systems to convert direct current from each photovoltaic cell into alternating current for use in appliances and lighting inside your home or business.
Inverters are usually installed on the roof right next to the panels but there are some that have been designed to be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
While this may require an electrician, most people can install their own system with a little bit of information and guidance from another source.
The most common type of inverter is known as a central inverter which means all cells are wired together so they function collectively when producing electricity for example during nighttime hours when sunlight isn’t available.
A micro-inverter setup is gaining popularity and it involves stringing lines from each individual cell to an inverter which then converts the power for use in your home.
The type of system you want will determine how many solar panels you will need as well as whether or not you can go ahead with a DIY installation.
The most common residential setup uses between four and six hundred watts of photovoltaic cells connected to an inverter that is capable of producing about two kilowatts per hour with favorable weather conditions and around a one-kilowatt hour per day on average throughout the year.
While this may be slightly less than what your current electricity bill demands, most people prefer solar energy because they produce no emissions, are made from recyclable materials, don’t need much maintenance, and can reduce electricity costs by around 30 percent for homeowners already on a time of use electric plan.
If you need help, visit Whitsunday solar experts.
In terms of space needed, you should have about four square meters of roof space without any other obstructions from other buildings or trees to get the right amount of sunlight required.
The panels must face south in order to be most effective and it is also highly recommended that they are installed at a forty-five-degree angle so water runs off efficiently while preventing any snow buildup which could cause ice dams.
You will want to calculate your total energy needs before going out shopping for solar panels because this will help determine exactly how many watts you may need along with the cost involved in purchasing enough cells to fill up your roof space.
Remember that you will need to decide whether or not to go with micro-inverters if the goal is to completely eliminate your electricity bill entirely.
This can be done just by using enough cells but you may want to consider what type of inverter system will work best for your setup and how much money it may cost upfront.