With the recent growth in the popularity of green energy, solar panels are more in demand than ever. A solar panel is basically a group of solar cells. They are electrically connected and enclosed within a frame. The combination works by converting light coming from the sun into electricity.
There are countless advantages of solar power for home use. You get to save money and have a positive impact on the environment. However, many things are not known about solar panels and every homeowner needs to be aware of the following things before making the investment.
Using Solar Energy is Not a Novel Idea
Harnessing energy coming from the sun is seen as a rather new technology. However, the very first solar cell was actually developed during the nineteenth century. The difference is that its efficiency was just 1%. Modern solar panels are much more effective.
What is a Solar Panel Made of?
Inside the solar panel, there are solar cells (photovoltaic 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.
Two Solar Panel Types Exist
Photovoltaic panels (solar PV) – converts sunlight and offer electricity.
Solar thermal panels – these heat water with the use of warmth absorbed from the sun.
Initial Costs Are high
You should never underestimate solar panel installation costs. You will pay more initially but the truth is that the associated payback period is definitely short. This is because you will save a lot of money on monthly electricity bills over time. There are also government reimbursements that might apply. At the same time, the homes that have solar panels installed tend to sell faster, usually at a much higher price than the homes that do not have them.
We now see more installations than ever and even more, will appear in the future. Also, technology is advancing very fast. This means that solar energy will surely become more and more accessible and affordable.
Maintenance Is Limited
Most people believe that solar panel maintenance is complicated. This is not actually the case. You just have to be sure that solar panels are not shaded and stay clean. Tilted roofs require less cleaning because rain will help remove the dirt. Also, the lifespan of the solar panel can easily be as high as 40 years, although the standard warranty offered is 25 years.
Direct Sunlight Is Not Needed
Last but not least, although maximum solar panel efficiency is achieved with direct sunlight exposure, electricity can be produced even when days are cloudy. During the night, there is no electricity produced but there is always a storage system added that can easily solve this problem. The storage system involves a solar battery. You can even sell any excess electricity generated in your battery to the national grid.
There Are Potential Problems To Consider
Before solar panels are installed, you have to think about many different things. You cannot simply install them however you see fit and expect great results. Roof inclination, house
location, and panel shape need to be taken into account. While requirements are not strict because solar panels can work in various settings, you should at least be sure that shadows would not hit your solar panels between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Usually, solar panels have to be kept away from trees and bushes. This is because of two reasons:
Trees can shade installations and branches can scratch the surface of the panel.
Excessive rain and wind exposure can lead to degraded performance.
The good news is that most solar panels have an extended warranty. Usually, this guarantees that output is always over 80%, or replacements are offered.
You should also be aware of the fact that solar panels will not work better when installed in a hot climate. That is because solar cells work by harnessing sunlight. Heat is not a factor. The efficiency of the solar panel is actually decreased when the temperature is very high.
Solar Technology Is Highly Versatile
You can use solar panels on any road, bridge, building, and more. We now see solar energy being implemented in various locations. It is because panels are portable and lightweight. It is expected that next-generation boats and cars will work with solar energy. Also, numerous empty areas are being used right now in order to host large solar farms. According to reports, the largest one can be found in California and generates 90 percent of the solar power that is commercially used in the entire world.
Building Permits Might Be Needed
The good news is that you do not need a permit if you want to install a solar panel on your home. However, if the installation is quite large, this might not be the case. Building permits are always required when systems are large or when there are some restricted placement laws in place.
On the whole, the use of solar panels is recommended in many different situations. You can easily get the electricity you need while you protect the environment.