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Solar power for homes is increasing in popularity and decreasing in price. Many homeowners are discovering the advantages of Solar Power and you may have even seen quite a few solar panel systems being installed in your own neighborhood.
You’re probably wondering:
How much do solar panels cost?
How much money will I save on my electricity bill?
How solar panels work?
Are solar panels worth it?
This video is a general overview of solar energy for beginners so you can make the best possible decisions regarding solar power for your home.
A solar panel (or photovoltaic panel) is a panel made of solar cells. Solar cells are the essential component by which light is converted into electrical energy and they are usually made of crystalline silicon. Each solar panel usually contains from 32 up to 96 solar cells.
Depending on the way solar cells are made, solar panels are categorized as polycrystalline, mono-crystalline, or thin film. The first two categories, which are the most common types of solar panels, are made of crystalline solar cells. The third category (thin film) is made of amorphous silicon.
Frameless solar panels have been on the market for more than a decade. Also, solar shingles and solar tiles popularized by the tesla solar roof are two types of products that are becoming more popular among residential applications.
How do solar panels work?
Solar cells produce electricity by converting the tremendous solar energy that the earth receives every day in the form of sunlight and more specifically in the form of photons. Most typical commercial solar solutions convert sunlight to electrical energy at an average efficiency of 3 – 17%
In order to have a complete system that will produce electricity for your home, you need the following components:
a) solar panels
b) solar panel mounting structures
c) an inverter
d) an electrical panel with the necessary switches and circuit breakers
e) DC and AC electrical cables
f) Power meter.
Generally, residential solar systems are separated into 2 main categories: off-grid and on-grid.
In the case of an off-grid system, the electricity generated by the solar system will be used to cover 100% of the electrical usage of a home since the house is not connected to the electrical grid at all.
In a on-grid system, the house where the solar panels are installed is connected to the main power grid. Electricity generated by the solar panels can either cover the electrical needs of the house or when you produce more electricity than needed, it is sent to the power grid.
With net metering, your monthly electricity bill is calculated both ways, based on the net of your overall energy consumption and the monthly output from your solar panels. If you are producing more energy than you’re using the utility company will actually pay you!
How much will I save on my electricity bills if I install solar panels?
How much you actually save depends on a number of factors.
Where you live matters a lot. Sunnier is better. For example. A 5Kw installation consisting of 20 solar panels can produce approximately 8,000 kilowatt-hours every year if your house is in a hot and sunny state like California, but the same system will only produce approximately 6,000 kWh every year if your house is in a less sunny state like Connecticut.
The available surface on your roof, the unshaded part with the appropriate orientation, determines how many solar panels you can install and consequently your savings.
How much does a solar panel system cost?
You need to know how many solar panels you need. In 2019 the average cost of a residential solar panel is $2.99 per watt, so with an average solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts, you are looking at an average cost of $14,950 before any tax credits or incentives. Equipment makes up the majority of the cost but permits and labor for solar installation are also factored in.
Benefits and negatives of solar power for your house:
-A true renewable energy source
-Reduce your electricity bill and provides insurance against rising power prices
-Low maintenance cost
-Financial incentives from the government
-They operate quietly, with no moving parts and emit zero pollution.
-They have a long service life and reliability in operation. The guarantees given by the manufacturers for the solar panels are generally for more than 25 years of good operation.
-Initial costs, but marginal cost drops to zero once the price of installation is paid off.
-Weather Dependent so it is an intermittent energy source, and can not be relied on in critical applications.
-Energy storage systems to smooth demand and load like the Tesla power wall are expensive.