Sustainability has become a more popular topic in how we live nowadays. The world is in a continuous search for more clean and effective ways to harness energy like solar panels do. If you’re thinking about changing your home’s source of energy to solar, you need a guide to solar panels.
Although using solar panels may sound easy, there are still many things you need to learn about. Luckily, you’re in the right place! In this solar panel guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know, including:
- The basics about solar panels and how they work
- Different types of panels you can get
- The benefits you can get from using solar panels
- How you can use your own solar panels at home
What Are Solar Panels?
As we all know, solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source harnessed from the sunlight. It’s abundant, sustainable, and can power homes, businesses, and even an entire community.
Solar panels, or photovoltaic panels, are devices that convert this sunlight into electricity you can use to power electrical loads. They use solar energy to provide electricity wherever they’re used. You can use solar panels for different applications, including:
- Telecommunications equipment
- Remote power systems
- Backup power systems
- Remote sensing
How Does Solar Panels Work
Solar panels are part of a whole solar energy system. Together with solar inverters, they work together to completely convert sunlight into electricity.
These panels are made of many photovoltaic cells, which the sunlight hits. Since light is consists of particles of energy called photons, the cells are the ones that absorb these photons as sunlight hits. The electrons within the cells, on the other hand, will be then energized as photons are absorbed, forming an electric current. This entire process is called the photovoltaic effect.
The formed current starts as a direct current (DC) which is then converted into alternating current (AC) by the solar inverter. From there, you can use that generated electricity to power up your home or it can be sent back to the grid.
Different Types of Solar Panels
There are three main types of solar panels you can find in the market. Each of them varies in terms of appearance, cost, and efficiency. Depending on your needs, budget, and preferences, you can get the following:
Monocrystalline solar panels have a black appearance or color because they’re made from a single, pure crystal of silicon. They also have rounded edges and due to their crystal structure, they have higher efficiency (usually 18-22%) since electrons can move more freely in the cells.
However, because of their higher efficiency and longevity, monocrystalline panels are also the most expensive type.
Polycrystalline solar panels have a speckled appearance with more blueish color compared to monocrystalline ones. This is because they’re made from multiple silicon crystals, which also make them have a slightly lower efficiency, usually from 15-18%, and are less expensive.
These are the least efficient among the three but they’re the most affordable type of solar panels. Thin-film solar panels are made by placing a thin layer of photovoltaic material, like amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide, onto a substrate, such as glass, plastic, or metal.
Due to the structure, thin-film solar panels usually have 10-12% efficiency and are more lightweight, making them suitable for building-integrated solar installations or portable power systems.
Advantages of Using Solar Panels
One of the most important things to learn about when thinking about buying solar panels is the benefits you can get from them. To help you with that, below are the benefits you can expect.
1. More Sustainable and Less Carbon Footprint
Going solar is environmentally sustainable since solar power is a clean and renewable energy source. Solar panels don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions or air pollution either so you can minimize your carbon footprint. That’s why using solar panels is one of the best things you can do to make the world cleaner and greener.
2. Reduce Energy Bills
Since you’ll be generating your own electricity, you can save money on your energy bills at home. You won’t have to rely much on power from the grid once you start using solar panels so you can expect lower monthly bills. Moreover, if you generate extra power, you can even get credit on your bill through net metering, further reducing your energy costs. The only thing you’d have to spend money on is the solar panel kits and the installation.
3. Safe From Grid Failures
Since you’ll be energy independent and less reliant on the electrical grid in your area, you don’t have to worry about sudden power failures or outages. Either you’re using the solar panels as your main power source or as a backup power source, you’re sure to always have power even when electrical grids turn unreliable.
4. Increase Your Home Value
Having solar energy systems or solar panels in your home can add significant value to it. This is especially important if you ever plan to sell your home in the future. They’re a major perk to home buyers and can help you sell the house faster and at a higher price compared to houses without solar.
5. Low Maintenance and Long Lifespan
Solar energy systems usually require minimal maintenance, which make them worth it for long-term investment. Many solar panels have 25-year performance warranties and you can use them effectively for even longer. All the common maintenance you have to do is some occasional cleaning and periodic checks by professionals.
How to Use Solar Panels at Home
Lastly, you have to know how you can get and use solar panels at home once you’ve made up your mind on buying one. Here’s a step-by-step guide to solar panels’ usage:
Choose Your Solar Panel System: From the three main types of panels, choose which solar panel kits best suit your needs and budget. If you want something you can use not only at your home, you can get the portable solar panels so you can bring them with you outdoors.
Find a Professional Installer: Most places or countries don’t allow solar panel installations that aren’t done by certified installers. Once you get your solar panels, make sure to find an installer that can properly set them up at your house. They will be the one to mount them on your roof, connect them to the solar inverter, and combine it with your house’s electrical grid.
Inspect: Once installed, make sure to have the installer inspect it as well. It should pass the inspection first before you can officially start using it to power your home.
Monitor: Most systems you can get will have monitoring software that you can use to track how much electricity your solar panels are producing and how much you actually use. The last thing in this solar panel guide is to make sure to monitor it regularly to ensure efficient operation.
Go Sustainable With Solar Panels
Using solar panels offers many other benefits aside from a sustainable future. With this solar panel guide, make sure to gain enough understanding of what you can get and how to use it at home. Remember, you can get different product types of the three main types of solar panels. For example, you can get portable solar panels you can bring for your outdoor activities.
Once you’re through with this guide to solar panels, you can check our solar panels collection for different solar panel-related products. Determine your needs, preferences, and budget and start your shopping!