Understanding Home Solar Panels

Home Solar Panels

Home solar panels can supply enough electricity to power most of your kitchen appliances such as a small refrigerator, living room appliances (like television, DVD player, etc) and the water pump all at the same time. It can also be a good back-up power in the event of a blackout or power shortage. It has strong tolerance to and manages effectively spikes or shorts because it has a network that is independent of the grid.

You can get significant savings if you affix home solar panels onto your roof

No more electricity bills to worry about. Any equipment in your home that needs electricity is powered up by sun through your solar powers. And the icing to the cake, there are flexible solar panels that are not only easier to set-up but are also easy on the pocket.

  • How it supplies electricity

Do you know that there are semiconductor materials that can pull-off the photoelectric effect? The photoelectric effect is the conversion of light into electricity, or basically, it is how solar electricity works. Selenium and silicon are the most popular semiconductors used for this. However, newer materials such as the amorphous and crystalline silicon are now being used in solar panels because of a higher efficiency in collecting and converting solar energy.

Home solar panels convert the light of the sun into direct current

Using an inverter, the set-up can also convert the DC into AC electricity to supply power to AC-powered appliances. The solar panels will provide DC electricity to charge the batteries. This set-up serves as back-up power when necessary.

  • Designing a solar power system

It seems impossible but solar technology has been with us for some time now. The most famous personal tool that employs solar technology is the big, bulky solar calculator. You can immediately notice the small solar cells in a row placed atop the screen of a calculator. It works but it has low efficiency in collecting solar power. Fortunately for us, technology has changed all that.

Today, flexible solar panels are fast becoming in demand in the construction business because of its flexibility. They integrate seamlessly into any architectural design. Solar shingles are another good example. However, it is still best to position home solar panels strategically to get the most sunlight available.

This means, panels should be located at the highest point of the house or building. This is usually the roof part of the house or the penthouse part of the building. You must note, however, that things that block the sun’s rays, such as trees or a nearby building can lower the collecting efficiency of home solar panels.

The angle of the panels relative to the sunlight is also an important design consideration because at a right angle, solar panels have a higher efficiency of collecting solar energy.

  • As a back-up power

Home solar panels are good back-up power for the house. They will supply electricity if needed but if not, it will store the electricity for convenience.

How much energy will my house need

If you are thinking about installing a residential solar energy system in your home, you will need to know your current energy consumption. Usually, you can get this information from your local utility company. Using this as a basis, you will be able to design your solar energy system to fit the needs of your house.

  • The climate in your region will have an impact on energy use, as will the direction your windows face, the number and location of trees on your site, and the types of appliances you own. Even the kind of light bulbs you use can make a difference.
  • The yearly temperature extremes in the geographical region you live in will be a big factor. If you live in an area with temperature extremes in winter or in summer, you will use more energy to heat or cool your home than if you lived in a moderate climate.
  • South facing windows in a cold climate can help lower your heating bills. North facing windows in a hot climate can lower cooling bills.
  • Mature trees can provide shade and help lower cooling bills during the summer, while the bare tree limbs allow sunlight in during the winter months. All of these factors contribute to your overall energy use. And installing energy efficient insulation in walls, roofs and floors help reduce utility bills in all climates.

If possible, convert all of your appliances to energy efficient models. Newer appliance models often use as much as 50% less energy than older models, especially if they need repairs and are not working at top efficiency. Changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED also makes a substantial impact on reducing electricity consumption.

After evaluating your house for these factors, you can plan to build a solar photovoltaic system by multiplying your average daily kilowatt hour usage by about .25. This should give you a rough estimate of the daily kilowatts your home solar panels will need to generate in order to supply your current electrical needs.

Can solar panels survive bad weather

If you live an area that has weather extremes, you may be wondering if solar panels are reasonable for your home. After all, snow and ice storms, tornados, hurricanes and hail take their toll on regular roofs every year. Would it really make sense to install solar panels on a roof that has to withstand those kinds of weather extremes? Here a few facts that will help you decide.

It makes sense to be concerned about hail or wind damage to the glass that encapsulates the solar cells and allows them to have exposure to the sun. But the solution is to make sure that the solar panels you use are made with high impact tempered glass. Good quality solar panels are manufactured with glass that can maintain its integrity during 60 miles per hour storms dropping 3/4″ hail. So they will typically withstand conditions that are similar to what your roofing material will tolerate.

Before your solar panels are installed, the contractor must ensure that the roof itself is able to support the weight of the solar panel arrays. Once that is established and the solar panels are attached to the roof, they should be able to remain solidly in place. In the case of a tornado or hurricane, your solar panels will typically stay attached to your roof. The only way you would lose them is if the roof itself comes off.

In areas where there is heavy snowfall, snow may cover the solar panels and block them from receiving sunlight. In that case, they cannot produce electricity and it will be necessary to brush off the snow. But the panels themselves will not be damaged by a heavy snowfall.
The bigger concern would be that the roof itself may not be able to withstand the weight of a heavy, wet snowfall. In that case, it would be wise to shovel the roof as well as remove the snow from the solar panels. But in the case of a light snow, the heat retained by the solar panels is usually enough to melt off the snow and keep them clean.

As a final point, check with your homeowner’s insurance policy. Solar panels are usually included in the coverage at no additional cost. If not, consider changing to a policy that will provide adequate coverage.

What kind of maintenance do solar panels need

If you are worried that installing solar panels on your home will result in time-consuming, costly and complicated maintenance, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Most solar panels used for residential systems are made of solar cells encapsulated in thick glass, mounted onto metal racks. Since they have no moving parts, once they are installed they require minimal maintenance.

Of course, this may depend on where you live, what kinds of weather are typical for your region and whether or not you have a lot of trees in your yard. For instance, if you live in a region where there is a lot of snow in the winter, you may have to spend some time after a heavy snowfall cleaning off the solar panels so the sun can reach them. Or if you live in an area that has frequent dust storms, or an urban area where there is a lot of dirt in the air, you may have to clean off the glass panels periodically to maximize their efficiency. But if it rains frequently enough, that should be sufficient to keep your solar panels clean enough to function properly.

If there are a lot of deciduous trees in your yard that shed their leaves every fall, you may need to make sure that those leaves don’t cover up your solar panels. Even some evergreen trees shed their needles and may require a periodic clean up. But a quick swipe with a broom should do the trick.

Of course, the solar panels are not the only components in the system. If you have an off grid system, it will include storage batteries and perhaps a back up generator. These components will require more monitoring and ongoing maintenance than the solar panels themselves. It’s always a good idea to plan for regular inspections to make sure that your entire solar energy system is running properly.

If your solar panels are tied to the grid, you will still have an inverter as part of your system. It converts the electricity that your solar panels generate into alternating current that your appliances can use. Even though it has no mechanical parts, it is an important component and should be regularly inspected.

Why should I install solar panels on my home

Solar energy is in the news almost daily. But have you been wondering whether or not installing solar panels on your home would be a good choice for your family? Here are a few of the most compelling reasons.

The economic climate is finally favorable again for people who want to use solar energy at home. There are now federal tax credits in place (or soon to be in place) that can lower the cost of installing a residential solar energy system by as much as 30%. And don’t forget to check into your state and city incentives, too. The list of states and cities that are offering tax credit and other incentives to help people convert to solar energy is continuing to grow.

There is also the immediate cost savings you will see in lower monthly utility bills. Since you solar panels will be powering your appliances during the day, you will be seeing a savings in electricity usage. And if your local utility company participates in net metering, your electric bill could be reduced to zero. Net metering allows you to sell back any excess electricity that your solar panels produce to the electric company for a credit to your account. So if your solar electric system produces a surplus during the day, the electricity that you use from the grid at night could end up being free.

Solar energy is also great for the environment It is produced on site where it is used So there are no fuel transportation costs or emissions, and no plant maintenance costs It does not contribute to global warming There is no pollution from burning oil or coal, and it does not produce nuclear waste that will contaminate the planet for generations to come And last but not least, it is a great way to protect yourself and your family against the future energy price hikes that experts predict.

Will solar panels add value to my home

Adding a solar electric system to your home is a major decision and investment. And if you are considering it, you are also probably wondering if they will add value to your home. The answer depends on a lot of factors. Here are some things to consider.

First, how aware is your community of the benefits and value of solar energy? If you live in an area where a lot of people are interested and involved in the green living movement, potential buyers may be willing to pay more for a house that already has a solar electric system installed. But if you live an area where there is very little eco-friendly activity, where people don’t care much about recycling or environmental concerns, buyers may be indifferent the effort and money you have put into installing solar panels.

But even in a community where people never think about green living, usually everyone can appreciate saving money. Does your house have a history of energy savings over a number of years? If you can produce a paper trail of your energy savings over the past few years, you will have good evidence that the solar panels you installed are a benefit to new owners. With the cost of heating and cooling often running into several hundred dollars each month for some families, savings on utilities becomes important.

But what can you do to prove energy savings if you have only recently installed your solar panel system? You can call your local electric utility company and ask them for their statistical projection of how much your electric bill will decrease. You can also get data from the company which installed your solar energy system. Most of the larger solar installation companies have marketing departments that gather that kind of data to help people see that solar panels will generate energy savings for them.

Another factor to consider is how common solar energy systems are in your housing market. If solar panels are common, your real estate agent will be able to give you actual statistical data that shows the difference in selling price between houses with solar panels and houses that have only public utility electric service. If this kind of data is available in your market, you have the best possible proof that can show a potential buyer.

Will home solar panels damage my roof

The majority of residential solar panel systems are installed on the roof to provide the best exposure to the sun. But that raises a concern about what kind of damage the installation might do to the roof. Here are a few facts so you will know up front just what you will be getting into if you choose to install solar panels on your roof.

Most roofs are built to withstand at least 8 to 10 pounds per square foot of weight above and beyond the weight of the roofing material. That is usually more than enough load bearing capacity to accommodate solar panels. However, each house represents a unique installation project. Your local building inspector or a professional solar panel installer should be able to make an accurate assessment of your roof’s capacity to handle the weight of your solar energy system.

Many installers attach the solar panel mounts to the beams. This kind of installation is extremely secure and provides better load distribution than attaching the mounts to roof decking. Since rooftop installations have been common for more than 30 years, professional installers are knowledgeable about the best methods to insure stability and avoid damage.
However, it is important to consider the age and condition of your existing roof before you schedule your solar panel installation. Since the mounts will be installed over the roofing material, they would have to be removed and reinstalled if you decide to replace your roof. So if you plan on replacing your roof within the next 5 to 10 years, consider replacing it before you install your new solar panel system. That way you can avoid the additional cost of removal and reinstallation.

Of course, if you are still concerned about installing solar panels on your roof, you may be able to use a ground mounted system. The same criteria apply to choosing a solar panel array location whether on a roof or on the ground. It must receive enough sunlight during the day to produce the electricity that your household needs, and it must be free from obstacles that block it from the sun. If you have such a location on you property, it may be a good alternative to using the roof.

Will solar panels work during winter

If you live in an area that has long, harsh winters you may be wondering if your house is a good candidate for solar panels. After all, days or weeks of overcast skies, snow flurries or monsoon rains hardly seem compatible with a technology that relies on the sun for its power.

But there has been a lot of innovation and progress in solar panel technology during the past 10 years. Now solar technology is far enough along that solar panels can easily create electricity even on cloudy, snowy or rainy days.

If you have an off grid system which works independently of a public utility system, your solar energy system will include a set of storage batteries. These batteries are similar to the kind used in cars They are designed to hold any excess electricity that your solar panels generate during the sunny part of the day. If your battery storage system is properly designed for your region, it will include enough of these batteries to store electricity for the number of cloudy days that are typical for your geographical area.

If you have a system that is tied into the grid of your local electric utility company, then you won’t need storage batteries. When the sun goes down at night, or during a stretch of bad weather where you don’t see the sun for days, your electrical system will automatically use electricity from your local power company. Of course, during sunny days, your solar panels will be generating your electric power, so you will still be reaping the benefits of lower electric bills.

In some areas, you are even be able to sell power back to your local electric company. This arrangement makes solar panels even more cost effective. The way is works is that any excess power that your solar panels generate flows back into the grid system and you receive a credit for it on your electric bill. That way, even if you need to use electricity from the grid during the night or during overcast days, any excess electricity that your solar panels were able to generate will still be lowering your overall utility bills.

Will solar panels work on my house

If you have you been wondering whether or not you can install solar panels on your house, there are several factors to consider. Things like the direction that your roof faces and the placement of trees in your yard can make a difference You will also need to know whether or not you want your electrical system tied to the local utility grid. Here’s a short list of some of the things you will need to consider.

The most important issue is whether your system will be grid tied or off grid. Grid tied means that your electric system will be hooked up to the local electric utility company. You solar panels will generate electricity that can run your appliances as long as the sun is shining on your solar panels. At night and during weather when the sun isn’t out, your appliances will run on utility company electricity.

An off grid system runs independently and is not hooked up to a utility company. They are more common in rural areas where utility poles are distant and hookups are extremely expensive. Off grid systems use batteries (similar to car batteries) to store excess electricity, and usually have back up generators for emergency situations. Appliances run off the solar panels during the day, and the batteries or generator during the night or during inclement weather. 5 Things to Consider

For both grid tied and off grid systems, the roof pitch, direction it faces, and nearby objects that cast shade are all factors affecting where you can place solar panels. They need access to direct sunlight for as much of the day as possible for optimal efficiency. Large trees that shade the roof as well as taller buildings that might block the sun need to be taken into consideration Since each house has a different combination of these factors, each house must be individually evaluated Accurate measurements and surveys, as well as a site inspection by a knowledgeable installer will produce the necessary information for the best solar panel configuration for your house.

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