While this seems like a sizeable investment right from the start, using solar energy is a long-term investment. On average, the payback period for residential solar energy is 6 to 9 years, but using a solar panel system can save you thousands of dollars on your electricity bill in 20 years or more in the future. In most cases, installing a rooftop photovoltaic solar panel system will offer greater lifetime value than staying connected to a utility provider. However, that doesn't mean solar is the right choice for every homeowner.
Many people believe that solar energy will not work in colder climates. Solar panels are more efficient in colder temperatures because excessive heat can reduce the voltage they produce. While more hours of direct sun exposure will help a solar system generate more electricity, modern panels are quite efficient and can still generate energy in low light situations. A person who lives in Seattle, for example, may just need a slightly larger solar system to get the same results as someone in Southern California.
In short, solar energy works anywhere with light. For more information, read How solar energy works. Solar panels can generally process 15 to 22% of solar energy into usable energy, depending on factors such as location, orientation, weather conditions, and the like. The amount of sunlight that solar panel systems can convert into real electricity is called performance, and the result determines the efficiency of the solar panel.
It is important to understand that the efficiency of an individual solar cell does not equal the efficiency of solar panels (modules) as a system. While the efficiency of solar panels is generally around 15-20%, the efficiency of solar cells can reach 42% in some cases. However, unless otherwise stated, the performance of solar cells is measured under laboratory conditions. Therefore, although 42% is impressive performance, laboratory conditions are different from real life and this is not applicable to residential users.
Monocrystalline solar panels, also called monocrystalline cells, are manufactured from the purest silicon. A crystal of this type of silicon is grown in a complex process to produce a long rod. Then, the rod is cut into wafers that will form the solar cells. Monocrystalline solar panels are known to offer the highest efficiency under standard test conditions compared to the other 2 types of solar cells.
The current efficiency of the delivered monocrystalline solar panels is 22 to 27%. You can recognize a monocrystalline panel by the rounded edge and the dark color. Solar panels made of polycrystalline solar panels, also called multicrystalline cells, are slightly less efficient than those composed of monocrystalline solar cells. This is due to the nature of the production.
Silicon is not grown as a single cell, but as a block of crystals. These blocks are cut into wafers to produce individual solar cells. The current efficiency of polycrystalline solar panels delivered stands at 15-22%. You can recognize a polycrystalline solar panel by the square cut and the speckled blue color.
Thin film solar panels are manufactured by covering a glass, plastic or metal substrate with one or more thin layers of photovoltaic material. Thin film solar panels are usually flexible and low in weight. Thin film solar panels are known to degrade somewhat faster than mono- and polycrystalline solar panels. The production of this type of panels is less complex, so their production is 5% lower than the efficiency of monocrystalline solar panels.
Typically, thin film cells offer between 15 and 22% solar panel efficiency. Ice accumulates on the surface of solar cells when a silicone coating is not applied. Ice buildup can reduce the efficiency of solar panels by 25 to 100%. In order for chemical residues to dissolve, they must land at least 20 mm of rain on the surface of solar cells.
Research has shown a 0.2% reduction in the efficiency of solar panels when they are covered by a layer of chemical accumulation. More sunshine means more energy produced and greater potential for savings with solar energy. Certain states, such as Arizona and California, average more hours of sunlight per day. In response to the success of solar and other renewable energy, some powerful energy companies are pushing against net metering policies, jeopardizing some.
Net metering is a billing tool in which the energy produced by your solar energy system is sent back to the grid. If your state doesn't offer net metering, you'll miss out on a key benefit from home solar energy that would reduce your return on investment (ROI). After installation, it is important to consider all factors that could influence the efficiency of solar panels. For example, solar water heaters work in much the same way as solar panels, but their installation is cheaper than complete solar panel systems.
But if you're in a situation where you don't qualify for incentives, the federal tax credit, for example, only applies if you pay federal taxes to begin with, then solar might not be right for you. 96% of homeowners have installed solar energy, or are considering, to save money on utility bills, according to a Pew Research Center survey. To speak to an EcoWatch-approved professional who can help you determine if solar is worth it for your home, follow the links below. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory analyzed about 22,000 home sales, nearly 4,000 of which use solar photovoltaic systems in eight states.
While environmental concerns related to solar panel production are currently being addressed with signs of progress in the coming years, the amount of harmful greenhouse gases released during the manufacture of solar panels is remarkable. Solar energy works best in homes with high electricity bills, so evaluating your electricity consumption is the best starting point. Solar energy is mainly used in real time, and any excess is returned to the conventional power grid or to a battery. The rising cost of electricity from traditional sources makes solar installation seem like a no-brainer for many homeowners.
However, this competition is expected to lead to lower prices for solar panels, as well as more efficient storage solutions. . .