Solar panel installation has exploded both on the commercial and residential scale. Now more than half of all American homeowners say they have considered it.
Although solar technology has been around for a long time, it has changed a great deal over the last several decades. Innovations in how solar panels capture energy from the sun have made it a viable alternative electricity source for homes of all sizes.
You may be wondering how solar energy works, how much it costs, and if it is right for your home. The information below explains all this and provides some tips to help you determine if your location and home make solar power a good choice.
Solar Panel Basics
Solar panels comprise small units called photovoltaic cells. These capture photons, or particles of light, and bump electrons from the atoms. This creates a stream of electricity.
Energy from the sun is stored in batteries for use whenever the sun is not shining. An inverter converts the DC (direct current) electricity in the batteries into alternating current (AC).
Some solar-powered homes can be completely energy independent, depending on the efficiency of their solar panels and the capacity of their batteries. Most homes, however, remain tied to the electrical grid and use solar as a supplemental energy source.
What Impacts Solar Productivity?
The more sunlight that hits the panels, the more electricity it can produce (within limits). Cloudy weather and shade on your panels will reduce productivity.
That’s why one of the biggest factors in how effective solar is for your home is the layout of your roof. You need enough surface area pointing in the right direction to optimize the capture of solar rays.
“True” south will be different depending on your geographic location. A trained solar installer will be able to give you a breakdown of how efficient a solar panel system on your roof can be.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
The cost of solar installation has fallen over the past few years. You can expect to pay in the ballpark of $20,000 for a 10-kilowatt system, but several factors will determine the final price tag.
Like everything else, home solar cost will depend on where you live. This is due to market factors, labor, and different state and local tax credits. Permitting fees will vary by location as well.
There are many different solar panel manufacturers with products that range in cost, quality, and performance. Higher-quality panels can produce more electricity with the same amount of sunlike. You can expect them to cost more upfront, but they can begin to pay for themselves in offsets to utility bills.
Start Capturing Energy From the Sun
Now that you have an idea of how solar panels capture energy from the sun and what factors impact efficiency, you can decide if residential solar is right for you. Most reputable solar installation companies offer free estimates and consultation, so you have nothing to lose by getting a quote.
We hope this information was useful to you. Be sure to check out some of our other posts on technology, home, business, health, and many other topics.