There are many different kinds of home solar panels on the market.It can be hard to tell if you're getting the best deal, if you're getting the right panels for your needs, and what kind of return you'll get out of a particular product. Let's take a look at the different types of home solar panels available and the situations they're best used in.
There are two basic types of solar power systems for home use.The first is an off-grid system.This requires the homeowner to own the most equipment, and requires the most maintenance. It also results in the greatest personal freedom, since no connection to power lines is required.The amount of power produced by the majority of solar panels does require most people interested in taking their homes off the power grid to cut down their consumption. It's hard to harness the amount of power used by the average American household, even with recent technological improvements in panel production.
A grid tie-in system is the second option, and it's becoming a lot more popular.This method doesn't involve as much equipment, and requires no batteries.The solar system is hooked into the power grid, and when more power is produced than your home uses, it will be sent into that grid for use by others. Many utilities will offer a rebate or even run your meter backwards if you choose this method.When your power requirements are greater than the amount of power being produced by your solar panels (on cloudy days or during periods of high demand), you can draw power from the grid.
Why does the type of solar power system you have affect which residential solar panels you purchase? Most off-grid homes require a greater capacity for power generation than homes with a grid tie-in.Plus the additional equipment required for this kind of system, is going to bring the cost of your solar setup much higher. However, if self-sufficiency is what you want, the additional price is worth it.
Solar power panels are generally priced by the number of watts they can produce.At the moment, the average price for a panel is about five dollars per watt.This means that a big, two hundred watt panel costs over a thousand dollars.However, it can produce a lot of power, making it useful for applications where volume is needed.Remember that this pricing doesn't apply all the way down - some one to five watt panels cost around twelve to fifteen dollars per watt.There are also a lot of people offering cheap solar panels, but in the long run it is wiser to get what you really need even if you have to pay more up front.
There are three major structure types for solar cells. Monocrystalline solar cells are saw cut from a single silicon crystal.They're the most efficient type of solar cell, but also the most expensive. They make up the costliest panels, but provide the greatest conversion rate for power from the sun.They're always a rigid panel type, and strong support is needed for them.
Polycrstalline or multicrystalline solar cells are cut from an ingot of silicon that has been melted and recrystallized. These are much less expensive than monocrystalline cells, but they're also less efficient.Rigid supports are required for this type, too.The last kind of solar cell is called amorphous silicon.These aren't made from a crystal structure of any kind, unlike the above two types.Instead, they're made from a very thin layer of silicon.They're even less efficient than the crystalline cells, but they're much easier to make.In addition, this kind of technology can be used for thin solar panels, in addition to rigid types.Here is how solar panels are made.
So, which type and wattage of residential solar panel is appropriate for your home? First you'll need to know how much electricity you use per month.This will be stated on your power bill. Large appliances and heating and cooling are the biggest culprits, and examination of your usage may cause you to replace or reduce usage of them. However, once you know how much you use, you can take a look at the amount of sunlight you get and decide which solar cells are the best buy for your needs.
Technological advances are making cheaper, more efficient cells available all the time, so don't forget to look at all the options when you buy. Home solar panels are just one component of a solar power system for your home, but they're one of the most important.Don't buy the first kit you see - take some time to analyze your needs and find the cell that will fill them the best.