Solar Panels

A Sustainable Form of Energy

Solar panels are becoming popular all over the world as an alternative energy source.  They are a renewable and clean energy source. You can install solar panels yourself  or have them installed professionally.  Investing in solar panels can save you a lot of money, because there is only the one-time installation fee. You can save money on your electricity bill or get paid by your utility company for the excess electricity you generate. The government now offers incentives including grants, rebates, and tax credits to homeowners to install solar panels to try to encourage more people to use alternative energy sources. They are an asset that can increase the value of your home.

Why Use Solar Panels

The main reasons people install solar panels are to live off the grid, to save money on their electricity bill, and to use sustainable energy. Using solar panels is a way to avoid the predicted steady increase in the price of electricity. One residential solar electric system can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 85,000 pounds each year. If you install a solar panel, you can go completely off the grid or stay partially on the grid. Staying on the grid allows you to continue recieving power from your utility if your system can't generate it. If you choose to stay on the grid, you don't have to depend 100% on your solar panels. Your local utility company will continue to supply your power on days when your system can't. In a grid-connected system, if your solar panels generate more electricity than you use, you can get paid by your utility company for the excess. In an off-grid system, the excess electricity generated is stored in batteries or another backup device so it is available on days when the sun isn't out. This type of system is used a lot in rural areas or areas that don't have access to a grid.

Solar panels have to be in a place where they can absorb sunlight. They should be installed at an angle where they can absorb the maximum sunlight. They are mounted to a south-facing roof so that they can capture the maximum amount of sunlight during the day. Ideally your roof shouldn't be blocked or shaded from the sun by trees or other obstructions; even one tree branch can decrease the production of the PV module by 80%. A solar pathfinder can tell you what kind of shading your roof will get. If you install solar panels yourself, a DIY solar panel kit is the easiest way to do it.

Solar panels are made from photovoltaic cells, which are made of silicon or another semiconductor. They produce DC electricity when they absorb sunlight. This can be converted into AC for powering a home or just appliances. They are easy to install yourself, or you can find an installer in your area. To install them yourself, first you must figure out how much electricity your house uses per month. Solar modules come in varying wattages, so the wattage you choose will tell you how many you need.

The Cost of Solar Panel

A residential grid-tie system that is professionally installed starts at $2000 and goes up to $50,000. The  components (panels, inverters, etc.) cost $4 per watt, and installation and connection to the grid costs $2.50 per watt on average.  Example: The components of a 3 kW system cost $15,000 before rebates, and the installation will cost $6,000. You can buy solar panel kits at home improvement stores like Home Depot or online. They are priced by how many watts they produce. A 60-Watt solar panel kit runs about $280. 

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