The use of home solar panels for powering the house has been around for many years. It is a cheaper option compared to the normal electricity that’s widely produced, and the best part; it is a renewable source of energy. However, despite the many benefits of using solar power, the rate of adoption is still low, and this comes down to resistance from other energy producers who are well aware of what will happen if solar power gets adopted.
We are going to explore home solar power systems, starting from what they are, how they work, their installation, the benefits they bring to the table, the limitations, and any other issue that affects their implementation in today’s world. If you have always been curious to know more about solar panels for homes, then you are in the right place.
Solar energy is the power that is harnessed from the sun directly. It is utilized through the construction of the solar panel that now collects solar radiation to be used for a number of uses around the house, both heavy and light.
The solar power industry has been growing rapidly for the last 20 years, but it has not peaked as it should due to access issues. But on the ground, solar energy is one of the cheapest forms of electricity, with only the initial cost being on the higher side, something that is also gradually coming down in cost.
Solar panels are made up of specific parts that work together to ensure that radiation from the sun is harnessed and converted into energy. On the broader scale of things, the average home solar panel has about six main components that are necessary for it to work without fail. They include the following.
Better known as Solar PV Cells, this is the part that converts direct rays from the sun into DC electrical energy. How a solar panel performs depends on the type and nature of the PV cells. The main component of the PV cells is silicon, and that comes in two types that can either be Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline are more efficient and cost the most compared to their counterparts that have the lowest efficiency and care the cheapest; in between these two, there is one derivative called mono silicon cells that have the efficiency of the monocrystalline cells but are almost as cheap as the polycrystalline cells.
The base of the PV cells is lined with wafers that are about 0.1mm thick and are made up of both positive and negative silicon ions for more efficiency. This part of the solar panel comes in varying sizes and shapes depending on the intended use, but the bottom line is that it is one of the most important parts that convert direct sunlight into the electrical energy that’s then used for all types of work.
The PV cells need protection from physical damage, and at the same time, they have to be fully exposed to the sun. So how is this taken care of? In the form of toughened glass that offers both the needed protection while giving the cells full access to the sunlight without filtering anything out.
The glass is mostly made of tempered glass that is about 3mm thick with a mechanical resistance that makes it the ideal protective layer for the solar panel. It is the first line of defense that protects every delicate part inside from flying debris that is common since the angles are exposed to the elements all day long.
The international safety standards are that a typical solar glass should be able to withstand hailstones that are 1-inch in diameter traveling at speeds of about 60 mph. Anything bigger and faster than this will most likely cause considerable damage. But the likelihood of this level of hailstones happening in areas that receive sunlight all day long is very low.
For more efficiency, a new form of glass is being used around the world that features a high transmissive surface that has low iron content and an amazing anti-reflective coating applied on the rear side that reduces heat loss and improves the transmission of light rays.
Once the PV cells and the glass cover are in place, everything has to be held in place by a frame, and for this part, aluminum frames are the ones that are heavily used. They are fitted on the edges and laminated all-round tightly to hold everything within that boundary in position, stopping them from moving around even when the solar panel is shaken.
The reason why aluminum is the preferred material is the fact that it is very lightweight, and this is very important considering that most solar panels are placed on the roof; the last thing you would want is to have something heavy as steel weighing down on your roof.
The second reason why aluminum is the best option is that it is impervious to rust, and it can withstand all weather elements without coming apart. The last reason is that aluminum is a very tough metal that doesn’t bend easily, and it can withstand any form of extreme stress.
For extra efficiency, some aluminum frames are fused with anodized silver for extra strength and resistance. This not only improves their appearance but also makes them a little stronger, adding the ability to be flexible a little to act as shock absorbers to stop the glass panel from shattering.
This is Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, and it is a polymer that is designed to be transparent to be used specifically to encapsulate the PV cells and hold them in position during their manufacture. This material has to be very durable considering the important work that they handle in the whole setup. They must be able to withstand high temperatures, humidity, and any weather element that may be thrown at them. The life span of your home solar panel greatly depends on the ability of the EVA film to hold things together; the longer it lasts, the longer your solar panels will serve your needs.
On top of the usual protection from the element, the film also acts as a shock absorber for the occasions where the panel may be hit by heavy debris or knocked against hard surfaces during the installation. This is a feature called cross-linking that ensures there’s some flexibility in how the solar panel moves.
This is a part that makes up the rear of the solar panel, whose sole purpose is to stop moisture from seeping into the panel from the back. It is the final barrier, the external skin, that provides electrical insulation and mechanical protection. It is mainly made using polymers of different kinds but the most common ones used are PP, PVF, and PET as they offer varying levels of thermal stability, physical protection, and UV light resistance.
The typical backsheet comes white in color, but you can also have it transparent or in black, depending on the manufacturer and client preferences. There are some types of advanced panels that use frameless panels and bifacial covers instead of back sheets. They are more durable and last longer, and have the ability to protect the panels from sustaining any damage when they fall to the ground.
Just like any other electrical device, the solar panel comes with a number of junction boxes and connectors that ensure that no moisture gets into the most delicate parts of the electrical system as that may cause problems. The cables and the wires necessary for transferring the electrical power to the needed devices are well secured inside the junction box, which is then closed tightly using bolts and screws.
The junction box also serves as the heart of the entire structure; that’s why it is usually located in the very center of the solar panel from where everything comes together and is diverted out. This makes it easy to operate the panel and to deal with any malfunction as the only part that will require opening is the junction box area.
Installing solar panels for home use is a long process that should be handled by a professional. But depending on the size, it is an operation that could be handled by anyone who has a good understanding of electrical systems. The following are the main steps that are followed in the installation of home solar panels.
A home solar electric system is a huge undertaking that requires proper planning. It involves entire wiring systems that go from one end of the house to another, and for this reason, proper considerations have to come into play if you hope to get things done the right way. The following are some of the things you have to consider if you plan to set up a home solar electric system.
The amount of electricity used by a house is directly proportional to its size. The more the number of rooms, the more the electrical appliances and such, the higher the consumption needs. Therefore, first assess the energy consumption of the house you wish to install home solar panels in first before settling down on the size of solar panel to go with. If your needs are lower, then get a smaller solar panel that will be able to handle that house size and vice versa.
Some of the resources inside the house that should give you a better picture of how much electricity you will be discussing include the following.
Not every house has the capacity to harness solar power; there are a lot of variables that come into play. One thing you have to understand about solar panels is that they are entirely reliant on the sun, so the amount of time they are exposed to the sun and the intensity of the rays will play a huge role in determining how much power your house receives.
For this reason, you have to assess the solar potential of your house. Some of the questions that can help you get around this include the following.
Setting up a solar pane for your home costs money and that is never a cheap estimate. To begin with, you have to purchase every single component, from the solar panels, the mounts, and the wire that will cover the entire house, among many other things. You will also have to hire the services of qualified contractors who will know the best way to handle the work. All these cost money and that amount may go higher depending on the layout of your house and the size of the solar panels.
There are licenses to consider which you have to pay for to the relevant local authorities. This could run into thousands of dollars and these are some of the things that have been a stumbling block to so many people who wish to set up solar panels in their homes. The bottom line here is that you must be prepared to spend considerable amounts of money to set up a solar panel system for your house. The positive side is that the cost is only in the initial phase; once the entire system is running, you will never have to worry about electricity bills again.
The type of roof and the angle of inclination are two factors that one should never ignore when setting up solar panels. Not all roofs are suited for solar panels, and this is why you have to first assess your roof before buying anything to do with the solar installation.
There are certain roofs that will require extra work for the solar panels to fit well on them, and this will cost you extra money as that will require some serious modifications being made to some sections of the roof. For example, any roof that has tiles slanted too steeply may not provide a solid foothold needed to keep the panel in place.
If you have this kind of roof, you will first have to call the contractor to check things out and recommend the right way to proceed with the installation in relation to the direction and movement of the sun. Once you have identified the right angle and location, then you will have all the reasons you need to continue with the installation.
There’s no sense in installing something long-term like a solar panel when you plan to relocate from your home in about a year. This could work if you are planning to sell the house, and it may help with raising the price a little, but in the long run, a solar panel is a good idea for a residency where you are planning to stay put for the foreseeable future.
The initial cost of setting up a home solar panel is way too much for anyone to set it up for a temporary abode. Therefore, think hard and long about your future plans, and if you don’t see yourself staying in one place for at least five years, then forget about installing solar panels on the property.
On average, it takes about six years for the solar installation investment to start paying off, so this requires someone who has plans for staying in one place; otherwise, it would be hard-earned money flushed down the drain.
How good is the solar company that you are sourcing your panels from? Just like any other sector, the solar industry is full of all kinds of solar panel brands, and each of them claims to be the best. But until you do your research well, you may end up spending your money on panels that will not last you very long.
Consider the reputation of the company you chose to deal with, and make sure you ask all the right questions before committing to any purchase. This way, you will have all the capacity to make an informed purchase at the end of everything.
Choose a brand that is well known and has a good reputation. Try checking the ones you select online to see the reviews, and you can also ask around people you know who may have experienced them before. This way, you will narrow down to the one that will cause you the least problems down the line.
A good solar panel should last you decades, especially if you live in locations that don’t experience extreme weather. The solid glass that is used as the cover should be strong enough to protect the delicate parts of the solar panel through anything.
When selecting the solar panel, look at the nature of the materials used in their construction. This is how you will know the number of years you may have before you start looking for other options. Check product reviews to see what people are saying about the longevity of particular solar brands, and go for the one that lasts the longest. Having to set up a new panel after five years is not cost-effective, considering the amount of money that goes into the initial setup.
Considering the scale of installation and the budget involved, it is only fair and natural that solar panels come laden with a warranty that protects the consumer from any liability in case they encounter things that are beyond their control. When it comes to solar panel warranties, there are some particular ones that you have to be on the lookout for, as they are very important when it comes to protecting your investment. They include the following.
You have to decide whether you want to have the solar panel installed by qualified contractors or whether you have the capacity to do it yourself. Both will work, but they depend on several important factors.
If you choose to go with contractor service, you will have the benefit of having things installed in the right way without any errors as they are qualified for this kind of work. However, that comes at a high cost.
If you choose to go DIY, you will have the freedom to install the panels the way you want at your own pace and all you have to spend on is the materials and the tools. However, you run the risk of doing it the wrong way, and this could be dangerous. Choose the DIY option if you are absolutely confident in your abilities, and you have a background in setting up electrical systems.
Most times, the installation of the solar panel is done by another third-party entity that is made up of skilled experts called contractors. This can happen if the solar company is too far and doesn’t offer installation services. When selecting the contractor, consider things like their reputation, their charges, and how good their after services are. This includes their ability to give you good advice and recommendations that will make it easy for your home solar panel installation.
There is a reason why solar power is becoming the go-to solution for electrical needs in domestic settings. There are a number of benefits that should help sway your decision if you have been thinking of switching to solar power. They include the following.
For all the good they bring to the table and the amount of money they help you save, solar panels do have their own limitations that should give you a momentary pause. They include the following.
The use of solar power for domestic purposes is going to continue rising as the resources to produce electricity through other means continue to dwindle. If you have been thinking of setting up this system on tour property, then check out our website and have all your questions answered by our team of experts on standby.