Solar panels are fantastic devices that enable you to absorb the sunlight and transform it into energy for your home. Reusable energy is becoming more accessible for residential use and you will often see solar panels on the roof of homes. If you are considering installing solar panels on your home’s roof there are a number of things you need to consider, such as how many you can have on your roof, the types of solar panels available, and also what influences solar panels and how they work. Here we answer these questions to help you to make the best decision for your home.
1. Influencing Factors on Solar Panels
On average, homes in the USA need approximately 20 to 25 solar panels to generate enough electricity to cover 100% of the home’s electricity usage and needs. There are a number of factors that will influence the number of solar panels that you need, these include:
- Geographic Location: where you are located will hugely impact the amount of energy that your solar panels can generate. If you live somewhere that does not have a lot of sunlight you may require more solar panels scattered around your roof to try and catch as much sunlight as possible. If you live in a home that only catches the sun on one side, you will install solar panels on this side of the house. It is important to keep in mind that weather hugely impacts solar energy, be aware of the weather in your location before installing solar panels to ensure they can meet your needs or so that you can have a realistic expectation of how much energy solar panels could generate for your home.
- Panel Efficiency: depending on the type of solar panel you get there may be limitations within the panels themselves, without any external influences. Research solar panels to find the most efficient brand for you and your needs.
- Personal Energy Consumption Habits: there will be a huge difference in what your energy consumption habits may be depending on the size of your home, the size of your family, or the number of people who live in the home. For example, a large family that lives in a large house will consume and require more energy than one person living in a small home. It is worthwhile taking a reading from your meter at the start of a month and checking again at the end of the month to see how much energy you are using. Energy consumption habits also change month to month as needs change with the seasons, for example in the colder, winter months, you may require lights to be on from earlier in the evening, and depending on your heating system in your home if it is electric you will be using more energy to heat the home through these means also.
While solar panels are a great way of living a green, sustainable lifestyle, being aware of their dependence on weather and the inability to store energy are factors you must consider when installing solar panels. You can invest in the best solar panels available but if you have no sunlight they do not have the means to create energy.
2. Is solar energy free?
A common misconception regarding solar energy is that it is completely free. Firstly there is the cost of the solar panels as well as installation costs. When you get solar panels installed there is usually a lease or agreement, known as a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), that you will be required to sign. The cost of these leases and agreements depends on your location, the number of solar panels you have installed, and also how much power you will be generating and subsiding with the utilities already in your home.
3. How many solar panels can you have on your roof?
You may be wondering if there is a limit on the number of solar panels that you can install on your roof. There is no limit on the number of solar panels that you can have on your roof, however in some cases, there may be a limit on the amount of solar power you can generate.
This is due to utility companies limiting the amount of electricity that can be generated by a grid-tied solar system. It is important to be aware of any limitations you may face prior to installing solar panels to ensure that you install the amount necessary to generate a certain amount of energy rather than just installing them when you are uninformed.
4. What size are solar panels?
Residential solar panels are approximately 65 inches long and 39 inches wide. These dimensions do vary between manufacturers. Solar panels can also be measured by the number of cells. 60-cell and 72-cell are the most commonly used for homes. Each cell converts 20% of the sunlight that hits them into solar energy that can be used in your home.
Depending on the way the sun hits your home will influence where you install solar panels. If you are lucky enough to have the sun hit your home at different angles over the course of the day it is best to place your solar panels at different points around your roof. If the sun only hits one specific point, solar panels should be installed here.
5. What are the different types of solar panels?
In the solar industry, there are three types of solar panels that are primarily used, find them listed below in order of efficiency.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
The most efficient solar panels, these panels are cut from a single source of silicon and are usually black, blue, or gray in color. While these are the most efficient they are also the most expensive solar panels.
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Unlike the monocrystalline solar panels, these panels comprise multiple silicon crystals and are blue or dark blue in color. They are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline but are considerably lower in price.
Amorphous Solar Panels
Amorphous, or Thin Film, Solar Panels, are the most budget-friendly solar panels on the market. They are the least efficient and always have a dark colored surface with gray, brown, and black being the most common colors for these panels.
Now knowing this information we hope it enables you to make an informed decision about solar panels and your home. If solar power is not an option for your home there are other renewable energy sources that you can use, such as wind power and hydropower.