More than ever, there is a growing desire for eco-friendly energy alternatives to fossil fuels. We are all trying our best to increase our use of sustainable products and minimize the impact we have on our environment. It is no surprise that solar power is only growing in popularity with homeowners and businesses across America. If you’re thinking about making the switch to solar and have been asking yourself questions like “what is solar power?” and “where can I find solar panel providers near me?” read on for all the answers you need.
1. Solar Energy Is Free and Renewable
The solar panels will need to be installed on your house by a solar panel company. As a result, there will be costs associated with this. Once the panels are installed, you don’t need to spend anything further on creating energy. When you use solar energy, you are reducing your carbon footprint as you are using power that is both green and renewable. Unlike traditional energy sources, solar power does not require any use of oil or cause the production of carbon dioxide like burning fossil fuels. In addition to the above, the energy created through solar power is everlasting. There will never be a point where it will run out. The sun produces a huge amount of power that can be harnessed for use in the home. Way more than you could ever need or use
2. What Are Solar Panels Made Of?
There are two types of solar panels. Photovoltaic panels are those that we consider solar panels. They work by converting sunlight into electricity. The second type of solar panel is the solar thermal panels which use the warmth of the sun to produce heat for homes or swimming pools. Photovoltaic panels are made of solar cells known as photovoltaic cells. These cells are made up of semiconductors that convert sunlight into electricity. When light hits these cells it causes electrons to separate from their atoms and flow through the cell. When this happens, electricity is created. The solar cells you will find in domestic solar panel installations can convert about 20% of the sunlight received into electricity. Commercial systems can convert even more. The quality and sophistication of solar panel designs are improving all the time, so the likelihood is that this percentage will only increase with time.
3. How Do Solar Panels Work?
As touched on above, solar panels use photovoltaic cells. These cells are all connected to form a frame (or a panel). The panels work by using silicon to help transmit electrons. Silicon atoms are charged using photons that are found in sunlight. When this happens, the conductive wires in the solar panel allow current to pass through which creates energy. When atoms are not charged, they only carry four electrons. They have a maximum capacity of 8 electrons when fully charged but carry nine. This spare, or negative, electron is then dropped. It circulates until it is picked up by a positive electrode where it generates a charge in the panel. The atom can continue undamaged for some time until needed which is why solar power is such a durable form of energy.
4. The Initial Cost Of Installation
The biggest consideration you’ll have when considering making the switch to solar power will be the cost of installation and the panels themselves. This is the brunt of the expense. How much it costs to install your panels will vary. It will depend on how many panels you need, the amount of energy you use, the ease of the installation process, and any incentive programs you may join. You should expect to pay somewhere in the region of $15,000 – $25,000 for panels and installation. It’s a good idea to look into solar panel tax credits and incentives in your area that can help reduce that cost. While the initial outlay feels big, you can make some of this money back by selling any unused energy. Your solar panel installation company should explain all of this to you. You will also be saving money on your energy costs once the panels are installed.
5. Maintaining The Solar Panels
Solar panels do not require any real regular maintenance once installed. The only thing you need to ensure is that they are kept reasonably clean and nothing is blocking the light from reaching them. As the majority of solar panels are installed on sloping rooves, they will generally clean themselves as rain will remove any excess dirt. Once your solar panels are installed they can last anywhere in the region of 20-40 years. A standard warranty will likely cover you for around 25 years. If they get damaged during this time, you will therefore need to consult your house insurance or solar panel provider for advice on covering the cost of the repair. When you’ve chosen a solar panel company near you to install the panels, they should explain to you everything you need to know.
6. Solar Power Technology is Versatile
No matter what type of building you live in, there is generally a solar panel that will work for you. They have been adapted to fit all sorts of shapes and sizes of structures. Solar power is now in use in so many aspects of our everyday lives. The ability to make the panels small enough to fit onto a phone charger means that they can be used on almost anything to generate power. There is investigation and experimentation underway to see how the next generation of cars and boats can incorporate the use of solar. Where there is plenty of excess space, solar farms are popping up. For example, the Mojave Desert in California houses the largest solar farm and it generates 90% of the world’s commercially produced solar power.
7. Solar Panels Don’t Need Constant Sunlight
If you’re worried about not being able to harness enough energy for your home during the winter months, there’s no need. Solar panels work to capacity when the sun is shining, but energy is still collected on dull days and over winter. No energy is collected overnight. The solar panels do not store energy without an additional add-on storage system which comes at an additional cost. In the evening and overnight, your energy will still be provided by the grid if you do not have a battery storage system.
8. Are There Any Issues You need To Be Aware Of Before You Install?
The first thing you need to consider when thinking about having solar panels installed is if they are going to fit the shape of your roof. For optimum use, your roof should be south-facing at an approximate sloping angle of 30 degrees. You should also be in a location where the panels can be without shade during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. It’s also a good idea to think about the location of any large trees you might have as they can cause shade and may damage the panels if the branches touch them.
9. What Permission Do You Need To Install Solar Panels On Your Home?
Generally, you don’t need any planning permission to install solar panels on your home. The caveat to this would be if you are looking to install panels that protrude more than 200mm and are therefore larger than the average. You may also need permission if your house is in a protected site such as a conservation area or if your home has a flat roof. If you have any concerns, you may wish to speak to your local authority’s building control team before you look to install.
10. Do You Need To Live In a Sunny Place To Have Solar Panels?
You don’t need to live in a very sunny place to benefit from having solar panels installed on your house. It’s obvious that the sunnier your location, the better your solar panels will work and the more you will get out of them. However, it’s not mandatory. No matter where you live, there will be sunlight. The sunlight can be converted into energy. It doesn’t matter how hot it is where you live, you can still benefit from solar panels. As mentioned above, solar panels continue to work in winter when sunlight levels are low. Your energy output will be reduced but the panels will continue to harness energy.
Where Do I Find Solar Panel Installers Near Me?
Installing solar panels on your home is a great investment to make for both your and your family’s future. As with any investment you need to make sure you are doing your research and ask the question: “who are the best solar panel installers near me?” before you make your decision. If you think you’re ready to make the switch over to solar power, you can find some more information here.