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What does it cost to have solar panels installed?

Installing solar panels on your home can cost you anywhere from $13,000 to $28,000, but the price may vary depending on your state and credits you may qualify for! You may choose to DIY your own solar panels, but professional installation can protect you from damaging your roof or home during installation. Use our quote tools to find prices and installers in your area, to help you navigate through these important solar panel considerations:

  • Home power needs and number of panels you will need
  • Installation costs
  • Costs of panels (which vary by material and brand)
  • Permits
  • State and city subsidies and tax credits
  • Battery (helps you store excess energy for a rainy day)
  • Monitoring equipment

Is solar energy a good idea for my home?

Solar energy has a number of benefits for your home, including the possibility of reducing energy costs and contributing to a greener, clean energy environment. Solar panels also come in a number of sizes, which makes them particularly flexible for the home. Solar panels also vary in power rating (how much wattage) they provide so it’s important to consider the power needs of your home as well as the size of your roof. See this solar panel size chart to learn more about and use a service like Quote.com to see how you can save on your monthly energy bill, and if there are installers near you.

Can I really save money with solar?

Yes, you can save a ton of money with solar, and it’s easy to see! Every month, solar owners save money on their electricity bill by producing their own power. The excess power can even be sold back to the grid, which adds up over time to help pay the upfront cost of the panels. In fact, solar panels aren’t just money savers; they’re also moneymakers! Solar owners can make money off their solar system, either by selling their electricity back to the grid once their solar panels are paid off or by selling their homes. Well-maintained solar systems can often increase the value of a home by an amount close to their original purchasing price, meaning owners can make money from the panels themselves.

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How long do solar panels last?

On average, solar panels last about 25 years. They are very durable and are designed to withstand high winds, snow, and most falling hail. Their base material is also a factor. Panels made of thin film tend to degrade faster than those made of mono- and polycrystalline solar panels. Don’t expect the solar panels to stop working after 25 years. After this time, the solar panel can still produce energy, but at a significantly reduced amount. Solar panels are designed to retain at least 80 percent of their original output over the course of their life. Their effectiveness only decreases by 1 to 2 percent a year.

When is it the right time to buy solar panels?

Many homeowners wonder when is a good opportunity to purchase a home solar system. After learning the solar energy basics, two of the most common questions related to timing are:

  • If I go solar now, will I miss out on new solar panel technology?
  • Will solar panel prices continue to go down if I wait?

While it is true technology will continue to advance, and panel prices are likely to continue to go down, your energy bill is already a committed cost. You already have to pay it every month. For many homeowners, switching to solar will decrease that monthly expense from day one – in these situations, the right time is now.

Which solar panel companies do you deal with?

Some of the solar panel brands we work with include electronics companies such as Bosch and Jaycar, which offer a variety of panel sizes, wattages, and materials.

  • Bosch offers crystalline and thin film panels in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world. You can see how Bosch panels stack up to other brands on review sites such as SolarReviews.
  • Jaycar Electronics offers solar products from panels and mounting materials to educational kits. Though they are headquartered in the U.S. and Australia, you can browse their products online.

How much can I save with solar panels?

The amount of money you can save with solar panels depends on a number of factors, including how much energy you consume, the size of your panels, the amount of sunlight they receive, and the cost of electricity in your area. Based on these factors, most people save between $44 and $187 per month. Considering the average American family spends about $1,400 each year on electricity, that’s some serious savings. Some people even produce enough electricity to offset their entire electricity bill, which is thousands more in savings.

Costs and Financing

Costs and Financing

Where can I get a quote for solar panel installation?

Reduce the stress by limiting the number of companies you go through to get clean, renewable energy installed in your home. If you’re looking to purchase your solar panels and have them installed by the same company, visit Quote.com and enter your monthly electric bill costs to calculate your savings with solar over time. Quote.com will provide you with the best in low-cost recommendations without compromising quality.

What is the solar panel installation cost per watt?

Today, solar panels cost anywhere between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt. If your home needs 5,000 watts to run efficiently (generally denoted as 5kW), the cost of your solar panels might average roughly $16,800, without tax credits. However, the installation costs of those panels ranges on your state's energy costs, the size of your home, the type of solar panels you're installing, and mounting system you choose to invest in. The cost for installation may seem steep, but investing in a professional helps ensure your panels are optimized for the best energy production and meet all of the city and state requirements for tax breaks and refunds. Not to mention, there may be tax credits available in your state that will help offset costs!

What is the cost of solar panels per square foot?

Solar panels aren’t sold by the square foot, or even the number of panels, but rather by the watt. Today, most panels cost between $2.87 to $3.85 per watt to install. How many watts you need may depend on the size of your home and the weather conditions you experience on a regular basis. Solar maps like these can help give you a general idea of how much direct sunlight your area receives, but a professional quote will give you a better price estimate that takes your location, home size, and needs into account.

What financing options are available?

There are two ways you can finance the cost of your solar panels: a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), or a solar lease. Both are contingent on your credit score and allow you to make monthly payments rather than paying upfront. With both options, the company you finance from provides any maintenance needed on the system, so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with them over time. With a PPA, any energy harvested is sold back to you at a reduced rate, while a solar lease lets your rent the equipment for a monthly fee and keep all of the power yourself.

Will solar get less expensive if I wait?

In 2016, solar panels became cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time. While these prices are expected to continue falling over the next decade or two, waiting means you’ll continue to overpay for standard coal or natural gas in the meantime. You can use your current electricity bill to find out just how much solar energy could be saving you today. Most tax credits and subsidies won’t last forever either. The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), for example, is set to expire in 2021 for residential properties.

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Should I lease or buy?

There are pros and cons of both purchasing options. With leasing, the advantage is you get a chance to make low monthly payments without putting a lot of money down upfront. Because you don’t technically own the panels, you also aren’t responsible for the maintenance or upkeep. Depending on the lease company, you may have the option to purchase your panels outright at the end of your term. However, when you purchase your panels outright, you get to take advantage of tax credits and rebates, as well as an increased resale value on your house should you ever choose to move. If you buy your solar panels, you’ll eventually be able to take advantage of truly free energy.

Does my homeowner’s insurance cover solar panels?

Yes, according to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), residential solar panel installations are covered as a part of your standard homeowner’s policy. While your home insurance may not cover everything, certain risks like theft or damage from wind and fire are usually included. You may want to reach out to your insurance company for full details (and coverage limits) on what is or isn’t included in your policy as it pertains to solar panels and their installation.

Can I get solar panels with no money down?

If you’re looking to invest in solar energy but don’t want to put all (or any) of the money down upfront, then a solar lease might be the right option for you. The primary advantage is the ability to make smaller payments over the course of your term rather than paying all at once for your panels and installation, as well as potentially having the option to purchase them outright once the lease has expired. Even with the added fee of paying for your lease, your lower energy costs will save you money. Use our free solar quotes tool to determine the best deal for your budget.

How much do commercial solar panels cost?

Business owners have the same opportunity to invest in clean solar energy as homeowners do. They can even take advantage of some of the same tax credits and rebates, meaning the cost of the solar panels comes down. Businesses can also take advantage of solar leases and Power Purchase Agreements, meaning if monthly payments work out better, they’re also an option (though you would lose any tax incentives for buying this way). Benefits include reduced operating costs, as well as showcasing you’re an environmentally friendly company.

How Solar Panels Are Made

How Solar Panels Are Made

What are solar panels made of?

Solar panels are made of solar cells that produce clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun. Mainly composed of silicon (a semi-metallic element), solar panels consist of two materials bonded together through a semiconductor to create a positive and negative charge. Once the silicon comes into contact with the sun's rays, it produces energy that is then used to help replace or eliminate traditional coal-based electricity.

What is the production cost of a solar panel?

The cost to produce solar panels has decreased over time, costing over $1 per watt for some manufacturers in 2009 and falling to $0.40 in 2016. The cost of production is expected to continue falling over the next two years. At $0.40 per watt, a small 100W panel (which could power a laptop for five hours or three 10W LED light bulbs) would cost $40 to manufacture. A traditional solar panel that produces between 150W and 345W would cost as little as $60 to $138. The number of panels you might need in your home or office would be contingent on the amount of energy (watt-hours) you consume.

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What kind of glass do solar panels use?

There are two types of glass generally found in solar panels: tempered glass and plate glass. Tempered glass is defined as anything at least six times stronger than regular plate glass and is created by chemical and thermal processes. Flat, plate glass is generally found in less expensive solar panels and is constructed by bonding saline, a silicon-rich gas, to the back of the glass plate. When purchasing solar panels, the manufacturer should clearly identify the type of glass they’re using, and if they don’t, it’s possible the panels are composed of less expensive plate glass. Remember cheaper glass can cloud over time, which reduces its efficiency.

Are solar panels recyclable?

Yes and no. Today, many countries are not readily equipped to recycle the materials that compose solar panels. Because solar panels have so many different parts, recycling these components can be complicated. While each panel is designed to last between 20 and 30 years, solar panels can become less efficient over time. While the need for widespread recycling of solar panels hasn’t occurred yet, research estimates that by 2050, there will be up to 78 million tons of solar panel waste around the world. Still, panels that are not silicon-based have a 98 percent recovery rate, while silicon-based panels have roughly a 96 percent recovery rate.

What is a photovoltaic module?

Photovoltaic modules are composed of photovoltaic cells, which are then connected electronically to help produce higher voltages and sealed in an environmentally protected laminate. These modules are then used to create photovoltaic panels, which can be connected to an array and installed for use. Today’s photovoltaic modules are very reliable – lasting between 20 and 30 years and generally warranted by their manufacturer for 20 years or more. When purchasing a PV module or an array of modules, they’re rated by their maximum wattage output under industry Standard Test Conditions (STC).

Are DIY solar panels available for my home, and are they a good idea?

While it is entirely possible to build your own solar panels by purchasing the components individually and assembling (and installing) them yourself, it isn’t entirely recommended. By purchasing either reconstructed starter kits that may range from as little as 5W or 10W all the way up to 5kW, or buying all of the individual components yourself, you may save a significant amount of money on the upfront costs. However, your home-built panels may not be as effective as professionally built panels, and won’t include a warranty in case something goes wrong. You may still need a licensed electrician to install the panels to qualify for tax rebates or grants.

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Are solar panels made in U.S.?

That depends! While the U.S. has been making great strides toward cleaner energy by utilizing solar power in residential and commercial settings, not every solar panel on the market today is manufactured in America. The U.S. is one of the leading markets for solar energy in the world, but two of the biggest manufacturers produce their panels in Asia. In 2014, Elon Musk of Tesla purchased Silevo through his solar-leasing company, SolarCity, and began manufacturing solar panels in the U.S. Panels that used to be cheaper to buy from other countries are becoming more affordable when made in the U.S.

Who makes the best solar panels?

Who makes one solar panel better than another may depend on some variables, like the space you’re looking to cover or the budget you’re looking to maintain. Still, some independent analysts have reviewed some of the most popular panels and have come up with what they believe to be the best. You can read their reviews here (they rated the Kyocera KD315GX-LPB the highest), and request your free custom quote from Quote.com for an idea of how much these brands might cost you.

Where can I buy solar panels?

There are two ways to buy solar panels: leasing and owning them. If you’re looking to buy solar panels, you can apply for a solar loan or home equity loan to help cover the upfront costs of purchasing directly from a manufacturer or from a company that will also offer to install them for you. Choosing to lease your panels through either of these companies may diminish the savings you get over time from a reduced home or office electricity bill, and you won’t be able to claim the interest from a loan on your taxes the following year. Visit us online today at Quote.com for free personalized quotes for solar power in your area today.

Will solar panels get smaller?

Possibly! In 2015, the U.S. Army announced its work on both smaller and less expensive solar panels. Even better, these new panels have also gotten more powerful. By evolving the way panels are made and reducing their reliance on a pure silicone construction, and including tiny layers of metal like silver and gold between the semiconductor layers, these new panels might be able to absorb more of the sun's energy with less overall space. This technology is still being developed, however, and may take years to reach consumer-level manufacturing.

Who invented solar panels?

The conversation around solar panels may feel relatively new – but the technology used to create them dates back to 1839. A French physicist named Antoine-César Becquerel created the first photovoltaic effect while experimenting with solid electrodes dipped in an electrolyte solution. His experiment even yielded voltage when sunlight hit the electrode he was testing. His discovery, combined with the first solar cell creation by Charles Fritts in 1883 and the first silicon solar cell by Russell Ohl in 1941, led to the creation of the first solar panels in 1954 by American researchers. Their panels yielded a 6 percent efficiency level when hit with direct sunlight.

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Who are the commercial manufacturers?

In 2016, five solar panel manufacturers were identified as the most popular around the world. Considered members of the Silicon Module Super League (SMSL), the manufacturers are also the biggest companies in the industry. Jinko Solar moved from the No. 3 spot in 2015 to the most popular manufacturer of solar panels in 2016. Trina Solar moved from first to second place, while Canadian Solar fell from No. 2 to No. 3. JA Solar and Hanwha Q CELLS stayed steady at fourth and fifth place.

Are inexpensive solar panels as good as professional ones?

If you choose to assemble solar panels yourself or purchase inexpensive solar panel kits, you may save on the upfront costs of solar energy (and may even save time over the course of assembly and installation compared to a professional job), but it may cost you more in the end. Cheap kits or even self-assembled panels may be without warranty, meaning if the panels malfunction, you have no means of having them repaired outside of replacement. Additionally, inexpensive solar kits may not be as efficient as professional installations. You may still need to pay an electrician to install them for you if you want to qualify for state tax rebates for them.

Can I buy a solar panel directly from the manufacturer?

Yes, you can buy wholesale solar panels. However, buying the least expensive solar panels may not always get you the highest quality product. You always want to make sure you buy from a reputable seller. Solar panels generally come equipped with a 20- or 30-year warranty, but if the manufacturer goes out of business, their warranty is often useless to you. Customer service is another element to take into consideration. How long a company has been in business, what their general reviews are like, and how easy it is to get into contact with them over warranty concerns are all variables to keep in mind when purchasing solar panels directly from a manufacturer, view options at Quote.com.

When were solar panels invented?

Solar panels, and the technology that makes them work, has been around longer than you might think. The Encyclopedia Britannica cites the very first solar panel has having been invented in 1883, but the photovoltaic effect dates as far back as 1839 and the research of a french scientist named Antoine-César Becquerel. The silicon solar cells we know and use today are a more modern invention, having been discovered in 1941. The more efficient version of the silicon solar cells was invented in 1954 by American researchers Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin.

Best Practices and Care for Solar Panels

Best Practices and Care for Solar Panels

Do solar panels require maintenance?

Yes, but quality installation can reduce the need for additional maintenance in the future. Some routine maintenance that solar panels need includes cleaning debris that might accumulate around the panels, making sure your panels aren’t covered by the shade, checking the panels for any physical defects, and monitoring the modules and installation. An annual inspection generally costs $150, while cleaning of the panels ranges from $10 to $20 depending on the service provider. Ensuring your panels are installed correctly in the first place can help minimize the expense of more costly repairs in the future.

Do solar panels need to be cleaned?

Most solar panels are self-cleaning, but debris can sometimes pile up around them, or if the panel isn’t tilted, dust and other substances can build up on top of them. If you feel your panels have gotten dirty, plan to clean them in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t as strong, and start by spraying them down with water. Avoid using metal objects or abrasive products when trying to remove caked-on dirt, and apply pressure with a cloth-covered sponge or soft brush. Once you’re done removing any visible debris, rinse off the panels again and let them dry.

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Should I buy a house with solar panels?

Concerns over the purchase of a house with solar panels already installed will vary depending on whether the panels have been paid for outright or are currently under a lease. Leasing has helped people who can’t otherwise afford solar panels to have them installed, but the monthly cost associated with their contract will be passed on to the next owner – meaning the overall value of a property may decrease to account for the added cost. Other questions to ask include how they were installed, who manufactured them, and what kind of warranty remains on the investment. If the panels have been purchased through a reputable seller and were installed correctly, you shouldn’t have any concerns purchasing a home with solar panels already installed!

Will solar panels damage my roof?

Another reason why professional solar installation is so important is the damage that might be caused to your roof. First, you want to make sure your roof is in good enough shape to handle the weight and installation of solar panels. Framing, slope, and load-carrying capacity are all important variables a professional will consider before determining the roof is the best place for your solar panels. If your roof has already aged, you may want to consider replacing it before having solar panels installed. A professional installer can examine the shape and dimensions of your roof to determine exactly how to mount them, so your roof does not receive any unnecessary damage during installation.

What are the best inverters for solar panels?

Inverters – which convert the energy generated by photovoltaic panels into an electric current that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid to power your home or office – are crucial to a good solar panel setup. Six companies have emerged in the last few years as being some of the most innovative and affordable options on the market. Household brands like General Electric and LG produce many of the inverters sold in the U.S., as well as international companies like SMA Solar Technology, Enphase Energy, and SolarEdge. Making sure you invest in a quality solar inverter means getting the most productivity out of your photovoltaic panels over time.

How do I cool down my home’s solar panels?

The future is bright for keeping solar cells cool during the day to maximize their energy production over time. While you can cool them down with water, engineers at Stanford University are working on a transparent silicon overlay to help keep solar panels cool when they’re out in the sun. The cover would collect heat and then radiate that heat back into space without disrupting the process of absorbing additional sunlight. Solar panels can become less efficient in high temperatures and excessive heat, so making sure your panels stay cool in the warmer months can ensure you maximize your investment in this clean energy source.

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How many solar panels are needed for a 5kW system?

The number of panels needed for a 5kW solar panel system for your home or office depends on the wattage of each panel. A 5kW system generates 5,000W of energy, on average. If each of your solar panels is 250W, you’ll need 20 of them. If each of your solar panels issues a higher wattage, you will need to purchase fewer of them, and if their overall wattage is lower than 250W, you might need more than 20 panels in your array to adequately power your home.

What is the best angle for installing solar panels?

The angle that’s best for your solar panels depends on where you live and what time of year it is. Some have said solar panels in the Northern Hemisphere should always face south, but the reality is the tilt of your panels depends entirely on the environment you put them in. Some roofs that face to the south may receive more sunlight, but that may not always be true for your home. A professional installer can recommend the best placement for your panels, though the roof may be your least expensive solution regardless of placement.

Should I clean my solar panels?

We wouldn't recommend cleaning your solar panels unless it's absolutely necessary. While solar panels are generally designed to be self cleaning, you should either contract someone to clean your panels, or let the rain take care of dust and dirt. If any debris (like leaves or foliage) piles up around your solar panels and shades them, preventing sunlight from making direct contact with your panels, you should remove it. Make sure you aren’t trying to care for your panels in the middle of the day while they’re extra hot. A soft brush and a plastic blade, for wiping off excess liquid and soapy water, are all you’ll need to make sure your panels stay nice and clean.

What should I clean solar panels with?

Thankfully, there isn’t a lot of upkeep required with solar panels, and if you’re interested in wiping yours down for whatever reason, you won’t need a super special tools or gadgets to get the job done. Make sure that you’re cleaning your panels off either in the morning or the evening while they aren’t as hot and find a nice, soft brush to get the job done. A plastic blade will you wipe any extra water and soap off after you’re done. If your panels are completely dry before you start to clean them, make sure you wipe any debris off that might be on or around your panels before you start. Take soapy water and brush it over your solar panels using the soft brush, and wipe away any remaining water when you’re done.

What is the optimum angle for solar panels?

The optimum angle for your solar panels depends entirely on where you live and what kind of environment your home is in. For example, while some solar panels facing to the west in certain parts of the world may report better solar power output, if there’s a giant tree in your yard that creates a shadowy overcast towards the west, that may not be the positioning for your panels. An independent study conducted by Scientific American found very little change in the quality of solar panels facing either north, south, east, or west in over 10,000 home locations across the county. Ultimately, the professionals that help your install your solar panels should be able to help make sure their angled in the right direction for your needs.

Home Installation

Home Installation

Can I sell my house with leased solar panels?

Yes, you can sell your house even if it has leased solar panels, but it may cause challenges. In such a case, there are a number of options available to you. First, you can transfer or sell your lease contract to the new owners of the house. Second, you can buy out the remainder of the lease, thereby increasing the value of your home. Or, you may have the panels removed from the roof and installed on a different home. The options available to you will depend on the policies and regulations of the solar energy company that provided you with the leased solar panels.

Will solar panels cause my roof to leak, deteriorate, or collapse?

Solar panels will not cause your roof to leak, deteriorate, or collapse. In fact, because of the way solar panels are installed, their effect will be quite the opposite – solar panels will protect and preserve your roof regardless of weather conditions, rain or shine, as long as the roof is not damaged before installing the solar panels. During installation, solar panels are securely fastened to a mount that allows water (from rain or snowmelt) to flow down the roof. The points where the mounts attach to the roof are also sealed and protected by metal coverings.

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Who installs solar panels for your home?

Specialized solar panel companies, utility companies, and electricians can install solar panels for your home, or you can even buy and install solar panels yourself. In most cases, an engineer will schedule a visit to assess the feasibility of installing a solar system for your home by measuring the space for installing the solar panels – whether on the home’s roof or the ground. The engineer will also assess the solar window, which is how much space has access to direct sunlight while checking the space is directed toward the South or within a certain range from the South.

What is the best type of battery for a solar panel system?

The best type of battery for a solar panel system is, at present, the lead acid battery. It is currently the most popular choice for off-the-grid solar energy setups, and not without reason. First and foremost, lead acid batteries are the most flexible, adaptable, and least expensive when compared to lithium ion batteries or, the latest to the market, saltwater batteries. Lead acid batteries also feature a significantly large capacity for storing charge – over 250 amp-hours. In return, they are capable of supplying a stable current back into the home for a long period.

Can I buy solar panels in bulk by the pallet?

Absolutely! You can buy solar panels in bulk by the pallet. Solar panel distributors have made solar panel pallets from top manufacturers available wholesale to the average consumer. Special pricing may be available depending on the cell size, each pallet’s watts and quantity per pallet. These distributors often provide consultations and additional support to assist you in determining the specifications most suitable for your solar power needs. Not only can these distributors be visited in person, but also many also conveniently host online storefronts where the solar panels can be ordered online and delivered to your address.

How many solar panels are needed to power an average house?

The number of solar panels needed to power an average house depends on some factors. First, weather conditions at the house’s location and hours of sunlight the house is exposed to are important, bearing in mind solar energy cannot be effectively produced during dark hours or very cloudy days. Second, the number of solar panels needed to power a house depends on the size and capacity of each solar panel; solar panels come in different sizes and watt specifications. Finally and perhaps most importantly, knowing your average household energy usage is important for determining the size, strength, and number of solar panels you need. To find out exactly how many solar panels you need, try one of the many solar calculators available online such as the one offered by Quote.com.

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How many solar panels are needed to run a house?

To find out how many solar panels are needed to run a house, three questions must first be answered:

  • How many hours of sunlight are expected to reach the house, on average? As solar energy relies on energy from the sun, the number of solar panels needed will depend on the ratio of light versus dark or very cloudy hours in which the house is exposed.
  • What is the size and strength of the solar panels under consideration? Solar panels do not come in a standard size and capacity. In fact, the market is rich in solar panel options.
  • What is the average energy usage of the household? You can find this value on your current energy and utility bills as a kWh (kilowatt per hour) number.

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels do not work at night. During the day, especially during sunlight hours, solar panels convert the energy from the light emitted from the sun into electricity that powers your home, through a process called the photoelectric effect. As the light is reduced, by either shade or the setting of the sun, the electricity produced from the solar panels is also reduced. Once the sun has set, and the solar panels are surrounded by the dark, virtually no electricity can be produced. However, whatever energy the solar panels have transferred and stored over to your battery during the day can be used at night.

How many watts of power are needed for a home?

The number of watts of power needed for a home varies considerably from one household to another. Essentially, the amount of energy a home needs depends on the usage. The following questions may help to determine the amount of power needed for a home accurately:

  • What appliances are powered by electricity? How often are they used, and how are they used?
  • How many individuals reside in the home, and how do these individuals use electricity in the home?
  • Does the home feature a pool, sauna, electric heater, or central air conditioning?
  • What materials were used in the construction of the home? Do these materials provide the appropriate insulation?
  • To find the average number of watts of power needed for your home, refer to your energy and utility bills.

How many solar panels does it take to power a house?

To find out how many solar panels you need to power a house, you must first consider three main factors. First, solar panels are manufactured in a variety of watt capacities and panel sizes. Second, the point to which the solar panels are directed and the amount of sunlight they are exposed to affect how many solar panels you will need for your house. Third, the average amount of energy uniquely used by your household influences the type, sizes, capacities, and the number of solar panels you will need to power your house.

How many solar panels do I need for a 2000-square-foot home?

The number of solar panels you would need for a 2,000-square-foot home varies greatly depending on the following factors:

  • The size and strength of the chosen solar panels. Solar panels are made in different sizes and wattages to meet your needs.
  • The number of hours of sunlight the home is exposed to. Solar panels convert light energy to electricity most effectively in the presence of sunlight. Cloudy or gloomy weather will hinder solar panels from producing the electricity needed for your home.
  • The average electricity usage of the household. Every household uses a unique amount of electricity depending on the usage of electrical appliances, the number of individuals in residence, and whether a spa, heater, and air conditioning are present. The average usage is stated on your energy bills.

Does shade affect solar panels?

Yes! Shade affects the efficiency of solar panels. Solar systems operate by absorbing light emitted from the sun and convert light into electric energy that can power a home. Once this light energy is disrupted or blocked altogether, the electricity production of the solar panels is affected. Before installation, an engineer will visit your home to determine the solar window and the amount of shade in which the space prescribed for solar panels is exposed. Based on this evaluation, the engineer will make recommendations as to the types and capacities of solar panels and their setups.

Should I install solar panels?

Yes, you should certainly install solar panels. There are many reasons you should consider switching to solar power for your home, including the following:

  • Solar power allows you to save on your monthly energy bills. In most cases, you can expect to save between $44 and $187.
  • Because relying on solar panels means electricity costs are reduced, having solar panels installed will, in most cases, increase the value of your house.
  • Some government programs provide grants and loans for installing solar panels. In many locations, the government may have incentive programs where any extra and unused electricity generated by your solar panels is transferred to the electric grid for the community to use. In doing so, the government or the electricity company will essentially buy electricity from you, thus allowing you to earn some extra income.
  • Above all reasons, residential solar energy allows you to do your part in reducing your carbon footprint and helping to preserve the environment.

Should I buy solar panels?

Buying solar panels and installing them for your home is an investment that is growing in popularity for its many advantages. First, solar energy will significantly reduce your monthly energy expenses. Second, solar panels – especially if bought as opposed to leased – increase the value of your home. Third, government programs may be set up whereby the government or local energy company buys any extra electricity generated by your solar panels. Finally, solar energy saves the environment and reduces your carbon footprint in the long run.

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Should I get solar panels on my roof?

Getting solar panels on your roof is a great solution if you are looking to reduce your monthly spending on electricity. Solar panels will also allow you to generate a surplus of electricity that will not only meet your needs during the dark and gloomy hours but also will allow you to make some extra income by selling your surplus to the energy companies in your area. Once you decide to convert to solar energy, you have the option to install solar panels on the roof of your house or the ground. While each has its advantages and disadvantages, installing solar panels on your roof is most convenient for your house as it will not take up any space, and there would be less risk of interference with your the solar panels. As a bonus, rooftop solar panels can help protect your roof from the elements.

How would solar panels be used in a house?

In a house, solar panels would be used as part of a solar energy system, according to the following process:

  • Solar panels absorb direct light from the sun.
  • The photovoltaic cells on the panels convert this direct sunlight into direct current electricity.
  • An inverter is then used to convert energy from direct current electricity to alternating current electricity.
  • Usable power is transferred to your home to power your electric outlets, lights, and appliances.

What solar power plans do I need?

The solar power plans you need depend largely on the options made available to you by solar energy companies, as well as the incentives provided to you by the government. For example, many governments offer net metering policies. This means if and when your solar power system generates more energy than you need, instead of storing the excess into a battery, an arrangement would be made so you can sell the surplus electricity to the government for circulation into the grid utilized by your surrounding community. These government-sponsored solar power plans are widely available, while specific rates and incentives vary from state to state.

Is there a solar panel monitoring system?

Yes, there are solar panel monitoring systems widely available on the market. Solar panel monitoring systems have a number of uses. For example, these systems provide a detailed overview of how much solar energy is generated, how much of it is being used, as well as surplus energy. These systems can also detect problems and faults in your solar power system and troubleshoot them when possible. Some systems will also utilize the collected data along with a specific formula to calculate the energy costs being saved when using the solar system. Essentially, solar panel monitoring systems are important for ensuring the panels and system as a whole are functioning as efficiently as designed.

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Are there whole home solar power systems?

Yes, there are whole home solar power systems available. It is completely up to you to decide how much of your home is powered by a solar panel system. If you choose to go off the grid and power your entire home using a solar power system, you will need to consider the size of your home, how many people live in it, whether you have a pool or hot tub, whether you have heating and air conditioning, the type of furnace you are using for the home, and your usage of the electrical appliances present in the home.

What resources are there for building solar panels for your home?

There are plenty of resources available on building solar panels for your home. Local, state or provincial, and federal governments and their respective energy departments may be consulted for the options available in your area. Your government may also provide incentives in the form of grants, loans, and other support to help you get started on installing a solar power system. Solar power companies that operate in your area could also be very useful resources. Services such as Quote.com have everything you need to learn how solar systems and solar panels work. Quote.com also offers a personalized quote calculator that shows you your energy savings with solar, and installers in your area.

How do homeowners use a photovoltaic solar power system?

Homeowners use a photovoltaic (PV) power system to produce solar energy based on a particular process. First, the solar panels absorb the light emitted directly and without obstruction from the sun. Second, the photovoltaic cells on the solar panels convert the absorbed sunlight into direct current electricity. Then, the direct current electricity passes through an inverter to convert to alternating current electricity. Through its connection to the house, this electricity is then used to power the entire home, including its electrical outlets, lights, and appliances.

How long will it take for solar panels to pay for themselves?

It can take as much as as seven to fifteen years for solar panels to pay for themselves. However, it’s important to understand this varies from one household to another. Factors that help determine the payback period include the following.

  • The initial cost of the solar panels and their setup
  • Your average monthly energy usage
  • The amount of savings on your monthly energy expenses
  • The availability of net metering policies in your state
  • How much electricity your solar panels are generating and any estimated surpluses
  • Financial incentives made available to you at the time of the setup (i.e., tax credits, grants, loans, etc.)
  • With these factors in mind, solar panels can take as little as two to four years to pay for themselves.

Do I need planning permission for solar panels?

That depends. In some countries, permits are required. In the U.S., you can utilize resources like the National Solar Permitting Database to determine the rules in your city and state. Ensuring that you know the required guidelines will help save you from have to refile after instillation. A professional installer (which you can find at Quote.com) will also know the requirements of your area and can help guide you through the process to ensure no steps are missed. Understanding the permit requirements of your community will also help contribute to the understanding of your fellow neighbors you may also be considering solar power for their own homes.

Uses for Solar Panels

Uses for Solar Panels

Is solar available for mobile homes?

What could your mobile or manufactured home and the White House have in common? Solar energy could partially or fully power both buildings! In fact, the White House had 32 solar panels installed in 1979 for hot water. With a wide range of residential and portable solar panels on the market, there is a solar energy solution for virtually any application. According to Electric Choice, the average electricity usage in a home in Florida is 1,078 kWh per month. With an average of 5.5 daily sun hours in Florida, an 8.2 DC kWh system would be sufficient to power a mobile home completely.

What are the best solar panels for caravans?

The best solar panel for a caravan is one that will fit on the roof and generate enough power for your caravan and all of the appliances you go camping with. One of the simplest ways to figure out how much power your caravan consumes is to go camping with your current battery unit, and see how long it takes to deplete your battery. Find the amp hours of your battery (Ah), and divide that by the number of days you went camping on your battery. There are also lifestyle blogs online that discuss sustainable, off-grid camping, which could be a great place to start your caravan solar panel search.

Can solar panels be used to power an RV?

Absolutely! Solar panels can be used to power structures as large as industrial complexes to portable models that power a single device, such as a phone or tablet. Remember a photovoltaic array works best when paired with a great battery. Since RVs and campers will only require power when off-grid from a campsite, a battery that can store all of the energy harnessed by the sun when in the wilderness (or at night when the panels aren’t actively producing energy) is the key to a successful system.

What are some solar panels for boats, tents, pools, caravans, and RVs?

Solar energy systems are often manufactured specifically for their use. For example, solar modules intended for use on boats may be created with properties that limit damage to the panels when exposed to moisture or salt. There are even panels, such as some manufactured by Kyocera, that are shadow-protected. These panels can still produce energy even if some cells are covered by shadows, making them great for use with sailboats. As new systems and panels become more efficient, their suitability for use beyond residential applications becomes greater. There are many portable models available on online marketplaces like Amazon, for camping, charging GoPros, game systems, and more.

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Are there solar panels to heat pools?

Yes. In fact, the use of solar panels to heat a pool is the most cost-effective use of a solar panel system in most climates. Solar systems built for pools differ slightly from systems used for other applications, as they consist of the solar panels, a filter, pump, and flow control valve. The average system usually costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to purchase and install and should cover roughly 50 to 100 percent of the surface area of your pool.

Are there ground mounted solar panels available?

Yes. Rooftop solar panel systems are most common for residential use, as they do not take up any yard space. A ground-mounted solar array is an excellent choice for those in rural locations or who live on pasture land with open, sunny spaces. Ground-mounted systems can even be more efficient than roof-mounted systems, as they do not rely on a surface for slope and can be set up at the most optimized angle for energy production. Ground-mounted panels are also the easiest type of solar panels to clean and maintain due to their ease of access.

Are there garden solar panels?

The answer depends on how you define garden solar panels. There are solar cell mounted garden lights that can be affixed anywhere outdoors to provide evening light in your garden. However, ground-mounted solar arrays can be placed anywhere the sun shines, including in your garden. The partial shade provided by a solar panel could even be beneficial to your part-sun plants! In fact, there’s no better clean energy combination – reducing your carbon footprint with clean energy and cleaning existing CO2 in the air with your garden.

What are the most mobile solar panels?

The most mobile solar panels available are the ones that fit in your pocket! There are a variety of micro or mini solar panels available on Amazon that will power your most-used electronics, such as your cell phone or tablet. Some are even powerful enough to power a laptop. These mobile solar panels consist of two or three panels in a flexible shell that can easily fold together to fit into a backpack or extend to lie across a dashboard or on the lawn at a picnic.

Are there solar panels specifically for motorhomes?

Yes. There are solar panels designed specifically for many purposes, including for motor homes, boats, caravans, camping, industrial, and residential use. Solar panels manufactured for mobile homes are generally smaller than those built for residential use, as they have to be suitably mounted on the roof of your motorhome. Depending on the efficiency and capacity of the system, this can either completely or partially power the energy needs of your motorhome.

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Are there solar panels for pools?

Yes. One of the most popular uses for solar arrays beyond the general power of a home is a system built specifically to heat a pool. These systems are a little different than the ones that power homes or commercial buildings. They are built with the sole purpose of heating water and come with a pump, water filter, and flow control valve. Heating a pool with a solar panel is one of the most efficient uses of solar energy, and keeps your pool usable and enjoyable throughout much of the year.

Can I plug any devices into solar panels for charging purposes?

Portable solar panels that are constructed to charge small consumer electronic devices can be used to charge these devices directly. Solar panels that are manufactured for residential or commercial purposes feed into the main energy line of the home, creating a power source throughout the building. This means using the energy your panels have harvested from the sun is as easy as plugging your device into the socket.

Are there portable solar panels for RVs?

Placing a solar panel or panels on an RV makes those panels the most portable around! Clean energy on wheels. Regarding mounting and dismounting a full solar array on your RV on a regular basis is not a cost effective or efficient use of this energy source. Smaller solar panels manufactured for use while camping or outdoors that can charge small devices are available. To see if a fully or partially solar-powered mobile home is for you, blogs Technomadia and Roadtreking offer some insight into the off-grid RV lifestyle.

Are swimming pool solar panels common?

Yes, depending on your location in the U.S. Solar panels to heat pools are more common in areas where in-ground swimming pools are common, such as in the South and West, as heating a pool requires a tremendous amount of energy. In fact, to keep a pool heated in Central Florida to 80 degrees year-round would cost an estimated $2,600 annually. Solar panels can be an efficient, cost-effective, and clean energy alternative to traditional natural gas in heating your pool.

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Are solar panels used on commercial buildings?

Yes. Solar panels are becoming more frequently used in commercial applications every year. Many LEED-certified grocery stores use solar panel systems in addition to other energy-saving measures, like timed lights in the refrigerated sections, to offset energy costs and reduce the environmental impact. It is not only in the private sector that we see solar applications. Solar farms have most recently been used to produce clean power to federal, state, and county prison complexes, saving taxpayers billions nationally in energy costs over the lives of the panels.

Are there solar panels you can walk on?

Yes, there are, but not all solar panels are created equal. Stepping on a glass solar panel or one with aluminum edging is sure to cause some level of damage to the panel. There are certain panels designed to be rugged enough to step on, mostly manufactured for marine purposes. To keep solar panels in peak working condition and to avoid the need for repairs, it is best to avoid walking on a panel unless you are sure it is designed to handle it.

Are there solar panels you can drive on?

Yes. A company in the U.S. has manufactured a solar panel system that can be walked on, driven over, or parked on. Designed for urban parking lots and roadways to power traffic signals and other devices, the panels can withstand a load of 250,000 pounds! These types of panels can be fitted with LEDs to create a colorful display for downtown areas. While you are unlikely to see these types of panels applied to residential systems in the near future, it speaks to the versatility and durability potential of solar panel systems as a whole.

Are there RV solar panels?

Absolutely! Solar panels can be used to power structures as large as industrial complexes to portable models that power a single device, such as a phone or tablet. Remember a photovoltaic array works best when paired with a great battery. Since RVs and campers will only require power when off-grid from a campsite, a battery that can store all of the energy harnessed by the sun when in the wilderness (or at night when the panels aren’t actively producing energy) is the key to a successful system.

Solar Brands

Solar Brands

Which companies produce the most powerful and efficient solar panels?

When it comes to finding the best rated solar panels, one key differentiation is solar panel efficiency and power output. Typically, newer panels will have efficiencies that range anywhere from 13 to 20+ percent. The higher the efficiency rating, the more power the panel will output from the same panel area. Major manufacturers that have made headlines for setting efficiency records include SunPower, SolarCity, Panasonic, and First Solar. However, the most efficient panels are usually the most expensive – and while they may have the most efficient technology inside to convert sunlight into electricity, they may not be the most financially efficient regarding price per watt.

What are the best rated solar panel companies?

With so many brands and types of solar panels on the market, there are several differences to consider including solar panel efficiency, power output, price, and manufacturer reputation. So who makes the best solar panels? One indicator is which companies are having the most success on the market. An overview conducted by the consultancy IHS Markit identified the following firms as market leaders: Trina Solar, SunPower, First Solar, Hanwha Q-cells, and Jinko Solar. REC Solar, GCL System, LG Electronics, and Canadian Solar were also recognized. Also notable in the American market is Elon Musk’s Tesla, which acquired SolarCity, the largest solar energy service provider in the U.S. Tesla currently offers two PV panel products: a Solar Roof glass solar shingle option and a more traditional low-profile panel from Panasonic.

Are there any reviews I can read?

One of the best resources to help navigate different solar options is to read reviews from people who have switched to solar. Sites like SolarReviews and Quote.com contain testimonials from everyday solar customers. Review aggregators like Yelp are good resources, as well. If you’re looking for more technical information about panels, organizations like the Principal Solar Institute provide specific details on panel models and how they stack up to one another.

Where can I buy solar panels for my home?

There are several ways you can buy solar panels and benefit from clean energy. If you are looking for a traditional home solar system interconnected to the utility company electrical grid, your best bet is to find a professional solar installer. Trained technicians will have the expertise to design a system layout suited for your home, and can ensure the installation is up to code and properly connected. Additionally, if you are interested in specialty products such as bifacial, flexible, or folding solar panels, consulting with a professional installer is a good idea. Sites like Quote.com can help you plan for the cost of a professional installation. Some retailers such as Lowe’s even sell panels directly to DIY consumers, but this route is only advisable if you are professionally trained.

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What are some low-cost solar panels for my home?

If you’re looking for solar panels at the lowest cost per watt, you should get multiple quotes from a variety of providers. Not only will this help you get the best price, but it may also widen the availability of specific panel options since many providers only offer a limited set of panels. Ask your provider to prioritize low cost in the design of your system. Services like Quote.com or Google’s Project Sunroof can help you find a solar provider near you. While you may be able to find damaged or used solar panels at a discount, this is not recommended because you may lose the benefits of the panel manufacturer’s warranty.

What are the best solar panels for my home?

The best solar panels for your home depend on the specific requirements of your solar panel system design. Different designs may call for different specs regarding panel size, power output/efficiency, or aesthetics. As an example, a customer with low energy requirements and a lot of sunny roof space may be able to meet all their needs with a low-cost 100W panel. It would not make sense for this customer to pay more for a “better” panel. In contrast, it may make sense for a customer with high energy requirements and roof space constraints to pay more for a higher efficiency 300W panel, because their system wouldn’t be able to meet the energy requirements without those efficient panels.

What is the best solar panel system for my home?

The best solar panel system for your home is the one designed to meet your specific requirements. There isn’t a universal “best” system because every home will have differences in:

  • Energy usage requirements
  • Roof material and condition
  • Solar radiation exposure
  • Roof shading
  • Utility regulations
  • Year-round weather conditions
  • Aesthetic requirements

These variables will significantly influence the possible designs of your rooftop panel system, which will call for differences in mounting hardware, power inverter technology, and panel technology. Also, only certain homes benefit from additional technologies such as batteries or bifacial panels, so again there isn’t a universal recommendation for these features.

What's the best way to find solar panels near me?

If you are looking for an installer near you to design a home solar system for your roof, you can choose between a large national installer (such as Elon Musk’s Tesla) and a local installer. Be sure to get more than one quote, so you can compare what each installer is offering. Services like Quote.com’s free quote tool make getting multiple quotes easy. Also note there may be differences in what each installer offers (for example, installation on different roof types, additional equipment such as batteries, or related products like hot water/swimming pool heating systems). If you are looking for off-grid solutions that don’t require professional installation (like portable solar panels or RV solar panels), you can find panels at local suppliers including many home improvement retailers like Lowe’s.

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What are the 10 or 15 best solar panel companies in the U.S.?

Typically, panels made in America are more expensive than those manufactured overseas. According to data from EnergySage, opting for U.S.-made panels on a typical 5kW solar system may incur a cost premium of approximately $1,500. Companies that are headquartered in the U.S. and at least manufacture some panels in the country include:

  • 1SolTech
  • Itek Energy
  • Grape Solar
  • SunPower
  • Tesla
  • Zebra Energy

Of these, the largest companies are SunPower and Tesla. SunPower is notable for its continued innovation in high-efficiency panels, and Elon Musk’s Tesla offers a Solar Roof glass solar system. Grape Solar also stands out because it is a manufacturer that sells solar panel kits directly to consumers online and in retail stores, so they are popular for DIY or off-grid applications.

Where can I compare reviews of solar products?

There are several online resources that may help you in finding reviews for solar products. Review websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List are two great resources for reviews on local providers in your area. If you want to find more general information about equipment such as PV panels, industry groups such as the Principal Solar Institute will have information you can use to compare products directly. However, each solar system design is different and will require different solar products – be sure to get a professional solar design for your home before deciding on solar system components. Services like Quote.com can help you get a professional solar quote.

What are the best solar panels on the market?

Did you know that the “best” solar panels on the market might not be the best for you? While high-end panels from manufacturers such as SunPower and Panasonic (which has partnered with Tesla to produce panels) may grab headlines, these top-of-the-line modules usually are also the most expensive on a per-watt basis and are only necessary for the highest power users who may have space constraints. Every solar PV system design will have its own optimal tradeoff between panel efficiency and price. System designers will usually aim to meet each project’s power output requirements at the lowest cost per kWh to maximize financial benefits.

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What kinds of advanced technology are used in solar panels?

Solar panels are also called PV modules. PV stands for photovoltaic, which describes materials that convert sunlight directly into electricity. (This is why panels are colloquially referred to as solar voltaic panels.) PV modules are created using semiconductor material – usually silicon, which is used in 90 percent of panels today – that absorbs light and transfers energy into electron flow. That electron flow is electrical current. All PV modules function using this basic technology. Advanced modules such as infrared panels and double-sided bifacial solar panels are also based on this same fundamental technology.

What are the most efficient solar panels?

Solar panels convert energy from sunlight into electricity. The most efficient solar panels will produce more electricity from the same amount of sunlight and panel area. As manufacturers have continued to improve PV module technology, several companies have introduced panels jockeying for the title of most efficient, including SunPower, SolarCity, Panasonic, and First Solar. However, the most technologically efficient panels may not be the most financially efficient regarding price per kWh of the electricity produced. When deciding between solar panels, whether efficiency is the most important factor depends on the details of your project, such as how much energy you need to produce, and how much space you have to mount the panels on the roof.

What's the latest news on solar panels?

While solar panels have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, the base technology has been around for quite a while. In fact, former President Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the White House. In recent times, two trends have pushed solar energy into the mainstream: rising solar panel efficiency and dropping solar panel costs, both of which make solar energy cheaper. In some areas, the price has reached – or even dropped past – grid parity: the point where solar energy costs the same as energy from the utility. When this happens, customers will save money by switching to solar.

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Is the energy industry opening up to solar?

The energy industry is absolutely opening up to solar, as well as other renewable, clean, or green energy technologies. What makes solar unique is that PV panels are small when compared to other renewable energy equipment, such as wind turbines. This is why solar panels can be put on roofs of normal houses and buildings – there are even solar panels on the White House. As a result, homeowners have the option to buy a home solar system and enjoy the benefits of solar energy. If you have questions about solar energy and want to find out if it might be an option for you, one of the quickest ways to find out is through services like EnergySage or Google’s Project Sunroof.

Who can get free solar panels?

Did you know some qualified homeowners might be eligible for free solar panels? While the term “free solar panels” is sometimes used to market home solar systems that are not free, legitimate programs do exist. In California, two examples of such programs come from Grid Alternatives and Citizens Energy. Both programs offer low-cost to no-cost home solar systems for low-income families. If you qualify, programs such as these are the best way to get cheap or even free solar panels. Other discount options such as damaged, used, or refurbished solar panels may initially look like a good deal, but you run the risk of forgoing official warranties. Since panels are expected to have a service life of 20 or more years, it is recommended most customers stick with warrantied panels.

What are the best solar panels?

The best solar panels for you will depend on your project criteria. Typically, if you have plenty of space for panels, you’ll want to look for reputable panels with a low price per watt, while customers with high energy requirements or space constraints will look for the highest efficiency panels. Both panels could help you maximize the benefits of solar energy. We recommend you contact solar installers in your area to compare quotes and find the best for your home. They can help you answer questions such as:

  • What are the different types of solar panels available in my area?
  • Are solar panels worth it for me?
  • Where can I put solar panels on my roof?
  • How many solar panels do I need?

Sites like Quote.com can help you find installers in your area.

What are the most efficient solar panels I can buy?

Currently, SunPower offers the most efficient solar panels you can buy for standard residential solar panel installations. However, multiple companies are continually releasing new PV module products jockeying for this position, including Tesla, Panasonic, and First Solar. In fact, the top offerings from these companies are within a few percentage points of efficiency. Researchers are even looking into innovations, such as solar panels that can capture infrared energy. However, the most efficient panels are usually the most expensive and may not offer maximum financial benefit for all projects. Efficiency is only one of several factors to consider when deciding which panels are right for your project.

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What is NRG Home Solar?

NRG is a Fortune 200 energy company that does business in electricity generation and provides a retail electricity platform. As part of its power generation business, NRG is engaged in renewable energy projects that include wind and solar. NRG launched its NRG Home Solar brand in 2013 to offer residential home solar services. By 2015, NRG Home Solar was the fourth largest residential solar installer in the U.S. While NRG continued to be successful in its other electricity generation businesses, they struggled to find profitability in the residential solar space. As a result, NRG shut down its NRG Home Solar business in 2017 and no longer offers residential rooftop PV installations.

What about NRG Home Solar reviews?

While NRG Home Solar has been one of the largest and most well-known residential rooftop solar providers in the country – including being the fourth largest residential solar installer in the U.S. in 2015 – NRG ultimately exited the residential solar space in 2017, shutting down the NRG Home Solar brand. As a result, you’ll need to look at alternatives if you’ve been thinking about going solar with NRG Home Solar. The good news is solar is growing faster than ever, as more and more Americans are learning about the benefits of solar energy. There are many panel manufacturers and solar installers to choose from, including local businesses that may be located near you. To find installers near you, some great places to get started are Quote.com.

What are the biggest commercial solar energy companies?

While the underlying PV panel technology between commercial and residential application is the same, there are large differences in other project aspects, such as financing, installation, and initial customer origination. As a result, commercial solar activity is split between a handful of major national solar installers that have the capacity to build out separate residential and commercial teams, and smaller, specialized installers focused on commercial projects. According to GTM research, the biggest commercial solar energy companies by market share include:

  • SolarCity
  • SunPower
  • Borrego Solar Systems
  • Greenskies Renewable Energy
  • And smaller, but notable commercial installers include:

  • AES Distributed Energy
  • Ameresco
  • Clean Energy Collective
  • Constellation Energy
  • NextEra Energy Resources
  • NRG Energy
  • REC Solar
  • SoCore Energy
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How efficient are commercial solar panels?

Most commercial solar panels are similar to residential solar panels; the only significant difference being they are sometimes slightly larger with more power output. Panel efficiency is nearly identical to residential panels, typically falling within the range of 13 to 20+ percent for new products. This is true because the majority of residential and commercial installations rely on the same panel technology: crystalline silicon. Where commercial and residential projects begin to show differences are in scale (commercial projects can require up to hundreds of panels, while residential solar installations only require 20 or so panels) and mounting solutions (commercial projects are often mounted on flat roofs, whereas residential roofs are typically slanted and require different mounting solutions).

Where can I find solar panel information?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration and Solar Energy Industries Association are great resources to answer your questions about solar energy basics. After that, resources like Quote.com can give you information on common applications for solar panels, including residential and commercial solar systems. Companies that sell panels directly to consumers, such as Grape Solar, cater to people using solar panels in DIY projects like cars, RVs, and powering off-grid living. Finally, talk to an installer or someone in your neighborhood who has gone solar if you have questions about what it is like to live with clean energy. For example, did you know having solar panels could keep your roof cool, lowering air conditioning costs?

What should I know about Lightway solar panels?

Lightway Solar is a panel manufacturer in China. Examples of other comparable PV panel manufacturers include Elon Musk’s Tesla, Kyocera, or Trina Solar. Lightway makes several models of solar panels, which vary in size and PV cells per panel. Lightway offers panels in standard sizes of 265W, 60-cell panels (typical of residential installations) and 315W, 72-cell panels (typical of commercial installations). Lightway also offers smaller 48- and 54-cell modules for special applications where a small PV panel may be needed. All Lightway panels come with a 10-year warranty on materials and workmanship and a 25-year warranty on power output.

What are the newest types of solar panels?

2017 is an exciting year for solar panels as the technology continues to make leaps and bounds toward a cleaner and more energy efficient future. Big companies like Tesla, powered by Elon Musk, are pushing the technology toward even greater heights. Here are few exciting developments in 2017.

What’s the difference between solar roof tiles and solar panels?

The biggest difference between traditional solar panels and solar roof tiles is the concept. Solar roof tiles by Tesla look exactly like regular shingles but with a shiny gloss. These tiles are meant to replace your current roofing, not a solar panel that is placed on your roof. According to Musk, these tiles are three times as strong as traditional roof shingles and potentially cheaper. Elon Musk’s company begins installations of solar roof tiles this summer in California. For residential homes, it’s only a matter of time, but for now, traditional solar panels are more common.

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What are the different types of solar panels available?

There are some different solar panels. Here’s a brief breakdown of the most popular.

  • Silicon: Nearly 90% of solar panels come in some form of silicon, whether it is mono or poly. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll cover. The key to silicon is the purity. The more pure it is, the more electricity it will generate. While this sounds important, the cost-to-space efficiency should be the determining factor for homeowners.
  • Monocrystalline silicon panels are highly efficient, posting some of the best output numbers on record. Since they are so efficient, you don’t need as many, making them space-savers as well. Due to their durability, most manufacturers of mono provide a 25-year warranty because of their hardiness. Cost is one potential downside; polycrystalline and, in certain cases, thin-film sun panels could be more cost effective. If mono panels are partially covered by shade, snow, or dirt, it could short the whole circuit. However, there are potential ways of avoiding this with microinverters and other products.
  • Polycrystalline panels are less expensive, as the processes for poly sun panels are simpler and require less waste. Poly panels aren’t as efficient as monocrystalline; therefore, you’ll need more of them to produce the same amount of power. Also, they don’t perform as well in extreme heat, which could shorten their life. Visually, polycrystalline panels are considered the least attractive.
  • String ribbon solar cells: The advantage of string ribbon is its cost. However, these cells are the least efficient solar panels, requiring more space, which is an obvious disadvantage.
  • Thin-film solar cells: Thin-film solar cells are cheaper and easily mass produced. They are aesthetically pleasing and high-temperature resistant. For companies where space isn’t a concern, thin-film is a viable option. Unfortunately, they are not realistic for most homeowners because of space concerns. There is also a high installation cost because of how many panels are necessary. Lastly, there are durability issues equating to shorter warranties.

What are the different types of batteries?

Solar panel batteries are required to store large amounts of solar energy and handle irregular charging and discharging. Here’s a breakdown of the different types.

  • Lead acid: A benefit is the price. These are usually half the cost of lithium-ion and don’t require much maintenance. Installation is relatively simple.
  • Lithium-ion: While these are more costly, lithium batteries have longer life cycles than their lead-acid counterparts, and installation is easier still. Recycling lithium batteries can be complicated on a large scale.
  • Flow batteries: These are a relatively new entry into the battery arena; the infrastructure around them is still under development. Currently, the cost for the equipment to work them is high, but costs are dropping and thus raising the potential for flow batteries. Projections for their market share range from $150 million to $350 million by 2020.

Are there solar panels that look like roof tiles?

Yes! Thanks to Elon Musk’s Tesla, there are now solar tiles that look exactly like shingles. They come in five designs: textured, smooth, Tuscan, and slate. Not only do they look exactly like shingles, but also they are three times stronger. These rooftop solar panels come with a 30-year warranty and are designed for the residential market. In California, installations will begin in June; see if you can tell the difference!

Are there solar panel Christmas lights?

Amazingly, yes! They are also easy to install. Wal-Mart and other big-box carriers have do-it-yourself solar-powered Christmas light kits for sale. Use renewable energy to keep your house festive year-round. Depending on the type of lights and how many you want to string together will determine the size of the sun panel necessary. For LED lights, a 12-volt panel should power your DIY Christmas lights.

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Are solar panels used with Xbox controllers?

With the right ingenuity and some internet instructions, they absolutely can be! You’ll need a 5W solar panel, some wiring, solder, a soldering iron, a screwdriver, and an Xbox controller. Through the beauty of science and human creativity, you can now have an Xbox controller that will run through the zombie apocalypse.

Are there floating solar panels?

Incredibly, yes. It began with a French solar company in 2006. Today, the Hydrelio floating PV system has gained traction as a viable option. First, it should be explained these panels are floating on water, typically in reservoirs, and use previously unused “real estate” to create green energy. By using bodies of water, renewable energy is created while still allowing the surrounding population to draw from the local water supply. Here are a few advantages of the floating solar panels:

  • Low lease and installations costs
  • All materials are recyclable
  • Extremely eco-friendly
  • Adaptable to a variety of electrical configurations
  • Capable of high volume output

What are graphene solar panels?

Graphene is a new and exciting material; many times it’s referred to as a “wonder material.” This material has scientists and solar panel developers downright giddy because of its potential applications for solar panels and power output. Its two most vital characteristics are transparency and conductivity. By implementing graphene into solar technology, researchers believe they may be able to double solar panel efficiency, while simultaneously making them cheaper. This is because graphene would likely replace indium tin oxide, which is brittle and expensive. Graphene is still in the developmental stages, but solar panels will be taking another giant leap forward in creating sustainable off-grid living.

What are monocrystalline solar panels?

Monocrystalline solar panels are a type of silicon panel, which utilize ingots in cylinder form. These silicon ingots are what give monocrystalline solar panels their futuristic look. This type is the most efficient but also the most expensive panel available on the market. However, it’s very durable and requires fewer panels to produce clean power.

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Are solar panels considered green energy?

Green energy is power produced from a renewable energy source, like waves or wind. As far as we know, sources like these, as well as the sun, won’t be leaving us anytime soon. Sun panels that create cheap, clean, renewable energy are unquestionably green energy. The most exciting aspect of solar power is the more we use it, the more environmentally friendly it becomes. For example, as more people use solar power, the easier it will be to recycle old solar panels in mass. Also, the efficiency of solar panels is improving every day. For many, the future of power is solar.

Are there organic solar panels?

Yes, there are organic, cost-effective, flexible solar panels, which have many energy insiders intrigued. These organic sun panels have the potential to create clean power, while also pushing the price of solar panels down. Companies utilizing building-integrated solar panels are especially interested in organic sun panels. Other potential benefits include low manufacturing costs, the flexibility of application, and a greener world. The technology is very much in the developmental stage; however, the potential application will undoubtedly change how the world receives its clean energy.

What are EON solar panels?

EON is a solar panel company in the U.K. For years, they have been one of the European leaders in the energy market. EON has been aggressively promoting the value of solar energy to residential homes on a budget. They believe in the potential environmental impact solar energy will have on our future. Today, they offer qualified customers a big discount on home installations priced at only 99£. Their research shows homes with EON panels installed save, on average, between 100£ and 180£ annually.

What are ET solar panels?

ET is a global solar company that has been making solar panels for residential, commercial, and utility sites since 2005. They provide a wide range of solar technology products. They also reinvest more than 8% of the company’s annual revenue into new technology. ET boasts their entire line of solar system products are the best and most reliable on the market, sure to live out their expected life cycles. While they are the leaders in many areas, they believe solar power still has more potential to help power the world with renewable energy.

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What is an Evergreen solar panel?

Evergreen Solar is a nonprofit group with a goal to provide informational solar power advice and products to residences and businesses alike. Their hope is to help everyone find the best and most reliable solar manufacturers from which to buy their solar panel systems. They have created their own scoring system using the BBB, customer surveys, and city inspectors to provide the public with the best information possible. Their website and sites like Quote.com provide quality answers to many common questions people have when it comes to solar energy.

Are all solar panels considered eco-friendly?

Yes, solar panels use the power of the sun to create renewable energy for years to come. However, there are still some aspects of solar power that could become even greener as the technology improves. For instance, the manufacturing of sun panels requires silicon and other minerals. However, researchers are working to replace some of these materials, which can be hard to procure and must be mined. Graphene is one of those potential replacement materials. Ultimately, solar panels are the answer to our energy woes in the future.

What type of panels are Grape solar panels?

Grape Solar is a company from Oregon that focuses on residential, personal, and portable solar needs. Many larger solar companies won’t accept orders under a certain size which, many times, can be massive. Grape Solar will help with all your solar residential needs from home to handheld. Perhaps you’re an adventurer who enjoys extended trips into the great wilderness but requires a way to check in with loved ones. Grape Solar has you covered with a number of portable small solar panels which will keep you powered as long as the sun shines. They have a wide range of products, including mono, poly, and thin-film panels. For solar power made in America, check out Grape Solar.

What kinds of domestic solar panels are available?

Traditionally, domestic solar panels are manufactured as flat black panels filled with photovoltaic cells of different materials, such as crystalline silicon (about 95 percent of all U.S. manufactured panels), in monocrystalline, or polycrystalline forms. Elon Musk of Tesla and now, SolarCity, recently introduced a solar roof made of solar glass tiles. This system integrates solar cells into roofing tiles, creating the appearance of a panel-less roof at a similar cost to traditional panels. These may become more common in the future. Other systems are available for specific functions, such as for heating a pool or providing hot water to a home.

What type of panels are Daqo solar panels?

Daqo is a Chinese solar panel company founded in 2008 which produces sun panels using exceptionally pure 9N polysilicon. The company utilizes a closed-loop Siemens process to create their silicon. Daqo boasts their technology produces the best silicon and meets many international requirements. Their products come with a 10-year limited product warranty and a 25-year limited power warranty. They have an experienced engineering team, amassing intellectual properties and patents. They produce their solar panels for everyone from residences to schools or businesses and even agricultural applications.

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What type of panels are QXPV solar panels?

QXPV is a solar company located in China, which specializes in the manufacturing, development, and research of photovoltaic products. The company was founded in 2005 and wholesales its wide range of products all over the world. QXPV makes everything from mono and poly solar panels to batteries. They provide a variety of products of all specifications and types for your renewable energy needs. Whether it is residential, commercial, or other, QXPV has teamed with universities and solar professionals from other countries and they are also a member of PV Cycle – a voluntary recycling program of PV products.

What is an Opal solar panels for?

Opal Solar is an Australian solar panel company and a wholesale distributor of a wide variety of solar products. From panels to components, batteries, and full solar panel systems, Opal Solar is one of Australia’s leading solar companies, delivering a range of products to every state and territory in Australia. Their goal is to not only provide wholesale products for all of Australia but also to help scale utility and residential solar projects around the globe with their parent company, Solar Juice. Their products can be found online or in a number of solar retailers around Australia.

What is a Panasonic solar panel?

Panasonic has been a leader in electronics and technology industry for 40 years. In 2000, they joined the solar power revolution and have provided the world with sustainable and renewable energy through their high-efficiency solar panel systems. For a company of Panasonic’s size, it’s no surprise they provide a wide array of solar products. Panasonic brings the same reliability, durability, and efficiency to their solar panels that one has come to expect from their diverse product catalog.

How do microinverters work with solar panels?

Microinverters are devices that take the energy solar panels soak up from the sun and convert it from a direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). The alternating current is then fed through the microinverter, sometimes more than one, which is then passed to the electrical grid. Microinverters help solar panels maintain efficiency when a part of the solar panel is shaded or covered by debris. Some solar panels have microinverters built in for optimization.

What is a PV solar panel?

Solar cells, also known as photovoltaics, take in the sun’s powerful rays and convert renewable energy into electricity. Photovoltaic comes from the process of converting photons into the electricity that powers our homes, or voltage, hence PV. Therefore, the solar panels you see everywhere are photovoltaic panels, taking the life-giving power of light and converting it into electricity since the ’60s.

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What are polycrystalline solar panels?

The first type of polycrystalline panel was introduced to the market in 1981. Made out of polycrystalline silicon, it’s heated until liquefied before being poured onto the square panels to which we are accustomed. Once cooled, they are cut into still smaller squares before being fit together to create the big solar panels we have today. Poly panels are easier and cheaper to make than monocrystalline panels, but aren’t as efficient and tend to struggle in high heat. Since they are less efficient, they require more space; this creates a potential issue for homeowners.

What is solar power film?

Solar panel film is a lightweight, portable solar panel which can be rolled up and transported with ease. These rollable solar panels work well in adverse, even low light conditions. They are easily configured to a variety of electrical products and produce electricity efficiently. They are incredibly durable and perfect for an outdoor excursion, providing power miles away from civilization.

How much does it cost to install residential solar panels?

The average installation cost of a solar panel system is $2.87 to $3.85 per watt. The price you end up paying for your solar panels, however, all depends on your home’s power needs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, systems that have an output between 1 and 5 kw will most likely be enough to power your home. If you consider that 1 kilowatt equals 1000 watts, and the average installation cost per watt is $3.36, residential solar panels may cost you anywhere from $3,360 to $16,800. It’s important to note that home power needs across the United States vary a lot, as well as tax credits and exemptions offered at a state level, which will factor into this cost.

What kinds of residential solar panels are popular?

Grid-tied residential solar panel systems are the most popular. With this system, you are not completely reliant on your solar panels to produce 100 percent of the energy needed to power your home, receiving some power from the traditional electrical grid. This can reduce the cost of a solar panel system by reducing its size. A modification of this calls for the inclusion of a battery, so surplus electricity generated by the sun can be used at night instead of 100 percent on-grid power. Completely off-grid solar panel systems are an attractive choice but require the most up-front investment.

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What are the most highly recommended solar panels?

This question will vary widely depending on whom you ask. Some installation experts and homeowners swear by certain manufacturers, while others are constantly changing their preferred brand. As the industry and technology move quickly, it’s always best to look for panels that suit your specific energy, aesthetic, and climate-related needs. Would you spend more money on a more efficient panel to free up roof real estate, or do you like the idea of full coverage that could keep your roof cool in the summer months? Personal preference and a healthy amount of due diligence are key. Start by contacting a quote service like Quote.com to seeing your savings and trusted installers in your area.

What are the most popular rooftop solar panels?

Grid-tied residential solar systems are the most popular. With this system, you are not completely reliant on your solar panels to produce 100 percent of the energy needed to power your home, receiving some power from the traditional electrical grid. This can reduce the cost of a solar panel system by reducing its size. A modification of this calls for the inclusion of a battery, so surplus electricity generated by the sun can be used at night instead of 100 percent on-grid power. Completely off-grid solar panel systems are an attractive choice but require the most up-front investment and integration with a powerful battery that will store your household power needs at night or during prolonged periods without a lot of direct sunlight. Quote.com can give you the scoop on popular panels in your area, as well as the right panel size!

How do I get off-grid solar panels?

The only difference between off-grid and on-grid solar panels is how much of your home’s energy needs you intend to produce with your solar panels. If you purchase a system with enough capacity to power your home 100 percent of the time when paired with a battery, your system is considered off-grid. Keep in mind certain states (such as Florida) do not allow residents to live completely off the grid, claiming it’s against property management code. Other states (such as Arizona) charge an annual tax to homeowners who decide to switch off of the traditional power grid altogether.

Do you provide solar panel installation in Canada?

Yes, we partner with solar installers in Canada to meet your solar power needs. Though hydroelectricity and wind power make up most of Canada's renewable energy, places like Ontario have been paving the way for solar, with the creation of solar farms with major megawattage. Your local installer will help you address your power needs and concerns, such as how your panels will fare snow storms during the winter.

Shapes and Sizes of Solar

Shapes and Sizes of Solar

What are the different shapes and types of solar panels?

Solar panels come in all shapes, sizes, and even efficiencies. The three main types of solar panels are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film, all made of silicon in different structures.

  • Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient and are made from single-crystal silicon, which means they look more solid in color. Because they are the most efficient, they can also be smaller than polycrystalline panels.
  • Polycrystalline panels are made from multiple silicon crystals and have a multifaceted look. They are less efficient than monocrystalline panels but more affordable. To produce the same wattage of power as a monocrystalline panel, polycrystalline panels would have to be larger.
  • Thin-film solar panels are the most flexible and cheap of the three types of solar panels. They aren’t comprised of crystals and instead consist of a layer of silicon, giving it a solid color. Thin-film panels can be applied to different types of surfaces, but are the least efficient of these kinds of panels.

What are mini solar panels used for?

Mini solar panels can be found on common items such as a calculator or phone charger. If you’re interested in green living, there is now a market of mini solar chargers for sale to help you charge on the go. Everything has been developed from garden lights that use the sun’s energy to solar charging kits, allowing us to charge devices while camping or traveling. A huge upside, too, is that new developments in solar charging technology are improving the weak reputation of smaller solar counterparts. In products such as the 5.5W Solartab, a mini solar panel accompanied by a battery stores energy for later when left unplugged.

Where can I find a solar panel size chart?

To find out what your ideal solar panel size is, you’ll also have to consider how much direct sunlight your home receives, as well as what you are willing to spend. Solar panels have been around 65 inches by 39 inches for decades, and some panels, such as monocrystalline panels, can actually run smaller than polycrystalline versions because of their higher efficiency. Another important factor is that some areas in the U.S. receive more direct sunlight than others, which will affect the output of your solar panels. It’s best to receive a quote from a trusted service such as Quote.com to determine the best size of your solar system.

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Where can I find a solar panel size calculator?

Calculating the ideal size of your solar panel is important, but you need to determine a few things before sizing your solar panels:

  • The hours of direct sunlight your location receives
  • Square footage of your roof
  • The energy needs of your home

Some calculators consider your location and roof size to help you determine how many solar panels you may need. However, sizing your solar panel system may also require you to consider a year’s worth of power bills to see exactly your needs. The easiest way to calculate the size of your solar panel is to request a quote from a service such as Quote.com.

How many watts do solar panels produce, by the size of the panel?

If you consider the average solar panel, which is around 17.6 square feet and produces roughly 265W of power, that would mean an average panel produces a little over 15W per square foot. Not all panels are made equal, however. The types of materials used in solar panels can either improve or weaken their energy efficiency, meaning some panels can convert more solar energy than others. Polycrystalline panels, for example, may produce the same wattage as a monocrystalline panel, but that monocrystalline panel will be much smaller, as its efficiency is the highest among the three main types of solar panels.

What solar panel dimensions do I need to get 300W?

Residential solar panels have been roughly the same size since the ’50s, though the efficiency of solar cells has dramatically improved. If you consider an average solar panel is around 17.6 square feet and produces around 265W of power, to reach 300W, you would either have to combine multiple solar panels, creating a photovoltaic array to meet your energy needs, or invest in a more efficient and more expensive solar panel.

What is the size of a residential solar panel?

Residential solar panels have been roughly the same size since the ’50s, though the efficiency of solar cells has dramatically improved. If you consider an average solar panel is around 17.6 square feet and produces around 265W of power, to reach 300W, you would either have to combine multiple solar panels, creating a photovoltaic array to meet your energy needs, or invest in a more efficient and more expensive solar panel.

What are the most lightweight solar panels?

Thin-film solar panels are much lighter than their monocrystalline or polycrystalline versions, which allow them to be applied to surfaces such as glass and used in items such as calculators. There are four types of thin-film solar panels:

  • Amorphous silicon
  • Copper, indium, gallium, selenide (CIGS)
  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • Organic photovoltaic cells (OPC)

Though thin-film solar panels are the most lightweight as well as the cheapest, they have the lowest efficiency of the three solar panels, so they may not be the best way to power your home.

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Are there portable solar panels available?

Portable solar panels are available for purchase, though it wasn’t until just recently that portable solar panel technology has become efficient enough to be convenient. Solartab has developed a folding solar charger that is essentially a portable solar panel with a battery, which soaks up the sun and stores the energy for later use. More powerful options like the Kodiak are also being explored, which can provide your home with emergency power using a portable off-grid solar panel and battery. If your home were to lose power, instead of a backup gas generator, you could use your solar-powered battery to charge your specific appliances, tools, or even medical devices in case of an emergency.

What are the most flexible solar panels?

The most flexible solar panels are thin-film panels, which are comprised of a layer of semiconductive material and lightweight enough to be used in your average calculator. Unlike the other two types, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, thin-film solar panels do not have a crystal silicon structure, so there are much more ways of applying thin-film solar panels to surfaces. Check out these sticky, flexible thin-film panels developed by the company Sunflare. Though flexible thin-film solar panels such as these aren’t as efficient as crystalline versions, they still offer a lot of ways to create solar energy in your home.

What are folding solar panels used for?

Folding solar panels are convenient options for charging your devices on the go. You’ll commonly find folding solar panels in portable versions, such as this solar charger developed by Solartab, to charge anything from phones to appliances in your home. You can fold open the charger to expose the device to direct sunlight, or you can fold it closed when not in use. Inergy Solar has developed a folding and portable solar panel called the Kodiak, which stores energy from the sun into a battery to help you charge your appliances during a power outage. Going on vacation or taking your RV out for a trip? Folding solar panels are a great way to increase your solar capacity and charge on the go.

How big is a solar panel?

Residential solar panel sizes haven’t changed much over the years, with a standard size of around 65 inches by 39 inches. Larger solar panels are most commonly used commercially, and they’re around 77 inches by 39 inches. Depending on the size of your roof and energy needs, you may need multiple panels to create a panel array that will convert enough electricity for your home. This means you may need to calculate the square footage of your roof and contact a service such as Quote.com to see what panel options are available, as well as your energy needs.

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What solar panel wattage do I need to charge a 12V battery?

They’re many solar chargers available for a 12V battery. In fact, most solar chargers are designed for this battery type, so it really depends on how much time you have to charge it completely. You can find solar panels chargers as low as 4W or below, or chargers up to 11W and above. Four-watt solar panels can be used for long-term battery maintenance of cars, and these smaller solar panels are actually recommended for large battery maintenance. It is recommended with any solar panels that are 5W or above that you use a solar battery controller. A controller will allow you to be efficient with your solar power usage, cutting off power when it is not needed.

What does kW mean?

kW refers to kilowatt, which is equal to 1,000W. You may have seen kilowatts referred to as kilowatt hours, or kWh, on your electricity bill. That’s because kWh is the standard term used by utility companies, and it measures your energy capacity over time. Your kilowatt-hour is the amount of energy used over one hour. You can relate kilowatt-hours to speed, which is a measurement of distance traveled over time. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average energy price of a U.S. residence is 12.9 cents per kWh. If you’re interested in calculating your solar energy costs per kWh, request a quote from a service such as Quote.com to see how much you could save by installing solar panels.

What is the solar panel power output per square meter?

The standard average size of solar panels is around 1.6 square meters. Regarding solar output, the average panel produces roughly 265W of power, with some capable of producing up to 310W of power. If you do the math, that would mean an average panel produces a little over 165W per square meter to 194W per square meter. An important detail to note, however, is solar panels vary in efficiency, which means the three main types of panels – monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film – will differ in their output per square meter. Monocrystalline panels, the most efficient of the three, will produce a higher output per square meter than polycrystalline panels. Thin-film solar panels will have the smallest output per square meter of the three.

Are there thin-film solar panels for sale?

Chances are you’ve probably already purchased thin-film solar technology if you’ve ever purchased a wristwatch, calculator, or even solar lights for your garden. Thin-film panels are widely available on sites like Amazon and other solar marketplaces for domestic solar use. However, it’s best to contact a service such as Quote.com to determine how thin-film solar panels can meet your energy needs. Thin-film solar panels are the cheapest, but they’re also the least efficient, so you should consider factors such as sun exposure, installation costs, and energy needs before purchase. In most cases, thin-film solar panels have been used commercially, as they are the most cost effective with larger installations. If you’re interested in beautiful aesthetics, a thin film for your home could be a great option.

General Solar Energy Questions

General Solar Energy Questions

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is a type of clean energy that comes from the sun. Light and heat from the sun can be harnessed and then used to power everyday electrical objects. Solar energy is particularly potent and powerful – “more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year,” according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The best way to harness that massive amount of energy is through solar panels. There are three main kinds: monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, and thin film (or amorphous) solar panels. All of them do the trick, and the difference is essentially in the materials. Monocrystalline panels are cut from a block of silicon grown from a single crystal, while polycrystalline solar panels are cut from multifaceted silicon crystals. Amorphous solar panels aren’t made up of crystals at all. These differences mostly affect efficiency and the size of the solar panels.

What are some solar energy myths?

Solar panels are often falsely branded as expensive and inefficient. According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, financing a solar energy system costs less than purchasing electricity in 42 of America’s 50 largest cities, and the overall price of solar panels has continuously dropped since 2009. Solar energy will not decrease the value of your home, either. Another myth is that solar panels don’t work for people who don’t live in hot, year-round sunshine. That is false. Even in the winter with just a few hours of daylight, small solar panels can produce substantial energy from the sun.

What are the benefits of solar energy for my home?

Solar energy has a number of benefits for your home, including the possibility of reducing energy costs and contributing to a greener, clean energy environment. Solar panels also come in a number of sizes, which makes them particularly flexible for the home. Solar panels also vary in power rating (how much wattage) they provide so it’s important to consider the power needs of your home as well as the size of your roof. See this solar panel size chart to learn more about and use a service like Quote.com to see how you can save on your monthly energy bill, and if there are installers near you.

What are the pros and cons of solar energy?

The pros of solar panels and solar energy are numerous. They benefit the environment and can save you money on your electricity costs in the long run. They’re also accessible – they come in various sizes, and there are plenty of services that will determine how they could structurally influence your home. However, one possible con is solar panels are certainly an investment. Though the rewards likely outweigh the costs, solar panels and their installation can cost thousands of dollars.

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How efficient is solar power?

Solar power technology is becoming more efficient as solar cell technology progresses. The difference between a highly efficient cell and a low efficiency cell is its ability to Solar energy converts up to 22 percent of available energy into electrical power, according to Northwestern University and The BBC. Some panels are more efficient than others – it depends on the size and watts per each solar panel.

Are solar panels hazardous waste?

If disposed of correctly, solar panels are not hazardous. However, they must be discarded with the same considerations in mind as most electronic waste. There are toxic materials used in some panels that even make them less desirous for use in residential applications. Because solar panels are relatively new, the world of solar panel recycling is still being addressed on an ongoing basis. The first manufactured solar panels from the 70’s are actually still in use today, so in the next five years we should see an uptick in recycling programs. A European company called PV Cycle is already collecting damaged and unwanted panels.

Why is solar power good for the environment?

Solar power is good for the environment because it’s a form of clean energy. It does not produce greenhouse gases that fossil fuels like oil or coal do, which lessen the amount of pollution in the air. Solar power is so good for the environment, in fact, that it’s a part of a movement to reduce damage to the planet due to concerns about climate change. If you like clean air and you also like the thought of supplying your home’s energy needs and the cost savings involved, solar power is for you.

Is solar energy reusable?

Solar energy is reusable in the sense that a solar panel will be collecting and converting energy to electricity whenever there is available sun. Reusing solar energy also requires the ability to store it, which has not yet come to total fruition in the open consumer market, though Tesla’s Elon Musk is working on it. Researchers are currently looking for ways to efficiently and effectively store energy collected from solar panels of all sizes, but these questions are still being answered.

What is a solar module?

Solar modules are essentially mini solar panels, a collection of photovoltaic cells which are circuited and sealed. Solar modules are commercially available in different sizes, wattages, and weights. Solar panels these days can even be flexible, portable, or folding, depending on the design.

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How does a solar-powered battery work?

Solar batteries work by transforming AC energy from the sun and storing it into DC power to use later. Some solar batteries are equipped with their own inverter and have integrated energy conversion, but others do not. The higher the capacity of your solar battery, the more energy it can supply. Elon Musk and Tesla are currently working on developing efficient solar-powered batteries.

Can you store energy from solar panels?

Yes, energy from solar panels can be stored in the form of batteries, though it’s an emerging technology not commercially available on a widespread scale. One significant advantage to solar panels is they technically can produce energy anytime the sun is shining, and even a few hours of sunlight a day could produce a significant amount. This means during the winter, you’re not necessarily short on kWhs of solar energy. No matter the solar panel size, weight, or wattage, energy can still be produced.

How does solar energy benefit the environment?

Solar power is good for the environment because it is a form of clean and renewable energy that is readily available, and does not produce harmful byproducts like greenhouse gases. Using electricity provided by the sun doesn’t pose as much of a risk to our natural resources, like fracking or mining does. With the current global energy demand, and the reality of climate change, adopting renewable energy lessens the amount of pollution in the air, in our water, and could potentially help us curb the harmful effects resulting from our other energy sources.

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What is the future of solar panels?

Solar panels have a bright future (no pun intended). Currently, Tesla’s Elon Musk and several others are working on better storage technologies, that make it possible for you to have a powerful, solar vehicle, as well as an off-grid, solar powered home. Since they first hit the market, solar panels have also gotten consistently less expensive, which means they may become even more appealing to buyers as time goes on. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is much less harmful to the environment and does not produce harmful greenhouse gases. Also, solar energy readily available, and is particularly potent and powerful – “more energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year,” according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. As the technology behind solar becomes better, and solar energy becomes more popular for residential and general consumer use, you may be seeing a lot more solar technology used in your everyday life.

What are the pros and cons and advantages and disadvantages of solar panels?

The pros of solar panels are numerous. They benefit the environment and can save you money on your electricity costs in the long run. They’re also accessible – they come in various sizes, and there are plenty of calculator services that will determine how they could structurally influence your home. However, one possible con is that solar panels are certainly an investment. Though the rewards likely outweigh these costs, solar panels and their installation can cost thousands of dollars.

How much power can you get from solar panels?

Solar panel output largely depends on your panel’s efficiency rating, size, and how much direct sunlight and heat it is exposed to. Solar panels can convert up to 22 percent of sunlight into electrical power for your home, according to Northwestern University and The BBC. If you have a monocrystalline panel, which is on the higher end of products, you will experience more efficiency and output versus its more economic versions, such as polycrystalline and thin-film. A 250W-rated panel could produce about 30kWh in a given month. In short, this means solar panels have enough output to fuel your home, and if you have an integrated battery system, you can even store energy up for later use.

How much energy is produced by a solar panel?

Solar panels can convert up to 22 percent of available energy into electrical power, according to Northwestern University and The BBC, though the average efficiencies may be lower. A 250W-rated panel could produce about 30kWh in a given month. The race for the most efficient solar panels has produced some very exciting results, which means we could see much more powerful panels for your buck in the near future. Last year, SunPower broke the record for most efficient panel in the world at 22.8%, stirring competition with Elon Musk’s newly acquired solar company, SolarCity.

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Is solar power being used today?

Yes, solar panels are being used both commercially and residentially today. They are commercially available to the average shopper on spaces like Amazon, or recommended by installers and services like Quote.com. Solar panels come in all shapes and sizes, efficiencies and prices, and their technology is only improving with time, so the market has tons of options available, from rooftop solar panels to traveling ipad solar chargers, to folding solar panel battery chargers, to help charge appliances when the generator goes out. If you drive around your neighborhood, you may be able to see solar panels on the roof. If you have a wrist watch or calculator, chances are you’ve already benefited from solar. Most impressively, there are famous homes and office buildings around the world which are already energy positive and produce more solar energy than they use!

How can solar energy be used?

Solar energy can be used to power something as small as a calculator to a building as large as an office building. Though large-scale solar panels used on commercial buildings is more common, residential uses are gaining in popularity. Between roof-mounted, ground-mounted and integrated options, homeowners are warming to the idea of investing in solar, in order to save money on their utility bills, support renewable energy and make a difference in the environment. Solar companies are getting very innovative these days, between the aesthetically beautiful solar glass tiles of Elon musk, to new thin-film, rollout solar panels that could potentially be used in wallpaper, we are constantly innovating new ways for solar energy to be used.

How is solar energy stored and gathered?

Solar energy is most commonly stored and gathered using a solar panel circuited to a battery, which is typically a lead-acid or lithium ion battery. Storing solar energy and panel efficiency have always been some of the biggest issues in the industry, but the technology continues to innovate and improve, with companies such as Tesla leading the way. The gathering of solar energy is done by a panel of photovoltaic cells, which captures light and houses a reaction between the sun’s photons and electrons within silicon, the most common material in solar panels.

How is solar energy stored in plants?

Plants create and store energy through a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis means converting light energy to chemical energy, typically stored as sugar. It’s basically how plants eat, and they only need carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) for it to work.

How is solar energy used today?

Though large-scale solar panels used on commercial buildings is more common, residential uses are gaining in popularity. There are now many options for the average consumer to use solar energy: roof-mounted, ground-mounted and integrated home solar panels, solar panel chargers for your phone, solar garden lights for your yard, and many more solar-powered gadgets for entertainment and on-the-go usage are available for purchase. Exciting inventions such as solar roadways and zero or positive energy buildings also serve as famous examples of how solar technology is being applied.

Can solar energy be stored and used at night?

Energy from solar panels can be stored in the form of batteries, though it’s an emerging technology that is not commercially available on a widespread scale. One significant advantage to solar panels is that they technically can produce energy anytime the sun is shining, and even a few hours of sunlight a day could produce a significant amount. They can even produce energy when it’s cold out, rainy, or cloudy! In fact, solar panels are most efficient with full sun and cool temperatures, as overheated panels often lose efficiency. This means during the night or even during the winter, you’re not necessarily short on kWhs of solar energy.

General: How Solar Panels Work

General: How Solar Panels Work

What are solar panels?

Here are the solar energy basics: Solar panels receive sunlight and convert it into usable energy. The panels consist of photovoltaic cells, typically made of monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, or thin film, which facilitate a reaction between the silicon. Electrons are released during this reaction and turned into electrical energy. Photovoltaic energy can be used to power small items like wristwatches and larger items such as homes.

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Is it true the next generation of solar panels will produce double the energy?

Regarding generating solar power, it’s all about solar power efficiency – how much of the sun’s power can a solar panel convert? On average, traditional solar panels today convert 15 to 20 percent of the sun’s energy. Scientists are currently exploring a layered solar cell structure, however, which may be able to convert up to 50 percent of the sun’s energy to power.

How does a solar panel charging circuit work?

Solar panel chargers, similar to the panels used on homes, consist of photovoltaic cells, which generate electricity from sunlight using semiconductors, commonly known as silicon. Solar energy is converted into an electrical current that travels to a battery, which will store the energy used to charge compatible devices. Solar chargers are now available in products from phone cases to small, portable folding panels to charge electronic devices on the go.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels receive sunlight and convert it to energy for use. These photovoltaic panels are made of silicon, semiconductive material that reacts when photons from the sun hit it. This reaction causes electrons to be freed from their bonds, and solar energy is then converted to DC (direct current). An inverter then converts that DC into AC (alternating current), which can then be used to power your home.

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How does a photovoltaic cell work?

A photovoltaic cell receives sunlight and houses a reaction between photons from the sun and electrons within its cellular structure, which, in turn, produces energy. A photovoltaic cell is comprised of silicon, a semiconductive material, which is “doped,” typically with boron and phosphorus. These dopants create electrons with a positive and negative charge within the silicon cell. When a photon strikes the cell, an electron is loosed and collected via conductive plates, which helps electrons flow.

Can I store the excess energy I generate into batteries?

If your home solar system is tied to the grid, your excess energy is typically sent back to the utility grid at the price in which you pay for electricity. However, new battery technologies such as Elon Musk’s Powerwall make it possible for home solar systems to be off-grid and store excess energy in-house for later use. There are many types of batteries that store solar energy for off-grid systems, but lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries are the most common, with lithium-ion batteries emerging on the market as a more resilient and energy-dense option than the common lead-acid battery.

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels are very durable and usually last between 20 and 30 years. Because solar panels do not have any moving parts, with proper maintenance, solar panels are very resilient. They will, however, decrease in efficiency, dropping to about 80 percent in output after 20 years.

How are solar panels rated watts per hour?

A solar panel is rated for its power output in ideal conditions. A typical solar panel produces around 265W of power, but efficiencies can be as high as 320W. On the back of a panel, you can find the Standard Test Condition rating, or STC, which shows the electrical output of your panel in one hour. Solar panels also vary in efficiencies based on the type of solar panel you buy. Between monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film solar panels, there are a variety of materials, dimensions, and efficiencies to choose.

Can I see a solar panel diagram?

Below is a drawing of a solar panel, which illustrates how a panel is designed to receive sunlight and convert that energy into usable electricity. This is a typical dimension of a solar panel for your roof, which will usually produce 265W of power. In the diagram, you can see sunlight is converted into energy and forced into a direct current (DC). This current is then converted into an alternating current (AC) to be used to power your home.

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Do solar panels work?

Yes, solar panels work. Producing power from home solar panels can save you money on utilities and help the environment, as solar power, like most renewables, does not have the global warming emissions of sources such as coal. Solar panels and the technology behind them continue to improve in efficiency every year, and prices continue to fall due to increases in production quantity, so you can expect solar panels to be even more effective for your energy needs in the future.

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels need sunlight to produce usable energy, so your panels cannot produce energy at night. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use your solar energy at night. A rechargeable battery can store electricity that is produced by your panels during the day. You need to make sure your batteries are sized properly if you power your home with an off-grid system to meet the power needs of your home.

Will solar panels work on a cloudy day?

Solar panels work on cloudy days, even though a full sun is an optimal environment. As long as there is ambient light, solar panels can produce energy, so states and even countries without sunny climates can still take advantage of solar energy. Monocrystalline panels are the best type of panel for less-than-ideal conditions. Their single-crystal structure makes them the most efficient type of solar cell, and while also being the most expensive, their efficiency makes them an ideal choice for cloudy locations.

Will solar panels work inside?

If you want to power your home with solar, panels should be mounted wherever there is sufficient sunlight, avoiding shade for best results. Some solar cells can, however, harness energy from LED, fluorescent, and incandescent light. Currently, researchers at Virginia Tech are exploring flexible solar panel types that can be rolled into sheets and used as wallpaper or bathroom tiles, increasing solar capabilities both outdoors and indoors.

When do solar panels work?

Your solar panel’s kWh output depends on three things:

  • Efficiency of panel
  • Size of panel
  • Amount of direct sunlight your panel receives

A typical solar panel produces around 265W of power in one hour of peak conditions, and some panels can produce as much as 320W. If you’re operating a typical solar panel, and it gets 5 hours of sunlight (the average in the U.S. is between four and six hours), then your kWh is 1.3.

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Where can I find a solar panel output calculator?

Your solar panel output depends on the efficiency of your panels, the size of your panels, and the amount of sunlight your panels receive throughout the day. Therefore, the output of your solar panels will be very specific to your geography and the type of panel you buy. There are also other ways to calculate your output. Using a PV Solar Radiation map, which can help you determine how much direct sunlight you receive, and with the wattage of your solar panel, you can determine how many kWh (1,000W/hour = kWh) your panels can output.

How can I find solar panel output per square foot?

A typical solar panel produces around 265W of power, with dimensions around 5.5 feet tall and 3 feet wide, so your output per square foot really depends on the efficiency and size of your panel, as well as how many hours of sunlight that panel receives. Weather Underground has a calculator that will accept models of solar panels and square footage of your panel’s roof coverage.

What is a typical solar panel output voltage?

To calculate the voltage output of your solar panel, you need to know the watts produced by your panel and the current produced in amps. Voltage equals the power in watts divided by the current in amps, but you can also use a calculator to find the resulting voltage produced by your solar panel.

How many solar panels do I need for a 2,000-square-foot home?

The variables that will determine how many solar panels you will need per square footage of your home include the following:

  • Your state
  • Electricity consumption
  • Square footage of your roof

According to the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. residential customers consume an average of 901kWh per month, but depending on which state you live in, that number could be smaller or larger than your needs. You can also request a quote from a trusted service like Quote.com to see what you’ll save in energy on your 2,000-square-foot home, as well as how many panels you’ll need.

What is a photovoltaic array?

A photovoltaic array consists of a composition of solar modules and panels to form a power-generating unit that meets the power needs of the system to which it’s connected. While panels have specific wattages based on their size and efficiency, panels may be combined into an array, depending on your roof size, to provide you with more customized coverage for your roof.

Home Benefits of Solar Panels

Home Benefits of Solar Panels

Is there solar panel cooling systems?

Decreased efficiency due to overheating is a common problem with solar panels. An overheated panel will drop in its output 0.5 percent with each degree (celsius) of heat, according to a Stanford University electrical engineering team studying solar cooling. Though active cooling using pumps or power systems may take up more energy, this Stanford team of engineers have developed a transparent overlay of patterned silica that radiates heat away from solar cells, helping them receive sunlight by improving their efficiency. Innovations like this will allow solar panels to passively cool themselves down and even radiate heat away from your home.

Do solar panels shade your roof?

Yes, solar panels shade your roof, but there are ways to install rooftop panels to optimize this. A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego used thermal imaging technology to determine solar panels shade your roof to the point of reducing the heat by 38 percent. Roofs without solar panels will absorb heat into the ceiling, but panels – especially panels that are tilted and even with the roof – can absorb the heat and provide circulation across the roof, helping to cool it. Studies conducted by the UCSD researchers have also shown solar panels on your roof can even reduce the cost of cooling your home.

Do solar panels have a cooling effect?

Solar panels can indeed keep your roof and home cooler. A NASA-funded research project at the University of California, San Diego used thermal imaging to determine solar panel–shaded roofs can be up to 38 percent less hot than fully exposed roofs, depending on the efficiency of the solar panels. An electrical engineering team is developing more reflective solar panel types at Stanford University, and these panels may be more effective in cooling buildings in direct sunlight.

Do solar panels cool your roof?

Solar panels that are installed at a tilt on your roof will keep your roof cooler, according to a NASA-funded study at the University of California in San Diego. If you install your panels on a tilt, it will not only help these panels collect more sunlight, but the space between your panels and roof will allow the wind to circulate air across the surface. If you tilt your panels and install panels made of the most efficient materials, such as those made of monocrystalline silicon, your roof may be up to 38 percent cooler than a fully exposed one.

Do solar panels work in cooler climates?

Solar panels can work even more efficiently in cooler climates, as long as there is plenty of direct sunlight. Though these photovoltaic panels need photons from the sun to produce electricity, overheating is a common problem that affects solar panel efficiency. When a solar panel becomes overheated, it actually decreases in output. So as long as your panel is in a location with optimal sunlight, your panel may work better than those installed in hotter climates. Just make sure your panel is angled towards the sun and far enough from the shade of surrounding trees for the best performance.

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Do solar panels work in shady areas?

It is not ideal to install your solar panels in the shade, as solar panels need to collect sunlight to produce energy. Photons from the sun react with the silicon inside the solar panels to create the electricity needed to power your home. According to researchers at MIT, even a small portion of shading can mean significant losses in output for your panel and can lead to up to 30 percent of lost energy over a year. Though there are innovations underway to increase the efficiency of panels in partial shade, we recommend you install your panel where it will get the most sunlight.

Does solar work during the winter?

Solar panels can work in the winter and, in fact, cooler temperatures can mean more efficient solar panels than those that overheat due to hotter climates. Rooftop installations in cooler climates mean the panels will receive direct sunlight but will not lose conversion efficiency due to higher temperatures. One obstacle that may affect a solar panel’s output, however, is heavy snow accumulation, which could block sunlight from reaching panels.

Does solar work when it’s snowing?

As long as there is ambient light, solar panels can still work; however, heavy snow accumulation may mean energy loss, as panel efficiency is greatly reduced when shaded from the sun. If your panels are at an angle, they are less likely to be affected by heavy snow accumulation. If that’s not the case, you should not try to clean off your panels, as you could damage them. The upside to snow is it can clean your panels for you, which leads to higher efficiency.

What are the best solar panels for cloudy days?

Even though solar panels need sunlight to produce electricity, as long as there is ambient light, they can still work, even on cloudy days. Monocrystalline panels are the best type of panel for less-than-ideal conditions. Their single-crystal structure makes them the most efficient type of solar cell, with higher outputs than polycrystalline or thin-film solar panels. While monocrystalline panels are the most expensive, their efficiency makes them an ideal choice for cloudy locations.

How do solar panels perform in the rainy season?

Though solar panels work best in direct sunlight, as long as there is ambient light, they can still produce electricity, though they will be less efficient than panels with full sun. An upside to the rain is it will keep your panels clean of dust and dirt, which is the preferred way of cleaning, according to owners. Having an integrated home battery helps if you live in a rainy climate. Your panels could produce electricity during the day in peak sun, and store excess energy for rainy days. If you live in an area with a net-metering policy, you may be able to offset the cost of using electricity from the grid during those rainy days by selling any excess energy back to the utility company.

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How do you use solar panels for your home?

Solar panels are becoming more popular than ever, thanks to falling prices and innovations such as Tesla’s Powerwall and solar roof shingles. Rooftop solar panels receive sunlight and convert it to electricity for your home, while also providing benefits such as shading your roof. Panels are made of silicon, a semiconductive material that reacts when photons from the sun hit it. This reaction causes electrons to be freed from their bonds, and solar energy is then converted to DC (direct current). An inverter then converts that DC into AC (alternating current), which can be used to power your home.

How will the solar panels look on my home?

Solar panels look great on your roof, beyond their cost-saving and cooling benefits. Because of the growing popularity of solar, there are even solar panel shingles available on the market. Elon Musk is a known innovator in the solar home space and claims his shingles will be more inexpensive than traditional roofing material. A bonus is panels and shingles can add an extra layer of protection against the elements, helping to maintain the look of your roof.

Do solar panels make your house hotter?

Solar panels do not make your house hotter than it naturally is. In fact, having solar panels on your roof can make your ceiling 5 degrees cooler. According to a study by researchers at the University of California in San Diego, solar panels installed at a tilt on your roof can shade it and allow air to circulate and cool your roof. This can help you save on cooling costs.

Do solar panels insulate your roof?

An added benefit to having solar panels on your roof is the panels will shade your roof, cooling your ceiling as much as 5 degrees, and insulate your roof in the winter, according to a thermal imaging project by researchers at the University of California in San Diego. These benefits can help you save on cooling and heating costs. Solar panels not only help to cool and insulate your roof but also products such as solar shingles can add a protective layer against the elements.

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What are integrated roof solar panels?

Integrated roof solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic roof tiles, essentially small solar panels made of glass in the shape of shingles. Instead of the traditional bolt-on solar panels, you can now purchase an integrated solar roof with panels you can’t see. Elon Musk is a key innovator in this space and his solar, he claims, will be cheaper than traditional roofing materials. Currently, Musk’s integrated roof solar panels are available in different textures and colors of tile and can be fully integrated with Powerwall, a home battery that stores excess energy.

What are SunPower panels?

SunPower, a solar panel company, announced last year its panels reached a breakthrough efficiency of 22.8 percent, a leap from the traditional efficiency, between 15 and 18 percent. Solar panel efficiency is key in reaping the cost-savings benefits of home solar power. When solar panels receive light from the sun, the higher the power output, the more efficient your panels. SunPower panels are now a major competitor in the race for the most efficient solar panels, next to SolarCity.

Should I get solar panels for my house?

Solar panels are a great way for you to save money on your monthly utility bill and produce clean, renewable energy for your home. It’s not only for those who are wealthy. Solar incentives by state, as well as tax credits, can help homeowners with the cost of buying solar panels, with options such as no money down. Your panels, depending on your state’s incentives and utility costs, even have the potential to pay for themselves in as little as two to four years.

What thin-film solar panels can be used in residential installations?

Thin-film solar panels, more flexible and simple to produce than crystal silicon panels such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline, have also been known as the least efficient of the three types. Typically, thin-film solar cells such as CdTe are not commonly used residentially due to the toxicity and scarcity of its ingredients. However, CZTS, made from readily available and non-toxic materials, were declared as the most thin-film solar cell yet by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Thin-film solar cells have a lot of potential on the market, as they have the lowest manufacturing costs. Also, their flexibility means they can be applied to various surfaces, increasing solar capabilities of building walls, roofs, and even curved surfaces.

Cost Benefits of Solar

Cost Benefits of Solar

Are solar panels cost effective?

Using solar panels today is cost effective. While the upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar panels is relatively expensive, solar panels are incredibly cost effective when treated as a long-term investment. Solar panels pay for themselves over time – as you save, you save a sizeable chunk of cash on your monthly power bills, not to mention the financial value they add to a home or building. If properly maintained, solar panels become increasingly cost effective the longer they can efficiently generate power for your home. For some people, it could be as quick as a 2 year payoff window, or as long as 15.

How long before solar will pay for itself?

Solar will pay for itself over time as the money you save on electricity and selling power back to the grid adds up each month, so it’s important to think of going solar as an investment. For this reason, the amount of time before solar will pay for itself depends on the upfront cost of the system, the cost of electricity, and the availability of tax rebates or other government incentives. In the U.S., the amount of time it takes to break even on the investment in solar for a 5kW solar system typically ranges from four to 20 years based on these different factors.

Is it worth getting solar panels?

Yes, it is worth getting solar panels. For both the cost benefits and the environmental benefits, going solar is more than worth it. While some worry about the upfront expense and the cost of upkeep, solar panels are actually very low maintenance and can save you a ton of money on your monthly power bills. This adds up over time to a point where solar owners can actually make money each month by selling their excess power back to the municipal power grid. On top of that, solar panels have never been cheaper, so the investment right now is totally worth it.

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Are solar panels worth it in California?

Yes, solar panels are definitely worth it in California. Thanks to the federal investment tax credit and state-level incentives under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, going solar in the Golden State has never been more affordable as there are a plethora of rebates and incentives that cut down the upfront cost considerably. In fact, Project Sunroof projects the estimated savings for the average home in California over a 20-year solar lease is around $10,000. For this reason, the solar industry has seen tremendous growth in California in recent years, which only pushes the cost of solar panels down to make them more and more worth it and affordable.

Will solar increase my property taxes?

Solar may increase your property taxes depending on where you live. Solar panels add tremendous value to your home, which allows solar owners to sell their property for a lot more than they could without solar panels. For the same reason, solar owners may have to pay more in property taxes, as their property is more valuable with installed solar. Some states, however, have state- and municipal-level solar incentives that take the form of a property tax incentive where solar owners don’t pay additional property taxes for the value added to their home or business by installing solar panels. California and Hawaii are examples of states where solar does not increase property taxes, and in other states, it varies by city.

How much can I realistically save?

Realistically, solar panels can save you a lot, but the exact amount of savings depends on factors such as your energy needs and where you live. The average American family spends more than $1,400 every year on electricity, and based on the location, 20-year electricity savings from solar can range from $7,000 to $30,000. For a state-by-state estimate, you can check out this data table put together by EnergySage. Plus, the cost of traditional electricity has slowly increased every year, so it’s realistic to expect solar panels to continue saving solar owners more and more each year.

What government grants or tax credits are available for home solar?

There are several government grants and tax credits that are available for home solar. At the federal level right now, there is a blanket tax credit known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that is available to homes and businesses going solar. The ITC allows solar owners to write off 30 percent of the price of a solar system on their income taxes. At the state level, solar incentives look different across the country. Some states have additional tax credits, while other have cash rebates, interest-free loans, or a combination of all three. Municipal-level incentives vary just as much, with some offering free permits and more.

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What do solar panels do for your home?

Solar panels do a lot for your home, including saving you money on electricity bills each month and adding overall value to the residential property. Many solar systems, especially well-maintained or newer ones, actually increase the value of a home by an amount close to their original purchasing price, so owners who took advantage of the federal Investment Tax Credit can make money selling their home with solar panels.

What are the benefits of solar panels for your home?

There are several benefits of installing solar panels on your home, but here are the main things you need to know:

  • Solar panels save you money on energy bills by either reducing or eliminating the cost of powering your home with electricity each month. If you have high-energy needs, solar panels will noticeably reduce your power bill. But if you have low-energy needs, then you can totally eliminate your power bill.
  • Solar panels add value to your home so you can sell your property for a higher amount of money. Homes with solar panels guarantee future owners will save money on electricity so that most buyers will pay more for a house with solar.
  • Solar panels are great for the environment! Harnessing the sun’s clean and limitless energy allows us to protect the environment by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning fossil fuels.

What it comes down to is homes with solar panels offer guaranteed benefits to future owners, such as saving money on electricity, so most buyers are willing to pay more for a house with solar.

What are the advantages of solar panels for your home?

There are several advantages to having solar panels for your home, and they are as follows:

  • Solar panels save money on energy bills. By producing your own energy from the sun, solar owners either reduce or totally eliminate their home’s monthly electricity expenses.
  • Solar panels are a clean source of energy that reduces pollution. Harnessing the sun’s clean energy reduces the need to burn fossil fuels, which keeps our homes and communities healthy and pollution-free.
  • Solar panels increase the resale value of a home by guaranteeing future owners the benefit of saving money on electricity.
  • Solar panels protect the roof by shielding it from the elements. Roofs can be costly to repair or replace, so this can save solar owners a lot of money.

How do I know if my home is ready for solar panels? What do I need to be ready?

To know if your home is ready for solar panels, you need to consider these things:

  • Make sure your roof receives enough direct sunlight to make solar panels efficient. Once you have removed branches or trees shading your roof from the sun, your home is closer to being ready for solar panels.
  • Have a roofing specialist assess your roof for necessary maintenance before installing solar panels. Once solar panels are installed, it’s costly to remove them to repair or replace the roof. If you need a new roof in the near future, consider replacing it before installing panels.
  • Calculate your home’s energy needs before purchasing a solar system so you can be sure to purchase a system that fits those needs.
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Should I buy or lease solar panels?

Buying or leasing solar panels have their own benefits. Buying the panels makes the process of installation, maintenance, and resale more straightforward, but for those who can’t afford the high upfront cost, leasing is a great option too. If you can afford to buy your solar panels outright, doing so will add tremendous value to your home; whereas, leased panels don’t add any value to your property. As a result of this, those who lease solar panels won’t be able to make as much money off their panels by reselling them.

Are solar panels worth it?

Yes, solar panels are definitely worth it, especially when you consider the cost savings and environmental benefits of going solar. Some prospective solar customers worry about the upfront price of solar panels and the cost of maintenance, but solar panels are really quite low maintenance and can even pay for themselves over time. Despite the upfront cost, solar owners actually save money over time by producing their own electricity each month instead of paying for it. On top of that, solar panels are much better for the environment than conventional forms of electricity, which when added to the cost benefits, make solar panels totally worth it.

What are the pros and cons of solar panels?

There are both pros and cons of having solar panels. Here are the pros:

  • Solar panels are a clean source of energy that is good for the environment.
  • Solar panels reduce and eliminate the cost of electricity.
  • Solar panels generate power from a limitless source of energy.
  • Solar panels increase the resale value of your home.

Here are the cons:

  • Solar panels are a steep upfront investment.
  • Solar panels require a lot of properly oriented and unshaded space to be efficient.
  • Solar panels may be an intermittent source of electricity on stormy days, and they don’t produce energy at night.

Does installing solar panels save money?

Installing solar panels does save money. In fact, saving money through reducing your monthly electricity is one of the main reasons people choose to go solar. The exact amount of savings derived from installing solar panels depends on a number of factors such as the amount of sunlight they get, the size of the panels, and your energy needs, but at the very least, you can expect some savings on your power bill. Some solar owners with prime solar conditions even save so much money they offset their entire electricity bill.

When are solar panels used?

Solar panels are used when the sun is shining to produce electricity. Solar panels only work when they are exposed to sunlight, so they are actively producing power when the sun rises, and then they are rendered inactive when the sun dips below the horizon. As long as the sun is shining, solar panels are generating electricity or, in some cases, heat. This means solar panels cannot be used through the night or on stormy, dark days.

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When are solar panels cost effective?

Solar panels are cost effective when the amount of money you saved by producing your own energy and selling excess power back to the grid breaks even with the upfront investment in the solar panels. The amount of time before solar will pay for itself depends on the upfront cost of the system, the cost of electricity, and the availability of government incentives, but most solar owners in the U.S. find their panels become cost effective in four to 20 years.

When are solar panels worth it?

Solar panels are worth it when the upfront cost of the system, the cost of electricity, and the availability of government incentives like the federal Investment Tax Credit all point to you paying off your solar panels in a short amount of time. Unless you install your solar panels in an unusually shady location, these factors almost always add up to solar owners saving money on their monthly power bills, which add up over time to pay for the cost of the panels. Solar panels are currently cheaper than they’ve ever been, and the price continues to fall.

What are the cost benefits of solar panels?

There are three main cost benefits of solar panels:

  • First, solar panels allow you to save money on monthly energy costs by producing your own electricity. If you have low-energy needs, you could even eliminate your monthly power bill.
  • Second, not only do solar panels save you money but also they can even make you money. Depending on the upfront cost of the panels and how much electricity they generate each day, solar panels can become a source of passive income for you as you sell excess power back to the grid.
  • Third, solar panels add value to your property. Homes with solar panels sell for more, and well-maintained solar panels often add value close to the original purchasing price of the panels.

Do you save money using solar panels?

Yes, you do save money using solar panels, and there are three main ways that these savings occur:

  • First and most notably, solar panels save you money by helping to offset your monthly electricity bill. By generating your own electricity, you don’t have to buy as much from the local power company.
  • Second, solar panels are a durable technology that can protect your roof from damaging elements. It’s a lot more affordable to replace a single solar panel than it is to replace a roof, so some solar owners save money that way.
  • Third, solar panels increase the resale value of your home, which can save (and even earn) more money in the long run when buyers are willing to pay more for your property.

What is the cost of solar energy?

The cost of solar energy is typically referred to in terms of dollar/watt, and it varies in every situation. It’s important to think about the cost of solar energy in a similar way you would think about the cost of buying a house. Like a house, the price varies based on your energy needs, as well as the size, type, and age of the solar system you want to buy. Currently, the average installed cost of a solar system is around $3 per watt, so a 1kW system comes out around $3,000. If you have a large home or higher-than-average energy needs, this cost will look a lot different, as will installation costs per state, and the tax incentives your area may offer that could possibly cut down your costs!

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Which states offer the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit?

As this is a federal rebate, residents in all states are eligible for this tax credit. Qualified applicants can receive up to a 30 percent tax incentive for the installation of solar photovoltaic or solar water heating systems. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015 extended the deadline for the credit for solar application, including a gradual step-down of tax incentives. Claim this credit before the end of 2019 to score the 30 percent credit, 26 percent before 2021, and 22 percent before 2022.

Which states offer a rebate program for solar photovoltaics?

The following states offer a rebate program either through local municipalities or from utility companies for residential or industrial application:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

These financial incentives include either a percentage of solar energy system costs or a fixed amount per photovoltaic array.

Which states offer loan programs for solar energy systems?

A solar energy system loan program allows states to offer competitive interest rates and payback schedules for those interested in investing in solar energy. Maximum loan amount and payback time vary by state. The following states offer loan programs for solar energy systems for commercial or residential use:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Which states offer a property tax incentive for solar energy?

Property tax incentives allow residential and commercial taxpayers to exclude the added value of a solar energy system when paying property taxes. Limits on a percentage or fixed amount of the exemption varies by state. The following states have property tax incentives for solar energy systems for either commercial or residential application:

  • Alaska
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

Which states offer sales tax incentives for photovoltaic arrays?

States that offer sales tax incentives do not charge sales tax on solar energy systems in their respective states. These sales tax incentives can cover either residential or commercial systems, or both, depending on the state. The following states offer sales tax exemptions:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

What are the best solar companies where I live in the Southeast?

The most notable solar companies in the Southeast are in Miami, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and New Orleans, Louisiana:

  • SolarCity
  • Vivint Solar
  • Power Home Solar & Roofing
  • Solar Energy USA
  • Moss Solar
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What are the best solar companies where I live in the Northeast?

The most notable solar companies in the Northeast are in Washington, D.C.; New York City, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Maine; and Baltimore, Maryland:

  • SolarCity
  • NRG Home Solar
  • Vivint Solar
  • Sunnova Energy Corp.
  • Trinity Solar

What are the best solar companies near me in the Midwest?

Notable solar companies in the Midwest are in Kansas City, Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; and Minneapolis, Minnesota:

  • Vivint Solar
  • Sunnova Energy Corp.
  • Midwest Wind and Solar
  • TruNorth Solar
  • SunHeat Solar

What are the best solar companies near me in the Southwest?

Notable solar companies in the Southwest are in Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Phoenix, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and in Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • SolarCity
  • Vivint Solar
  • NRG Home Solar
  • Sunnova Energy Corp.
  • Zia Energy

What are the best solar companies near me in the West?

Notable solar companies in the West are in Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington:

  • SolarCity
  • Vivint Solar
  • NRG Home Solar
  • Sunnova Energy Corp.
  • Syntrol
Interesting Facts About Solar

Interesting Facts About Solar

What are 10 facts about solar energy?

Here are 10 facts about solar energy:

  • Solar panel technology has been on the market since 1956.
  • The total amount of solar energy absorbed by the earth each year could power the entire planet 8,000 times over.
  • In the most solar-friendly places, solar incentives like rebates and energy credits can
  • offset 90 percent of the cost of installing solar panels.
  • Space programs started using solar energy technology in 1958 and continue to rely on it today.
  • China is the world leader in solar energy, followed by the U.S.
  • The solar energy industry is expected to grow by 20 to 40 percent by 2026.
  • Solar energy only takes eight minutes and 19 seconds to travel 93 million miles from the sun to earth.
  • A cloudy location receives about 45 percent the amount of sunlight that a sunny location receives on a given day.
  • Solar panel systems on the market today are designed to last 30 years.
  • The Greeks and Romans were the first civilizations to employ solar energy in the form of passive solar building designs that were South-facing.

Could solar panels in the sahara power the world?

Yes, solar panels in the Sahara could power the world. Here is the breakdown. According to World Energy Consumption and Stats, the entire world consumed 17.3 Terwatts of power in 2015. 43,000 square miles of Earth would need to be covered in solar panels in order to produce 17.3 Terawatts of power. The Sahara covers 3.6 million square miles of the African continent in which the sun shines brightly for close to 12 hours every day. So, the world’s energy needs could be met by covering just 1.2% of the desert with solar panels.

Could solar panels could replace roads?

Solar panels have the potential to replace roads and some experts suggest that solar roads are the future. Solar road technology is known as a modular-panel paving system and its heavy-duty tempered glass is durable enough to pave parking lots and highways that will generate electricity. The first solar road opened in France in 2016 and the state of Missouri is currently underway with planning for the first public solar road in the United States. A bonus of replacing traditional roads with solar roads is that the solar technology needs to be equipped with heating elements to keep it from icing over in the winter, which has the added benefit of keeping roads ice-free and drivers safer.

panels in sun

How many solar panels would you need to power the world?

The entire world could easily be powered by solar panels. In fact, more solar energy hits the Earth in one hour than humans use in an entire year. In order to power the whole world with solar energy, an area the size of Spain would be covered by solar panels. Solar panels come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no specific number of panels that can be named here, but the math requires close to 500,000 square kilometers of land to be covered by panels. Amazingly, these panels don’t need to all be in the same place, so we could power the Earth with solar energy by dispersing the same 500,000 square kilometers of solar panels among roofs and in deserts.

Can solar panels power a house?

Yes, solar panels are designed to power houses! Based on your home energy needs, the number of panels you are willing to buy, and the amount of sunny space you have to install solar panels on your property, solar panels can either power your whole home or just part of it. Largely, the decision is up to you, but deciding to power your entire house with solar has the added benefit of offsetting your entire energy bill each month. If you have excess energy, it can often be sold back to the local power company. So not only can solar panels power a house, but also they can even provide power to other homes!

Could solar panels power a car?

Yes, solar panels can power a car, and they do it the same way solar panels power a house. Solar cars harness energy from the sun using photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight into electricity. That electricity then fuels the car’s battery-run motor. Most of the solar cars today were built solely for the purpose of solar car racing, but some have been designed for everyday use starting in 2014. Expanding solar powered cars to commuter use has the benefit of greatly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that result from driving from traditional vehicles on the road.

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Will the government pay for solar panels?

Yes, the government does pay for solar panels, but it doesn’t cover the entire cost of going solar. Right now, the federal government helps offset the cost of solar panels by allowing solar owners to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a residential or commercial solar energy system from federal taxes. The estimated savings on this are around $9,000 for the average solar customer. Additionally, many state and municipal level governments offer supplemental incentives that help pay for solar panels, including cash rebates, interest-free loans, or extra tac credits. In this way, all levels of government help to pay for solar panels.

Does Bill Gates use solar panels? Any other famous people?

While it’s not clear whether Bill Gates has solar panels on his home, we know he is a huge supporter of renewable energy. In fact, Bill Gates launched a $1 billion fund in 2016 to support clean technology research, like using solar to fight climate change, and he has been funding similar research for years. Gates isn’t the only famous person invested in harnessing the power of the sun; Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, and Rachel McAdams use solar panels for their homes, just to name a few.

Does homeowners insurance cover solar panels?

Yes, solar panels are typically covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Since solar panels and the rest of the array are a permanent structure in your home – like a deck or the cabinets you install in the kitchen – they are covered along with other permanent fixtures. In some cases, solar panels installed on the roof of other structures on the property, such as a garage or shed, are not covered under home insurance. Every insurance policy is different, though, so it’s a good idea to check with your agent beforehand. While solar panels are durable, they’re expensive to repair, so you want them covered.

Could you store electricity from solar panels?

Yes, electricity from solar panels can be stored. For homeowners, the easiest way to store solar energy is by installing a solar battery. Solar batteries store energy produced by solar panels during the day when the sun is shining and allow you to use that energy at night. The batteries themselves are charged by the power generated by the panels. Storing the electricity that panels produce allows solar owners to save more money by avoiding the need to sell excess energy to the grid during the day, only to purchase it back at a higher rate at night.

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How many solar panels do I need to power a refrigerator?

Powering a refrigerator with solar panels is totally doable but will require batteries. The number of solar panels you need to power your refrigerator depends on your appliance’s energy consumption and whether your system is off the grid. The average refrigerator uses between 200W and 600W, with newer and more efficient models using less wattage. Once you know your refrigerator’s wattage, simple math is required to figure out how much power is consumed throughout the day. You can learn more about the math required to power your refrigerator with solar here.

Are solar panels used in the White House?

The White House has been using solar panels on and off for over 30 years. The use of solar panels in the White House has varied by the administration since they were first installed in the 1970s under Jimmy Carter. The Bush administration installed solar systems elsewhere on the White House grounds, but solar PV panels were last reinstalled on the roof of the White House in 2014 by President Obama. Today, the solar panels on the White House continue to power the Executive Office with 6.3kW of solar energy.

How many birds are killed by solar panels?

Thousands of birds are killed each year by solar panels, but not by the few panels you may have installed on your roof. Instead, birds are killed by vast solar farms in desert regions like California. When it comes to home solar, if you’re concerned about threats to birds than solar panels are definitely the way to go. Solar panels help to offset carbon emissions that cause global climate change, and climate change is the biggest threat to bird populations today. So installing more solar panels will actually protect more bird species in the long run!

How many solar panels are needed to power an average house?

An estimated 28 to 34 solar panels are needed to power the average house, but this number varies based on a number of factors. There is no one-size-fits-all number of solar panels that can power a home. The number of solar panels needed depends on the household’s energy consumption, the amount of direct sunlight the house receives, and the model, size, and wattage of the solar panels used. The average household uses 11,000kWh each year, so with 250W solar panels, the average homeowner would need 28 to 34 solar panels.

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What are the advantages of solar panels?

Solar panels offer many advantages when it comes to the impact that a solar panel system has on the environment and your finances. To name a few, here are the top three advantages:

  • As a clean source of renewable energy, solar panels help to reduce air pollution and stave off the impact of climate change.
  • Solar panels help homeowners save money on their monthly energy bills by producing power at home. Some solar owners even make money off of their solar panels by selling excess electricity to the local power grid.
  • Buyers are willing to buy homes with solar panels for $15,000 more than they would homes without panels.

What are the top questions to ask when buying solar panels?

Buying the right solar panel system that meets your energy needs and fits within your budget requires some shopping around. To make sure you know everything there is to know, here are six questions to ask when buying solar panels:

  • How much money will I need to pay upfront?
  • How much will the system increase my property value?
  • What does the warranty and maintenance procedure look like?
  • How much money will the panels save over time?
  • What kind of performance guarantee does the company offer?
  • Is the company properly accredited and insured?

Are there grants for solar panels?

Yes, there are grants for solar panels for homes! In addition to the federal tax credit and other state incentives and rebates offered to solar owners, grants are available in some places to cut down on the cost of going solar. The availability of grants is constantly changing and can vary based on your location. To see what kinds of grants are available and if you qualify by installing solar on your home, check out relevant government websites like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Grants.gov, and FedConnect.

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When do solar panels work best?

Solar panels work best in the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky. At this time, the sun’s energy is the most direct so solar panels can generate the most electricity with the most efficiency. That said, solar panels can also produce power throughout the day as long as the sun is shining, even through clouds or on a rainy day. Solar panels can only generate electricity when they are exposed to sunlight, so if it’s nighttime or shade covers your panels, they are not able to turn sunlight into energy.

What are the waste byproducts of solar energy?

Clean solar energy comes to us at the cost of waste byproducts in the form of chemicals and emissions. Solar manufacturers use chemicals like hydrofluoric acid and sodium hydroxide, and much of the electricity used during the manufacturing process is still generated through the burning of fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gas pollution into the air and contributes to climate change. The process also requires heavy water usage. Additionally, there is a shortage of facilities that can recycle old solar panels that aren’t being used, so in some cases, they end up as toxic waste in landfills.

How is solar energy released?

Solar energy is released by the sun! When the sun’s energy – in the form of photons – reaches a silicon solar panel, a chemical reaction occurs between the photons and silicon that turns the sun’s energy into a flow of electrons. The flow of electrons that results from the sun’s energy being harnessed is then routed through a house or building as DC (direct current) electricity. In the form of DC electricity, we can use the energy released by the sun to power our lights and appliances.

panels in sun

How long can solar energy be stored?

Solar energy can be stored for varying amounts of time using batteries, but the technology is still being developed. The amount of time depends on the battery and your energy consumption. Residential solar batteries are expensive, and the most common kind has to maintain 50 percent of its power at all times, meaning you can only use half of the battery. Depending on your energy consumption, that 50 percent limit will vary. On the other hand, a company in Nevada called SolarReserve has a utility-sized solar plant in the desert that stores the sun’s energy and produces electricity for up to 10 hours after the sun goes down.

Can solar energy be transported?

Solar energy is transported through wires and batteries. When solar panels generate power, it is in the form of a DC electrical current that is routed throughout a home or building by wiring. Inverters then convert the DC electricity to AC electricity so it can power household appliances. If a solar panel system generates excess electricity, it can be transported to the municipal power grid as AC electricity that is routed to other homes or storage via power lines. In the case of a solar heating system, solar energy is transported by a heated transfer fluid that is usually routed by copper tubing to the heat exchanger that transfers the heat to your household water supply.

How efficient is a solar panel?

Solar panels are a relatively efficient technology as long as they are exposed to direct sunlight. Solar cell efficiency is determined by measuring the portion of solar energy that is converted by photovoltaic solar panels into DC electricity. Most solar panels can convert about 15 percent of the sun’s energy into electricity on a sunny day. While this may not seem like a lot, the sun’s energy is a limitless source of power, so efficiency can only be relative to solar technology. To this day, technological developments are constantly making solar panels more and more efficient.

lighting and clouds

Do solar panels work in the rain?

Yes, solar panels work in the rain as long as they still receive sunlight. Solar panels work more efficiently in direct sunlight, but they will work when it’s raining. Since solar panels can use direct or indirect sunlight, rain only reduces their efficiency if the precipitation is accompanied by a cloudy day. In the long run, rain will actually make your panels last longer and generate power more efficiently by washing away sun blockers like dirt, dust, and fallen leaves.

Are solar panels AC or DC?

Solar panels are DC, meaning their technology can only convert sunlight into direct current electricity. But most of the DC electricity produced by solar panels is eventually converted to AC – or alternating current – electricity to be consumed by household appliances. Excess solar-powered electricity has to be AC to be sold to the local power company but can remain in its original DC form to be stored in a solar battery.

Do solar panels work at night?

No, solar panels do not generate electricity at night. Solar panels are only activated by exposure to sunlight, so they inherently cannot generate power when it’s dark outside. Depending on your definition of “night,” there are some exceptions. In places like Alaska where the summer season sees almost 24 hours of sunlight, solar panels generate power overnight while residents are sleeping. Just because solar panels are on standby at night doesn’t mean solar owners have no power, however. Solar energy can be stored in batteries and used overnight, and homes without batteries have a backup connection to the municipal power grid.

When are solar panels most efficient?

Solar panels are the most efficient when the sun is highest in the sky in the middle of the day. When the sun is at its highest point, the sunlight hitting the solar panels is the most direct, allowing the technology to generate electricity most efficiently. Solar panels can only generate electricity when they are exposed to sunlight, so if it’s nighttime or a shady tree covers your panels, they will not produce electricity. Solar panels are also most efficient when they are properly maintained and cleaned. A solar panel covered with debris will not be efficient, even in the middle of a sunny day.

Are solar panels a good investment?

Yes, solar panels are a good investment. Solar panels are prized as a sound investment because they pay for themselves over time – the money you save on electricity by producing your own power and the money you make by selling excess electricity back to the grid add up every month. For example, the average amount of time it takes to break even on a solar investment in the U.S. for a 5kW solar array is four to 20 years. Solar panels today are designed to last 30 years, so once they’ve paid for themselves, you’re just making money!

Solar Panel Durability

Solar Panel Durability

Would an EMP disable solar panels?

An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) would likely not disable solar panels. An EMP is a strong pulse of energy created by a chemical or atomic blast, such as the release of a nuclear weapon. Although an EMP occurrence is rare, it’s also unpredictable and can be a serious energy threat. Solar panels are somewhat resistant to harm from an EMP and can probably endure one, with only a slight deterioration in power output. However, there are other considerations for operating a solar energy system: its peripheral equipment and wiring between the solar panel and solar charge controller can be vulnerable to an EMP.

Can an EMP affect solar panels?

An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) could affect solar panels. An EMP is a powerful burst of energy and can be naturally occurring or man-made, such as a nuclear detonation. Solar panels are generally sturdy and likely to endure an EMP, with only a mild impact on power output. When it comes to potential EMP effects, you need to consider more than the solar panels. Peripheral equipment and wiring can be vulnerable. An EMP can damage the wires between the solar panel and solar charge controller. Damaged circuitry and other equipment would not allow you to use the power stored in the solar panels.

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Would an EMP destroy solar panels?

The chances an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) would destroy your solar panels are low. As a potent burst of energy, an EMP can be naturally occurring or man-made, such as after a nuclear detonation. EMPs can be very powerful and knock out electrical equipment and devastate the power grid by creating fluctuating electrical currents and wild voltage surges. Solar panels are generally sturdy and are likely to endure EMPs, without drastically reducing their power output. A solar energy system is made of more than solar panels, and peripheral equipment and wiring between the solar panel and inverter are vulnerable to damages from EMPs. Investing in solar panels while protecting the system’s circuitry is still a great way to save on energy costs.

Will an EMP destroy solar panels?

Solar panels are presumably sturdy and will not be destroyed by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). An EMP is a short burst of intense energy that reverses the magnetizing of electric fields. Its effects can be overheating of nearby electrical systems and overwhelming the power grid. Solar panels are likely to withstand EMPs without drastically reducing their power output. Solar panels are good off-grid alternatives in the event of a catastrophic EMP that causes widescale disruptions. However, the solar energy system’s circuitry, such as wiring and solar charge controller, are susceptible to damage from EMPs and need to be in protected storage.

Will an EMP affect solar panels?

Solar panels are unlikely to be greatly affected by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse). EMPs are short, powerful bursts of energy. They can occur naturally, such as a lightning strike, or be created by human activities, such as a nuclear detonation. An EMP can interfere with the operations of electronic equipment and power grids, but would probably not do much damage to solar panels. However, there is more to consider about a solar energy system than the solar panels. Peripheral equipment, wiring, and the solar charge controller can be impaired by EMPs. If these essential parts were damaged, you would not be able to use the power stored in the solar panels.

Will solar panels survive an EMP?

While your solar panels could likely survive an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), the inverter and other equipment needed for using the stored energy might be damaged. An electromagnetic pulse can knock out electrical equipment and damage the power grid by creating fluctuating electrical currents and wild voltage surges. Solar panels are generally sturdy and are likely to endure EMPs without a reduction in power output. However, an EMP can destroy the peripheral equipment and wiring between the solar panel and solar charge controller. There is a solution: You can protect your system by increasing the inverter and wiring inside a faraday cage or similar device.

lightning clouds

Will hail damage solar panels?

Most solar panels can endure hail up to 1 inch in diameter, traveling at 50 mph. If you are installing solar panels in an area known for storms that produce softball-size hail, then you should consider getting solar panels made of thin-film (or amorphous) photovoltaic panels, which is a flexible plastic material more resistant to damage from rocks or hail. You can also check the panel warranty to see if the solar panels have been tested for hail impact. Another way to protect your panels is to make sure they are covered under your homeowner’s insurance.

Does dust affect solar panels?

Dust does not significantly impact the performance of solar panels. The power output from a solar panel or photovoltaic performance depends on the amount of sunlight reaching the solar cells. While dust can cover the panels, it does not seem to reduce power output. A study found panels not cleaned for over three months lost only about 7 percent of their efficiency. If you want to get that 7 percent back, try cleaning your solar panels. Check with your solar panel manufacturer for specific cleaning recommendations, or hire a professional solar panel cleaner to do the job properly.

How does temperature affect solar panels?

Temperature can greatly affect a solar panel’s performance. Contrary to belief, solar panels work better in cooler temperatures than in warmer temperatures. As the temperature rises, energy production of solar panels drops. Since the amount of sunlight and cloudiness affects solar panel performance, cold, sunny days are ideal for harnessing the most sun power. However, extreme temperature shifts could damage solar cells and panels. For instance, a sudden drop in temperature can cause solar cell and other module materials, such as solder joints and copper ribbons, to expand too rapidly and crack, lowering the lifespan of the solar panels.

Can hail damage solar panels?

Hailstorms can but are not likely to damage solar panels. Most solar panels are pretty durable and can withstand hail up to 1 inch in diameter and traveling up to 50 mph. You can check with the manufacturer to make sure your solar panels have been tested for hail and the warranty for hail damage. For those in areas prone to large hailstorms, consider getting solar panels made of thin-film (or amorphous) photovoltaic panels. The panels are made of flexible plastic material and thus highly resistant to damage from hail. You can also make sure your homeowner's insurance covers the solar panels for weather-related damages.

Does an EMP affect solar panels?

Depending on the location, snow can reduce or improve the performance of solar panels. The snow on the ground and surrounding area can reflect light and thus improve the amount of sunlight exposure and photovoltaic performance of solar panels. When it is snowing, it means the temperature is cooler. Cooler temperatures are great for solar panel performance. Solar panels tend to perform better in cooler temperatures, compared to warmer temperatures. However, if the snow covering the solar panels prohibits them from capturing sun power, then the snow could hurt solar production. You can easily fix this problem by installing your solar panels tilted at an angle to allow accumulated snow to slide off.

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Would an EMP knock out solar panels?

An EMP (electromagnetic pulse) would not knock out the solar panels but could shut down the wiring, solar charge controller, inverter, and peripheral equipment. EMPs are unpredictable and can result from a natural or human-made event, such as a nuclear detonation. As short, intense bursts of energy, EMPs could damage electronic equipment and power grids by reversing the magnetization of the electric fields. This reversal can damage peripheral equipment, wiring, and the solar charge controller of a solar energy system while leaving the solar panels unharmed. You would not be able to use the power stored in the solar panels if these parts were damaged.

Would a solar flare destroy solar panels?

Solar flares are unlikely to destroy solar panels but can cause damage to the rest of the solar energy system. A solar flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed near the sun's surface and can cause electromagnetic disturbances on Earth. Potential disruptions include disordered radio frequency communications and power line transmission outages. Since the solar panels and batteries do not contain circuitry, solar storms do not do them much harm. However, inverters could be affected by solar flares. An inverter could react to a solar flare by blowing a fuse to shut down the rest of the solar energy system, protecting it from any further damage.

Would solar flares affect solar panels?

A solar flare’s potential impact on your solar energy system’s circuitry is greater than on your solar panels. As sudden bursts of energy on the sun’s surface, solar flares produce high-energy particles and radiation that can cause electromagnetic disturbances on earth. Solar flares can disrupt radio waves or cause temporary blackouts for navigation and communication devices and power grids. Solar panels do not contain circuitry and are resistant to the effects of solar storms. However, the inverters and charge controllers connected to the panels could be damaged by solar flares. They could cause an inverter to blow a fuse that shuts down the system.

Do dust and shade affect solar panels?

Dust and shade have minimal effects on solar panel power output. The power output from a solar panel or photovoltaic performance depends on the amount of irradiance reaching the solar cells. While shading due to soiling from air pollution or dust can affect photovoltaic performance, a study found panels that hadn’t been cleaned or rained on for more than three months lost only 7.4 percent of their efficiency. For a typical residential solar system (5 kW), researchers estimate washing panels could result in a $20 gain in electricity production. Dust on your solar panels is not likely to significantly reduce power output.

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Does hail damage solar panels?

It is doubtful hail will damage solar panels. The glass and frame around the solar cells are very sturdy and durable. Solar panels are designed to endure most severe weather conditions and can remain unharmed during most storms, with hail up to 1 inch in diameter. If you live in an area with large hailstorms and are worried about damage to your solar panels during those large storms, one option is getting panels made of flexible plastic material and very resistant to damage from even large hail. Most solar energy systems are designed to withstand other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Does temperature affect solar panels?

The temperature can affect the performance of solar panels. A common misconception is solar panels do not work well during winter. In fact, it’s the opposite. When the temperature rises, energy production of solar panels drops. Cold temperatures improve solar panel power output. Cold, sunny days are ideal for getting the most sun power. The risk of damaging solar cells and panels mostly occurs during extreme temperature changes. A jump in temperature can damage solar cells and other module materials, such as solder joints and copper ribbons, by causing them to expand or contract too quickly and crack, leading to shorter operating lifetimes.

Do solar panels wear out?

Solar panels wear out very slowly and are designed to last a minimum of 20 to 30 years. The industry standard is to make solar panels that will retain at least 80 percent of their original output over the course of their life. Still, wear and tear may occur with the solar cells. Exposure to the elements can cause the cells to deteriorate. For instance, the sun can eventually cause the cells to break down. Although the solar cells are made of crystalline cells, which are fragile and very thin, the glass and frame are very sturdy and durable.

Do solar panels work in the winter?

Solar panels do work in the winter because their performance is based on sunlight, not heat. Despite low temperatures, solar panels will continue to work. Like most electronic devices, solar panels tend to perform better in cooler temperatures, compared to warmer temperatures. In certain climates, winter also means a lot of snow. The snow on the ground and surrounding area can reflect light and help improve your photovoltaic performance. Snow would only hurt solar production if they cover the solar panels and prohibit them from generating electricity. An easy solution to this problem is to tilt your solar panels at an angle, allowing accumulated snow to slide off.

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What is the life expectancy of a solar panel?

The life expectancy for solar panels ranges from 20 to 25 years, depending on the materials. Thin-film solar panels tend to degrade faster than those made of mono- and polycrystalline solar panels. In general, solar panels are very durable and are designed to withstand many intense weather conditions, such as strong winds and snow. Do not throw away your solar panels after 30 years; they can still harness sun power and produce energy. Each year, their effectiveness decreases by 1 to 2 percent. By the end of their life, solar panels can still retain 80 percent of their original output.

What is the lifespan of solar panels?

The lifespan for solar panels is usually 20 to 25 years, as they are very durable. They may last longer depending on their materials and maintenance. Solar panels made of mono- and polycrystalline tend to deteriorate slower than those made of thin film. Proper maintenance and cleaning can extend a solar panel’s life. On average, a solar panel’s effectiveness decreases by 1 to 2 percent each year. By the end of their life, solar panels can still retain up to 80 percent of their original output. One way to extend the life of a solar panel is by removing nearby trees and debris that can fall on the panels and cause scratches.

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