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For residential customers in particular, solar panels truly bring with them a wide range of different benefits that cannot be ignored.
Chief among these is the fact that they’re an almost immediate way to reduce or even outright eliminate your monthly utility bills. Even if you live somewhere cloudy, your solar panels will likely generate far more power than the average home can consume in a day. That means that you can either sell that excess energy back to your local energy providers, or store it in a battery to be used as a backup power source in the event of something like an outage.
But the most important benefit of all is that installing solar panels allows you to do your part to help the environment – which in turn helps us all. Solar panels generate clean, pure energy directly from the greatest source of all: the sun. Installing solar panels helps you dramatically reduce our collective dependence on fossil fuels, which in turn will allow us to do our part to help leave this environment in a better condition than the one it was in when we got here.
Types of solar panels
If anyone ever said that solar power is the future, then the future is now. Solar power has never been more effective, affordable or accessible. You can get panels that cut your utility costs and make you effectively independent from the electric grid. Even if they only supplement your energy usage, they’re great for the environment and your budget. If you’re seriously thinking about solar, you’ll want to know a little more about what is available. For the most part, there are two popular types of solar panels, and you’re going to see how they work.
One of the most common design styles for solar panels is the use of monocrystalline structures. These structures are made by cutting silicon from a single crystal and organizing it in the solar cells. This method produces cells with perfectly regular shapes, and that boosts the performance of the cells.
In general, monocrystalline panels are more efficient than other types of solar panels. This makes them far more effective during off seasons and outside of peak sunshine. Since they can get up to 20 percent efficiency, they can produce more electricity in a single day. Additionally, they can handle higher currents and electric loads, which means the same number of cells from a monocrystalline panel will produce noticeably more electricity than what you would get from other types of panels.
What’s more is that monocrystalline panels are largely considered to be the superior aesthetic option. The panels tend to have a starker black color, and they are easier to design in ways that look good on buildings — both residential and commercial.
All of this does come at a cost. Monocrystalline panels are considerably more expensive per cell than competing construction techniques, and powering a home with this style will often include a more expensive installation cost.
Polycrystalline panels take a different fabrication approach, and that creates a number of differences in look, design and productivity of the cells. To make a polycrystalline panel, multiple silicon crystals are melted together. The cells are then cut from that new structure. This allows lower-quality silicon to be used to make the panels, and it leads to a much lower production cost.
For the lower cost, there are sacrifices. Polycrystalline panels are about five percent less efficient on average, and they cannot handle as large as a power load. This means that it takes more panels to produce the same amount of electricity as compared to monocrystalline solar.
So, which is the better choice? The answer to that will depend on a few things. If you have good sun exposure, you can save money by opting for the less efficient, more affordable panels. If you need efficiency because of limitations on space (or for any other reason), then monocrystalline will be the clear winner.
If you would like to explore your options in greater detail, contact us. We’ll go over solar power and discuss how it could be deployed for your home or business. Being electrically independent feels great, and it’s an achievable goal.
How Solar Panels Work
In an over-arching sense, solar panels work by collecting sunlight and turning it into useable electricity. But the actual mechanics of how residential solar systems work is actually a lot more fascinating than that. As soon as sunlight hits the solar panels themselves, it immediately creates an electrical field across the system. That electricity then moves to the edge of the panel, into a very important component called a conductive wire.
It’s that wire that transports the electricity to the inverter, where it is turned from direct current into alternating current. That’s what makes it usable to power a lot of the items in and around our homes. At that point, a separate component transports that electricity from the inverter to the electrical panel inside your home. This is also commonly referred to as a circuit breaker box, among other terms. Once there, the electricity is sent all across your home as needed – thus allowing you to enjoy all the power-related benefits of solar panels without disrupting the experience that you’re used to.
As stated, solar panels tend to generate a lot more electricity than the average home can use in a day. Any excess electricity is then either sent back to the local utility grid, or directly into a battery that is installed alongside the system somewhere on your property. Either way, you benefit enormously from solar panels – which is why they’ve become so popular over the last decade in particular.
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