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Solar Home Power System: Tapping the Power of the Sun

The amount of solar energy the sun offers on an hourly basis is beyond what we can consume in a year. The energy that comes from the sun is important to us in many ways, including providing us with electricity. However, the sun will not automatically power our house. There needs to be a mechanism made available to tap this energy and convert it to electricity that will then power your home. Technology will grow over the years, and the majority of our appliances will be solar powered.

Homes will become independent by producing their own electricity. The exciting aspect is that it will not just stop there. Homes will soon become inter-dependent. This means that homes will begin to supply each other electrical power. The development in net-metering law allows a home to supply electricity to other homes and building if it produces more energy than it can use. This service to others will be rewarded in the form of a credit on your utility. This system gives you retail value for the power that you generate in excess.

Why you should go solar:

There are other benefits you stand to gain from the use of solar energy. Let’s take a look at these other benefits.

  • Going solar is better for the environment: this is one major reason solar energy has become popular. The fact that it is renewable energy which has no harm to society when it is been consumed makes it a welcomed idea. The traditional source of energy like coal and gas emit substances that are harmful to the environment. Solar energy is not in that league.
  • You will save some money on your utility: aside for the cost of purchasing the solar panel, you will not have to pay money for electricity anymore. Since the energy power is from the sun and the sun is a free gift of nature; nobody will charge you for tapping energy from the sun. You have the possibility of providing energy to others in retail value which is another benefit of going solar as explained above.

Now that you know some reasons to why you should go solar, let’s look into how solar energy generating systems work.

Solar power system:

A solar power system is a combination of several solar energy generating components. Components such as the photovoltaic (PV) panels, the DC to AC converter usually an inverter primarily make up a solar power system. There are others such as the energy storage battery, the voltage regulator and so other mini accessories. How all these work to provide you with electricity is that the PV panels, combined in multiples arrays, capture the photons that are generated by the sunlight. These photons are then converted into electrons which will generate the direct current (DC). The inverter receives it and converts it into an alternating current (AC), which powers your home.

pv system

When choosing your solar panel, you need to choose carefully since it’s a major component of the success of solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels:  polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, however, they are sensitive to high temperatures, have a shorter lifespan, and are less space efficient. Mono-crystalline panels are expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use, and have a longer lifespan.

Solar Efficiency

The features of solar panels you are to be concerned about are its solar efficiency, the cost, the warranty on it, and technology type. This brings us to the discussion about solar panel manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturers are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new entrants into the solar manufacturing industries. Also, old solar manufacturing companies are now gaining market. Because of the increase in demand for solar power, companies now can compete.

Solar Power Components

Let’s take a deeper look into the major and minor components that make up a proper solar power generating system.

  • Inverter: this is the system that helps convert the DC to AC which is needed by the homes.
  • Performance Monitoring Device: this device helps to check the health of the system. It will also indicate how much electricity is generated and indicated when there is a change.
  • Storage options: this is in the form of rechargeable batteries which can be installed to help store up energy for future use. In some places, your excess energy is sent to the grid in exchange for credit.
  • Solar panels: this is the most important component of the solar power generating system. It is this component that adsorbs power from the sun. Without it, there will be no solar power generation.

How to choose a Solar Panel

When choosing your solar panel, you need to choose carefully since it’s a major component of the success of solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels:  polycrystalline and monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, however, they are sensitive to high temperatures, have a shorter lifespan, and are less space efficient. Mono-crystalline panels are expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use, and have a longer lifespan.

The features of solar panels you are to be concerned about are its solar efficiency, the cost, the warranty on it, and technology type. This brings us to the discussion about solar panel manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturers are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new entrants into the solar manufacturing industries. Also, old solar manufacturing companies are now gaining market. Because of the increase in demand for solar power, companies now can compete.

Choose the Best Solar Manufacturing Company

The question now is, is it a must that the solar company you buy your solar panel from must be one of the top manufacturing companies? It is important you know that the quantity of sales made is the major determining factor for ranking solar manufacturing companies and not necessarily the quality and cost-benefit the customers derive. Therefore, if you are choosing to go for one of the top manufacturing companies, be sure you are not just purchasing from them because they are a top company but also because they offer you quality in exchange for money. Your solar panel is supposed to be effective and last you at least two decades of use.

Most Efficient Solar Panels on The Market and All You Need To Know About Solar Panel Efficiency

If you’re one of those who are seeking for the most efficient solar panels for their solar energy systems, it is very important that you first know how to make a comparison of different manufacturer brands’ efficiency metrics. Solar panel efficiency is one of the most helpful metrics used to ascertain how powerful solar panel from other products.

What you need to know about solar panel efficiency

Solar panel efficiency which is expressed as a percentage determines the ability of a solar panel to convert sunlight into electricity. 

With the same given amount of shining sunlight and equal time duration on the two solar panels with distinct efficiency ratings, the panel which is more efficient will produce more electricity than the other panel which is less efficient.

For example, two solar panels have an equated physical size, one has an efficiency rating of 21% and the other has an efficiency rating of 14%, the panel which has an efficiency rating of 21% will generate 50% more kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity under the same conditions that were given for the panel that has an efficiency rating of 14%. This implies that you need a top-tier solar panel efficiency to maximize your energy use and bill savings.

Solar panel efficiency is the most crucial criterion for a lot of consumers and people in the solar industry when assessing the quality of a solar panel.

Even as much as it’s an important criterion, you should not only consider just that when making your evaluation on the particular solar panel to install. Solar panel efficiency pertains to panel’s ability to convert energy at a low-cost and high supply rate.

These are some of the most efficient solar panels you can get

We present to you four of the most efficient solar panels in the industry. In order of rank in efficiency, they are:

1. SunPower (X21) – 22.2%

2. LG – 21.1%

3. Panasonic (HIT) 20.3%

4. Solaria (XT) – 19.4%

5. Panasonic (TESLA) – 19.4%

Solar panels on the market today with the most efficiency have a rating as high as 22.2%. Nevertheless, the efficiency rating of the majority of panels range from 15% to 17%.

The most efficient solar panels on the market today (2019) have efficiency ratings as high as 22.2%, whereas, the majority of panels range from 15% to 17% efficiency rating.

Efficient solar panel

SunPower panels are reliable for their photovoltaic panel which is one of the most reliable brand name readily available on the marketplace. They feature a greater cost yet its performance as a primitive metric of the rate of interest has actually made it be some customer’s favorite.

Do you care for maximum Production or maximum offset?

If you prefer to take full advantage of the quantity of electrical power that is being generated by your system or you simply intend to buy of the least quantity of electrical energy from the energy, however the readily available quantity of roofing system area to set up solar panels are restricted in size, you might take into consideration mounting photovoltaic panels with greater effectiveness. You will certainly obtain the optimum manufacturing from your photovoltaic panel system when you do this.

Is it about the cost or the value?

If you’re going for more efficient solar panels, rather than their less efficient counterparts, you should prepare for more cost.

We recommend that you do an analysis of whether the upfront cost difference is rationalized by the enhanced savings accomplished by producing more electricity over the lifespan of the system of your solar energy. If you have an Increased electricity production, that means you have to buy less power from your utility.

How to Choose The Right Solar Panel

Poly vs. Mono

When selecting solar panels (or modules) for your PV system, one should choose carefully since it’s a major determinant of success in solar power generation. There are two major types of solar panels. These are: Polycrystalline and Monocrystalline. Polycrystalline panels are sold at lower prices, are sensitive to high temperature, and have a shorter lifespan. Many Polycrystalline panels also tend to be less space efficient. Monocrystalline panels are more expensive to buy but they are highly efficient, suitable for commercial use and have a longer lifespan than their polycrystalline counterpart.

solar panel types

Selection Criteria

One of the primary features of solar panels you should think about is the panel (and system’s) efficiency. Read more on that subject here (link). Other factors in your decision should be total cost and financing options, warranty features, and technology aspects.

This brings us to the discussion about solar panels manufactures. The current top three solar panel manufacturer and companies are JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and Canadian Solar. However, there have been changes in the last few years which have seen the introduction of some new up and comers into the solar manufacturing industries. It’s not a bad bet to go with one of the big three because if you ever need to replace a panel or add to your system down the road, there’s a better chance of finding a match.

Many Great Options

Because of the increase in demand for solar power, many more companies can now compete for market share and so the choice can be overwhelming. The question is, is it a must that the solar company you buy your solar panels from be one of the top manufacturing companies? Or is quality, regardless of manufacturer more important?

It’s important you know that the quantity of sales made is the major determining factor for ranking solar manufacturing companies and not necessarily the quality and cost-benefit the customers derive. Therefore, if you are choosing to go for one of the top manufacturing companies, be sure you are not just purchasing from them because they are a top company but also because they offer you quality and good value in exchange for money.

Long-Term Consideration

Your solar panels are supposed to be effective and last you a lifetime of at least two-three decades of use. Ask your solar contractor about the warranties offered and testing and manufacturing standards and histories of the product(s) you’re considering.

Solar Evolution – How Has Solar Technology and Prices Evolved Over Time?

The energy from the sun in the form of light and heat has so much effect on the earth we live in. The sun is believed to be the earth’s power and without the sun, the earth becomes inhabitable. Plants use the sunlight for photosynthesis. Many other inhabitants of the earth also draw energy from the sun, not excluding man. The solar system has been in existence before man and as it is known of man to use the surrounding elements to his own advantage, the sun will not be spared as well. Man since time immemorial have found ways, no matter how crude, to tap energy from the sun. This energy is then used for different purposes. History has it that the energy from the sun was tapped by the humans many years ago in other to light fire. The magnifying glass is the instrument used to achieve this feat.

Also, the Romans and the Greek were said, according to history, to use energy from the sun to light touches for the religious celebration. They used mirrors to tap solar power. The Chinese were documented to use solar power for the same purpose. The concept of the sunroom in houses and buildings which is still popular today is an idea powered by tapping energy from the sun. The sunroom in a building uses huge windows to concentrate sunlight to an area in the house. The general idea behind tapping solar power in the early years revolves around the use of mirrors.

Regardless of the reasons solar power is interesting to us and what purpose we try to find in it, it is certain that solar power is useful to us. It is this usefulness that has triggered the desire to make research along this line. Today, solar power has a long list of usefulness to us with a major focus on how it can generate electricity for us. This has drawn us away from the use of mirrors and massive glass in other to concentrate the power of the sun, to the development of solar panels. The general idea behind the solar panel is to collect photons from the sunlight and then transform them into electrons to produce direct current. The direct current will then be inverted or converted into Alternate current which is the electricity we use. The materials from which the panels are made are different. However, the general idea is usually the same regardless.

New-age solar panel technology

Fifty to even just twenty years ago, the idea of going solar was much more novel and pricey. This is because of the low level of development and wide-spread manufacturing around the use of solar panels. Firstly, the challenge was how to translate from the use of mirrors which is majorly to produce heat and set a fire, to a component that will attract the solar energy and then give it out in the form of electricity. We scaled through that by the discovery of PV effect (Photovoltaic effects) which was of great influence and the first leap toward the development of a solar panel that generates electricity. From there, it was discovered that a material called selenium do generate electricity when it is been exposed to sunlight. This took us to a whole new level and served as the basis for the majority of the solar panels we have today as they are made from silicon. That was how the first challenge became solved. The use of silicon in making solar panel took effect and began to serve as a source of renewable energy about 15 years ago.

The bridge has been crossed and we now know how to tap solar energy to produce electricity. However, the first few years of this development was faced with two major challenges which are:

The efficiency of solar panels:

Solar panel efficiency refers to the fragment of sunlight energy that a photovoltaic panel can convert into electricity for consumption. The first generations of solar panels produced were of very little efficiency. The rate of conversion of solar light or photons absorbed to the electricity produced was very low. They were as low as having less than 1% conversions rate. This made the possibility of using solar energy a far cry and looks almost impossible. However, the relentless effort of researchers has brought about a great improvement in the efficiency of the panels. Today we certainly have solar panels that are 30% efficient and more work is still been done to develop more panel efficiency.

Recent development claims to have gotten a 42% efficient solar panel. Before the year 2012, the previous years, 1960 to early 2010, recorded a low efficiency of solar panels. It was in 2012 that things took a good turn when efficiency increased to about 17.8%. Late 2015 also gave the good news of 22% efficiency. Early 2016, NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and CSEM (Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology) achieved a 29.8% efficiency rate. 2017 gave an increase in efficiency to above 40% and in 2019, there has been an integration of various mechanisms into the development of solar panels that has given a great increase in the efficiency rate and research still continues. The disadvantage of this great development is that these highly efficient panels are made from expensive materials and these materials are costly.

The cost of solar panels

1st generation solar panel

The first generations of solar panels were not only low in efficiency they were also very expensive. This added to the constraint of making solar power commercial. However, in addition to the increase in efficiency rate, manufacturers have improved their manufacturing process and this has made the cost of solar panels much more affordable. Manufacturers also put in some economic indices to minimize the cost of production. Today the concept of renewable energy has become wide-spread, thanks to relentless researchers and economies of scale making the technology accessible to the masses.