News

Thinking About Investing In Solar Energy System? Here Are Some Factors to Consider

What is a solar system? We were taught in elementary science that the solar system consists of the sun and the planets that orbit around it. This is, however, not the solar system under discussion here. The solar system being discussed in this write up is the process of harnessing solar energy from the sun. The solar panels or Photovoltaic system are used to convert the electromagnetic radiation from sunlight into electricity for our consumption.

Know More About Using Solar Energy

Solar energy can be used to power household appliances and even cars, all thanks to innovative research and products.

solar energy uses
  1. Solar energy helps you to save money: imagine never having to pay electric bills again simply because you now generate your own electricity. This is a rare opportunity that solar energy affords you. It helps you save a few dollars monthly and reduces the financial burden placed on you.
  2. The solar energy system is not a new invention: The scientists working at Bells laboratory were the first to invent a photovoltaic system. This brilliant piece of the invention has been installed in millions of houses all over the world and in over a million buildings in America.
  3. Solar energy system panels are long-lasting and durable: solar panels are produced from tempered glass. This tempered glass is strong enough to withstand harsh and extreme weather conditions be it rain, wind or even snow. There is an added benefit of it protecting your roof too and helping to prevent leakage.
  4. Solar panel system installation guarantees you a good return on investment: The question at the back of your mind will be, “is solar panel installation a worthy investment?” Yes, it is a worthy investment. The time is right. The demand for solar panels is continuously increasing and the demand for it is high. Invest now when there is a lot of benefits to be accrued.
  5. A solar panel system does not require maintenance: Yes, you read that right. Your solar panels are extremely durable and do not need you to clean them. You do not have to worry about an extra charge of maintenance.
  6. Most locations in the U.S. have enough sunshine to power the solar system: theU.S is blessed with sufficient sunshine all year round to adequately charge solar panels and ensure continuous energy generation. Your current electricity cost should be compared to the cost of solar panel installation to help ease your decision.
  7. A solar panel system, once installed, can generate electricity for over 20 years: most solar panel the manufacturers give over 20-year power generation warranty on their product. You need not worry about the constant cost of changing the panels.
  8. Solar energy does not pollute the environment: Unlike some forms of energy generation, solar energy does not pollute the environment. Solar energy does not emit any gas or substances that can harm our universe as fossil fuel do.
  9. Solar energy is an inexhaustible form of renewable energy: day-in-day-out, all through the year, the sun rises and sets daily providing us with abundant sunshine to generate our energy from. Your solar panels will convert sunlight to electricity without noise or air pollution.
  10. The government is beginning to see the importance of renewable energy such as sunlight: The Australian government is offering financial incentives to the solar panel system installation companies through its Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme. The residents of Queensland make extra money from the government by selling excess energy generated by their panel to the government.
  11. The solar energy system is always undergoing further research and development: Solar energy system technology is constantly advancing and improvements are being made to make them better in the future. Quantum energy and nanotechnology are concerned with improving energy generation.
  12. Solar energy can be put to diverse use: Solar energy can be put to diverse use. It can be converted to electricity for powering your gadgets, household appliances, and office equipment. It can be used to generate heat energy as well to power for your various needs.

Should You Lease or Loan Your Solar Panels?

Solar panel lending or a PPA agreement basically means you are renting the solar panel from the manufacturer and that the manufacturer still owns the solar panel. On the other hand, if you install your solar panel system on a loan agreement, then it belongs to you. It can be pretty difficult to make the decision whether to loan or lease your solar panels.

Pros and Cons for Solar Renting

This write-up will examine the pros and cons of both methods and provide you with all the information you need to know to help ease your decision.

solar renting pros
  1. The financial implications of a lease or loan agreement: both the lease and loaning of the solar panel help you save money. Both the leasehold agreement and the loan agreement lead to a reduction in your energy expenditures. In both forms of solar panel agreements, you pay less than your usual electricity bills.  The loan agreement, however, saves you more money than the leasehold agreement. This is so because you pay for the panel loan over the course of 7 to 15 years, whereas, you have to continue paying a leasehold agreement all through the term of the agreement. Solar panel owners get a solar investment tax credit (ITC) which is the value of 30% of the cost of solar installation and some states also provide Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). Interest accrued on a solar panel loan can be tax deductible.
  2. Cost of maintenance of the solar panel: solar panels generally do not need much maintenance, but when maintenance is required, a loan agreement means the owner of the solar panel has to pay for such maintenance while the manufacturer pays for maintenance of the leasehold agreement since the solar panel is still a property of the manufacturer.
  3. Does the amount payable increase over time in leasehold or loan agreement? : The answer to this is “yes” for the former and “no” for the latter. The premium paid monthly on a leasehold agreement increases annually based on the initial agreement reached or changes in company policy, while the agreed premium on the loan agreement is fixed during the duration of payment and cannot be increased.
  4. Processing time involved in leasehold or loan agreement: leasehold agreements typically do not take time and can be concluded in just a visit whereas the opposite applies for the loan agreement. The loan agreement usually takes time to be concluded.
  5. Ease of selling buildings with solar system leasehold or loan agreement: for you to sell your home with a solar panel leasehold agreement attached to it, you have to either buy out your leasehold agreement or transfer the new lease to the new owner of the building. In the case of a loan agreement, your options depend on if the loan is secured or not. It is far easier to sell a property with a solar loan agreement than that of leasehold agreement. 
  6. Ease of obtaining a leasehold or loan agreement: All fifty states in the U.S. allow for the loan agreement of solar panels ownership, while some regions and state frown upon the leasehold agreement of solar panel ownership. Washington DC is one of the regions that allow for a leasehold agreement.

    These are the factors you should consider before opting for either leasehold or loan-based agreement.

Is Renting Sun-Based System Always The Best Thing To Do?

In recent years, third-party sun-based renting has become extremely popular, which has played a major role in propelling rooftop sun-based systems into the prevailing current thought. According to the SEIA, at the beginning of 2014, solar renting/PPA financed about 50% to 90% of the rooftop sun based system installations based on the state. It can be said that the U.S. sun-based system industry has changed radically from solar renting.

But is renting sun-based system always the best thing to do? As a smart sun-based system shopper, you should be careful since these financial mechanics are still comparatively new. This point can be further seen in the recent attempts of quite a number of individuals of the national legislative assembly to give a better understanding on how solar renting is promoted to consumers for both the interest of those in the market and also for the solar industry as a whole.

Is solar a beneficial bargain? An example of a solar rent marketing promotion

The advantages of solar rent are mostly marketed this way: You get a sun-based power system on your roof for a small amount of money or even no money at all (based on the type of solar rent), and the organization will sell the electricity to you at a rate which is much lesser than what you normally pay for electricity. You spend less on your electricity bill without having to pay to have your system to be set up. Apparently, both you and the solar organization benefit from this.

Merely looking at it, it seems like a cool bargain, but as discussed earlier, ‘free sun-based power systems’ are not precisely free. You indirectly pay for the power that the panels generate, and in so doing, over the period of your 10 to 20 years contract, you pay for the system.

It’s important for you to consider if signing a solar renting contract will save you money in the long run. Without considering a solar rent marketing promotion, what exactly are you getting when you sign a solar rent contract?

Are some sun-based power system companies not been truthful about solar renting?

An issue of interest about potentially misleading marketing patterns by some solar rent suppliers was raised last month by 12 members of the House Republicans, which was led by Paul Gosar from Arizona. In a letter written to the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, the representatives identified a number of refutable practices that solar shoppers should bear in mind and that the FTC should look into.

Some of these practices are:

It has been made known that some firms are using possibly misleading marketing methods and exaggerating potential savings to get consumers to sign prolonged rents for rooftop sun-based power systems. According to reports, consumers are being lured by some solar renting firms who offer no rent money for a 20-year rent agreement. The marketing presentation, notwithstanding, supposedly amplify power grid rates. If these accusations are true, these potentially deceptive rents could be a grievous threat to consumers as they are bound to our citizens’ homes and have the possibility to induce substantial damage to the solar industry.

In a similar move the previous month, four House Democrats who were all from Arizona (one of America’s major solar markets) asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to look into it whether it is possible for consumers to be harmed by the sales practices.

In the November 19 letter, they emphasized their support for the flourishing rooftop sun-based power industry. They also stated the need to address a number of issues to ensure consumers considering solar are not deceived by solar salespeople who deliberately omit essential information or skip over the disadvantages of solar rent.

They asked the CFPB questions like:

What actions has the CFPB taken to look into the possibility that deceptive marketing methods are being used in the rooftop solar industry?

What measures are put in place to guarantee that consumers who are looking at entering into solar renting for a prolonged period are made fully informed of the long-term implications of these proceedings? For instance, studies suggest that third-party rents may lead to an escalation of prices to house sellers with the outcome that other buyers will not want to purchase the sun-based power system or cannot assume the rent, therefore making real estate transactions complex.

What actions has the CFPB carried out to look into the displeasure that has developed from the marketing methods being used by some rooftop solar renting companies?

Has the CFPB thought of doing an employee reappraisal of third-party-rents in the rooftop sun-based power industry and giving advice on how consumers considering these transactions can be educated?

The CFPB is yet to release anything a response to the Democrats’ letter as at the time of this writing, and the FTC addresses nothing in particular to third-party solar rents on its website. It’s definitely just a matter of time before all these changes are made. Even though politics has a role in the ongoing discussion, the fact remains that there is a need for robust competition and transparency in the market for an industry to be a workable, sustainable one. If the CFPB and FTC intervene to regulate the sales practices of solar rent suppliers, it will definitely result in amelioration on both these fronts for the absolute benefit of both the consumers and the solar industry.

Can we safely conclude that solar renting is not a good idea?

No! It only requires that you do your own research to ascertain that you are getting the best available bargain on solar. You should also bear it in mind that deals differ and some deals are more beneficial than others. You need to be wise when shopping for solar. Below are some helpful points to help you choose wisely when shopping:

solar renting
  • Assume your rooftop is an asset that solar renting firms want to possess. The amount of money these firms make is dependent on the amount of power your panels produce.
  • Think of a solar rent just like any other major purchase: Be proactive; do not just consider the fact that you may not pay anything up-front.
  • Try to get the best deal by comparing varieties of options from different companies. There are a number of competing companies that offer solar renting bargains; use this for your advantage.
  • As an alternative to solar renting, consider a solar loan. Solar loans offer almost the same advantages as solar renting with the additional benefit of you owning the system when the loan is paid off.
  • If you have enough money, then you should consider buying a solar system. For those who can afford it, it’s often always better to go for the up-front buying of the solar system.

Which is Advisable, Buying or Renting Your Solar Panels?

Your specific financial objectives determine your choice on how to finance your sun-based power system.

The primary difference between purchasing and renting a sun-based PV system is in possession. Purchasing a sun-based power system (either by paying directly with cash or paying off a solar system loan) gives you full ownership of the system. The sun based power system is owned by a third party if you rent the system or consent to a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).

This difference affects your sun-based power system’s investment, maintenance cost, terms, savings and degree of profitability. Moreover, not all organizations offer solar renting as well as PPA so do well to ensure that your selected supplier offers the financial option which you desire. Note that PPAs are not lawfully allowed in many zones.

It is best for you to acquire a sun-based power system with money or financing a solar loan purchase if you….
  • Need to maximize the budgetary advantage of introducing a sun-based power system, instead of taking advantage of the ecological  benefits of the system alone;
  • Are qualified through bureaucratic venture charge credit to decrease your government and state charge risk;
  • Are business and you can take advantage of tax cuts by regarding the sun-based power system as a depreciable resource;
  • Need to expand your home’s market estimation by introducing a sun-based power system.
Your best solar alternative is to rent or PPA when you…
  • Are basically interested in taking advantage of the ecological benefits of the system as opposed to maximizing the budgetary advantage of introducing a sun-based power system;
  • Need to stay away from the obligations of upkeep or fixes for sun based power system;
  • Are not qualified by investing in a sun-based power system to decrease your government and state charge risk;
  • Cannot wait till the next year for the budgetary advantage of tax credit.
Carefully analyze: Purchasing VS renting solar

There are a lot of distinctions in the cost, upkeep, terms, financial offset opportunities, and investment savings/returns which all depends on your choice of financing.

Cost of solar installation

Solar rent/PPA
  • A sun-based power system can be gotten for little money or even nothing.
  • Only the third party owner of the system can receive incentives, refunds, and tax credits so you won’t eligible for all those.
solar installation cost
Solar loan/purchase with money
  • Before refunds and incentives, the sun-based power system can cost between $15,000 and $30,000.
  • You can get up to a 50% reduction in the total cost of cash purchase. Majority of the solar installers will deal with the administrative work and modify the price tag to reflect the total cost.

Solar Maintenance

Solar loan/purchase with money
  • You are responsible for the upkeep of the system because the system belongs to you. Solar equipment lasts for a long time and often comes with warranties so there is less upkeep for you to do.
  • Your purchase might not include an application to track your system’s framework execution.
Solar rent/PPA
  • The obligations of upkeep are solely by the solar company because they own the system.
  • Most of the time, you get an application that tracks your system’s framework execution.

Terms

Solar loan
  • Loans are commonly accessible for terms of 10 to 20 years at an interest rate of 3% to 8% provided you have a 640 or higher FICO rating.
Solar rent/PPA
  • Solar rent/PPA is commonly for a period of 20 to 25 years after which you can decide to renew the agreement or buy the system directly.

Investment savings/returns

Solar loan/purchase with money
  • Based on your property as well as the incentives in your zone, you can spare up to 40% to 70% on power cost throughout the lifetime of your sun-based power system.
  • You get free electricity throughout the lifetime of your sun-based power system (which usually ranges from 25 to 30 years).
Solar rent/PPA
  • Based on your property as well as the incentives in your zone, you can spare up to 10% to 30% on power cost.

Before making your decisions on whether to purchase or rent your sun based power system, thoroughly analyze your financing options. Make sure you explore all the available financing options before making your decisions. All scenarios are not the same so there a quite a number of factors to consider to determine what is best for you.

Why Go Solar?

Since the introduction of solar power into the modern world, many reasons have been generated in support of the idea. Promoters of the ideas have tried to come up with several reasons why we need to go solar. A benefit of going solar that affects us all is that it protects the environment. Because of the carbon emission that is associated with the other sources of electricity, this tends to affect the environment in certain negative ways. The emissions pollute the air, causing climate change and some other environmental diseases. Climate change has been identified to be the cause of many natural disasters such as tsunamis. This is why people and organizations who are concerned about environmental issues embrace the idea of going solar. The electricity that solar panels give is totally free of emission.

Those who are into real estate use the installation of a solar system in the building they are trying to sell as a means to increase the value of the property. Studies have shown that people tend to buy more quickly and pay more for homes that have solar systems installed in them. Another specific benefit of solar system installation offers is that you have the opportunity to be energy independent. With the use of a solar power system, you begin to provide yourself with electricity totally free from any form of electricity bills. This is the most striking aspect of the “going solar” idea.

solar energy

Because of the fact that solar energy is renewable energy, it makes it possible to independently generate electricity over many years for free. Solar energy is gotten from the sun, and the sun is a free gift of nature. No one will bill you for tapping energy or generating electricity from the sun. You are an independent generator of electricity. This brings us to take a look at this major benefit. Should you consider the option over electricity that is generally provided? Which is more expensive: paying electricity bill of paying the cost for solar system installation?

Electric Costs vs. Solar Costs

In considering if you should go for solar electricity generation for your home, there are two major factors that you need to put into consideration. You need to know:

  1. The cost of solar system installation and
  2. The rate of your electricity utility bill.

The decision to go solar can only make sense if the cost associated with the solar system is less than that of the cost you pay for grid electricity.

For solar energy, the cost of solar panels, which is the major cost you will incur when going solar, has proven over time to come down. The cost of solar panels when it was first discovered is not the same as it is today. In the past, many could not afford to make the purchase because of the high cost involved. Today, solar panels have commercial value as a result of the reduction in cost. Many homes now use solar systems since they can afford it.

For electricity, the cost of grid electricity has over the years fluctuated, rising more times than it has fallen. If it has been this way over the last ten years then its only makes sense to predict that in the years ahead, the cost of electricity will keep rising. Therefore, the idea of going solar is a welcome idea.

Key facts about Electric Costs vs. Solar Costs

  1. The rate of retail electricity has fluctuated over the course of 10 years. Statistics show that it went up more times than it came down. This trend is not likely to change over the years ahead as the cost surrounding the production of retail electricity keeps rising. For example, the cost of natural gas has increased and as it does,  the electricity rate will also increase.
  2. When you install a solar system in your home, the cost of electricity in your home will be totally free.
  3. The solar system pays itself off over the years. It is true that it is costly to install a complete solar system in your home. However, since the system has a lifespan of over 25 years, it will pay itself off in about 5 to 10 years after installation. You know this by calculating how much your electricity bill would have been over those years if your home was without the solar system. Therefore, paying the cost of solar system installation is like paying your electricity bill in advance. If you made the installation with a loan, you would eventually pay off the loan in the lifetime of the solar panel.
  4. You save money in the long run with the solar system. This because the cost of solar installation will not be paid in the entire lifespan of the solar system. You will still have some years left after the solar system has paid itself off.

What should you expect after going solar?

  • Your electricity bill will certainly be reduced or entirely go extinct.
  • You might continue to pay stipends over the years to cover the cost of the solar panel if you financed the installation through loans. This means the freedom might not be immediate but you will eventually get to consume electricity for free. It’s only a matter of time.
  • If electricity pricing rates eventually go down, you may temporarily find yourself paying more than you would have if you stayed with retail electricity. Chances are that the price will eventually go back up. Statistics back it up. You, therefore, have nothing to worry about.

The competition between solar and retail electricity is already concluded. Going solar has been and will continue to be a viable choice.

According to the Latest Reports, The Value of a Home Appreciates because of Solar Panels

According to a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL), the installation of panels for solar power generation can cause a major appreciation in the value of your property. A report titled “Selling into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes”, says that in California, the homes that have panels for solar energy are more expensive than others that do not.

Is value added to a house because of panels for solar?

Panels for solar power increases home value. If you are considering buying a solar power generating system for use in your home, the information found in the LBL study will show you that a reasonable investment is being made. The LBL study discovered that homes in states including California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and Pennsylvania with solar panels enjoy benefits from a ‘solar premium’ if sold as a result of the willingness of buyers to pay extra for homes with solar panels.

solar power home value

What value does solar power add to homes?

Example: A 5 kilowatt (KW) system of solar (the nation’s average) offers power worth 5,000 watts. LBL declares that each solar watt adds approximately $4 to the value of California homes and approximately $3 for a unit watt in other states. Hence, solar homes ought to be sold for approximately ($4 x 5,000W =) $20,000 higher in California or ($3 x 5,000W =) $15,000 higher outside of California.

Potential buyers who consider whether panels for solar power appreciate the value of homes was pleasantly surprised. The amazing thing about the figures is their closeness to what a brand new solar system can be purchased for today.

Our price analysis of a system of solar of 6KW in California shows many of the more costly systems are above $4/W. And be conscious that you would pay for the cost before taking the magnanimous 30% incentive of federal tax which is available

Cheaper power from solar is your optimal investment in California

The feeds state that the distinction between the California premium panels for solar and non-Californian states is ‘not significant by statistics’: Premiums that are lower may be as a result of “estimates of income and net costs that are lower” that are in other states. In other words, non-Californian states premium deals with installation of solar prices and rates of electricity that are lesser instead because the valuation of solar there are lower.

All these imply that if your house is sold quickly after the installation of a system of solar, most or every of your investment will be recouped while money from your bills of power is saved. This is a confirmation of what we have stated earlier: Power from solar system’s periods of payback is not something of excess concern.

Either the value of your home will be significantly increased by your system of solar if you make the decision to sell your house off, or by itself, it would pay off through the savings of power bills, before moving out. In either case, a good investment is solar.

Other fascinating points in the feeds include:
  • The premium for solar for homes that are newly built was a little bit lower than homes that are older, showing that installations of solar that are retrofit are equivalent to systems that are built into the house.
  • Homes with bigger systems have a smaller $/W premium, showing the possibility of an effect which is known as ‘green cache’. As stated in the report, “Purchasers may be desirous to pay a specific amount for owning a PV system of any size on their homes and increment that is more dependent on the system’s size”.
  • The writers propose that homes which opt for solar via leases or programs of PPA should be future research areas; the recent study scrutinize only homes that have systems that are owner-owned.

The Top 10 Solar Panel Manufacturers in the World

The process of harnessing solar energy is not just as straightforward as we have sunlight. This is why a lot of research has gone into the development of this technology. Every penny spent in order to achieve this aim is worth it because, as it has been said, there is no need to spend on renewing the source. Once a system of harnessing the power has been gotten, it remains a fixed asset unto us and we need not spend to keep or maintain the source. It is this knowledge that has made those who spent endless to keep spending and funding the research work. Not until recently when it became clear how solar power can be a source of electricity and how it can be mass produced and consumed in mass. Our doubts have now been cleared. Ongoing projects now focus more on the improvement of solar panels and how solar panels can become more efficient and less costly, this is so that a majority can have and make use of it.  Since solar panels are the major component of the solar power system.

solar powered homes

It has been said that the amount of energy the sun produces in an hour is more than enough to supply the world with power for more than a year. If this is true, why not then harness it? Harnessing solar power is not a new concept. However, there has been a great development in recent years that has helped us put solar energy to more use. The solar system built around the generation of electricity is a recent development. It is an advancement in technology.

Solar panels are the major component of the solar power system. In the early stages of the development of solar panels, the cost of getting one was way over the financial capacity of many, making it almost impossible to fully gain commercial value. However, over the years and with consistent research and adequate funding, the cost of solar panels has drastically reduced. The use of solar panels has now become less costly when compared to a traditional electricity source. As a result, many homes have turned to the use of solar energy as a source of power. This in turn, has given rise to the birth of many companies that manufacture solar panels. East Asia has become the hub for the manufacturing of solar panels. Manufacturers build their production plants in a country like China even if raw materials are sourced from some other places.

Does it matter where solar panels are made?

Should the place where a solar panel is manufactured matter in any way? The answer to this question is simple. To someone who wants to go solar, creating a balance between the cost and quality of the solar panel should matter more than where the panel is produced. In other words, it should matter more to you as a homeowner to go solar with efficient, long-lasting and durable solar panels.

What if I am concerned about the country of solar manufacture?

The country of production is definitely important. We all have what we prefer. You may prefer to purchase products manufactured in your country for patriotic reasons or maybe because you trust products made in your country more and this is good. However, it should not be a compromise on quality and cost. Striking the balance between these two should be of more importance. Some solar companies have their headquarters in the States and their production facility is based in another country. This, however, does not change the company’s product quality. In summary, one thing is certain and remains undisputed: there is little or no interrelationship between a company’s country of manufacture and the company’s product quality, which should be the most important factor in your decision-making process.

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.

A Know-It-All’s Lexicon To Solar Energy – Know What The Pro’s Do!

Some terms that will guide you while using solar energy

Going solar can be made very easy by using tools to calculate your solar saving and comparing quotes of pre-screened solar installers. With all the terminology used in solar energy, shopping for solar can be very confusing. Below is an index of solar energy terminology to help you understand solar terms and comprehend all the available options.

Terms related to Solar Panel.

  • Azimuth: The position your roof faces. We measure azimuth in degrees, the angle between the roof of the house, and the true north is azimuth.
  • Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV): This is also known as a solar shingle. These kinds of solar panels are usually integrated with housing roof tiles instead of placing it on the top of the housing roof.
  • Inverter: This is the part of a solar panel system that changes the electric current into a form which is usable in the home.
  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh): This is the unit for measuring electric current. In 2014, the use of electricity in the average U.S. home was at about 911kWh per month.
  • Off-grid: This is a total disconnection from the electric grid, with no means to connect to utility-generated electricity. Houses that go off grid need to produce most of the electric current on-site.
  • Photovoltaic (PV): A kind of equipment that produces an electric current from sun-lights. Solar panels are photovoltaic equipment.
  • Power rating: This is the theoretical power output that the solar panel produces in its normal conditions. The quality of the solar panel can be rated by the power rating. A lot of solar panels do not have the best possible conditions for more than a few minutes.
  • Solar panel efficiency: It shows how efficiently a solar panel converts sunlight to electric current. The efficiency of most solar panels is about 14-16 percent; the highly rated solar panels are well above 20 percent.
  • Solar-plus-storage: An industrial term used for a solar energy system that involves a battery for storing excess solar energy, unofficially known as solar batteries.
  • Temperature coefficient: This shows how well the solar panel does in high-heat states. High heat does not have a positive effect on the performance of the solar panel just like other electronics.

The Concepts of Solar Pricing and Policy

community solar
  • Community solar: This solar power plant is usually distributed to more than one household, mostly framed as another option to rooftop solar. Also called a solar garden alternatively shared renewable energy plant.
  • Federal investment tax credit (ITC): Normally known as the solar tax credit, the ITC effectively cuts the full price of your solar energy system by 30 percent with a deduction to your federal taxes. It is known as the ultimate monetary incentive for solar in the U.S.
  • Grid Parity: The level at which power produced by solar panels cost less or the same as power from common resources like natural gas. Solar is already a pattern parity in 20 states.
  • Levelized cost of energy (LCOE): This is the cost of each unit of a solar energy system. LCOE is gotten when we divide the out of pocket cost for the system by the calculated total amount of energy the system will create during its lifetime.
  • Net metering: The excess electric current generated by a solar panel is credited to you, then whenever the solar panels do not generate sufficient electricity to meet up the rate of your use. With the net metering, you can efficiently use the electric grid to “save” excess electric current for future use.
  • Property-Accessed Clean Energy (PACE): A unique kind of loan that is paid back through a yearly assessment on your tax belongings bill. PACE financing could be used to connect a solar PV system, alongside other pure energy improvements.
  • Payback period: This is the period of time it takes to pay for the solar energy investment. Seven years is the average time most homeowners are given to pay for the solar investment in the U.S.
  • Performance-based incentive (PBI): This is a monetary reward for solar that pays the homeowner based on the rate of energy generated by the solar system. It is paid based on the rate of electric current produced per kilowatt per hour. A type of PBI is known as the feed-in tariffs.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA): A binding agreement with the solar company to connect the solar energy to the rooftop of your house, with this solar contract (PPA) you will be paying the solar company per kilowatt-hour amount for the electricity generated by the solar panels.
  • Solar lease: A signed contract by you and the solar company to install the solar panel on the roof. Using a solar lease, when you agree to the contract, you agree to pay a monthly fee to rent the system in exchange for the electric current the solar system gives out.
  • Solar lease escalator: A part of a contract of most leases and PPAs that result in increment or raise in payment rates by a fixed amount per year. A common escalator is 2.9 percent.
  • Solar loan: A credit given by the bank, credit union, or special providers of finance to cover the expenses of buying a solar PV system.
  • Solar renewable energy credit (SREC): SREC is generated alongside every element (unit) of electric current that the solar panel system produces. SREC is sold for more income in some states.
  • Third-party owner (TPO): This lease or PPA, a solar company which is the owner of the solar system. By signing the solar lease or PPA, you agree with the third party owner.
  • Helpful tips to learn more about solar energy terminology and help you understand solar terms and comprehend all the available options.

How Solar Panel Generate Electricity

    Have you ever wondered how solar panels made of glass placed on your roof generate electrical and heat energy from the rays of the sun? It’s a pretty long process that I will attempt to simplify in this write-up.

     Solar power is used all over the world for energy generation. Over one million homes have a solar system in the U.S. and many more millions all over the world use it, especially in countries where electric supply is still epileptic. Solar energy endeared itself to many environmentalists because it produces a safe, clean and renewable source of energy.

pv system

The Photovoltaic Effect

    A solar system consists of a silicon cell, a metal frame, a glass casing, and wires for current flow. The mechanism of power generation can be explained using the photovoltaic effect.

  1. The silicon cells are photovoltaic in nature; they absorb the radiation from the sun.
  2. The radiation from the sun sets off a series of chemical reactions in which electrons gain momentum and begin to move.
  3. The movement of the electrons leads to energy generation which is captured and transported by the wires in the panel.
  4. The electric current is supplied to the inverter as direct current (DC) and later converted to alternating current (AC) by the inverter.
  5. The electrical energy generated is fed into the electric grid.

    The solar panel comes with a gas casing which protects the silicon cells and gives durability. Under the glass casing is a protective sheet. This sheet increases the durability of the silicon cells and also protects it from humidity and heat which can greatly affect the productivity of the panel. Solar panels have an anti-reflective coating which prevents sun rays from being reflected. This helps to increase the day absorption of the panel.

    The silicon cell is either monocrystalline or polycrystalline. Monocrystalline allows for better electron mobility even though polycrystalline is much more expensive.

Solar panel system and the grid connection

    Your home has a utility meter which measures the amount of electricity consumed in your household. Your solar system can also be connected to this meter and, the energy generated from the solar panel system can be effectively measured by the utility meter. Some homes have a net metering system. This system transfers excess energy produced by your solar power system to the grid in exchange for electricity when your solar power is under producing due to little or no sunshine.

When shopping for your solar panel:
  1. Be sure to explore all of your options. Ask for quotes and cost estimates from as many companies as possible. Pick the most pocket-friendly one.
  2. Smaller companies mostly offer cheaper rates than a large conglomerate. Do not be fixated on patronizing the big names. The small companies may be able to offer quality products at a more affordable rate.

Shopping for your solar panel system can be a bit taxing. Take your time, consider your options, and ask for a solar quotation from different sources. You can also approach your neighbors or friends who have solar panel systems installed to ask for their opinion and reviews.