Are you thinking about installing solar panels on your house? There is no doubt that solar panels are a good investment because they not only save you money but they also increase your property value. And don’t forget than when you add solar panels to your home you are also helping the environment, too.
Let’s take a moment and discuss what these panels do and just how solar panels work.
First off what do solar panels do? Solar panels are designed to convert sunlight into electricity –– and they are able to do this with no moving parts and without creating any type of emission. And the best part is that the sun’s light is 100% free!
Solar panels are a collection of cells made of silicon. These cells are wafer like and when the light particles from the sun (called photons) hit them an electrical current is produced. A typical solar panel is about 25 inches by 54 inches and contains 36 cells that are wired in series called a module.
Each solar cell can produce about 0.4 to 1.8 volts of electricity. Manufacturers have become very adroit at hooking cells together into modules that can produce pretty much any voltage they want. It is common for homes to use panels that produce 12 volts per panel.
Because 12 volts is obviously not adequate to handle your home’s electrical needs, multiple panels may are used to increase the capacity — thus creating more power. As a result solar power can be used in 24 and 48 voltage systems — or even higher.
To better understand how solar panels work, we should look at the three major types of panels that are on the market today.
The most efficient type of solar panel is also the most expensive — the Mono crystalline photovoltaic panel. These panels are constructed of a series of single cells which creates the most dependable and efficient way to convert the sun’s light into electricity. You can generally identify Mono crystalline panels by their black or dark blue color.
The next type of solar panel is called the Multicrystalline panel.
These Multicrystalline panels are less efficient than their single crystal brothers, but may still produce the same wattage. Why? Because the cells are rectangular. As a result, the panels don’t have all the gaps the Mono crystalline panels have — gaps caused by the round or octagonal shaped single cells. The Multicrystalline panels can usually be identified by a shattered glass appearance.
The third type of panel is known as the Amorphous panel. These panels are made by depositing a very thin layer of silicon on glass or metal. The Amorphous panels are considerably less expensive but also produce less energy per square foot than the other two types of panels. These panels are sometimes designed in such a way that they resemble long sheets of roofing material. They are often used to cover wide areas of roofs facing south.
Now that you understand a little bit about how solar panels work, you might be wondering if they are expensive. Prices can vary greatly, and you really need to spend a little time shopping online. Many people, once they learn how solar panels work, have even found that it is fairly simple and inexpensive to build their own solar panels!