The facts on solar power panels
Whether you're drawn to solar energy because of its potential for cost savings or because you're trying to live a greener, more sustainable life, you'll be happy to learn that solar panels are more affordable than ever before. It is recommended that you seek professional installation of residential solar panels, but it's also possible to install home solar panels yourself if you're handy with tools. This will help you trim down the cost of implementing solar power panels, which can be high initially. Eventually, solar panels will help you cut down dramatically on your energy consumption and home power bills.
Types of Solar Power Panels
There are several different types of solar panels, which are classified by the type of technology they use to convert light into electricity:
- Monocrystalline solar panels. This type of solar energy panel takes the form of a large, flat sheet and consists of a single, large solar cell that encompasses its entire surface area.
- Polycrystalline solar panels. As you'd expect, polycrystalline solar panels are made up of multiple smaller cells. They are not as efficient as their monocrystalline counterparts, but tend to be less expensive.
- Thin film solar panels. Like crystalline solar panels, these cells contain silicates which convert light to energy but do not have any kind of crystalline structure. Instead, they are manufactured as thin strips of film which can be placed atop just about any type of building material. They are inexpensive and durable.
- PV solar panels. Photovoltaic or PV solar panels are a specially classified subtype, as they require only light (and not necessarily sunlight) to create usable energy.
You can also get specific products which are powered by solar energy; solar hot water heaters and solar-powered pool products, like water pumps, heaters and pool covers, are the most common examples.
Installing Solar Energy Panels
While it is possible to mount solar energy panels on the ground, rooftop installation is recommended in most cases. It is common for solar panels to be placed on the roof facing a southerly or southwesterly direction, as this orientation has the greatest potential to capture the largest amount of sunlight.
If you have an older home, it is very important that you make sure your roof is structurally solid enough to handle solar panels before you attempt to install them. Make any and all necessary structural repairs in advance of any installation, or you may risk voiding your solar panels' warranty and losing your investment if something goes wrong.