How Do Solar Panels Work? What to Know Before You Buy

Did you know that the average American consumes 887 kWh of electricity each month?

If you want to lower your utility bills, installing solar panels for home use is a good solution. But how do solar panels work? This question often makes it difficult for you to see whether solar energy is a great solution for your energy needs.

Don’t pass on solar energy yet.

With our in-depth guide below, you’ll learn everything about solar panels. This should help you decide whether this investment works best for your home:

How Do Solar Panels Work?

At its core, a solar panel is a big sheet of glass fitting over a metal frame. It has this wiring patch running through your home’s main electrical panel. But what you don’t see is what matters more since each panel has layers of silicon cells.

Silicon is a chemical element with great conductive properties. That’s why when sunlight hits the roof-mounted panels, the silicon cells will react. They do so by making a flow of electrons, captured by the pathway of wires from the panel to your home.

Through inverters, the energy becomes alternating current (AC) from direct current (DC). Each light switch and outlet run using the former. This process is the photovoltaic effect.

Also, solar panels get tied to your utility meter. It’s important since it allows you to monitor your home’s solar panel energy production. The more energy it produces, the less power from the grid your house uses.

Different Solar Panel Types

Solar power became more accessible, with American installations growing 35 times more compared to 2008. With 62.5 gigawatts of power produced from solar energy, it’s enough to power 12 million households. Here are some types of solar panels you must consider:

1- Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline

The former has multiple rows and columns of silicon wafers placed within a single solar panel’s casing. Solar manufacturers cut the silicon from a single crystalline when making mono-engineered panels. It’s what makes them the most powerful and energy-efficient for homes.

Mono-panels have uncut silicon, giving them this solid black appearance because of sunlight interaction.

Meanwhile, polycrystalline panels save production costs, meaning it’s cheaper for consumers. Manufacturers melt multiple silicon crystal fragments to make a single mold, cutting multiple rows and columns and arranged within the glass casing.

2- Thin-Film

Thin-film panels are the cheapest option for solar energy installation and production. It’s aesthetically pleasing since it offers the thinnest panel designs. It’s possible because of the smaller silicon wafers used compared to their mono- and poly-panel counterparts.

Thin-film panels are cheaper for a reason, despite their aesthetic versatility. Their power production is much lower compared to other panel types. Regardless, these panels appear either black or blue, reflecting the material used in production.

Take note, you must pay attention to the type of casing it uses. It’s because this can make it as big as a mono-panel. This defeats its versatility since it remains unwieldy.

Purchasing Tips for Solar Panels

To get the best solar panels, you must think about some factors that affect your purchase. If you aren’t sure what to do, you can always ask a solar company to do some work for you. Here are some things you must know:

1- Think About Your Electric Bill

If you spend more on your household electricity, you benefit most if you use solar technology. Getting a high electric bill is the result of various factors, but your high energy demand is the main factor. If your family runs appliances a lot, it’s likely going to show in your bill.

It makes a lot of sense if your household is heavy on energy to invest in solar technology. In most situations, your solar panels will make enough energy to offset your energy requirements. This makes your electric bill become a credit statement.

This phenomenon is “net metering.” It’s a normal incentive most grid agreements allow, enabling you to sell back your unnecessary solar energy to the grid. It’s the perfect benefit during the summer months since you get more days of sunshine.

2- Consider Between Owning Panels and Renting or Leasing

If you can afford to pay the upfront costs of your panels, do so. As a homeowner, it takes 4-5 years to break into the green if you don’t opt for solar leasing. Regardless, this ensures you’ll never pay any electricity bills in the future.

It’s the ultimate homeowner’s dream, but not everyone can afford the initial price. After all, even the most basic panel packages will cost over $15,000. If you can’t do this, leasing is always a viable alternative.

It works like a home or car loan, allowing you to pay for panels over a specific duration. It’s great since you can get into net metering as soon as possible. That way, you won’t be on the brink of financial ruin.

Most solar brands also take burdens off homeowners with maintenance. Often, they will check your system regularly as per your lease agreement. That’s why renting isn’t the best choice since you’ll never own the panels no matter how long you possess them.

With solar panel rents, your only benefit is to save money. That could be enough if that’s your prime objective. But in the long run, your property won’t even increase in value.

3- Know the Incentives and Estimates

Are you still on the fence about how to finance your solar system? If so, check with your state and town since they might offer rebates for residential solar panel installation. Some localized incentives make it possible to get up to a 50% discount on your solar package.

Get a Solar Panel System Today!

How do solar panels work? We hope this guide provides all the answers you seek regarding solar power. That way, you can decide whether this system can lead you to save more money.

Did this guide help you decide whether or not it’s time to go solar? If so, read our other posts and learn more valuable tips and tricks today to cut down your electricity expenses and go green!

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