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Solar energy is a good alternative to replace fossil fuel as the major energy source because solar power is renewable at absolutely no cost to supply energy infinitely. The world pollution is getting worse. Any effort that can reduce the pollution to the environment helps to save the earth.
1. Solar Power Is Good for the Environment
The most commonly known fact about solar energy is that it represents a clean, green source of energy. Solar power is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. There’s nothing about solar power that pollutes mother nature. Solar power doesn’t release any greenhouse gasses, and except for needing a source of clean water to function, it uses absolutely no other resources. Hence, it’s safe and environmentally-friendly.
Solar power is self-sufficient and installing solar panels on your roof is a safe and easy path to contribute to a sustainable future. Starting in your home is a great way to show you care about the environment.
2. Solar Electricity Makes Your Home Go Off-the-Grid
Solar electricity prices serve as a great example of why there should be an increase in the use of solar energy. Traditional electricity relies heavily on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Not only are they bad for the environment, but they are also limited resources. This translates into a volatile market, in which energy prices alter throughout the day.
Solar electricity boosts your electricity independence! By investing in solar power systems you can easily protect yourself against unpredictable increases in utility prices, and enjoy cheap electricity throughout the entire day – the sun will never increase its rates and it gives you energy security. Once you have solar panels up on your roof, you’ve technically reached an energy-independent status. Solar battery storage systems can also help store electricity for nighttime and rainy days.
3. Solar Power Can Use Underutilized Land
You may continue to wonder why solar power. With the increasing need for solar energy, it’s become easily accessible to most of us. Across countries, there are vast land that is far away from big cities or capitals and is not used for anything at all. With solar power, we can actually make use of the land and subsequently generate great value; solar energy provides a source of power for everyone. In this way, we don’t need to use high priced land that might be better suited for other applications. You might have heard of solar farms – panels used to harvest solar energy in large numbers. This highlights perfectly how solar power makes use of underutilized land. For instance, a 45-acre solar farm has been recently built in the UK, and it’s able to power 2,500 homes.
4. Solar Power Causes Less Electricity Loss
Electricity needs to be transported from big power plants to end-consumers via extensive networks. Long-distance transmissions equal power losses. Ever wondered what are solar panels used for? They’re on your roof to get energy from the sun. Rooftop solar power is helpful in increasing electricity efficiency, considering the short distance. Your energy becomes domestic and as a result, you’re in control of your own bills and energy usage. Furthermore, solar power systems are durable, thus chances of service interruption are reduced.
5. Solar Power Improves Grid Security
When there are many of us switching to solar power, we are less likely to experience blackouts or brownouts. Every household in the UK that has solar cells installed, functions as a small power plant. This, in turn, provides us with greater electricity grid security, especially in terms of natural or human-caused disasters.
6. Solar Power Creates Jobs and Economic Growth
Our national economy can be helped by solar power. The more people who opt for solar, the more needs will be for companies to install solar panels. This creates additional jobs for skilled workers and consequently keeps the economy growing. In 2015, for instance, the UK became the second-largest solar employer, with 35,000 people, and the continent’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) panel installation market.
7. Solar Power Is A Free Source of Energy
The sun provides us with more energy than we could ever use, and no one can monopolize the sunlight. Your solar power system will start saving money from the moment it’s turned on, however, the advantages of solar power are best visible in the long-term. The longer you have your solar power system, the more you enjoy the benefits of solar technology and support the environment.
Aside from solar electricity, solar energy has a second application. We often associate solar energy with electricity, which is acquired through PV panels, but it’s also possible to use the energy generated by the sun for heating purposes. This process is accomplished by deploying solar thermal systems that simply convert the sunlight into heating solutions.
The acceptance of solar technology is at hand and we can start by increasing our use of solar panels.
There are 3 types of technology utilized in the solar panels available on the market today, these are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film amorphous.
As the names suggest Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline are both types of solar cells that are made from crystalline silicon. Almost all quotes you will get when considering buying solar panels for your home will use crystalline solar panels.
2-3 years ago the most common type of solar panel used in residential solar installations anywhere in the world were monocrystalline solar panels however in the last three years polycrystalline solar panels have become the most commonly used solar panels in residential solar installations in worldwide.
These types of crystalline silicon solar panels are known in the industry as simply ‘Mono’ or ‘Poly’ panels.
When it comes to solar energy pros and cons, we’ve heard it all: It’s for hippies, it’s too expensive or it doesn’t work. Yet more solar energy systems are being installed on homes and businesses than ever. We explain some FAQs about the pros and cons of solar energy.
Advantages of Solar Energy
1. Solar is a proven technology.
The history of photovoltaic solar power began with scientific experimentation during the late 1800s. The first PV silicon cell capable of converting the sun’s energy into power that could run electrical equipment was introduced in 1954, and by 1983, worldwide PV production exceeded 21 megawatts. Currently there are 47.1 gigawatts of total solar capacity installed nationwide, so it’s safe to say solar is a proven technology and that its adoption as a source of clean energy will continue.
2. Solar works in many climates.
Many people believe that solar won’t work in colder climates. That’s not true. Solar panels actually work more efficiently in colder temperatures because excessive heat can reduce output voltage. While more hours of direct sun exposure will indeed help a solar system generate more electricity, modern panels are quite efficient and can still generate energy in low light situations. Someone living in Seattle, for example, just may need a somewhat larger solar array to get the same results as someone in Southern California. Bottom line: Solar works anywhere there is daylight. (For more, read How Solar Energy Works.)
3. Solar is more affordable than ever.
The price of a solar system has dropped significantly. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the cost dropped 9 percent, and prices continue to decline. In many markets worldwide, solar power is less expensive than conventional energy. There are a variety of financial incentives available, such as tax rebates and state policies, that help make going solar affordable for more families and businesses. There are also a variety of solar financing options, from no-money-down leasing2 to home improvement loans that make solar more affordable. With us, you can buy, lease or finance a solar power system. Businesses, schools and government entities may also qualify to use federal investment tax credits or accelerated depreciation for commercial solar panels.
4. Solar energy benefits the whole electricity grid.
Around the world, excess solar energy can be used by the conventional utility grid, reducing the burden on the whole, and, depending on local policies, the solar owner may even be compensated for that contribution via, for example, feed-in tariffs in some international markets such as Japan and parts of Europe. In most U.S. states, there are net metering policies. Net metering is a billing strategy that essentially pays solar users for their surplus electricity by giving them credit against their use of the electrical grid at night. (For more, read about net metering here.)
5. Solar panels have a long lifespan.
Solar panels are quite durable and can withstand even harsh weather conditions, including the impact of hail up to one inch in diameter. Only 1-in-20,000 of a Top Brand’s panels are ever returned.
6. Solar panels can increase home values.
One of the advantages of solar energy is that the addition of PV panels generally increases home values. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory analyzed about 22,000 home sales, almost 4,000 of which use PV solar systems in eight states. It found that a typical PV system added about $15,000 in value.
7. Solar is a nonpartisan energy source.
Solar isn’t just for hippies. It is being embraced by people across the entire sociopolitical spectrum. Homeowners covering all demographics; Fortune 500 and oil companies; and governments and schools across the world continue to install solar energy systems. Mainstream banks are financing solar. Progressive solar policies have been driven at the state level by Republicans and Democrats alike. The environmental benefits of solar power are undeniable, but it’s being embraced widely because it makes good financial sense.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
1. Solar doesn’t work at night.
Some people interested in solar might wonder if, by going solar, they can live completely off the grid. This isn’t realistic in most applications of solar technology. While many solar companies , are investing in home battery storage solutions, the batteries are not quite yet a widespread option for most homeowners. Solar energy is mostly used in real time, with any excess delivered back to the conventional utility grid. Solar households rely on utility grids for power at night and in other situations where sunlight is limited. However, for commercial solar users such as schools, government facilities and businesses, this is less of a limitation thanks to solar + storage solutions.
2. Solar panels are not attractive.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but today’s solar panels are generally sleek, compact and fit snugly against the roof. With its minimalist design, we’ve eliminated unnecessary hardware and utility boxes on exterior walls. The inverter box is hidden behind each panel, which looks more attractive AND maximizes the amount of power your system can generate.
3. You can’t install a home solar system yourself.
While you might think that not being able to install solar yourself is a disadvantage, letting the experts handle it turns going solar into a very simple process. Professional solar installers have expertise designing solar systems for homes and businesses, ensuring the system captures the maximum amount of sunlight available and saves you the most money on your electric bill. Someone with electrical experience needs to handle the wiring which is not a problem as we have an Electrician on our staff that will issue a C.O.C for the installation.
4. My roof isn’t right for solar.
It’s true that solar won’t work on every building, depending on shading and roof orientation. To make the most out of your solar system, it helps to have plenty of roof space that gets a lot of sunshine. But solar companies are used to working with these issues, and you’ll find out in your free consultation how a solar system will best fit on your property. It’s worth noting that because there are solar panels on the market that are the most efficient you can buy, you need fewer of them on your roof, so you can generate more energy in a smaller space. That high efficiency also means our panels are better at generating more energy in low-light situations, such as shading, so if your roof isn’t fully in the sunlight, your system will still be making electricity.
5. Solar hurts the environment.
Solar panels are a manufactured product, and — as with any building processes — there is an environmental impact, from the chemicals used to make the panels to the transportation and beyond. However, solar is one of the least-polluting forms of energy generation available. We raise the bar for environmental and social sustainability through our “Beneficial by Design” philosophy that aims to be a regenerative force on the environment and society.
5. Not all solar panels are high quality.
It’s true there are a wide variety of panels on the market with varying levels of efficiency, durability, reliability, output and design. We strongly recommend that you do some research before selecting panels for your home or business, considering the impact of each of these factors on your system’s output and the long-term cost savings you can expect. It’s worth it to invest in top-quality solar panels. After all, what other technology around your home or business do you expect to still be working for you three decades from now? We’re so confident in our panel quality that we offer a best-in-industry 25-year Power and Product Warranty for home or commercial use.
Determining how many solar panels you’ll need for your home means first knowing what your goals are. Do you want to minimize your carbon footprint? Maximize your return on your investment? Save as much money as possible? Most people want to save money while minimizing their environmental impact.
To calculate how many solar panels you need, you need to know the following: how much energy your household uses; your roof’s usable surface area; the climate and peak sunlight in your area; the wattage and relative efficiency of the photovoltaic (PV) panels you’re considering; and whether net metering is available.
One simple way of answering the “How many solar panels do I need” question is to consult a professional solar installer, who can give you a free home solar evaluation.
To determine your home’s average energy requirements look at past utility bills. You can calculate how many solar panels you need by multiplying your household’s hourly energy requirement by the peak sunlight hours for your area and dividing that by a panel’s wattage. Use a low-wattage (150W) and high-wattage (370W) example to establish a range (ex: 17-42 panels to generate 11,000 kWh/year). Note that how much sunlight your roof gets and factors such as roof size and battery storage will figure in as well.
If you work with us, our solar experts will handle all these calculations for you. But to give you some idea of how many solar panels are needed for the average home (or for your home in particular), here is a sample set of questions that a solar professional might use to figure it out:
Look at your electricity bill for average usage. Look for “Kilowatt Hours (or kWh) Used” or something similar, and then note the time period represented (usually 30 days). If your bill doesn’t show kilowatt hours used, look for beginning and ending meter readings and subtract the previous reading from the most recent one.
You want daily and hourly usage for our calculations, though, so if your bill doesn’t show a daily average, just divide the monthly or annual average by 30 or 365 days, respectively, and then divide again by 24 to determine your hourly average electricity usage. Your answer will be in kilowatt-hours (kWh). (And just in case you are wondering, a kilowatt-hour is how much power you are using at any given time multiplied by the total time the power is being used.)
A small home in a temperate climate might use something like 200 kwh per month, and a larger home in the south where air conditioners account for the largest portion of home energy usage might use 2,000 kWh or more. The average U.S. home uses about 900 kWh per month. So that’s 30 kWh per day or 1.25 kWh per hour.
Your average daily energy usage is your target daily average for to calculate your solar needs. That’s the number of kilowatt-hours you need your solar system to produce if you want to cover 100 percent of your energy needs.
It’s important to note that solar panels don’t operate at maximum efficiency at all times. (See Solar 101: How Does Solar Energy Work?). Weather conditions, for example, can temporarily reduce your system’s efficiency. Therefore, experts recommend adding a 25 percent “cushion” to your target daily average to ensure you can generate all the clean energy you need.
The peak sunlight hours for your particular location will have a direct impact on the energy you can expect your home solar system to produce. For example, if you live in Phoenix you can expect to have a greater number of peak sunlight hours than if you lived in Seattle. That doesn’t mean a Seattle homeowner can’t go solar; it just means the homeowner would need more panels.
The Renewable Resource Data Center provides sunlight information by state and for major cities.
Now multiply your hourly usage (see question No. 1) by 1,000 to convert your hourly power generation need to watts. Divide your average hourly wattage requirement by the number of daily peak sunlight hours for your area. This gives you the amount of energy your panels need to produce every hour. So the average U.S. home (900 kWh/month) in an area that gets five peak sunlight hours per day would need 6,250 watts.
Here’s where solar panel quality makes a difference. Not all solar panels are alike. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels (most commonly used in residential installations) come in wattages ranging from about 150 watts to 370 watts per panel, depending on the panel size and efficiency (how well a panel is able to convert sunlight into energy), and on the cell technology.
For example, solar cells with no grid lines on the front (like Maxeon cells from SunPower) absorb more sunlight than conventional cells and do not suffer from issues such as delamination (peeling). The construction of our cells make them stronger and more resistant to cracking or corrosion. And a microinverter on each panel can optimize power conversion at the source, in contrast to one large inverter mounted on the side of the house.
Because of these wide variations in quality and efficiency, it’s difficult to make generalizations about which solar panels are right for you or how many you’ll need for your home. The main takeaway is that, the more efficient the panels are, the more wattage they can produce, and the fewer you will need on your roof to get the same energy output. Conventional solar panels usually produce about 250 watts per panel, with varying levels of efficiency. In contrast, where SunPower panels are known to be the most efficient solar panels on the market which is why they are our preferred brand.
To figure out how many solar panels you need, divide your home’s hourly wattage requirement (see question No. 3) by the solar panels’ wattage to calculate the total number of panels you need.
So the average home would need about 25 conventional (250W) solar panels or 17 (370W) panels.
If you have a small or unusually shaped roof, solar panel size and numbers are important considerations. With a large usable roof area, perhaps you can sacrifice some efficiency and buy more larger panels (at a lower cost per panel) to get to your target energy output. But if your usable roof area is limited, or if it’s partially shaded, being able to use fewer smaller high efficiency panels may be the best way to make the most possible power over the long term, ultimately saving you more money.
Typical residential solar panel dimensions today are about 1,995 mm x 992mm x 40mm with some variation among manufacturers.
These dimensions have remained more or less unchanged for decades, but the efficiency and output from that same footprint have changed dramatically for the better.
Knowing the answers to the above questions will give you an idea of the ideal number of panels for your electricity generation needs — or at least a realistic range. Next, a professional installer needs to assess your roof architecture, angle to the sun and other factors to see if and how you’d be able to physically arrange the right number of panels on your roof to achieve your daily energy production goals.
You should also consider net metering as you’re considering figuring out your ROI for your solar system. Net metering is how your utility company credits you for producing excess solar energy when the sun is shining and then lets you draw from those credits when you’re using conventional power grid at night, if you don’t have a solar battery storage system.
It’s important to understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to estimating the cost of installing a home solar system. Solar panel installation cost depends on multiple factors, including:
Also, remember that the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” applies to home solar. Not all solar systems are alike. The durability, reliability and efficiency of solar panels can vary widely. We supply panels that are guaranteed to last and to produce a certain amount of power for 25 years with a Complete Confidence Warranty.
Industry measurements such as the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems’ PV Durability Initiative can give you a better idea of the expected solar panel lifespan – a factor that can have a tremendous impact on the system’s lifetime value.
Yes, it’s possible to buy a single solar panel for as little as R1500, but a solar panel does not operate in isolation. You need a system of hardware and software to generate electricity from the sun, including solar panels, mounting hardware, wires and cables, an inverter and monitoring software. And you need to consider the cost of installation and operation.
Once you get an estimate for the cost of your solar power system, you should subtract what you’ll save on your utility bill over time and any incentives offered by your local or state governments. Then you’ll have a better understanding of how going solar will impact your finances.
While the highest quality panels may cost more, the superior efficiencyand durability panels can provide increased savings over time and lower maintenance costs.