Introduction to Solar panels:

When photons hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, it forms an electrical circuit. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they generate Electricity. Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels (modules) can be wired together to form a solar array. The more panels you can deploy, the more energy you can expect to generate.

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What are Solar Panels Made of?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made up of many solar cells. Solar cells are made of silicon, like semiconductors. They are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer, which together create an electric field, just like in a battery.

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

PV solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity. With DC electricity, electrons flow in one direction around a circuit. This example shows a battery powering a light bulb. The electrons move from the negative side of the battery, through the lamp, and return to the positive side of the battery. With AC (alternating current) electricity, electrons are pushed and pulled, periodically reversing direction, much like the cylinder of a car’s engine. Generators create AC electricity when a coil of wire is spun next to a magnet. Many different energy sources can “turn the handle” of this generator, such as gas or diesel fuel, hydroelectricity, nuclear, coal, wind, or solar.
AC electricity was chosen for the U.S. electrical power grid, primarily because it is less expensive to transmit over long distances. However, solar panels create DC electricity. How do we get DC electricity into the AC grid? We use an inverter.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when installing solar panels.

  • First, solar panels should be installed in an area that receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day.
  • Second, the panels should be installed at an angle that will maximize the amount of sunlight they receive.
  • Third, the panels should be installed in a way that will allow for easy maintenance and cleaning.

Benefits of Solar Panels:

  • Start Saving Money with Solar Sooner:

As soon as your solar system is turned on, you start generating electricity from the sun, which can lower your electricity bill. And while there are a number of factors that can influence your savings, such as location, shade, system size, utility rates, weather and local policies, the overarching principle is the same: The more solar energy you produce, the less electricity you have to buy from the utility company. So by installing your solar system today, you’re saving money now. Those are savings you wouldn’t see if you were still waiting.

  • Take Advantage of Lower Prices on Solar Panels

It’s 100 times cheaper to install solar panels today than it was in the mid-1970s, and according to GTM Research, utility-scale solar has seen the sharpest declines recently with a 17 percent drop, while residential solar prices have fallen by 8.6 percent. You may be asking yourself, “If solar prices keep falling, shouldn’t I wait for even lower prices?” You could, but consider this.

If a solar system in your area costs $17,000 today you could save $1,462 by putting off solar for another year, assuming current cost declines continue. However, you will delay the immediate solar energy benefits, known as “opportunity cost.” Let’s say you have a $200 per month energy bill— that’s $2,400 a year in expenses that solar could eliminate (depending on system size and available roof space). Paying $2,400 for electricity this year to save $1,462 next year puts the cost of waiting at almost $1,000. And when you factor in the time value of money concept, along with a potential utility rate hike, waiting makes even less sense.

  • Protect Yourself From Electric Rate Hikes with Solar

Although last year’s energy prices were stable, long-term trends show that electricity prices rise about 2 percent annually and are predicted to start increasing again this year. That means if your electricity bill is $2,400 a year, you’re looking at $2,448 the next year, $2,496 the next and so on. SunPower® solar systems have an expected lifespan of 40 years,1 so getting one now means you’ve locked in your electricity costs and could potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of your system.

  • Increase Your Home Value

Buying a solar system typically adds value to your house, often with no corresponding increase in property taxes. One recent study showed that a typical solar system could increase a home’s value., depending on system size and location2. Assuming a $17,000 sales price, you could possibly recoup 100% of your initial investment in home value alone. You could even use your low- er monthly electric bill (or lack of one altogether) as a selling tool, assuming you own the system versus lease.

  • Take Advantage of Federal Tax Credits

The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a federal tax credit for qualified taxpayers who purchase solar energy systems for residential or commercial properties. The credit, which is applied to a home or business owner’s federal income tax, is equal to a percentage of the cost of eligible equipment.3 For the next two years, until 2019, solar buyers can write off 30 percent of the cost of their new solar system, which is a major benefit of solar energy. Starting in 2020, the tax credit decreases to 26 percent, reaching just 10 percent in 2021. Homeowners can also take advantage of state and local incentives for solar power, which are good but can change over time.

  • Shrink your Carbon Footprint

Did you know more than 6 million deaths a year are attributed to air pollution, according to a recent New York Times report? That’s one reason countries worldwide are making unprecedented efforts to cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, in part by reducing their reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity. Solar is one great way to help accomplish this.

According to the EPA website, an 8.6kW home solar system avoids the equivalent of an estimated 9,606 pounds of carbon dioxide being released into the air each year, doing the work of approximately 50 mature trees. If your entire neighbourhood went.

Types of Solar Panels

Almost all home solar panels are made using crystalline silicon. You might be familiar with silicon because it’s used inside the microprocessors of computers, cell phones and other electronics. Silicon conducts electricity, which makes it perfect for these devices and for solar panels. There are two types of solar panels: monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline panels. The main difference is the purity of the silicon. Mono-crystalline silicon is made from a single crystal, and polycrystalline panels are made by melting silicon fragments together. In monocrystalline panels, the electrons have more room to move around, thus are “more efficient” or better at turning sunlight into electricity.

Monocrystalline has the highest efficiency ratings among panels available to homeowners today, from 15 to more than 22 percent. SunPow- er produces the highest efficiency monocrystalline solar panels. Our X22 has a record-breaking efficiency of up to 22.8 percent, making it the best-performing panel available on the market today.1 Polycrystalline panel efficiency typically ranges from 15 to 17 percent.

Solar Installation Process:

  1. Obtain Utility bill and Size the System

The energy expert will ask you a series of general questions about your home. This often includes questions about your utility, the amount of your monthly electric bills, the age of your roof, the angle of your roof (flat or pitched) and the type of roof, such as shingles, tiles or clay. In addition to giving you an estimate, your installer will often provide solar financing options and educate you about any local and federal incentives for which you may qualify, such as the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit.

  1. The Home and Site Evaluation

In the design phase, the solar installer will evaluate your home to determine the best solar panels, inverter, racking and other components. SunPower dealers often recommend our SunPower Equinox™ platform, an integrated solar system that combines SunPower® solar panels, micro-inverters and other components all covered under SunPower’s industry-leading Combined Power and Product Warranty. Other installers will design systems with components that may come from several different manufacturers, all with different warranty terms and services.

  1. Design and Permitting Phase

Once all of the information and measurements have been gathered in Step 2, the solar installer will create a solar engineering and site design plan. The plan will include the number of panels and where they’ll be placed on your roof, the wiring of the system and how it will be interconnected with the utility. The design plan should also ensure compliance with local fire safety requirements. The installer will then submit these plans to your city/county permitting departments and to your utility company

  1. Solar Installation

the actual installation is the easiest part of going solar. You might need to be present when the installers arrive so you can give them access to your roof and to the electrical system of your home. If you have pets, make sure they’re safely secured. If you’re interested in watching, your installer will let you and your family know where to see all the action — and there will be action. These days, typical solar installations can be completed as quickly as one to three days, depending on the size of your system. After the solar panels are attached to the roof and the related electrical and monitoring equipment is mounted, the installer will clean up the work area and begin the last phase.

  1. Inspection and Interconnection

The city and/or county inspector will visit to make sure that your installation was completed as planned in the granted permit. The inspection process can vary widely and can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on where you live.

The utility will inspect and sign off on the installation before it’s officially connected to the grid. Once again, this interconnection waiting period can take days or weeks, and as with permitting, the regionally based installers may be able to navigate through the system more efficiently and keep you personally informed about how things are progressing. After all city, county and utility approvals are obtained, your installer will be ready to flip the switch, and you can have the thrill of seeing your meter spin backwards and/or your electricity bill decline as you generate your own clean energy.