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Solar Panels Guide

Interested in learning all about solar panels? We answer your biggest questions here to teach you all you need to know.

Solar panels are technology which have been around for a long time now. They are very easy to work with, but there are some people who have never had solar panels, and have only heard of them.

Let’s take a look at some of your most common questions about solar panels, including how they work, what they do, where to use them, and how to keep them looking fresh and new. If you’re new to solar panels, then this is the guide for you.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

How Do Solar Panels Work

So, when it comes to how solar panels work, there’s two explanations – the scientific one and the more simple one.

The scientific explanation works like this – solar panels take in sunlight with photovoltaic cells, and then use these to generate direct current. This is then converted into alternating current with an inverter that can be used in the home. The resulting energy is then distributed across the building where needed.

The simple explanation is a lot easier to understand – the solar panels take sunlight, transform it into electricity, and use it to power your home. The solar panel system has existed for a long time and is common across the world.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

The cost of a solar panel can vary according to size, output and location geographically. In the US, you can expect to pay between $11,000 and up for a 5KW solar panel system. This will roughly translate to an equivalent amount in other currencies. The average cost of solar panels can often be helped by government schemes and support – there are a lot of green energy initiatives.

How Much Does it Cost to Install Solar Panels?

Trying to identify the exact cost of installing a solar panel is difficult. While the panels themselves are often fixed in cost and will vary according to size and output, the variable in the equation is the cost for the labour it takes to install them.

The typical cost for installing a solar panel in 2022 ranges from anywhere between $16,870 and $23,170. This is after taking into consideration the federal solar tax credit, so the average solar panel installation costs around $20,000.

This will naturally vary substantially depending on the provider you choose, so it is important to shop around a little to find the right person or company for you. However, the average costs for multiple panels can quickly reach the thousands.

How to Clean Solar Panels

How to Clean Solar Panels

Solar panel cleaning isn’t too difficult and you can do it yourself in a lot of situations.

The best way to give a solar panel a proper clean is to use biodegradable soap and a soft rag. You should never use harsh chemicals with solar panels, because this can permanently damage them and hinder their effectiveness – they are pretty expensive to fix too.

Being dutiful with your solar panels can pay dividends when it comes to cleaning because the finished product will look great and be easy to clean with just a bit of water.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar panels were designed with longevity in mind. After all, they were created to be a renewable energy source that would help to solve our reliance on fossil fuels. Therefore, even the most basic solar panel is made to last more than 25 years. There are solar panels that were installed back in the 1980s that are still working properly today.

Furthermore, thanks to improving technology, the lifespan of a solar panel is increasing every day. Current models are projected to last at least 50 years.

Efficiency of Solar Panels

Most solar panels are used on domestic properties and are anywhere from 10 to 20% efficient at any given point. It’s important to note that this can vary, and in some cases, you can get an efficiency level of 25%.

We calculate solar panel efficiency ratings to work out how effective a solar panel can be at converting sunlight into the electricity you need. We do so by expressing these numbers as a percentage.

25% might sound low at first glance, but even on a 4KW solar panel system, you’ll get enough electricity to cut your energy bills by a long way. The KW output on a solar panel is how we measure the power output. The output tells you how much electricity you can get from the panel.

It’s important to remember that solar panel efficiency is typically calculated in controlled lab conditions by scientists. They work out efficiency by taking a look at the optimum conditions for sunlight, and then work out how much solar energy the panels could generate.If you want to get the most use, you need to find the best angle for solar panels.

Unfortunately, weather is rarely optimum, and it’s not always sunny. Solar panels can still generate electricity, even on a cloudy day, but the efficiency level they produce will decrease.

What Are Solar Panels Made From?

The primary material used in solar panels is silicon. Silicon is one of the most common semiconductive materials that is found in and makes up roughly 95% of the modules currently on sale. As a material, it is the second most abundant on the planet, and is used in a wide range of different locations, most frequently in computer chips.

Solar Panels

Final Thoughts

So, solar panels are quite easy to work with.

If you use a solar panel controller, you can connect a solar panel to a smart system to automatically rotate when the optimum weather conditions change. Nobody can deny that solar panels are a very useful energy-saving and money-saving technology.

They have extraordinary potential to replace fossil fuels, but are heavily reliant upon the weather. Cloudy weather restricts the amount of electricity that can be generated, which makes it difficult to keep power over the winter.

Despite this limitation, solar panels are the best, renewable energy source that we have. They are widespread across many Western countries, and are a mainstay for breaking our reliance on fossil fuels.

About author
Kate MacMillan
Job description
Kate is an environmental consultant specializing on green technologies and nature preservation techniques. She has more than 3 years of experience and worked with several non-profit organizations to save our nature from disruptive influence of people.
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