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> Solar Panels The Basics
If you’ve been doing your homework you know there is an abundant array of solar panel types and qualities, with all the technical jargon it can be a little confusing. We we are going to break it all down for you in an easy to understand and informative manner.
Solar cells, are also known as photovoltaic (PV) cells turn ordinary sunlight into electrical energy
that can be used to power your home, other buildings or devices that require electricity in order to operate. A typical solar panel contains approximately 40 cells and the average home would generally require anywhere from 10 to 20 panels to efficiently power a home with solar energy.
There are several types of solar panels and we’re going to break them all down into an easily understandable format. The majority of solar panels used are silicon based. Let’s take a look at some of the most utilized types of solar panels:
Monocrystalline silicon also known as mono-silicon or single silicon, produces more electricity per surface area than other solar cells and they are distinguishable by their small square-like cells. Though they tend to be more expensive initially, they produce a higher yield of convertible energy.
Polycrystalline silicon which is also referred to as multi-crystalline, multi-silicon and ribbon type solar panels are less expensive but due to the lower silicon levels they are also slightly less efficient but they are also less expensive to produce and they are very good for rooftop installation. Their construction often makes up for the slight loss of power.
The internet is buzzing with term “thin film solar panels” but the truth is while they are easy to make, they are not as efficient as the above mentioned panels. They are also not recommended for rooftop installation. Though they can be made from a variety of materials such as amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride as well as other materials, these types of solar panels are mainly used on large solar farm installations and lack the proper efficiency for home use.
Solar Shingles or building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) look like genuine roofing tiles and can blend in well on your roof but they are far less efficient than monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels and they don’t have as a long life expectancy as traditional solar panels. In order for you to significantly reduce your electric bill you would need a large area sunny roof and a sizable amount of solar tiles.
Let’s take a look at how the solar energy that is converted to electricity enters your home and keeps your lights on and your refrigerator running. Once the solar panels creates the electricity in direct current (DC) form it is then sent to an inverter and converted to alternating current (AC) where it enters your breaker box and powers your home. The excess power is sent to your grid and if your solar panels are actually producing more electricity than you are using, your meter will actually spin in reverse saving you money.