Solar Panels For Homes: Beginners Guide 2023
The sun’s energy is converted into usable electricity by solar panels. Solar cells, basically, use a system that generates voltages or electric power in a photovoltaic cell when sunlight strikes it and then generates an electrical current.
Since we can utilize solar energy in such ways, many people are installing solar panels in their homes. You can not only reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to the fight against climate change but also help you save money by harnessing the sun’s energy and transforming it into the electrical power that can be used in your household.
If you don’t have much idea about solar panels, below is the information that you need to know.
More than a century has passed since solar energy was developed. Initially, solar energy was mainly used for generating steam, which in turn could power machinery.
Sunlight could not be transformed into solar electrical power until Edmond Becquerel developed the photovoltaic effect. In 1893, Charles Fritts created the first genuine solar cell following Becquerel’s discoveries. And it was from this humble beginning that the solar panel, as we know it today, was born.
Since then, it has revolutionized
the industry of renewable energy. This invention is not only favorable for the environment but also extremely affordable for people. That is why its popularity has only increased since its discovery.
How do solar panels work?
Consider the sun to be a primitive atomic reactor, which produces photons. The electrons in the molecules become freed when those photons reach the PV systems. The positive and negative sides of the solar cells are connected via conductors, resulting in electronic circuits with a flow of electrons.
Solar cells are attached and linked together to make a solar panel, and for large-scale applications, an array of solar panels combines the output of numerous solar panels. The more photovoltaic systems you have installed, the more electricity your system will produce.
Importance of solar panels
There are multiple benefits of solar panels or PV panels, of course, the first being cost saving. Let’s briefly know the significance of solar panels.
1. Cost saving
Most households in Australia with a solar system installed are saving between 80 – 90% off their regular electricity bill. This means if you normally have a $500 bill, it will be closer to $50 after you install solar panels. .
Solar panels and inverters all come with a 25-year performance warranty, which means they will continue to produce good power for 25 years or more. In reality, people begin to have problems after about 15 – 20 years, but that was with the older technology. These days you should get 20 years or more out of them.
3. Return on investment
Most Australians are enjoying an 85% saving on their power bills and the ROI time period is about 3.5 years. The time taken for a system to pay for itself will depend on your personal power usage, your feed-in tariff rate, and the size system you get.
4. Renewable energy
Because of the consistent quantity of sunlight that the earth receives, solar energy is one of the most effective renewable energy sources. With the proliferation of new technologies, solar energy will become more accessible, cheaper, and more beneficial, making it the fastest-growing renewable energy source.
5. No requirement of permit
Solar panels are normally not required to be installed on your roof because they are regarded as “permitted development.” There are some constraints to be aware of before deployment.
Electricity is lost in the transmission of energy from power plants to your home through vast networks. There are hardly any losses if your electricity comes straight from your ceiling, which implies less energy is wasted.
Solar power can provide enough electricity to run your entire home. The trick is to choose the proper type of panel, installer, and angle for your home and needs to ensure that your solar panels are running at optimal efficiency.
However, while a solar panel system can offset all of your energy demand, due to intermittency, it’s unrealistic to expect that amount of production every day. If you don’t want to rely on the grid when the sun isn’t shining, installing storage will help.
Cost of solar panels
The size of the installation will, of course, decide the pricing of your new solar system. As a result, the cost of installing solar panels will depend on the number of kilowatts you install.
The quantity of electricity needed to power a simple household with just a few people differs from the amount needed to light a massive house. A system with absolute top-of-the-line components installed by a highly picky technician will cost even more.
As of January 2023 in Australia, the approximate cost of a good quality solar system installation with Tier 1 solar panels (completely installed) is:
Save money with PV panels
Although you can try to utilize more solar electricity by running your appliances when the sun is shining, a battery is the best approach to maximize the amount of solar energy you use in your home.
Leftover solar energy is stored in batteries for later usage after the sun goes down. This implies you may use your free solar energy at any hour lowering the amount of energy you need to buy from your utilities.
The good news is that now is the most cost-effective time to acquire a battery if you’re purchasing solar panels. Moreover, by installing PV panels and a battery, a typical household may even save up to 80 percent on energy usage.
Solar panel buying guide: 10 essential tips
The most significant element of any solar PV system is solar panels. Choosing the finest solar panel brand or module type for your needs is just as important as having them placed by a qualified authorized installer at the best angle and pointing in the right direction.
Sadly, most salesmen won’t be able to help you choose the finest solar panel manufacturer. Hence it becomes difficult for anyone to make the right choice, especially when you have no genuine guide.
Therefore, here are some tips that you can follow to ensure you bring the best thing to the home:
1. Check efficiency
The efficiency of a solar panel refers to how quickly it converts sunlight into electricity. If you expose two panels with varying numbers to the same amount of sunshine, one will outperform the other and generate more energy in the same length of time.
The panel’s power rating, thermal resistance, and power sensitivity can all be used to estimate how much electricity it can generate. To determine these values, you should get advice from a professional.
As a general rule, and as with most things in life, you get what you pay for – therefore be wary of selecting solar panels only on the basis of pricing, as cheap prices may indicate poor performance and reliability.
However, there are frequent bargains on high-quality products available, as well as special offers and some providers who are simply more competitive. Just be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when it comes to warranty, service, and product quality. Be cautious if you are given a very low-cost solar power system.
3. Check warranty policy
While buying any solar panel, just like other expensive products, you need to see the warranty policy of the brand. If they are not providing an adequate warranty, what’s the point of opting for that brand? It’s essential to notice how long the organization will be around if something goes wrong.
At the very least, demand a 10-year manufacturer’s guarantee on the photovoltaic panels, which covers both workmanship and materials problems. Be aware that this is not the same as the 25 or 30-year performance warranty that every module comes with.
Without getting into details, the performance guarantee is doubtful because a company might easily back out. You should check the manufacturer’s warranty, which should last at least ten years.
Solar panels, like other products, can have a variety of specifications that describe their technical characteristics. When making your decision, there are a couple of points to remember. They are mentioned below:
- Keep in mind the power tolerance. Some are far superior to others.
- Notice the power rating and heat factor. Panels must be certified at a minimum of 100V DC for safety. Panels must be rated at least 100V DC for security.
- Some companies buy PV panels and label them as their own. You must determine who the actual manufacturer is and how the company will assist you.
Don’t avoid these things while finalizing anything.
This is true for all solar panel purchases, but especially for those that may be eligible for a government refund. Solar panels’ certification indicates the type of testing they have passed.
TUV IEC 61215, for example, confirms that the solar panels have been tested and meet the stated standards by an independent laboratory. Other sorts of certificates frequently require self-evaluation. Other sorts of certifications frequently require self-evaluation. As a result, they rely on the company’s claims to be true.
6. Type of panels
Back in the old days if you had only a tiny area of the ceiling, you required monocrystalline photovoltaic panels which were incredibly efficient. Due to the developments in polycrystalline panel systems and other thin-film innovations, this is quickly changing. Examine panel size vs. Output despite having extra roof area.
Filling your roof with ineffective panels may limit your ability to add more panels in the future and will not maximize the amount of electricity produced by the space.
It’s also worth remembering that, regardless of claims, no solar panel technology will generate enough power in complete darkness. Learn more about the differences between monocrystalline and thin-film panels.
7. Compare a few quotes
It’s generally a good idea to get a few solar quotes before making a significant purchase because prices vary greatly between companies. However, while lower-quality components can cut the system’s initial cost, don’t be swayed solely by price. Nevertheless, in regard to performance and reliability, they may end up spending you plenty in the long term.
8. Talk to others
Talk to your friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers who have installed solar PV systems. The best solar purchase advice is frequently found just in your own backyard. They’ll be capable of determining their experiences and potentially warning you about any problems they faced. You will be able to avoid problems. Learn more about potential concerns in our solar power consumer guide – including how to avoid common pitfalls.
9. Avoid pressuring salespeople
High-pressure sales tactics are regrettably common in the solar sector. Instead of making a snap decision, simply ask the person to consider the offer. If it’s as good as they promise, it’ll still be a great value tomorrow. When you are making a choice under certain pressure, most of the time, chances are that you will make a wrong choice.
When shopping for a solar power system, high-pressure salespeople are only one of the dangers to avoid. They often try to insist the customers buy such a brand’s product from which they’ll receive a small commission.
10. Beauty / looks
Many people like the look of certain solar cells over others; it’s just a question of taste. Thin-film panels, on the whole, appear more uniform, and some people like them. However, because of their lower conversion efficiency, they take up a lot more space and aren’t extensively used in Australia anymore.
Some companies can install panels on your roof, while others offer solar roof tiles. You can obtain flexible solar panels if you have a weird, curved roof! On the other hand, the elegant aesthetics of installing integrated solar electricity comes at a cost.
As a general rule, a more utilitarian aesthetic will be less expensive, as ultra-sleek integrated systems can be quite expensive.
Which solar panel size is best for your home?
It varies from person to person. Your requirements might be different from others. However, a 5kW photovoltaic system will likely be the optimal solar size for a 25kWh everyday domestic electricity consumption — this would produce enough solar energy to offset a portion of your daytime electricity consumption without losing too much solar by importing it into the grid.
If your property isn’t occupied during the day, a 10kW solar energy installation would be slightly too large. If you are at home during the day, though, it might be an excellent fit.
Author: Ben McInerney is a renewable energy enthusiast with the goal of helping more Australians understand solar systems to make the best choice before they purchase. Having an accredited solar installer in the family helps give Ben access to the correct information, which allows him to break it down and make it easily understandable to the average homeowner.