Installing solar panels on your property may have crossed your mind if you were looking for a clean energy alternative or if you were just trying to cut down on your electric bill. In many ways, it’s a win-win situation: if you can generate electricity thanks to sunlight – which is readily available in many areas while reducing your carbon footprint – why wouldn’t you do so?
However, are solar panels cost-effective? How much money will you save if you have solar panels installed? As you can probably guess, it depends on many different factors unique to your situation. In this post, we will look at what to consider if you are wondering if solar panels are suitable for your home.
What Factors Effect Solar Panel Efficiency?
Hours of Direct Sunlight
For most homes across the nation, a consensus is that solar panels will need around 4 hours of peak sunlight a day to be efficient.
A peak sun hour is defined as one hour in which the intensity of sunlight reaches an average of 1,000 watts of energy per square meter. Another way to put it: 1 peak sun hour = 1000 W/m² of sunlight per hour. A peak sun hour represents a lot of sunlight.
The Angle of Your Roof
Ideally, a fixed, roof-mounted solar energy system should be at an angle equal to the location’s latitude where it is installed. However, pitch angles between 30 and 45 degrees will work well in most situations. Mounts can also if the tilt of your roof isn’t conducive for solar panels.
Local Electricity Rates
If you live in a place with very high electricity costs, solar panels will provide more significant savings. In contrast, solar power will not save you as much money in areas with low-cost electricity.
Heat Build-up / Temperature
You may think that warm climates with constant sunshine are ideal for installing solar panels, but many people do not realize that high heat makes solar panels less efficient. You will want to factor in the average temperatures in your region when calculating the savings your new solar system can provide if you want a more accurate estimate.
Keeping your solar panels clean and clear of debris is also essential for their power-producing efficiency. Solar panel’s power production can be negatively affected by things like sand, ash, snow, dust, leaves, and other debris. If you live in an area that is especially prone to these conditions, you should factor in a drop in efficiency or budget for regular solar panel cleaning.
The efficiency of the inverter generally ranges from 95 to 98%. The efficiency may vary depending on the DC input power and voltage. Research is being conducted to maintain the inverter’s efficiency by extracting the maximum power from the PV panel using the Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) algorithm.
Solar Panel Age
Another factor many people overlook when calculating their solar systems’ power output: solar panels degrade with age. Solar panels degrade at a rate of around 0.5% per year, generating 12-15% less power after 25-30 years.
What is Module Efficiency vs. Solar Cell Efficiency?
An individual module or panel’s efficiency is referred to as the module or panel efficiency. On the other hand, cell efficiency refers to the efficiency of a single solar cell or the small squares or rectangles your solar panel can be made up of (standard panels can have anywhere from 60 to 96 cells).
Here are several recent and upcoming developments that have further increased solar power efficiency.
BIPV solar technology
Solar-integrated buildings (BIPV) are buildings powered by photovoltaics instead of conventional means. For example, the roof, skylights, or facades of a building contain photovoltaic material.
It is becoming increasingly common to incorporate them into new buildings as primary or ancillary electricity sources, although you can retrofit existing buildings with similar technology.
The significant benefit of the integrated photovoltaic system over the non-integrated system is that the lower initial cost of installation can be offset by reducing the time and materials required to build the portion of the building that the integrated photovoltaic panel replaces.
Solar Panel Skins
Solar skin is a flexible, transparent material that is very thin yet efficient at producing an electrical current when exposed to sunlight. This material may allow us to expand our solar power systems to different surfaces of our homes.
Perovskite Crystal-Coated Panels
By stacking individual metal halide perovskite solar cells, “tandem cells” are created. Solar panels made from tandem cells can break through the 30% conversion efficiency barrier, produce inexpensively, and have a power-to-weight ratio up to 100 times higher than conventional panels.
Over the last ten years, perovskite solar cells have demonstrated remarkable progress, with conversion efficiencies increasing from about 3% in 2006 to more than 25% today. This exciting technology may outperform and replace other types of solar panels in the coming decades.
Insolight Photovoltaic Modules
Planar optical micro-tracking is a patented technology that Insolight uses for its photovoltaic modules. In a special optical layer beneath the cover glass, a concentrated beam of light beams is focused directly onto a grid of high-efficiency solar cells. With an integrated tracking system, each cell is kept in focus no matter what the position or angle of the Sun.
Heterojunction technologies or SmartWire
Solar panel production using heterojunction technology (HJT) is not new, but it has taken off in the last decade. As of right now, this technology represents the solar industry‘s best option for increasing efficiency and power output to the highest levels. It combines the best properties of crystalline silicon and thin-film amorphous silicon to create an external energy storage system with a faster charging rate and greater power density than the leading conventional PERC technology.
Thanks to new advances in solar panel technology, almost all American homes can save money by installing a solar panel system. But with so many options to consider, it’s essential to work with a professional installer in your local area. Click here to get multiple competing quotes from experts in your neighborhood and find out just how much you stand to save on your electricity bill.
Start Saving With Solar Panels Today
If you’re ready to start saving on your monthly energy bills by installing solar panels, you’ve come to the right place. Fill out our quick solar panel cost calculator and we’ll get you a fast, no-obligation quote for solar panel installation at your home.