Home Solar Panels

Home solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are becoming increasingly popular with property owners wanting a clean source of renewable energy that's not only "green" but affordable.

Today's photovoltaic power systems can offer you long-term affordability and lots more besides. They have definite advantages over other renewable energy systems, as solar electricity is clean, safe, quiet, and reliable. Read the articles below to discover why solar might be your best option.

All About Photovoltaic (PV) Panels

Getting the Affordable Solar Panel

An investment in solar energy can actually save you significant money in the longer term, because you can sometimes sell the excess electricity generated by your PV panels back to the power company. You not only get to help the environment, but you get to enjoy an extra income source as well.

Thousands of people across North America are now installing residential PV power systems. Some enjoy off grid solar power as their main source of electricity, but most prefer the benefits that "grid connect" PV systems can offer. Plus, the resale value of solar homes continues to increase as there are often government tax incentives and a possible income source to attract green-minded home buyers.

As the popularity of generating your own homemade electricity increases and more PV panels get installed, there's a corresponding reduction in their cost, making them increasingly affordable. Though a home PV system initially costs more than a conventional power setup, it saves you money in the long run once its installation cost is accounted for.

Photovoltaic panels gather natural energy from the power of the sun; therefore, you are neither expending anything nor are you producing any waste materials to harm the environment. Solar electricity is environmentally friendly. Now that everyone is going green, it's only natural that it would increase in popularity.

It's even possible to build your own PV panels if you have the time, skills, and patience it requires. Instructions for DIY solar panels can be found on this site and elsewhere on the Internet.

The most practical option for most of us, however, is to purchase quality built home solar panels from a reputable company. For instance, GreenBrilliance is one of the world's largest producers of high efficiency PV panels and currently operates in over ten countries including Canada, United States, and Germany. Their products are affordably priced and guaranteed to deliver the best value in home solar panels.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

We've all seen those grid-like, shiny flat panels that collect energy from the sun mounted on roofs, but do we really know how they generate the electricity to power our homes? Knowing a little about how they work can help us to choose the best ones for our needs.

Surprisingly, PV panels are not a recent invention. The first modern solar power cell was developed by Bell Labs back in 1954, when it was discovered that an electric charge was created in silicon when exposed to the sun's rays. This led to silicon being used in the making of photovoltaic cells (solar cells) that are connected in groups to make up photovoltaic panels.

Photovoltaic Power CellLab Technician Holding a Photovoltaic Power Cell
(Source: ©iStock.com/gerenme)

In a nutshell, here's how home solar panels work. When rays of sunlight hit the photovoltaic cells, the sun's energy is absorbed and then drained off through metal contacts on the cell.

The word "photovoltaic" (PV) simply means "light" (photo) and "electricity" (voltaic) and refers to the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

To look at how PV panels work another way, photons from the sunlight cause the electrons in the photovoltaic cells to have a higher degree of energy causing them to break free from their associated atoms which creates the electrical current.

Solar power cells are combined on a sturdy support system to create the panel. Panels are then connected in series to form arrays.

The more photovoltaic cells combined in a panel and the better their quality, determines how efficient the panel is at converting sunlight into usable electrical power. When it comes to residential PV panels, size and quality matters. Look for the highest number of cells (size) and the best quality that you can afford.

The Importance of Solar Panel Efficiency

However, size and quality aren't the only things that matter when it comes to PV panels. Also consider efficiency. The quantity of sunlight a panel receives (also called solar insolation) will directly determine the quantity of electrical energy produced. A "high efficiency panel" simply collects more sunlight and produces more electricity.

Where you locate your home solar panels is vitally important. Will they have an unobstructed view of the sun throughout the day? Will the sun's rays shine on them directly at a proper angle, nearing 90°? What's the normal cloud cover in your area? These are all questions that must be considered.

Your geographical location has its effect on PV panel performance. For example, a home located in Phoenix, Arizona would naturally have a significantly higher "insolation index" (amount of sunlight received) than a home in Toronto, Ontario. This means that solar panels installed in southern states can be expected to work more efficiently than those installed in the northern states and in Canada.

But, not to worry. Thanks to recent innovations in PV cell technology, a solar installation located almost anywhere in Canada will still have a high enough insolation index to make photovoltaic power a practical, affordable source of electricity. Yes, today's home solar panels are even efficient in Canadian winters.

Installing Home Solar Panels

You also need to consider whether to install your PV array on the roof or on the ground. Home solar panels are commonly seen mounted on roofs, but that only works best if the roof is facing due south, or to a lesser extent south-west or south-east. Roofs that are not southerly facing would produce only marginal solar panel efficiency unless the panels are tilted to the southern sky.

Home Solar Panels InstalledHome Solar Panels Installed on the Roof
(Source: ©123rf.com/Olivier Le Queinec)

Your best option might be to install your panels on the ground or mounted on poles. PV panels situated on the ground or elevated on poles are much easier to access, plus they also let you avoid the additional cost of having to remove and reinstall roof-mounted panels whenever roof repairs or re-shingling is necessary.

Basic Solar Panel Pole Mount SystemBasic Solar Panel Pole Mount System Installed in the Backyard
(Source: ©iStock.com/WendellandCarolyn)

Also keep in mind that photovoltaic panels work best when they are angled directly at the sun and have a view that's unobstructed. The measure of energy they can collect is determined by their position and angle relative to the sun.

Their photovoltaic efficiency can be significantly increased by using an automated solar panel mounting system (solar tracker) that rotates the panel array to follow the sun's path, enabling sunlight to always fall directly onto the flat surface of the panel.

Automated Solar TrackerAutomated Solar Tracker System
(Source: ©Don Bell)

By having a basic knowledge of how PV panels work, you can install your panels where they can receive the most sunlight so they can achieve their highest efficiency. The greater their power output, the greater your potential energy savings.

Related Solar Panel Articles

To be sure of getting the best home solar panels for your needs, read all about PV panels before you decide to buy. Also become familiar with the installation options available. You will find what you need to know in the articles below.

Types of Solar Panels

Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar Panel Problems

Choose the Best Solar Panels

Discount Solar Panels

Used Solar Panels

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