Everything You Wanted to Know About Solar Panels

If you’ve recently been considering the switch to solar energy, welcome to the club. We know it’s not easy to take a step in a different direction, especially if you’ve been used to something else your whole life. It’s no small decision, after all.

But in spite of everything, we’ve found that the best way to gain confidence in any decision is through knowledge. That’s why we’ll say no more. Here’s everything there is to know about solar panels.

Origin

Only a few know about the origin of solar panels. As opposed to what people think, they’re not a new invention, unless you consider 1954 recent. Keep in mind that the photovoltaic effect (the generation of electricity from light) was discovered in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel, a French physicist. Many scientists built on the principle, trying various elements and ways to harness the power of the sun. In 1954, that was when the first solar cell was invented by three American scientists in Bell labs. Granted, it was far from efficient, but fast forward to now where you can use solar panels to power your entire house. Quite a leap isn’t it?

Modern Solar Panels

A solar panel is essentially a group of photovoltaic (solar) cells. To power a house, you’ll need an array (a group of panels). The sizes common in this current market are 60-cell and 72-cell panels. While 72-cell panels are more common when it comes to commercial use, this doesn’t mean that their power output is more. Ultimately, it is a panel’s efficiency that defines power output rather than cell number. What controls efficiency? Other than temperature, a major factor is the panel’s material. The two most popular solar panel types are both made of silicon, but the difference lies in purity.

Types

As we’ve mentioned, solar panels split into types based on the cells’ material. First and most efficient, there are the monocrystalline panels. They’re made from a single type of silicon crystal. Such purity, while expensive, comes with a lot of benefits such as high efficiency and low space consumption. Secondly, there are the polycrystalline panels. As the word ‘poly’ suggests, they’re made by melting together more than one type of silicon crystal. They’re about 5% less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but they’re cheaper. Keep in mind, however, that cheaper material affects the lifespan of the panel. There are third type, thin-film panels, but they’re half as efficient as the monocrystalline alternative, and their lifespan makes them a poor long-term investment.

How They Work

Regardless of type, all solar panels work the same. In a solar power system, they’re the component that collects sunlight, turns it into electricity, and transfers it to an appliance or a house, or even a battery for those living in Australia and other sunny countries. For those looking for renewable energy Brisbane, but worried about most of their produced energy going to waste, a solar battery stores any excess for later use. That being said, it’s important to note that solar panels don’t store energy within them. Once the sun photons hit the cells, they give their energy to the cell’s elements, enough for the electrons to gain charges, leave their element, and flow through the wires.

Cost

One factor that drives people away from considering switching to renewable energy is the price. We’re not going to lie to you, solar panels are expensive, and so is their installation. Nevertheless, it’s only a one-time expense. After that, you won’t be paying for electricity because you will be making your own. 

How is one large purchase more expensive than a lifetime of smaller bill payments? What’s more, you can get yourself a tax benefit if your solar power system is found eligible for a renewable power incentive. So, not only is solar energy inherently cheaper, but it also comes with financial perks.

Benefits

Aside from the tax deduction, what else can solar energy do for you? For starters, it’s better for the planet because solar cells do not emit greenhouse gases. You’ll also become more self-sufficient by producing your own electricity. In other words, you can finally realize your dream of living off the grid, if you were ever this kind of person. In addition to that, some countries make it possible to sell whatever excess electricity you’ve produced which means a supplementary source of income.

That’s about it when it comes to solar panels. It’s a one time purchase that pays for itself and brings with it a lot of benefits. Not to mention, it’s a lot better for the Earth, the place where we, as humans, currently live. Before you go about the purchase, make sure you’re dealing with a provider you can trust. A properly installed, well-maintained solar system can survive for decades if everything is done properly. That’s who you need.