Even though solar power technology has been available for decades, it has only really started to become very popular in recent years as a result of several key improvements to these systems. These key changes help to make these systems more flexible and affordable for consumers. Modern systems are able to generate more power at a lower cost than ever before and represent a near perfect alternative energy solution for your home.
The benefit to a basic solar power system is that it allows you to turn the sunlight that arrives at your home every day into electricity that you can use to power your home. By using this free source of power instead of the electricity you are now purchasing from your local utility, you can save a substantial amount of money each month on your utility bills. Once your solar power system is installed, you can continue to enjoy this free power for decades to come and never have to worry again about the rising cost of energy for your home.
A typical solar power system consists of several key components that allow you to harvest the power of the sun and supply it to your home for use. The first part of any solar power system is the solar panel that is typically mounted on your roof. This is the part of the system that does the actual conversion of sunlight to power. Depending on your power needs and your budge, you may have several of these solar panels in your system for producing power. Even though most solar panels look very similar, there are dramatic differences between the different models available that can be used on your home.
Inside each of these solar panels is a collection of solar cells that are actually responsible for the conversion of sunlight to electricity. These solar cells are comprised of silicon-based crystals that have the unique ability to generate a small DC current when exposed to sunlight. Even though the amount of power that each of these solar cells can produce is small individually, when they are connected together, their total output can be quite substantial. When choosing a solar panel for your system, it’s important to note that there are fundamentally two different types of solar cells. Each of these styles of cells present both advantages and disadvantages that you need to clearly understand before deciding which solar panel is right for you.
One style of solar cell is based on a monocrystalline design and is created out of a single large silicon crystal. This individual crystal is hard to grow and very fragile, but will produce the highest amount of power from a given amount of sunlight. This makes a monocrystalline solar cell the most efficient and also the most expensive type of solar cell available. Solar panels that use this type of solar cell will generate quite a bit more power than other panels and allow you to use fewer of them on your roof to generate all the power your home requires from the system. Because of this, even though these monocrystalline based solar panels are a little more expensive than other styles of panels, overall they can help your total system price to be less expensive since you’ll need fewer of them on your roof. This type of solar panel is also perfect for smaller homes with limited roof space. By using these more efficient panels, these smaller homes can generate far more power with a limited system than ever before.
The other style of solar panel is based on a polycrystalline cell that is made up of a collection of smaller crystals that have been joined together to act as a single crystal. This type of solar cell is less efficient, but can still produce quite a bit of solar power in the average system. While you can find several models of residential solar panels that are based on this type of solar cell, it is more typically used in less demanding solutions like solar garden lighting and solar battery chargers. In older solar panels, there was often a wide gap between the monocrystalline and polycrystalline efficiencies. In recent years, improvements to both have narrowed the difference and makes this is a technology to watch.
One other option to either of these traditional solar panel choices that is becoming much more popular is to use a solar enabled building product instead of solar panels altogether. In recent years the technology that is used to grow crystals to make the solar cells has been applied to certain building materials like shingles and other roofing surfaces to allow these items to act like solar panels and generate power when exposed to sunlight. This makes it easier to install a solar power system on your home since these items can be used instead of traditional roofing and have the added benefit of being photovoltaic. The way these items are made involves the layering of a silicon-based solution onto the surface of the shingles, which actually enables them to generate power directly. Each of these shingles is then wired together to allow the portion of the roof that is outfitted with these solar-sensitive shingles to act as a large solar panel.
The main advantage to using these solar power building materials is that they tend to be less noticeable on your home than a dedicated collection of solar panels and they are also more durable over time. Standard solar panels tend to stand out cosmetically on the roof of a home and some homeowners find them unattractive. Up until now these homeowners have had to compromise on the cosmetics in favor of the savings these solar power systems provided. Now with the introduction of solar building products they can get the best of both worlds.
These solar power building products are typically less prone to damage as well, which help them to last longer on your home than traditional solar panels. The challenge for any traditional solar panel is that it has to be mounted on brackets that raise it a few inches off the roof’s surface in order to avoid trapping rainwater and leaves beneath it. By being suspended, these solar power panels are at risk of being lifted off the roof in areas with high winds. They are also sometimes warped and cracked under the load of heavy snow in colder climates. By installing solar power roofing shingles that are actually mounted to the roof itself and lay flush, you can avoid the damage. This eliminates the hazards that normal solar panels face and makes for a cleaner look on your home as well.