Home solar power systems convert sunlight into electricity through the use of solar panels. For an average home about ten watts per square foot of electrical energy will be gathered per day. This will vary depending on a number of factors including panel size and type, amount of sunlight, and length of time direct sunlight is available.
A home solar power system will cost considerably more as an initial investment, but will be very cost effective in the long run. There are two main reasons for considering home solar power. First, of course, is the saving on your electric utility bill and secondly is the fact that solar power is renewable and environmentally friendly. There are NO polluting side effects.
There are 5 main components of a home solar power system that is connected to the electric grid. If you choose to be totally off-grid, it will also be necessary to have a storage battery to store excess energy your system generates.
- Solar panels
- Power converter
- An electric panel
- A utility meter
- The utility grid
- A storage battery unit (for off grid)
Solar panels are normally placed on the roof of your house, but may also be placed in any area that receives direct sunlight. Either installation must be placed to receive as much direct sunlight as possible. The solar panels convert sunlight into DC power.
The power converter is necessary to change the DC power into AC power which is what you receive from an electric utility. AC or alternating current is what household lights and appliances use.
The electric panel brings the power from the power converter to the breaker box. It is then distributed to the lights and outlets in the house.
In an on-grid system the electric utility meter handles excess power from your system, causing your utility meter to run backwards when your system is supplying power TO the utility grid. Then when you must receive power from the electric utility you receive credit for the amount previously supplied. A very nice feature of being on-grid.
And the last component in an on-grid system, the utility grid, will supply you with electricity during the night, on cloudy days, and when you need more electricity than your home solar power system produces.
If you will not be connected to the grid system — whether by choice or because the location is remote and not supplied with electricity, you will also need a storage battery unit to store the excess power from your home solar power system for use at night.
Is a home solar power system right for you? Maybe. Even though the initial costs are higher, the payback may well be worth considering. If you are building, remodeling, or even refinancing your home, the cost of home solar power can be included in the mortgage. Also, keep in mind that both state and federal governments offer attractive tax incentives when you install a home solar power system.
And best of all – wouldn’t be GREAT to never pay another electric utility bill?
Why wouldn’t you do it if you have the opportunity?
Converting your home over to solar energy can be a great way to save money on high electric bills and help the planet is more environmentally friendly. Solar power uses the existing energy from the sun and converts it into useable energy through solar panels.
Solar panels turn direct sunlight into electrical current through the photovoltaic cells in the panels. The photovoltaic cells themselves are made up of crystalline silicone.
Solar panels have a long lifetime of about twenty years before they stop working effectively and need to be replaced. Since the life span is so long the placement needs to be done correctly because it will be there for a while and it might as well be as effective as possible.
If you have made the decision to go solar the next part of the process is to decide where you want the panels to go. Obviously you want the panels to go where they will generate the most power so you need to choose a location that factors in a variety of variables including the weather conditions and any obstructions of sunlight such as trees or buildings. Even the shadow from your homes chimney can affect the input of energy into blocked cells on the panel.
The solar panels will function best if they are positioned to receive direct sunlight and in climate that are very sunny such as Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California there are generally lots of sunny days for solar panels to draw from so placement is easier.
Although ideally the panels are placed for optimal orientation at true South (in Northern Hemispheres) and True North (in Southern Hemispheres) studies have shown that panels that can face up to a 90 degree angle east or west of this position their abilities to work at full capacity are not reduced that much.
The majority of panels are placed at an angel that is usually the same tilt as the roof they are placed on which can work if the mounting brackets allow the panels to tilt and follow the natural course of the sun.
The roof is the most common location to place panels but it isn’t the only location. Panels can also be put near southern facing walls in the northern hemisphere and placed near northern facing walls in the southern hemisphere and work very effectively.
When you buy your solar panels the company will be able to help guide you in selecting a contractor who is familiar with solar panel placement and they can also be a good source for help on placement information of your panels in your geographic area.