A Better Life,
Future Solar Panels
Solar panels are the star of the show when it comes to renewable energy. For homeowners looking to save money on energy bills or switch to a more sustainable power source, solar panels are a great place to start. Here’s everything you need to know about solar panels, from how they work to how to choose the right panel for your home.
Solar panels use the sun’s energy to generate electricity. There’s enough light hitting Earth all the time to meet the planet’s energy needs, with plenty left over. At its smallest level, light– and all other electromagnetic radiation– takes the form of a particle called a photon. Think of a photon as a little packet of energy radiating out from a radiation source (like the sun). Photons bounce off of objects or are absorbed, allowing us to see.
Photons have no electric charge by themselves, but solar panels can create it. Solar panels are covered with photovoltaic (PV) cells which absorb photons from sunlight. These PV cells, usually made of silicon, consist of two layers, one positively charged and one negatively charged, stacked on top of each other. When a photon hits the material, it knocks some electrons loose. Those electrons flow and accumulate, creating a DC electric current which can then be inverted into DC power for use in a home, stored in a battery, or passed onto the electrical grid.
1. Solar panels convert photons into DC energy. Photons from solar radiation collide with PV cells on solar panels, knocking loose electrons that form a DC electrical current.
2. Inverter converts DC energy into usable AC power. The inverter takes the DC current generated by solar panels and converts it to AC power, which is usable in the home.
3. Excess production is stored or passed back to the grid. Excess power can either be sent back onto the grid (which usually generates credits through net metering) or stored in a battery.
A home battery allows you to store energy produced by your solar panels for use at night, on cloudy days, and at other times when your panels aren’t producing power.
Storing energy in a home battery keeps you prepared for power outages and blackouts. Many solar systems are also capable of recharging batteries while the grid is down, ensuring power during extended outages.
Home batteries are a great way to manage energy usage by time of day – ideal for energy billing structures that charge a premium during specific time windows.
What to Look For
In A Solar Panel
Like anything else, solar panels suffer wear and tear. Degradation rate is the rate at which solar panels become less productive over time. Most panels degrade at a rate of less than 1% per year.
Looking good never hurts. You take pride in your home, inside and out, so make sure you choose attractive panels you’ll enjoy seeing on your roof for years to come.
Need help finding the right solar panel?
The State of
Solar Supply Chains
At Zenernet, one of the things that’s always set us apart is that we help homeowners customize a solar system based on their unique needs and budget, component by component, from a variety of top brands – instead of just selling “cookie cutter” systems. Unfortunately, the solar industry hasn’t escaped the global supply chain disruptions that have been taking place since the beginning of the pandemic. Solar system components and the raw materials used to manufacture them have become more expensive to procure and more logistically difficult to ship.
Giving homeowners choices is important to us – but it’s even more important that we are able to deliver the products we sell as promised. We want to avoid a situation where a customer selects certain components during the initial consultation process, and then weeks down the line we have to tell them that their install will be delayed or that they have to select different components, possibly affecting the price of the system, because their picks are no longer readily available. That’s why we’ve decided to temporarily limit the selection of components we offer to models where we have been able to get guarantees about availability through at least the end of 2022, if not beyond. It’s not a decision we’ve made hastily or lightly, but we think it’s the correct decision in view of our goal to deliver the best customer experience in solar – ensuring that homeowners can be confident they’ll get the system they paid for with a minimum of delays or complications.
How to Decide If
Solar Is Right For You
- Evaluate Your
- Determine Target
- Assess Roof Space
& Sun Exposure
By examining your energy usage over the course of the past year, you can figure out how much energy you need to generate from solar to achieve a meaningful “offset” of your utility bill. This will allow you to determine the size of your system as a function of panel wattage and the number of panels you’ll need to install. Then you can consider whether your home has enough roof area with good daily sun exposure to support the projected system. With all these variables known, you’ll be able to understand the cost of going solar and be able to compare it to the cost of buying energy from the utility, at whatever rates it sets, for the next couple of decades.
Solar Panel Incentives
Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
State & Local Incentives
Many states and localities offer additional money-saving incentives for going solar. A Zenernet energy consultant can help you understand all of the incentives available to you depending on where you live.