By: Nick Yecke - PVPower.com Solar Expert - February 10, 2010
Solar Panels - What Are They?
Installing solar panels on your home is a great way to save money, reduce your carbon footprint and strive for energy independence. Residential solar panel installations have been around since the 70's but in recent years these installations have become increasingly prevalent. In fact residential solar installations doubled from 2007 to 2008 and continue to grow at an increasing rate.
One reason for the popularity of home solar panels is that their cost continues to come down. Manufacturers around the world including China and the USA are investing in R&D and efficient processes to bring the cost of their panels down, almost weekly. Top solar panel manufacturers include Sharp Solar, BP Solar and Kyocera Solar. In fact the most efficient solar panel according to our calculations is a 240 Watt Sharp Solar panel.
Other manufacturers of high quality solar panels include
and ET Solar.
All of these companies have proven track records of quality products. Some of the
best-selling solar panels on the market are the
Sharp 235W Solar Panel,
the Trina 235W Solar Panel,
the Uni Solar 144W Solar Panel, and the
ET 275W Solar Panel.
There are two types of solar power systems you can install in your home, grid tie and off grid. Grid tie solar systems tie into your local utility company and offset your usage from your local power provider. Grid tie is the most popular type of solar power system for homeowners in the United States. Off grid solar power systems are typically used in homes located remotely or for cottages and cabins which are far from the utility grid. With an off grid solar power system you're completely independent from the power grid, so you need to ensure the system can produce enough energy to run your residence.
How Do You Solar Power Your Home?
Solar panels are only one part of the solar power equation for a residential home. To install a full solar power system in your home you'll need solar panels, a solar mount system to secure the panels to your roof or ground, a solar inverter and wiring. You'll also need to work with an experienced solar installer, taking the appropriate safety precautions with electricity and when climbing on your roof! Another way to purchase a solar power system for your home is to purchase a pre-packaged kit, these simplify the process and often offer package discounts.
What Are These Solar Components?
Solar panels are obviously a critical part of a home's solar power system. The panels capture the sun's light and essentially convert that light into DC energy. As you probably know our homes run on AC energy, not DC energy as is produced by the solar panels. This is where the solar inverter comes into play. Inverters are the heart of any solar power system. They receive the DC energy from the panels and convert the power from DC to AC, which is usable in your home. After the energy is converted to AC, the power flows into your home through your current electrical box.
If you were to install an off grid solar power system you'd need two extra, yet critical, components. First you would need solar batteries to store power for later use and you'd also need a solar charge controller, ensuring your batteries aren't being over loaded or under loaded by the power flowing out of the solar panels and inverter.
Need Help Getting Started?
Give us a call at 866-274-0642 or fill out our Free Solar Evaluation request form and a PVPower.com solar expert will be happy to answer your questions, help you locate a local installer and find the right solar panels and components for your home.