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Solar Panels

Considering Solar Panels For Your Home?

Solar panels are a great investment that not only saves you money and can increase the value of your property, but they also help the environment. Solar power is fast becoming price competitive with conventional energy sources and there are great rebates and incentives in place to compensate you for the power you produce and also help offset your initial investment cost. The cost to put solar panels on your home have decreased significantly, dropping over 40% in just the last few years. There's never been a better time to make the move to solar for renewable clean energy for your home or business.

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The Basics of Solar Panels

Solar panels convert the sun's light energy into electricity using an arrays of solar photovoltaic cells to convert photons into usable electricity. Solar cells, or photovoltaic cells, are arranged in a grid-like pattern on the surface of the solar panel to produce a specific wattage of electricity. Then multiple solar panels are arranged in an array and installed on a roof or in a field, which produce energy that can power a home or business.

Solar Panels Solar panels are typically constructed with cystalline silicon and the more expensive gallium arsenide, which is produced exclusively for use in photovoltaic cells. Other, more efficient solar panels are assembled by depositing amorphous silicon alloy in a continuous roll-to-roll process. The solar cells created from this process are called Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells, or A-si. Solar Panels constructed using amorphous silicon technology are more durable, efficient, and thinner than their crystalline counterparts.

The newest solar panels function on the molecular or quantum level. These solar panels are created by implanting carbon nanotubes or quantum dots into a treated plastic. Unlike silicon-based solar panels, these solar panels do not have to be constructed in a clean room, and therefore production costs are somewhat lower.

Solar panels work by collecting solar radiation from the sun and actively converting that energy into electricity. Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells. These solar cells function similarly to large semiconductors and utilize a large-area p-n junction diode. When the solar cells are exposed to sunlight, the p-n junction diodes convert the energy from sunlight into usable electrical energy. The energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their orbits and released, and electric fields in the solar cells pull these free electrons in a directional current, from which metal contacts in the solar cell can generate electricity. The more solar cells in a solar panel and the higher the quality of the solar cells, the more total electrical output the solar panel can produce.

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Solar Panels vs. Solar Roof Shingles

Both of these photovoltaic (PV) technologies bring renewable energy to your home in the same way, but there are a few things to consider when choosing between them. Each is better suited to a certain type of structure, and this is likely to factor into your decision.

Solar Panels:
The advantages of solar panels over solar roof shingles, is that residential solar panels are cheaper and bigger so that they can collect more sunlight. They are also placed on adjustable tracks which allow solar panels to go on roofs of various slopes, not to mention they are removable and easy to relocate without buying a new roof.

Solar Roof Shingles:
Solar roof shingles work most efficiently when installed on a south-facing roof. They also need a roof that has a substrait that can handle getting hot. These disadvantages generally rule out certain homes with weakly angled or flat roofs as well as roofs with improper air circulation. It's best to have a contractor or installer out to evaluate your roof to see if it meets the requirements.

The main advantages of solar roof shingles over solar panels, is that solar roof shingles look just like a roof, without the use of bulky panels. And unlike solar panels, solar roof shingles not only provide electricity, but they actually protect your house from the elements like standard roofing shingles. So if you are building a new home or roof, or if your roof happens to be a good candidate, then solar roof shingles are a nice looking way to power your house with green energy.

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How Much Power Do Solar Panels Produce?

The amount of power solar panels produce is influenced by the quality of the solar panel, the materials and technology used in making the solar panel, and the amount of time the solar panel has been in use. When purchasing solar panels, it is therefore wise to look beyond size and look at the dollars/watt ratio.

Solar panels of the same size may produce variable amounts of electricity, this discrepancy is caused from variations in the functioning age of the solar cells, the quality of the solar cells, and with what technology was used to produce them. Early solar cells are not quite as efficient as modern solar cells. Solar panels have an effective life span of about 20 to 25 years, and their value and wattage output decrease steadily over time.

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Get More Out Of Your Solar Panels

The best way to get the most out of your solar panels is to take simple steps like switching to CFL or LED light bulbs, invest in energy star appliances, use smart power strips that turn off electronics when not in use, and making sure your windows, doors, and insulation are energy efficient.

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