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Have you been thinking about how to reduce energy bills and do your part in saving the environment? 

If so, why not consider investing in residential solar panels? 

Solar panels are the perfect way to reduce the reliance on traditional forms of energy, such as electricity from the grid, coal, and oil. As a result, your electricity bills will be lower, and you’ll be doing your part in helping the planet. 

What are residential solar panels?

Residential solar panels are photovoltaic (PV) cells that work to convert sunlight into electricity. PV cells absorb sunlight and then convert it into electrical energy.

Solar energy can be used to power your home or stored in batteries for use at night or during a power outage.

Residential solar panels are available in various sizes and styles, so you can choose the best option for your home. These panels can be mounted on the roof or installed on the ground, and connected to the grid or stand-alone.

residential solar panel
Photo by Vivint Solar

How do residential solar panels work?

Solar panels have PV cells that are designed to absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. The PV cells in the solar panel are made of semiconductor materials, such as silicon. When sunlight hits the PV cells, it causes electrons to be knocked loose from their atoms. This process is called the photovoltaic effect.

The electrons flow through the material to create an electric current. 

Then, the electrical current is sent to an inverter that converts it into alternating current (AC) which can power your home.

How many solar panels would your home need?

Various factors that affect the number of solar panels needed to generate enough electricity for your home. These factors include

1. The size of your roof

The available space on your roof will determine how many solar panels you can install. With more room on the roof, you can install more solar panels, which generate enough electricity for lighting, heating, and powering security devices. Conversely, smaller space may limit the number of solar panels you would install, which means less wattage generated.

2. The amount of sun your home receives

The more sunlight your home receives, the more electricity your solar panels will generate. This means that even with fewer panels, you can still have enough energy generated for all your needs.

3. Your energy needs

The number of panels you need is also dependent on how much electricity you use.

A square meter of your home requires about 100 watts of electricity. This amount can be generated by approximately 8 solar panels that are about a square meter in size. Therefore, you will need at least 28 solar panels to generate the minimum amount of electricity your home needs each day. 

However, this is just a rough number and can be lower or higher depending on the factors mentioned above, which include the size of your home, power consumption, and more.

benefits of residential solar panels
Photo by Vivint Solar

The 5 benefits that residential solar panels offer

Residential solar panels provide homeowners with numerous benefits, including:

1. Saves you money on energy bills

The biggest reason for many to switch to solar is to save money on energy bills. Solar panels allow you to generate electricity, so you’ll no longer have to rely on the grid. This can help reduce energy costs significantly, especially if you live in an area with high electricity rates.

2. Reduces carbon footprint

Other energy sources leave behind a massive carbon footprint. For example, burning fossil fuels releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. 

On the other hand, solar panels are a clean and renewable energy source that doesn’t emit any pollutants. Thus, switching to residential solar panels can help reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment.

3. Installing solar panels earns you tax credits

In most instances, governments reward those who switch to solar by offering tax credits and other incentives. Why not take advantage of these rewards and earn back money on your investment?

4. Solar panels boost your home’s value

Solar panels are a fantastic way to increase the value of your home. Many homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels installed. This is because they know they’ll save money on their energy bills from day one.

5. Solar panels are low maintenance and have a long lifespan

Once you’ve installed solar panels, there’s not much you need to do in terms of maintenance. They don’t require any moving parts, so there’s little that can go wrong. 

If you want a way to save money and help the environment, affordable residential solar panels are a great option.

How to get started with installing residential solar panels?

The installation of solar panels in your home is not a do-it-yourself project, so you’ll need to hire a professional solar panel installer. Once you’ve found a reputable installer, they can help you determine if your home is suitable for solar panels and provide you with a quote.

installing solar panel
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After you decide to go ahead with the installation, the next step is choosing the right type of solar panel for your needs. You can do this with the help and guidance of an experienced installer who will be able to advise you on the different types of panels available and help you find the best option for your home.

How long does it take for residential solar panels to pay for themselves?

The payback period for solar panels varies depending on several factors, such as the installation cost, type of panel, the amount of sunlight your area receives, and more. In most cases, solar panels take 5 to 20 years to pay for themselves completely.

However, this is just a general estimation. Your payback period could be shorter or longer, depending on your specific circumstances. In any case, once your solar panels have paid for themselves, you’ll be able to enjoy free electricity for the rest of your panels’ lifespan, which is typically around 25 years.

Tips to maintain a residential solar panel system

Solar panels require some maintenance to continue functioning at optimal levels and guarantee maximum savings. Here are some ways to ensure your system stays in good shape:

  1. Keep the area around your solar panels clean and debris-free. This will ensure that they’re able to receive the maximum amount of sunlight possible.
  2. Check your panels regularly for any damage or wear and tear. If you notice anything, contact your solar panel provider or the installer so they can fix the problem.
  3. Have your system checked by a professional every few years to ensure everything is still in working order. This is an essential step if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions.
  4. Keep an eye on your energy consumption and compare it to your solar panel output. Doing so will help determine if there are any issues with your system that need to be addressed.
  5. Keep in mind that solar panels require very little maintenance, so you shouldn’t have to do much in terms of upkeep.

For more tips, read Solar Panel Maintenance: All You Need To Know.

How long do residential solar panels last?

Solar panels typically come with a 25 year warranty, but they often last much longer than that. In fact, many solar panels have been known to last for 40 years or more with proper care and maintenance.

With proper and regular maintenance, your solar panel system can provide clean, renewable energy for many years.

Read How Long Do Solar Panels Last? for more information.

What type of solar panels are best for home use?

The best for your home depends on your unique situation. Some factors to consider include budget, average sun exposure, and the type of roof you have. Here are the 5 common types of solar panels that you can buy for home use.

1. Monocrystalline solar panels

Made from a single crystal of silicon, monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular and efficient type of solar panel. However, they are usually more expensive than other types of solar panels. Nonetheless, they are worth the investment since they typically last longer and are more efficient than other types.

Monocrystalline solar panel
Photo by Kindel Media

2. Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline panels are created from multiple silicon crystals and are less expensive than monocrystalline solar panels. They are generally less efficient than monocrystalline panels but more affordable.

To compare monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, read Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Which One Is Better For You? 

3. Thin film solar panels

Thin film solar panels are cheapest but are also the least efficient. They are made from a thin layer of material, such as cadmium telluride or amorphous silicon, placed on a substrate. Thin film solar panels are not as popular as the other solar panels but don’t cost an arm and a leg.

4. Portable solar panels

Portable solar panels are a good option for those who want to take their solar panels with them when they travel. They are less efficient than other solar panels, but they still make an excellent option for those operating on a budget ceiling.

5. Solar shingles

Solar shingles are relatively new and becoming increasingly popular. They are made from thin film solar cells embedded in asphalt shingles, less expensive than traditional solar panels, and can be used to replace your existing roof.

No matter what type of solar panel you choose, you can be sure that you are making a wise investment in your home. Solar energy is clean, renewable and will save you money on your energy bill.

Let’s wrap it up

Solar panels are a fantastic option for anyone who would like to save the environment and also reduce energy spending. With all their benefits, there’s no reason not to switch to solar for your residential energy needs. However, remember to hire an experienced installer to ensure the job is done correctly. They will be able to help you choose the right type of solar panel for your home and help with installation too.

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