solar panels cost $6,000 per panel and would be sold for $12,500 to $15,000. A solar panel is a photovoltaic device that converts light directly into electricity using the photoelectric effect. A typical solar panel has six to eight solar panel cost cells made from semiconductors. The price of solar panels has dropped in recent years as production capacity has increased and manufacturers have been able to take advantage of falling material prices.
Solar panels are mounted on the roof of a home or business and connect to an inverter, which converts direct current (D.C.) electricity from the panels into alternating current (A.C.) electricity that can be used to power lights and appliances. As the sun goes down and the angle of the sun changes throughout the day, the amount of electricity generated by solar panels also changes. To ensure that solar panels generate electricity consistently throughout the day, they need to be shaded when the sun is too bright and pointed toward the sun when it is too dark.
What Is Solar Power for the Home?
Solar systems can provide many benefits to homeowners: lower electric bills, lower carbon footprints, and possibly higher home values. Nevertheless, these benefits can come with high installation and maintenance costs, and the magnitude of the gains can differ greatly from house to house.To determine whether solar power can be used at home, this article will help homeowners make the necessary financial calculations.
Costs of Solar Power for Homeowners
First, let’s consider how much it would cost to install a solar power system in your home. In general, residential solar power systems cost between $3,500 and $16,000 upfront.
Why is the cost range so wide? In general, the variation is determined by the size of the system and the type of panels you choose. No matter which system you choose, keep in mind that solar power is capital intensive, and the main cost of owning a system is upfront. In almost all cases, solar modules will account for the lion’s share of the overall cost.
Additional costs may also be involved. The installation process also requires an inverter (to convert the direct current produced by the panel into the alternating current used by household appliances), metering equipment (to determine how much electricity is produced), various housing components, and cables wiring gear. Batteries are also an option for some homeowners. Batteries have traditionally been prohibitively expensive and unnecessary if the utility feeds excess electricity into the grid. There is also a labor cost associated with installation.
The costs of operating and maintaining a P.V. solar array are in addition to the installation costs. Aside from cleaning the panels regularly, inverters and batteries (if installed) generally need to be replaced after several years of use.
How to Calculate Your Energy Production
The second factor in your calculations will be the amount of energy your system will generate and when that will happen. Even for experienced solar engineers, this can be a very complicated calculation. Here are some basics.
A primary consideration is the amount of solar irradiation available in your geographic location; in other words, how sunny it is where you live. Being closer to the equator is generally better when it comes to solar panels, but other factors also need to be considered. Its website contains tools that provide detailed solar information for specific locations in the U.S., and NREL produces U.S. maps that show solar irradiation levels.
A home’s orientation is equally important: For rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects blocking sunlight maximizes the amount of solar energy. It is also possible to mount the panel on external support and install it outside the house. However, this requires additional hardware and cables.