A solar panel is a device that converts light from the sun into usable electricity, the same electricity we use to power our homes, devices, appliances, and even some vehicles. The more intense the solar light is, the more energy they can produce.
There are many advantages to using solar power. For example, if you use it to power your electric based heating system, you won’t experience any recurring monthly expenses related to the heating of your home.
With oil or gas-based heaters, you must pay the gas or oil consumption expense monthly in order to maintain the continuous heating of your home. Since solar power is free, you can run your electric based heating or cooling system without experiencing any extra monthly costs. Many people like using solar power because it is a “clean energy source” and not harmful to the environment. Some countries, the US included, actually provide tax incentives and benefits to people who buy these products and generate their own electricity!
Now, in buying such products, there are many things to consider. One of the most important factors is to consider your electrical needs. Check or estimate the power consumption required for any of the electrical appliances in your home that you’d like to power with. Most people use the energy from solar panels to heat their water, since a water heater or air conditioning/eating units since these all typically consume a good amount of electricity. Make a list of the wattage ratings for any electrical appliances you might want to power with, add up all those wattage amounts and that will give you an idea about the amount of electricity you are consuming monthly when using those particular devices and appliances. When selecting a solar panel, choose one with a slighter higher wattage rating than the amount you calculated from your list. This ensures that you will be buying enough power output for your appliances.
Considering the desired location for your panels can also affect how much you spend on the purchase. You want to have maximum light exposure throughout the day. The optimal placement of one panel involves installing them so that they directly face the sun between the hours of 9AM to 3PM, which is when the sun is at its brightest. There are ‘add-ons’ that can be purchased to help ensure maximum light collection by the solar panel. A solar tracker is an example of this, but it is an additional expense. Also, because the solar tracker is powered by electricity generated from the solar panel, the output will be lessened by its power consumption.
Another important consideration is the guaranteed service life. Most last for 10 to 15 years. Check your expenses to see if buying a solar panel will give you savings over such a period of time. Look at the estimated power consumption for the devices and appliances you’d like to power with the purchase of a solar panel for each month and then multiply that by 12 to get the estimated cost per year. Now multiply that number by the guaranteed service life you are considering buying to see what that potential savings would be and whether or not the investment makes sense. Remember, they only last between 10-15 years. Many people are under the assumption that they last forever. That is simply not true.
Solar panels truly offer many benefits to both our homes and the environment, but because of their high cost, most people hesitate to buy them. Always consider costs and benefits when buying. Keep in mind the expected service life. The goal is to enjoy the benefits, not suffer its cost.