When looking into solar power technology to install in your house, a lack of knowledge about the different facets of the technology and how it works can make the process a bit daunting. However, with a bit of research, the right questions to ask your solar power installation specialist, and taking time for consideration, you can find the right solar panels that will bring you significant savings in the long term.
There are four primary types of solar panels available today. Each type has its advantages, disadvantages, and considerations when deciding on which source of power might be best for your home.
Solar Panels on the Roof
Recent statistics report that around 55 percent of the world’s new renewable energy is now solar.
A common type of solar power system is roof-mounted solar panels. Every panel you see on a roof will have both positive and negative electric wiring coming out of it in one cable.
This cable has an inverter plugged into it. Else, the solar panel will be attached to a second cable with an inverter. Inverters convert direct-current electricity from the panels into the alternating current household electricity that your appliances use.
There are both residential- and business-sized solar panel installations. If you own a large business, like an auto parts store, some of your roof space might be used to set up the panels on your property. You will benefit directly through government incentives for businesses that use renewable power systems.
You can also install the panels on a large scale on your property to provide electricity for your home, dramatically cutting your monthly power bills. For many homeowners, solar panels are the most efficient and economical option available to them.
Solar Power System Tied to Your Utility Grid
Another residential system uses existing utility infrastructure to produce solar power: either someone else’s roof or a system on land you own.
The first type of solar power system together with your utility is known as ‘net metering. When the sun shines, it powers everyone’s homes and businesses. If you have a net-metered photovoltaic (PV) solar installation, the excess electricity you produce will be sent to the grid, where you can use it or sell it to neighbors.
A net-metering solar power system is not necessarily installed to only save money on the electricity bill but is a good option to take advantage of net metering and the other benefits that come with being an eco-friendly company or neighborhood.
This type of system is usually set up as a partnership among several businesses or property owners with a grid connection, who all benefit from drawing on each other’s excess solar power.
The third type of solar power system is a grid-tied system, either residential or business. In a grid-tied system, an electricity company can buy back excess electricity from your solar panels at a reduced price with this type of setup.
The only difference between net metering and grid-tied systems is that you can sell or use your electricity in different ways with the latter.
For example, you might be able to buy a battery pack to store excess power for times when it’s not sunny outside, so you have enough energy for your home.
The fourth type is a battery backup system where the rechargeable batteries store surplus energy for later use when solar power is unavailable.
As with net metering and grid-tied systems, you can sell your batteries’ excess energy back to the utility company or use it yourself during power outages. On the other hand, an inverter converts direct electricity from solar panels into AC, just like a net-metered and grid-tied system.
There are pros and cons to each type of solar panel for buyers which must be duly analyzed before one considers making an installation. Furthermore, it is also important to remember that the energy efficiency and percentage of power you get from your panels will depend on the size and quality of the installation.