I am sure you must have heard all about solar panels, and if you are new to this, many questions must have been popping up in your mind and making you curious about what solar panels are and where they used and price of solar panels etc etc
In this article i have tried to cover almost all aspects of solar panels. Staring what the most asked questions and that is:
What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels or photovoltaic are piece of equipment that capture photons from Sun and transform them into electricity. It’s a large area that contains lot of small solar cells that works together to produces power that is similar in power to electricity and can be used as an alternate to regular electricity.
Most of the astronomers called the Sun as Sol thus the word “Solar” and the Sun is most powerful source of light and mostly used to generate electricity from light of Sun thus they are called as Solar panels. Cells can produce more electricity as long as the light keeps hitting the cells. Solar panels are also referred to photovoltaic panels (PV) panels due to their dependence on the photovoltaic effect.
Types of Solar Panels
There are various types of Solar Panels
- Monocrystalline Silicon (mono-silicon): Mono silicon solar panels are most competent type of solar panels amongst all types of solar panels. There is a lot of silicon content in it making it the most expensive option from the rest. When the light hits these cells more electricity is generated. It’s best for the home or office roofs. It’s easy to recognize mono-silicon by their size and shape the cells are evenly color and uniform look i.e. square shapes.
- Polycrystalline Silicon: Poly mean Many, these kind of panel have less silicon thus making it less expensive then the mono-silicon, these panels are less efficient than Monocrystalline. These solar panels tend to have slightly lower heat tolerance. However, this effect is not a major one, and most home owners do not need to take it into account. So if you are looking for less expensive option choose Polycrystalline panel. Polycrystalline panels come in rectangular shapes.
- Thin-Film: Thin-Film sometimes referred as thin-film photovoltaic cells (TFPV), these panels normally used in big farm projects. Thin-Film is the most inexpensive solar panels but they are also less efficient and also require a lot of space thus not very useful for in most residential situations. There are various types of Thin-Film solar cells depending on which photovoltaic substance is put onto the substrate: Amorphous Silicon, Cadmium Telluride, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, and Organic Photovoltaic Cells (OPC)
- Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV): Building integrated photovoltaic has different methods of integration, rather than an individual type of solar cell technology, which can be based on both crystalline-based and thin-film solar cells. Its look like real roofing tiles, but it does cost a lot more money. BIPV is less efficient than conventional Photovoltaic, which means you need a sunny large roof to generate enough power to fulfill your electricity requirement.
What Are Solar Panels Made Of?
Solar Panels are made up of number of Solar cells which are manufactured using silicon such as polycrystalline silicon or monocrystalline silicon, these silicon cells joined together to form a circuit to produce a specific power output from these panels. The interconnected cells are protected with a weather proof glass covering and the whole unit sealed to create a solar panel. The nearly finished solar panel is attached to the substrate by thermally conductive cement. The thermally conductive property of the cement keeps the solar panel from becoming overheated. Connectors are fitted to enable the solar panels to be connected to external batteries and devices or to a complete solar panels system.
Solar Panels come in diverse sizes for various purposes. Standard size is a 60-cell panel, or a bit larger 72-cell panels for large installations. Smaller panels are also available in the market for layouts where flexibility is required.
Uses of Solar Panel Energy
The energy generated by solar panels can be used in many situations, such as:
- You can use it for outdoor lighting & indoor lighting
- It can be use for home or office ventilation
- Heat your swimming pool with solar energy
- It can be used in heating your water; it can also heat your home
- Use it in power pumps
- Use it for charging batteries
- Power your home with solar energy
- Use it in your kitchen for cooking
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost to Install?
Normally on an average solar panel prices are around $480 for a 50 watt panel and $1000 for a 120 watt solar panel containing all the components to operate a TV such as a charge controller and all cabling.
However its not that easy to estimate the cost of going solar!
You might be asking what will be the exact cost of a solar panel? It’s quite difficult to answer this question, because it’s pretty general kind of question. Some home owners use less electricity and some uses vast amount of it. It’s like asking someone how much a car will cost. Unless you specify your particular needs, one can’t answer this question. To determine how much solar panel cost is, you need to determine the following information first:
- How much electricity (watts) do you need monthly, you can get an idea of that by reviewing your previously month(s) electricity bills?
- How much roof area do you own to fit solar panels?
- Are you living in a sunny or a cloudy region? How many hours’ sun shines in your area?
- How much money can you pay for in offsetting your electricity bill?
Find out all of the above points by going to this website.
Do some math on Solar Panel Cost
The average installation cost of a solar panel was extremely different from region to region but it was around $4.72 per watt, as per the latest US Solar Market Insight report. The other factors which also come in the math are; the size of your roof and your electricity requirements so the total cost of a solar panel installation is varies based on the above facts.
An average home in the US need 20-24 kWh (approx.) of electricity daily. An array able to produce this much power has a size of 4 kW or more (based on 5-6 hours Sun daily) and ranges in price from $15,000 to $20,000 installed (without taking any incentives).
Prices vary based on building and system configuration, the type and brand of equipment used and which solar panel company does the installation. The type and quality of solar panels as well as the size of the array affects the final price of an installation. Manufacturers price their solar panels based on their efficiency and durability. Panels such as, Monocrystalline, that retain their efficiency longer are usually more expensive. Building integrated solar panels are also expensive, but they are good choice if you are more concern with panel’s appearance. Polycrystalline is inexpensive but are less efficient than the rest. For more details read more about types of solar panels.
The price is affected by tax credits, rebates, local prices in your area, and how much sun you get. Since everyone’s situation is different, this will help you figure the costs for your particular situation.
How much Solar Panel will Cost? And How Much Will I Save?
Before you decide to go solar or not you probably need to figure out how much it will cost you to actually install a solar panel system, and much will you save in the long run?
To calculate the payback period for the solar installation, first find out the final installed cost per watt, the electricity cost per kWh in the area, the location of your house, many governments offer business and residential tax incentives and rebates on the purchase and installation of solar energy systems. So how do you know all of this stuff? Well, it’s easy, you just need a solar quote from local solar consultants. It’s always better to consult with the experts before doing anything, isn’t it?
There are some companies who offer plans where you can install the solar system at a cost of $0! They install your solar system for free!
Do I get any Government Incentives by going solar?
Many countries around the world, including USA, endorse tax incentives & refund on the purchase and installation of solar energy systems. These programs paid the owner higher rate per watt generated by their solar systems and these watts are than added to the grid and they essentially buy back what they need at a much lower cost. These incentives radically lower the cost of a solar system and can make the difference in turning your solar project into a profitable investment.
US Government’s incentive programs are varying significantly from state to state. Find out more about programs in your area by visiting the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE).
If you are in California, rebates are governed through the California Solar Initiative (CSI).
Some banks allow solar system to be move into a credit (such as this one www.fhb.com) or even offer special rates and terms to finance solar system installations.
Over the last few years, solar panels cost keep decreasing, and the demand of home & office keep increasing. Also the efficiency of the solar technology keep improving, thus the cost of solar installation will continue to drop and overall return on investment will rise.
So all in all going solar is the best way to not only save money but also get involved in a good cause of saving the earth by utilizing the renewable energy. Go solar and pay less for electricity bills and save overtime as the electricity rates are continue to increase. Every day lot of people makes the switch to clean energy by going solar, Join the movement by adding affordable, cleaner, solar energy to your home or office.
Top 10 Solar Panels Manufacturers around the World
Now that you have decided to go solar (?), its time to find out the best solar panels manufacturers and hire the best one.
With so many solar panel manufactures to choose from, knowing a little about the major manufacturers can help you narrow the search for the best PV panels that are best for you.
Here is a list of 10 leading PV module manufacturers around the world that conform to international quality and safety standards, offer the highest levels of energy conversion efficiency and will continue to perform consistently for years to come.
The list is based on latest NPD Solarbuzz Module Tracker Quarterly report.
Yingli Green Holding Company Limited – China
Yingli is a solar energy company & PV manufacturer based in China, its a leading name in solar panel manufactring around the globe. Due to low cost production structures in the world Yingli is expanding rapidly across Europe and America, and is renowned for the high quality and efficiency of its PV solar panels. Yingli became the first ever module supplier to exceed more than 3GW of supply in a single year.
Trina Solar Limited – China
Founded in 1997, Trina Solar Limited is a Chinese manufacturer of PV panels. It expanding quickly and rises to the top position in the list, producing mono- and polycrystalline PV solar panels for every type of installation, Trina’s range is defined by its outstanding performance and efficiency and is backed by Trina Solar’s industry-leading guarantees. Trina is most likely to challenge Yingli for the top ranking position in 2014.
Sharp Solar – Japan
Sharp Solar increased its ranking to number 3 in 2013, manufacturing photovoltaic modules for home and business since 2000. Sharp Solar produces thin film modules and mono and poly-crystalline silicon solar cells, producing around 20% of PV solar panels sold. Sharp Solar is one of the leaders in fab-lite operations in the PV industry today.
Canadian Solar Inc. – Canada
Canadian Solar Inc. is a publicly traded company that manufactures solar power modules and solar power systems. Canadian Solar’s PV solar panels are of high quality & conform to the strictest international quality regulations, and are suitable for solar farms, commercial and domestic use.
JinkoSolar Holding – China
JinkoSolar is a global leader in the solar PV industry with production. JinkoSolar has built a vertically integrated solar product value chain, sells and distributes its solar products to a diversified customer base in the global PV market, including Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, the United States, Eastern Europe, China, India, Japan, South Africa, and other countries and regions. JinkoSolar produces highly efficient mono & polycrystalline PV solar panels.
ReneSola specialize in the R&D and manufacturing of polysilicon, silicon wafer & solar modules and are one of the few large Solar conglomerates with vertically integrated operations from virgin polysilicon to photovoltaic systems in the global photovoltaic industry. ReneSola is actively expanding the downstream business, providing integrated solutions for commercial, agricultural and large-scale projects.
First Solar – USA
First Solar Inc. is an American manufacturer of thin film solar panels, and a provider of PV power plants and supporting services. First Solar is presence in Europe and Far East, is highly committed to ensuring environmental sustainability in its manufacturing processes and solar panel products. First Solar has come on very strong. Its low module cost per installed watt is the best in the industry.
Hanwha SolarOne – China
Hanwha SolarOne, Ltd., founded in 2004, is a manufacturer of solar panels. As a responsible company committed to sustainability, Hanwha SolarOne is an active member of the PV Cycle program. Five research and development facilities in Hanwha Solar Network dedicated to innovation and advancing the company’s PV technologies.
KYOCERA Solar – China
Kyocera Solar, Inc. is a world-leading supplier of environmentally sound, solar electric energy solutions. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyocera International, Inc. of San Diego, the North American headquarters and holding company for Kyocera Corporation, based in Kyoto, Japan. Kyocera pioneered the serial production of polycrystalline solar cells and through its ongoing commitment to R & D has created a process which gives the cells used in Kyocera’s latest range of PV solar panels extraordinary levels of efficiency.
JA Solar Holdings – China
JA Solar Holdings, founded in 2005, is the world’s largest solar cell producer. They design, manufacture, and sell monocrystalline solar cells primarily targetting China market. With a selectively optimized vertical integration model, JA manufacturing facilities encompass the whole photovoltaic supply chain including wafers, cells, modules, and comprehensive PV system project development services.
As you can see from the above list of top solar panel manufacturers there are several Chinese companies at the top spots. Chinese solar PV module suppliers continuously dominating the global supply, with 41% of module shipments coming from the Chinese suppliers over the past few years leveraging their expertise in low cost solar manufacturing, while the Chinese suppliers making it tough for their US competitors to expand the market share, due to added competition the price of solar panels are dropping dramatically making it affordable for common people to go solar and this trend will continue in the future.
So it’s a good time for you to install solar panel system in your home or office. The average homeowner saves $1000+ a year on electricity by going solar Find out How. OR Get and Compare quotes from the biggest solar providers in the industry and quickly figure out if solar makes sense for you.