Should You Get A Solar Panel?
By Victoria Baeker
Updated: January 20th, 2020
Ever since the Paris climate deal fell through, the environmental news worsens day by day. Just as the world was reeling from the Amazon forest fires, came the Australian bush fires. Most of us conscientious citizens of the world are distraught and desperate to do our bit to help. Many of you may be considering using solar energy for your homes. So should you get a solar panel?
How Do Solar Panels work?
It is a good idea to understand what solar panels are and how they work before considering their feasibility for your home.
Simply put, Solar Panels are made up of several solar cells that convert the sun’s energy into electricity that you can use around the house. This phenomenon is called the photovoltaic effect and the cells are thus also called photovoltaic cells (PV cells). The cells are housed in a glass casing with a metal frame and wiring to supply the electricity. They also have insulation layers to prevent overheating and anti-reflective coating for efficient functioning.
A standard solar panel for a rooftop installation can have as many as 60 cells linked together. -The current they generate together can be enough to power your home.
When you install a solar panel it will connect into the power grid of your house. The grid has a utility meter that measures how much power is supplied to your house. Now with solar energy having become commonplace, US homeowners can get net metering. Here, your utility meter can measure how much excess solar power you have produced and sent into the grid. In exchange, you can get credits on your electricity bill. You can use the credits on days when the solar panel does not work.
Things to Consider When Getting a Home Solar Panel
There is no one answer to the question of whether a solar panel is right for you.
Solar Panels are now cheaper than ever to buy. With several states offering solar energy certificate programs, solar panels can help you reduce your electricity bill to a large extent. There have been several advances in battery storage technology which makes it easier to store the excess solar power you will generate.
Solar Panels would be difficult to install on roofs smaller than 450 sq ft and that is if you buy the smallest package. Several states make it mandatory to have some setback area around the panels, constraining your options.
The shape of your roof also matters. Irregularly shaped roofs or those with slate or tiles can limit the systems you can opt for.
Access to the Sun
If your roof is completely shaded or at an angle where the sun does not reach well throughout the day, a solar panel will be a waste. Buildings or trees blocking the way for the sun reduces the efficiency of your system.
A solar panel is a good investment when you can be sure to get at least 4 peak sun hours. This does not mean just having the sun out. If you live in a cloudy place or a high latitude place the number of hours when the sun is shining at 1000 watts per square meter will be very less.
Legal Requirement in California
If you live in California you should install solar panels at home. A new law, California Rooftop Solar Mandate, makes it compulsory for newly built homes to have roof solar paneling.
Of course, there are exemptions for pre-existing homes that are hard to retrofit or shaded buildings.
You may have a home warranty in place to protect your home systems and appliances from unexpected breakdowns. Your home warranty will not cover the solar panels. But, there are solar panel warranties to maintain your peace of mind. Many home insurance plans also come with solar panel guarantees.
We at Homewarrantyreviews.com are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint. We advocate simple maintenance of your home appliances because it goes a long way in cutting down energy consumption. Renewable energy is the only feasible solution for the future and we support all moves towards wider adoption.
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