Many of us are hearing a lot about solar panels and how they’re beneficial and promote clean energy. But how much of this is really true and are we getting all the facts on solar power?
Obviously, it’s not going to be feasible to rely on fossil fuels forever, but the alternatives that are being pushed these days might not be the best for you. Let’s find out if solar energy is really the right choice for you.
Table of Contents
A. How much do you pay for electricity now?
If you’re a resident that’s paying for utilities right now, you know how every season has a rise and fall in outgoing costs. The popularity of green-energy is gaining traction every single day now, but does that mean it’s time to switch over just yet?
The first thing to keep in mind is where you live and how does that weather applies to needing solar panels. Since you already know how these panels work, does your state have lots of steady sunshine?
The biggest issue with solar power is how much exposure they receive in a day. This is great if you live in a drier desert climate. Cloudy or unpredictable weather will instantly cut that solar collection by half or more.
This isn’t so good even if you have your whole roof covered with panels either. And by the time fall and winter come around, how much sunlight do you get? Is that going to be worth the daily usage you and your family need?
B. What does a typical panel system cost to install?
This is a question that many people have a hard time understanding about solar panel systems. Not every single solar panel is the same and many of these panels all yield different percentages of return solar collection. In general, solar panels only give you at-best no more than 22% efficiency when gathering sunlight.
The best-of-the-best can provide as much as 26.7% efficiency, yet these panel systems are quite expensive. You’ll want to make sure you seek out a specialty company if you do decide to go solar.
You can expect to save money by hiring your own installation contractor instead of going with the company who sells the panel systems.
C. All Panels Aren’t Created Equal
The reason comes down to the types of solar panel cells that are commercially available. Here’s why:
1. Monocrystalline photovoltaic (Mono-SL)
This is the best panel that you can get with upwards of 22%, but as high as 26.7% depending on the manufacturer. They are often smaller than others making it easier to have more roof coverage.
These panels are highly effective where there is lots of sunshine. The downside is these don’t work well at all with snow or dust that covers them. They need to be cleaned all the time.
2. Polycrystalline solar panel (mc-SI)
This is the next level down that can give 13-16% efficiency, which is why they’re cheaper. This type of panel is better suited for places that aren’t desert-like or hot since the sun fries the material over time.
To get the same output as Mono-SL, you need twice as many panels to get the same amount of return electricity.
3. Amorphous Thin Panels (a-SI)
This panel is the worst for gathering power and will collect a mere 6-8% efficiency return. These are more expensive to make as well since the Amorphous-thin wafers are stacked inside the panels.
The lifespan is lower and the warranty is not as good, making these panels the lesser choice you can choose.
D. Are they worth it?
One of the decent reasons that getting solar panels is worth the investment is something your home state already offers. This is what is called the Solar Tax Credit and it’s still being offered as part of a bill that was saved from President Trump.
Until 2022 this solar tax credit is now worth 26% across the entire US. It was previously 30% as of the start of 2021. This is still a considerable saving that returns 26% of your outgoing cost back to you.
As long as you have signed up for a plan that gives you a 15-20 years warranty on your solar panels. This allows you at least two decades of certainty to saving a bit on your electrical usage.
The cost of installation will vary depending on the kind of solar cells you invest in, so always choose based on climate and weather considerations. As solar technology is advanced, perhaps the percentages of efficiency will increase as well.