Solar energy is a clean, alternative energy source that’s excellent for your house. Ignorance about it remains widespread despite this and its lack of growth around the world. Because of this, many people can’t take advantage of this renewable source. So that you can maximize the benefits of clean energy, we will take a look at one of the basic elements of the gear.
Before you even consider installing a solar panel system, you should make sure that your house, specifically your roof, is ready. You should repair your roof before installing solar panels if it needs to be repaired. If you don’t, you’ll have to remove and replace the panels when you fix or replace the roof.
Furthermore, make sure that there are no large shaded areas on most of the roof during the day, especially during the hours of greatest sunlight. This prevents the panels from maximizing their performance.
Once you’ve found out if your roof is compatible, it’s time to pick the type of solar panel that will generate electricity, heat water, etc.
Solar Panel Basics
Let’s start with the basics of solar panels. Solar photovoltaic panels capture the energy that is produced by the sun. Thereafter, it is converted into an alternating current that can power various household appliances. It’s crucial to remember, though, that a solar panel of this type alone would be worth very little. In fact, solar panels are only one component needed to create a solar-powered home system. This system will also require an inverter and storage batteries, depending on how it will be used.
Nevertheless, panels are the starting point. You should therefore be aware that there are different types. To begin with, it is important to distinguish between monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. A decision between one and the other can have implications for the installation price as well as the level of efficiency, among other factors.
A similarity between the two previous panels is the material from which they are constructed: silicon. In the same way that photovoltaic panels dominate the market, this material dominates the market for solar cells using this technology. As a matter of fact, 9 out of 10 photovoltaic panels are composed of silicon.
In this field, innovation never stops, so we should continue to add new types of equipment to the existing types. A number of bio-photovoltaic panels, including these from the University of Cambridge, and other thin-film panels, are beginning to gain traction in a world in which many more alternatives remain to be discovered.
Types of Solar Panels
Those who are not yet familiar with the world of clean energies may not realize they are multipurpose. In addition to producing electricity, solar energy can be used to air-condition a house, heat a swimming pool, or generate domestic hot water (DHW). If you have the correct installation, you can do all of the above.
Do you know which one it is? One that uses solar thermal panels or solar collectors instead of photovoltaic panels. In this case, the energy recovered from the sun would be converted into heat, not electricity, which could be used as listed above.
On the market, there are three types of solar collectors: low temperature, medium temperature, and high temperature.
The medium-temperature collectors reach 90 degrees using a cover that keeps the heat in.
With just a little less heat, specifically 50 degrees, you can reach low-temperature thermal panels that can allow solar energy to be used for home heating as well as domestic hot water. Same applies to medium-temperature collectors, which can be used in homes and businesses.
And then there are high-temperature collectors, which can handle much higher temperatures than the previous ones. The application of this typology is for the generation of electricity in thermal power plants, so it’s not for residential use. It is possible to make a solar collector at home for this purpose if you’re into DIY (Do It Yourself).
Which is the most efficient solar collector?
With the arrival of 2*1 solar panels, which combine photovoltaics and thermal collectors, you can get the best of both worlds. Here what is being offered is a solution that combines the two previous ones to, in a single panel, capture the sun’s energy to generate electricity and to generate heat for heating domestic hot water or heating a house.
This type of panel has the muscle to serve both purposes, as well as significantly reducing the space required for installation. In other words, by going with mixed panels, you get rid of two installations.
This alternative is great for those who want to make the most of the sun but don’t have a lot of space. A hybrid solar installation is not just for homeowners, but also for other facilities (schools, hospitals, etc.) It works great for industrial applications too.
What’s the downside? They aren’t as common as PV solar panels or thermal collectors yet. However, little by little. There are actually initiatives underway to expand the use of hybrid solar panels, which, when activated, boost photovoltaic performance by 15%.