BUYER'S GUIDE

All you need to know about solar panel system


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When you hear of green energy or that the world is going green, the first thing that comes in to your mind is solar energy. This is because of all other renewable sources of energy it is the most practical type of green energy. To understand why you need to focus on solar energy and not any other types of green energy for you power needs, let’s take a look at the other sources of renewable energy.

Types of renewable energy

Wind energy is a great renewable source of energy. However, wind turbines are huge in size and require an open area free from tress or buildings. It also requires a number of the wind turbines.

Biomass Energy: The most common biomass energy is biogas. You will need to have cows. This means a large piece of land for your cowshed and your biogas digester. The energy obtained is in gaseous form. To convert it in to electricity, you many need to set up a steam power generating unit. It requires regular maintenance and time for it to be fully operational.

Biofuel energy: This is the type of energy obtained by combusting oils extracted from nuts.These types of oils supplement the exhaustible crude oil reserves that we have and tend to produce less greenhouse gases during combustion However; you would need a constant supply of nuts an oil extraction plant to produce useful quantities. The amount of oil produced per unit kg of the seeds may be quite small making it a challenge for household applications.

Solar energy: This is  the easiest renewable energy to adopt because it requires much less space,is easy to set up and produces ready to use electrical energy that is more versatile in its applications compared to gaseous or fluid fuels.

Why solar energy? Solar energy is absolutely free. You will never have to pay any bills for using the sun to power your electronics. . It is also a renewable energy source.  This means that it does not get exhausted. Sunlight is available every day. You can rely on it without a doubt.Solar energy is green energy. What this means is that it is environmentally friendly. You could be wondering why Hydroelectricity is not considered clean energy. This is because it requires the formation of dams that cause the formation of micro climates and affect the natural structure of the river thus affecting aquatic life. Solar energy is a great way to cut down on your bills. With all the lighting and temperature regulation being powered by your solar panels, your power bills are definitely going to be lower than ever before. Solar energy also increases your self-reliance and your home value. It is a great supplement for hydroelectricity and may also be used as a self-contained power source.

Types of solar panels

There are many types of solar panels based on a number of factors. The major bases of classification are photovoltaic cell structures and flexibility. Based on the photovoltaic cell structure, there are three types of solar panels. These are:

  • monocrystalline solar panels
  • Polycrystalline solar panels
  • Amorphous solar panels
  • Hybrid panels

Monocrystalline solar panels

These are made from a single crystal of silicon. This makes them the 2nd most effective and consequently 2nd most expensive of the solar panels. They are ideal for limited space and for use in areas of limited sunshine.

  Polycrystalline solar panels

These are also known as multicrystalline solar panels. They are made from a slice of crystalline silicon. Their efficiency is not as high as that of the monocrystalline solar panels. They have a sparkling appearance and are generally thicker than the Monocrystalline type.

Amorphous solar panels

These are made from amorphous silicon. Basically, amorphous silicon is flexible. These solar panels are also flexible. They are made by applying layers of amorphous silicon on a flexible surface. Their two main

disadvantages

are They have a low efficiency compared to other solar panels.Their power output reduces especially when new but then stabilizes after some time.

 Hybrid panels

These are made by placing a thin layer of amorphous carbon below a layer of Monocrystalline cells for optimum electricity generation. This increases the solar panel efficiency of the Hybrid panels compared to Monocrystalline solar panels. They are the most efficient solar panels. Panasonic, Formally Sanyo is one of the most recognized manufactures of the Hybrid type solar panels.

Based on flexibility the two types of solar panels are:

  • Rigid solar panels: Almost all crystalline silicon types of solar panels are rigid in nature.
  • Flexible solar panels: This is a feature that is common with the amorphous solar panels

Solar power pros and cons

Pros

  1. Solar energy is environmentally friendly. It does not harm the environment in any way
  2. Solar energy is absolutely free. The only cost incurred is the set up cost and maintenance cost.
  3. Solar energy has a very low maintenance cost.
  4. Solar energy is renewable. The sun shines every day and will continue to do so as long as the earth revolves. This makes it a reliable source of energy.
  5. Solar energy can be used in many places because the sun shines almost everywhere. It is an ideal way to power remote areas.
  6. Solar energy is actually effective. In the modern world some electronics such as calculators and lamps are solely powered by solar panels.
  7. Solar energy can be stored for future use. Lead acid batteries are used to store solar energy to light bulbs and run basic electronics during the night when there is no sunshine.
  8. Solar panels are generally durable. They can be used for years without replacement.

Cons

  1. Solar energy can only be generated in the presence of sunlight. This necessitates a power storage media if the power is to be used at night when there is no sunshine.
  2. The cost of purchasing the solar panels and setting up the solar power system may be high.
  3. The output of solar panels is limited and varies with the sunlight intensity
  4. Solar power needs to be stored thereby requiring a battery that requires regular maintenance.

Top five best 12v Solar panels

  1. Aleko LM109 20 W 12 V polycrystalline solar panel

This is a highly efficient 12v solar panel with a normal output voltage of 12V. It has an operating current of 1.14 A and an open circuit voltage of 22V making it ideal for home use. It comes with Brackets to mount it. It is known for its durability. With its 5 year material and workmanship warranty and a 25 year fairly constant power output warranty, you can rest assured that your investment will not be a waste of money. Check Price at Amazon.com Now!

2.Renogy 100 watt 12 v monocrystalline photovoltaic solar panel

This is a perfect option for grid tied application. Single panels can be used to charge 12 volt batteries. The solar panel has a high module efficiency with and optimum output of 500 watts hours per day. It comes with a 25 year transferable power warranty and a 5 years material and labor warranty.This solar panel is designed to withstand high winds of up to 2400pa and high snow loads of up to 5400pa. It has an aluminum frame that makes it lighter and guarantees long life.

Check Price at Amazon.com Now!

3.Instapark 30w 12v monocrystalline all new solar panel

This is a perfect choice for boats, homes, power back up and remote use proposes. The Instapark solar panel is capable of dissipating 30 watts of power. Its maximum power voltage is 17.5V with a maximum current of 1.68 amperes. It has open circuit voltage of 21.95V. It comes with a charge controller that prevents overcharging of batteries. It is ideal as a multiple module system because it can be assembled with inbuilt MC4 connectors. Its dimensions are 21.5×17.25×1.13 inches.

Check Price at Amazon.com Now!

4.Renogy UL Listed 50 watts 12 V polycrystalline solar panel

This is the best off the grid and fully self-powered system. It is a perfect choice for commercial purposes for anybody aspiring to set up a power system. It is a 12v solar panel with a high module conversion efficiency of 13.4%.  It is also equipped with a Renogy MC4 adopter kit and comes with MC4 connectors.This sola panel is build o last. It has a durable aluminum frame and can withstand high winds and heavy loads of pressure from snow or hailstone pounding. It comes with a 25 year transferrable power output warranty and a 5year guarantee of workmanship and material.

Check Price at Amazon.com Now!

5.Windynation 100w12V polycrystalline solar panel

This is a complete solar panel kit that comes with a charge controller, MC4 connectors and mounting brackets. It is ideal as an off grid battery charge with the capability to charge a 12V battery.This solar panel is cable ofproducing 300watt hours which sums up to 25amphours of charge per day ideal to run basic home appliances or for boat appliances.  It comes with a 5 year materials and workmanship warranty and is designed to last for up to 25 years. Check Price at Amazon.com Now!

How to choose the best solar panels

There are many types, sizes and designs of solar panels in the market. Getting the best solar panel should be a priority for your solar energy generation project to be a success. While choosing a solar panel for your home it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Efficiency The efficiency of a solar panel is rated in percentage. It is a measure of how much electricity the panel can optimally produce with respect to its surface area. The greater the efficiency the lesser the area required.
  • Durability This is a measure of how long the solar panel is meant to last. You can simply tell the confidence that the company has on the solar panel by the duration of warranty that they give. Go for the panels with the longest warranty. Most likely, they are durable.
  • Size Rooftops vary in size and dimensions. Before settling for a solar panel confirms that it will fit on your roof without overhanging. This is because solar panels should not demote the aesthetics of your roof but instead they should uphold it.
  • Aftersales services To generate solar energy you will need to set up a sort of a mini power plant. This means that you will need a guarantee that your solar panel supplier will be there to provide help and support when called upon.

Installation Procedures of Solar Panels

Solar panels come ready to install. However a professional may be required if a number of them have to be installed to from a unit. The most basic requirements for a successful solar panel installation are:

  • Battery
  • Inverter
  • Connector cables

Applications of solar energy

  • In power plants solar panels are used to boil water so as to generate steam to run turbines
  • In homes solar pannels are used for lighting, and temperature regulation
  • In offices solar energy supplements electricity from the grid especially because offices consume more power during the day than they do during the night.
  • Solar power is used to run air conditioning units. During hot days, the energy from the sun is capruted to operate floor and roof fans to cool rooms.
  • In cars, a new exciting invention has been made of a car running on solar energy. It is made up of solar pannels and has battaries to store the charge for use during the night.

Maintenance of the 12 volts solar panel

The 12 volts solar panels have very low maintenances requirements. This is because they are built to last for years without needing any replacement. The servicing and maintenance requirements include:

  • Replacing the connecting cables: Cables wear out after continued application. if not replaced they would become lose or broken thus breaking the circuit
  • Replacing the inverter: this is the gadget that converts the solar energy from Direct current to Alternating current for consumption by the electrical appliances. if damaged, the direct current will not work on your gadgets and may damage them.
  • Regular inspection, servicing and replacement of the power storage battery. This is very critical to guarantee a constant discharge rate.
  • Cleaning the solar panel: too much dust or snow may block the sun rays from reaching the solar cells. Always ensure that the solar panel is clear from any blockage
  • Inspect the circuit to check for lose connections or broken lines. These could stall your solar generation.

The most critical of all components is the battery. Without proper care the battery will break down making it impossible to use the solar energy at night. These are simple maintenance steps that can prevent this from happening.

  • Always ensure that the vent caps are tightly closed.
  • When charging your batteries, make sure that the caps are open to release any gas that may be produced.
  • Do not add tap water to your battery at any time
  • Keep the battery in a well-ventilated location
  • Clean the terminals until they are bright and shiny using a smooth file

There are numerous reasons why you need to invest in a solar system. Its durability, reliability, ease of use and cheap long term power supply are just but a few. This guide has all you need to know before investing in a solar panel. Installing a solar panel saves money and the environment as well. The way to a healthy and wealthy environment in future is the use of solar energy. Most countries have numerous incentives for solar energy to encourage its use. Taking advantage of this free and reliable power source is an honorable decision.

 Choose solar energy and save the world!

About the author

Harold

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