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Solar Panel Information- Solar Energy For Your Home
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Saving money is top priority especially in today's economy. All the buzz about solar power is exciting but can be very confusing! Companies dedicated to advancing green energy are promoting solar panels for your home to help reduce electric bills and make homes run cleaner. They say you can DIY with home solar kits and you're ready but you're still stuck on, "What is a solar panel exactly?"

What is a solar panel? Solar panels act as a conduit for solar energy. Groups of photovoltaic cells, commonly known as solar cells, are ordered in a grid-like pattern on the surface of the solar panel. These cells soak up the suns energy and turn in into electricity.

Types of Solar Panels- Monocrystalline solar panels- These are the most efficient solar panels on the market and unfortunately, the most costly. These solar cells use very pure silicon and involve a complicated crystal growth process. Long silicon rods are produced which are cut into slices of .2 to .4 mm thick discs which are then made into individual cells that are wired together in the solar panel. These panels are a wise investment for long term savings. The minimum life span is 25 years, but can last up to 50 plus years! If space is a concern then the monocrystalline panels are a great choice. They deliver more wattage per square foot than other models.

Polycrystalline solar panels-- Polycrystalline solar panels are the most common and cheapest of the group. These solar cells are not grown in single crystals but in a large block of many crystals. They are also sliced into wafers to produce the individual cells that make up the solar panel. If space is less of a concern then consider using these panels as they will give you more power per dollar. They are more sensitive to shade and high temperatures compared to the monocrystalline panels.

Amorphous solar panels (thin film) - These panels don't use crystals, but a thin layer of silicon deposited on a base material such as metal or glass to make the solar panel. These solar panels are much cheaper, but their energy efficiency is also much less than a monocrystalline or polycrystalline panel. More square footage is required to produce the same amount of power as the other panels so a large space is required. Amorphous solar panels can be made into long sheets of roofing material to cover large areas of a south facing roof surface.

Placement of Solar Panels- Solar panels can be mounted on your roof, the ground or a pole in your yard. Roof mounts look neat and uniform and can cover a considerable space. Laid flat on the roof, they can sustain strong winds and heavy rains. However, when you need to adjust the tilt of the panels to accommodate the sun (think summer into winter) you will find yourself climbing on the roof. Pole mounting is the most versatile of the mounts. They are easier to access so adjusting them is less stressful. They can be fixed or can track with the sun. The disadvantage to this choice is the pole can only hold 6-8 panels. Ground mounts are the easiest to install. They can hold 1-8 panels and come with fixed or adjustable legs. Whatever mounting system you choose, the key is to place the panels in an area that is free of shade from trees or buildings for the maximum amount of time the sun is exposed.

As more people seek out cleaner ways to use energy more information is at our fingertips. Our technology is advancing and with it the efficiency of solar panels. Solar panel information is out there so do your research before your purchase!


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