Solar Energy Facts

Find Out The Latest Facts About Solar Energy

Solar Panels For Sale

There were a few pioneers, who invested into Photovoltaic Solar systems back in the late 1970’s. These systems were quite rare and equally expensive. I knew of a family in Colorado who installed a complete self-contained battery backup PV solar system. Modern solar thermal systems are a lot more reliable, efficient and more solidly built than they were forty years ago. And with mass production, the price has come down while quality has gone up. In today’s market, almost everywhere you look there are solar panels for sale. The popularity of solar energy has peaked over the past ten to fifteen years. It isn’t uncommon to see solar power systems on houses as you drive through various communities. That is especially true in sunny areas such as California or Florida. Many new home developers now include solar panels on their homes as part of the package as an incentive to home buyers.

When I installed my system a few years ago, there were only a handful of larger solar companies competing for my business. Today, there are literally dozens. Competition is always good; and with more companies in the market, it equates to better deals for the consumer. If you have the expertise, you can go to Home Depot and buy a system to install yourself. Unless you are assisted by a professional, I wouldn’t recommend installing your own PV solar panels. If you are an electrician or have extensive experience in wiring a home or electrical systems, you may be OK to do so. But there is a lot more involved than just putting the system in. You need to do light studies to see where you will get the greatest production for your money.

When looking for solar panels for sale, the following areas are important to consider and understand first.

Types of Solar Panels

The primary types of solar panels for sale are known as photovoltaic panels. These are used to convert the energy of sunlight into electricity. Most solar panels contain a number of solar photovoltaic semiconductor cells inside an aluminum casing covered with a thin sheet of glass. A solar panel typically contains about forty semiconductor cells. Traditional solar cells are made of sandwiched layers of silicon doped with semiconductor material. The reason solar panels are fairly expensive is because they have to be constructed individually.

When photons in sunlight strike the cell, the electrons in the cell are knocked loose and they travel to one side of the cell. Electrons from the series-connected PV cells travel through connecting wires to supply electric potential to a solar panel system. A typical solar power array contains between ten and twenty solar panels connected together. The solar panels connected together along with an inverter and power conditioner form a solar system for home. As new technologies are developing, they are making solar electricity generation cheaper and more efficient.

A recent new development has been Thin-Film Modules. This newer technology permits amorphous silicon and other semiconductor materials to be deposited in a thin film onto a substrate. These solar cells are less efficient than the traditional silicon wafer photovoltaic cells but cost less to produce and can be made in larger numbers.

Because thin-film solar cells can be deposited on different substrate materials and can be cut to any size or shape, the logical next step was to put them on roofing shingles. Now your roof can be an array of hundreds of solar roofing shingles. These solar shingles can easily be installed in place of traditional roofing shingles. What’s nice is they blend in with the rest of the roof. You can’t even tell you have solar panels. These solar panels are constructed of layers of semiconductor materials that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light. All the shingles connect to form a large solar-power array on the roof.

Solar technology is rapidly improving. Nanotechnology is one of the newer solar technologies that is being used to make solar panels more efficient and less expensive. Nanopolymer materials can now be sprayed onto any surface. This technology can actually embed the solar-cell material like ink on paper. There are companies now that manufacture high efficiency solar cells on inexpensive metal foil. The cost for these types of panels will be considerably less as these panels are more easily manufactured.

Another popular type of solar panel for sale is a solar thermal panel. This is a totally different animal. When hot water systems are used for buildings, there are normally two main parts. The first is the solar collector, which is normally a flat-plate collector that is mounted on the roof. This collector consists of a thin, flat, rectangular box with a transparent cover that is facing the sun. Small tubes carrying fluid pass through this thin box. The fluid that is used is either water or some kind of antifreeze solution. These thin tubes are attached to an absorber plate which is black in color which is used to absorb the heat. At the heat builds up inside the collector, the fluid that is passing through it is also heated.

The second part of this kind of system is a storage tank that holds the hot liquid. This container is usually larger than a regular water heater, and is very well insulated. Systems that use something other than water have a coil of tubing inside the tank. As the fluid passes through this tubing, it heats the water.

Leading Manufacturers

The Department of Energy has held a Solar Decathlon each year since 2002. In this event, each college that participates competes in ten areas of design. They have to design and build the most attractive and most energy efficient solar powered home possible. When designing their home, they have to keep the energy needs of the typical family in mind. Each team can choose from any solar panel manufacturer that they want. During the 2011 competition, six of the 19 college teams chose to use SunPower solar panels on their homes. In fact, since 2005, every winner of that solar decathlon, has used SunPower solar panels. There are a number of manufacturers that produce a good solar product. You need to shop around when looking for solar panels for sale. Price isn’t the only factor. Quality is also a major factor.

Here are some questions you may have. Hopefully you have found your answer. If not, check out some of our other solar facts pages.

How expensive is solar energy?

What are some solar panel manufacturers?

Are there solar lease programs where I live?

What kind of market is there for PV?

Can I install my own solar electric system?

How will having a solar power system affect the value of my house?