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What a Homeowner Should Know Before Getting a Solar Panel Installation Part 2

Jessica PirroJanuary 16, 20205920

Homeowners who are interested in getting a solar panel installation have a lot of research to, so they can be informed on how to find the best deals on solar power systems. Here are a few things homeowners should know before they install a solar power system.

What a Homeowner Should Know Before Getting a Solar Panel Installation Part 2

Don’t forget to check out part 1 here!

The Different Components and Options to a Solar Panel Installation

When it comes to the efficiency of a solar panel, and the looks, there are going to be three primary components. The three primary components of a solar panel are: solar cells, back sheet, and frame.

Solar Cells

There are going to be two primary types of solar cells: polycrystalline (poly) and monocrystalline (mono) solar cells.

Poly solar cells are instantly recognizable by their space-age blue coloring. Up until a few years ago, poly solar panels dominated the solar power market because they were a lot less expensive to produce. But, mono solar panels have fallen in price and have had a rise in popularity. Poly solar panels are now most prevalent in commercial and utility-scale solar panel installations where their distinctive appearance is less of a consideration.

Mono solar cells are made from a single crystal which gives them their distinctive black color. Not only are the mono solar panels are sought after because of their sleek appearance, but they are also going to be more power-dense, and the power has dropped a lot over the past decade and they now are what is making up the majority of residential solar panel installations.

The Frame

A lot like a picture frame, the frame of a solar panel is what holds the sandwich of glass, silicon solar cells, and back sheet together. The frames for solar panels are made of light-weight and durable aluminum and come in two colors: black and silver. Both of the styles perform the same, so it will all come down to what the homeowner finds more aesthetically pleasing. Silver frames are most typically paired with poly solar cells and come in at a lower price. The black frames are most definitely more popular for residential solar power systems and going to pair nicely with poly or mono solar cells.

The Back Sheet

Beneath the silicon solar cells is a layer that is called a back sheet. The primary function of the back sheet is to protect the different components that are inside the solar panel, but, it is also going to impact the appearance of the solar panels as well. The back sheets in the solar panels come in both black and white. Most homeowners are going to prefer a black back sheet with black solar cells and black frames so their solar panels in better with their asphalt roofs.

The Different Types of Solar Power Systems

Solar power systems are going to either be installed on a rooftop or the ground. The location that is right for your home will depend on a few factors, such as, shading, HOA restrictions, size of your yard, orientation of your home, your roofline, and more!

The Roof Mount

A rooftop mounted solar power system is just like it sounds - the solar panels are attached to the roof with racking hardware. There are going to be three basic factors that will determine whether a roof will be good for solar panel installation.

What Makes a Roof Good For a Solar Panel Installation?

- Space: We will need a reasonable amount of unshaded space to put the solar power system on your rooftop. An average of 4-6 kW solar power systems (16-24 solar panels) will need 200-400 square feet.

- The Orientation: Roof space also needs to be oriented well to capture the maximum sunlight over the whole year. South-facing is going to be the best, but east and west-facing roods will work as well. You will only start to lose production when facing north.

- The Low Shading: Design specialists conduct a shading analysis to ensure that there aren’t going to be too many shadows from trees.

Ground Mount Solar Panel Installations

When it comes to ground mount solar panel installations, a racking system is going to be engineered, constructed and anchored into the ground. The electrical wiring runs in an underground trench to the house and the solar power system is connected to the meter. There are several pros and cons homeowners should know when considering getting a ground mount solar power system.

The Pros

- Customization: Can be positioned due south for maximum solar energy exposure.

- Space: The solar panel installation isn’t going to be limited by roof space, which is going to allow maximum solar energy production.

- The Aesthetics: This is going to be one of the biggest concerns for customers. A lot of homeowners don’t like the way that a solar panel installation looks on rooftops, or are involved with a historical development/district that isn’t going to permit exterior changes or is going to have certain HOA restrictions.

The Cons

- The material cost increase: More material is needed to mount and run the ground mount to the meter on the home, there are also additional costs for trenching.

Solar Power Shingles

Solar power shingles have been ins and out of the headlines since Tesla debuted its solar roof. Though they are still in limited production, the future of solar energy has some options that are going to camouflage the appearance of rooftop solar panel installation. But, when compared to the more traditional solar power systems, there are going to be a lot fewer pros than cons when it comes to these solar power systems.

Custom Solar Structures

There are a lot of creative options that will integrate solar power in the landscape and architecture of homes and businesses. Based on your goals, custom solar power systems can be as unique or as functional as wish. Some practical solar power systems are going to include solar power awnings, and parking lot shade shelters made from solar panels are a popular choice. There are also charging stations with solar umbrellas that are an attractive alternative where form meets function. But if you’re looking for a cool and innovative solar power system, there’s going to be solar flowers and solar trees.

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