Solar power offers several valuable benefits for homeowners. This technology cuts energy costs, boosts property values and reduces emissions. If you decide that solar is right for your home, you’ll need to make multiple important decisions. For instance, you have to select the best type of panel. This guide will help you choose wisely.
How Many Panels?
The optimal number of modules will vary depending on many different factors, such as household electricity consumption and local weather conditions. To estimate home energy needs, multiply your region’s peak hours of daily sunlight by the amount of power you use in an average hour. Refer to your electric bill for energy consumption details.
Next, you’ll need to divide this number by the output wattage of one panel. Some units produce more power than others; they usually range from 150 to 400 watts. For example, you’d need about 18 high-wattage panels to generate 7,000 watts. A professional installer can perform more precise calculations for you.
If you have too little roof space or the necessary number of panels would cost too much, remember you don’t need to produce all of your energy (unless you have an entirely off-the-grid home). You could also find ways to cut power consumption, such as switching to a different heating system or a gas stove.
What Type of Panel?
Solar panels come in three main varieties. Polycrystalline units cost less but don’t perform as efficiently as monocrystalline modules. Thin-film panels generate the least power. Still, homeowners can benefit from their flexibility and ease of installation. They’re also available in a wider range of shapes and sizes.
Monocrystalline units last the longest; they have an average estimated lifespan of around 30 years. Polycrystalline’s life expectancy remains two to eight years shorter. Although they cost roughly the same amount as their monocrystalline counterparts, thin-film solar modules only last about 16 years. Monocrystalline generally represents the best option if you can afford it.
Most panels exclusively collect sunlight on one side. However, bifacial units use both sides to generate power. They produce more energy, but homeowners also pay significantly higher prices and installation fees. Consequently, most contractors only recommend them for commercial and industrial purposes. This could eventually change as prices continue to fall.
The majority of homeowners put solar panels on their roofs. This saves space and helps keep them out of the shade. Nonetheless, ground-mounted modules work well in some situations. You might prefer them if your roof has limited usable surface area or poor sun exposure. Ground mounting often makes equipment maintenance easier as well.
Although solar technology has become more affordable over the years, it still represents a sizable investment. Homeowners frequently spend around $2.79 per watt or $16,000 to $30,000 total. Equipment for a compact seasonal home might cost less than $6,000 while a rather spacious house with numerous residents could necessitate over $40,000 in spending.
Keep in mind that a federal tax credit currently funds about one-fifth of this expense. Certain cities, states and organizations may help you pay for the system as well. The final cost differs depending on several factors. They include the panel type, brand, mounting, and location. Extra features like rechargeable backup batteries will raise the total price.
If you desire a more precise estimate or need help making decisions about solar equipment, turn to a qualified installer. A professional can identify the best solution by carefully evaluating your roof design, sun exposure and energy needs. To get started, please contact us today for expert advice or a free quote.