Are solar panels worth it? Wanting to buy but just not sure? Let me tell you about the ones I own and my experience.
As a general rule solar panels are worth it. This is providing they are installed correctly and one does their research before making a purchase. Knowing the right type of solar system to buy is the key to a short payback period with low maintenance.
Read on for my experience with solar panels and what I would change and do differently if I were to install them again.
1.Are Solar Panels Worth It?
As a general rule solar panels are worth it. The key to having a successful solar panel system is to do your homework and research first. Knowing what your production requirements of power hour is very important. Also knowing how much of your power bill would like to cover or reduce is also very important.
Purchasing your solar panels from the right supplier for a decent price is something you need to pay close attention to. From our experience there are many different solar suppliers. So you need to do product research once you decide what kind of solar panels you wish to go with. There are a few different technologies of solar panels but by far monocrystalline type solar panels are the best on the market.
Monocrystalline solar panels will give you the best efficiency and the most bang for your buck. Check with us reputable solar contractor to make sure that the solar panels are approved for use in your area. Whether this be in North America or in Europe. Many solar companies have different ratings for different areas.
Another important factor to make sure you check out before buying your solar panels is where you’re going to install them. If I had to do it again, I would not install them on my roof. Installing solar panels on an asphalt roof it’s not ideal. Due to the amount of work I’ve actually matching solar panels. I realized that shingles will not out last solar panels and it’s some point I will have to pull all of the solar panels back off the roof to reshingle. The next time I do a re-shingling, I think I will go with a metal roof with a much longer lifespan. So not have to want to worry about this again.
2. Which Type Of Solar Panels Are Worth It To Buy
As mentioned above, I feel that the monocrystalline style technology cells solar panel is the best one to buy. There are polycrystalline and lower grades however they do not convert as much sunlight into electricity as one would desire.
The monocrystalline cell produces up to 20% or better of sunlight energy conversion. Unfortunately 20% is all we’re going to get for now until a better technology comes along. This generally means a little better quality panel.
When you purchase 100 watt panel it really produces 100 watts and not less. Keep in mind that the rating on the panel is rated for a set voltage and it said amperage to produce the wattage. These are prime rated numbers.
For example a 12 volt panel can be rated as high as 17 1/2 volts. Although you would never run the panel at 17 volts you could get 14 1/2 or 15 volts on your battery bank. When you run a battery bank for solar panels this can reduce the power output. A good monocrystalline panel is still gonna cost you over two dollars per watt.
If you see it for less than that be sure to check on the type of technology of the panel. In some cases when you buy buy large quantities or in bulk you can get them for less but generally this is still a good number to go with.
3. The Cost Differences Between The Types Of Panels
The cost between the different types of solar panels can vary depending on where you buy them. Like mentioned if you buy them in bulk online you will probably get a better price make sure you were buying the top technology.
If you purchase a polycrystalline technology which is the lower technology you can probably find this for around a dollar per watt. Even less in some cases. Keep in mind the quality of these panels are not as good as the monocrystalline panels. So you know a difference by pictures of the monocrystalline panels. Or darker in colour a dark blue almost black looking. They also come in octagon shapes.
The polycrystalline panel has a lighter blue in colour and usually come in a square or rectangle or shape. These are unmistakable and you can tell the difference when side-by-side. Remember you get what you pay for so be careful when making a purchase.
Not kicking polycrystalline panels in some cases if you can score of the right deal on the internet you can get these for cheap. This could be beneficial if you plan to do smaller projects. For example if you were going to install solar panels on the camp a few polycrystalline panels may be the way to go depending on your power needs.
Your power consumption will determine how many pennies panels you actually need. It differs in every case. We have seen instances where five or six solar panels are more than enough for a client to run some lights and plugs and some minor appliances on the weekends. In other cases in peoples camps we can fill the whole roof and solar panels and it’s still not enough because they are power-hungry.
4. Picking The Proper Location To Install
If I had to do it over again or a build a retirement home, I will make sure I have enough land for the clearing in it so I can set up solar panels in the field. I know this would be more expensive to build structures or poor sauna tubes for the basis of the solar panels.
However, I will not have to have them on my roof then. I would also build a little shed that has all the equipment in and then just run one power cable back to the home. It’s completely isolated system so it is not on your house which gives you a more comfortable feeling.
I would though however make sure that the clearing for the solar panels was offsite a view from the public’s eye would not wanna take any chances with any vandalism going on with my investment. May even put some sort of a fence up around the area where the solar panels were.
I would also definitely go with larger solar panels produce more wattage the 230 to 300 watt range panels. These panels can be 3 to 5 feet in length and the same in width. They are a little more cumbersome to install but you’ll get more power production from each panel.
I would not again install them on my roof. Many people install them on the roofs and then don’t realize that they will need to pull all of the solar panels back off to for shingle. This results in additional labour on your investment and put your payback period longer. So it really doesn’t make any common sense. Not to mention the best solar panel installation on roof and still have problems with leaks. Remember water will get in anywhere. I can so if you have the right angle of water or wind storm and still run into leaks. These are all questions you have to ask yourself are solar panels worth it.
5. Should I Sell Back To The Grid?
When I installed my system, I installed over the large number of solar battery switch I’ll get into it in the next topic. I was thinking I would be able to store the energy and use it when the power goes out. The problem I see with this when I live on the grid anyway as I should’ve chose to sell it back to the grid.
If I had to do it again I would definitely sell back to the grid and then have a back up generator for times when the power went out. The battery maintenance to be honest is killing me. I have to check on my batteries at least twice a year to make sure or check for any faulty batteries.
This adds maintenance to the system. Although I am an electrician and my labour is free for my own product it’s still cost you to have the service by somebody else..
It would definitely be the way to go as you completely eliminate any batteries needed in the system. Solar panels book directly through a disconnect and then a grid tie inverter which sells back to your local power utility. Your local power utility can install by directional meter so you can sell the energy back to the grid. This doesn’t isolate you or find you to a single power days usage. As different days and different levels of power production loud rain sun etc.
6. Storing The Solar Power In Batteries
In my system, I have a large array of solar batteries. I store the solar energy into the batteries and then use them at night when I see fit. This does have some advantages because I can use it when the power is out. However this adds quite a bit of maintenance. Keeping the solar batteries up to snuff is quite a task.
Once a year, I check for any loose connections caused by heat and I also meter out each individual battery to make sure that it is producing power the way it should be. Keep in mind there are some cases where you will need to have solar batteries.
For example, an off grid installation for a home where power is not available. At that point I guess you have to weigh your options. Should I invest $10,000 in batteries or should I pay $50,000 to have power poles run back to get grid power at my property.
You can run batteries for an awful long time before you ever have to pay for the power poles so in this case it would be more feasible to have batteries. I do recommend storing the batteries in a separate building away from the home. Just in case. You never know they could cause fire matter how many safety protocols fuses or breakers or disconnects you have in place.
After all they are batteries and they are explosive. I would also have a building that has passive solar heat from the sun. The passive solar heat from the sun would help keep the room temperature where the batteries are in more consistent. Batteries do not like like large fluctuations in temperature. Same applies for a good scenario would be is your car on a cold day the battery start slower. Cold weather for batteries are not a good thing.
7. Money Savings With Solar Panels
You can save money on your solar panels by having them installed on your residential property or on your commercial property. Different parts of the world have different payback programs and offer a different net metering programs. Pay close attention to those net metering programs because some are better than others.
If you take advantage of government rebates combine is this that you can save quite a bit of money on your power bill. Keep in mind you will need to produce enough electricity to offset the use of your power consumption.
A specialist can help you with this when they come to price up the system. In addition taking advantage to rebate programs can be also beneficial. This is where you can get paid a rebate to install the panels on your home to help reduce cleaner energy.
If you want to save some serious money on your power bill and you need to look at installing at least a 10 kW system. This also means 10,000 W of electricity produced per hour of sunlight. Metering is determined over how many kilowatts over. Time for example 1 kW per hour.
8. What Areas Of The Word Are They More Cost Effective?
There are some parts of the world that solar energy or solar panels are more cost-effective than others. Europe in many parts of Europe specifically lead over North America. Pretty well everyone I see has solar panels on the house or some form of alternative energy.
This technology has been around for years is a utilize it. Another area that you will see solar panels widely used is China. Most solar panels are produced in China anyway, so they have the advantage over the rest of the world and are solar panels worth it.
If you try to purchase solar panels from China for example, for use in North America they may not be approved for that use. This is important and something you should not overlook. Also try to buy the solar panels in bulk. You will get cheaper freight or shipping rates on a box shipment as you would individual panels.
9.Unforeseen Issues With Maintenance
The obvious maintenance issue with solar panels are keeping them clean. Also making sure that the system is operating properly and have a checked on every couple years. Falling debris can also be an issue for solar panels trees branches hail etc.
Unforeseen issues with solar systems can be loose or electrical wiring connections. Rodents chewing on wires. Also malfunction of the inverter with equipment supply in the grid. These are all considerations to take into effect when purchasing a solar electric system.
10.Choosing The Best Type Of System
After all things considered. If I had to do it again I would say the best type of solar system to install would be a monocrystalline panel. The panel should be larger in size. They should be facing to south and mounted on an adequate structure so that you do not have to do much maintenance like a roof. They should be grid tied back to the grid. The idea is to have less maintenance and the most bang for your buck with no batteries to deal with. We hope you like this article please check out some of our other articles on our website and helps you determine are solar panels worth it.