Solar panels are a great investment for any homeowner who wishes to reduce their carbon footprint while saving some extra cash in the long term. With current policies in place in the United States, solar panels are at an all time low cost and there are many benefits such as tax breaks for having solar panels installed. However, the question is: how do you choose the best solar panels for your needs? The following are a few key things to look for when choosing appropriate solar panels besides immediate cost.
The Amount of Power You Need
The more appliances you have in your home, and the more power each appliance uses to function, the bigger or more numerous the solar panels need to be. Depending on whether you will be utilizing only solar power, or using a mix of solar power and gas; you may need to increase the number of solar panels.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration, a typical home in 2014 used an average of 911 kWH per month. Standard PV Solar Panels, depending on the size, can give an energy output between 150 watts to 350 watts per panel. Therefore, determine the number and size of panels needed according to your own individual power usage per month.
Location and Portability
To get the maximum amount of energy your solar panels can provide, make sure they are situated on your home in the correct direction. In the United States, the sun follows a southward path and so solar panels should always be facing southward. If your home cannot accommodate southward pointing solar panels, perhaps it is best to buy portable solar panels that can be placed and positioned in whatever manner you wish. The added feature of these portable solar panels is that in case you move to another house, these panels can be taken with you.
The Types of Solar Panels
Not all solar panels are created equally. In today’s market, a majority of solar panels are made of crystalline-silicon; the difference comes into play depending on how well aligned the materials are. The following are two different silicon alignments/purities that affect both the efficiency and price of a solar panel system:
- Monocrystalline Silicon Cells: these cells are the most efficient both in terms of generating electricity and conserving space. On average, these cells have an efficiency rate as high as 20%. However, these also tend to be the most expensive type.
- Polycrystalline Silicon Cells: these cost much less, but are not nearly as efficient. They also take up a larger amount of space.
When choosing the best solar panels for your needs, it is always good to find out two key things: your budget and the amount of electricity you need. Depending on these two things, you can determine both the size and number of panels that suit your monthly needs.