We all want to do our part to protect the planet, but what do we know about today’s alternative energy options? Many claim solar panels are an answer to an overdue problem, but just how obtainable is it for the ordinary person?
Most people know very little about how solar power works, what it costs, and the advantages or disadvantages of using it. If you’re one of those people, you’re in the right place. Let’s get better acquainted with solar power and expand your understanding of the future.
What Is a Solar Panel?
You likely already know about solar panels. They’ve been around for a while. However, you may not know much else about how they function. Solar panels harness energy from the sun and convert it into electricity or heat.
Solar panels consist of several individual solar cells. Those cells are in layers, with silicon as a buffer of sorts. Phosphorus provides a negative charge, and boron is present in the construction to give a positive charge. When the cells interact with photons from the sun, an electric current begins.
What Are the Benefits of a Solar Panel?
Solar power isn’t all smoke and mirrors. There are many benefits you can reap from relying on solar. Solar power doesn’t release harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It’s more cost-effective.
In addition, you can sell the excess power in your panels back to the power company. There are federal tax incentives and grants you can receive from transitioning your household to solar power.
Pro Tip: Use our guide on How to Install Flexible Solar Panels when upgrading your RV solar.
What Are the 2 Main Disadvantages to Solar Energy?
One disadvantage of solar power is that it is dependent on the sun. Not every day is sunny. Some areas of the world have low sunlight for months at a time. The panels have no way of storing energy for low sunlight times. You need a battery bank to provide power when the sun isn’t shining.
Another notable disadvantage is that solar panels create DC energy. You’ll need an inverter to convert the energy to AC power. Both challenges are not insurmountable, and there are convenient remedies available.
How Long Does a Solar Panel Last?
There’s no set time that a solar panel will quit working, but the industry standard for the lifespan of a solar panel is 25-30 years. After that time, they will lose their efficiency, resulting in a lower production of power. Often, the producer of your solar panels will offer a warranty on their efficiency for the product’s lifetime. They’re very reliable.
Do Solar Panels Lose Efficiency Over Time?
Yes, solar panels lose efficiency over time. However, eventually losing efficiency is something most of today’s technologies do. It’s typical for electronic devices to produce less energy over time. The term for the process is the degradation rate.
The average degradation rate of today’s solar panels is around 0.5 percent a year. Even after 20 years of function, you should still be able to receive approximately 90 percent of the energy as when you first installed your panels.
How Often Do You Have to Replace Solar Panels on Your House?
When you replace your solar panels has everything to do with how happy you are with the output. If 25 years go by and you’re still pleased with the power production of your panels, then there’s no need to replace them.
A run-in with inclement weather could put a replacement on the table. Otherwise, ensure that all the other parts of your system are in check, and you’ll have no issue with your panels.
What Is the Average Cost of Solar Panels?
Installing a complete solar panel system in your home is not an inexpensive project. However, the panels will pay for themselves in less than a decade. They’re an investment, and the price of solar installation varies by state.
On average, the cost ranges between $17,500 and $23,500. When factoring in what a solar installation will cost your family, it’s wise to expand your budgeting past the monthly payment on the system. You will also have to think about upkeep and maintenance costs.
Pro Tip: If you’re going to go solar, use one of these 5 Best RV Solar Panels.
Are Solar Panels Worth It?
When determining whether solar panels are worth it, you must consider all the numbers. Run the math on what it would cost you, and calculate how cost-efficient solar is for your household.
How much is being “off-grid” worth to you? The freedom and sustainability of solar power could be worth quite a bit in the long run.
What do you think solar power is worth? Tell us in the comments!
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