Deciding to disconnect from the grid, or trying to achieve energy self-sufficiency in your home is no easy task. On the one hand is the benefit of not depending on a source of energy that comes from fossil fuels, and that month after month does damage to the environment. On the other hand is the investment in a new system unknown to many. How do we choose a solar panel system for our home? Although they are only guides, the recommendations below will help you choose the solarÂ panel system that best fits your needs.
Know the different types of solar panels. The efficiency of the panel type will depend on the electricity you need to generate per square inch. According to experts on the subject, monocrystalline silicon panels are the most efficient option, but they are also the most expensive. The average yield of this type of solar panel is between 12 and 18%. The other type of panel is the polycrystalline, which is a cheaper option than monocrystalline, but less efficient. With an average yield of about 13%, amorphous silicon is the most economical type of panel, but of the three options, it’s the least efficient, and the average yield is about 7%, Although they work relatively well when there is little solar “luminosity.”
Determine the consumption to know how much energy the panels need to generate. The amount of electricity a solar panel can generate is measured in terms of kilowatts per hour per year, or kw/h per year. Add the total amount of kilowatts for all your electrical requirements and choose solar panels designed to meet that demand. Example: Let’s say the TV turns on for an average of three hours a day. A 50 watt television, powered up for 3 hours consumes 50 watts x 3 hrs = 150 w / h per day for 365 days = 54,750 WH = 54.75 kw / h per year. Calculate by averaging the rest of the equipment similarly and you will get a total average of approximately kw/h consumed annually in your home.
Compare the quality of the design of each panel to choose. Because the panels are installed outdoors, they must be able to withstand rain and strong winds, among other things. Look for units made of galvanized steel or aluminum to minimize the possibility of oxidation or corrosion. Make sure that the panel you choose keeps delicate electrical components well protected from water. Choose a panel type that offers good anchors, parts and fittings in stainless steel or aluminum preferably, to ensure that the panels are securely secured where they are to be installed.
Compare how each type of panel is installed. Some solar panels are designed to be installed on the roof, but there are others that can be mounted on racks at floor level. If it is impossible to mount solar panels on the roof (walk-ups) you may decide to mount them on the first floor, but the important thing is that you understand the installation requirements for each type of panel when making your selection. Take into account the size and weight of each panel to ensure that it has enough space and that you can safely install them on your roof or patio.
You should familiarize yourself with the maintenance requirements for each type of panel to choose. Ceiling mounted units are generally more difficult to access and maintain, while floor level units are more accessible. Check the frequency of cleaning and maintenance recommended by the manufacturer, as well as the routine tasks required.
Evaluate the total cost of the panels plus their installation, not just the purchase price of the panel. Add the price of parts, labor, installation and annual operating costs, and divide this figure by the total kilowatt / hour per year you calculated at the beginning. This will give you a unit cost for each kw / h of power supplied, which can allow you to compare the prices of different panel types and see what economic viability they have according to your need and budget.
Compare the guarantees offered by each type of solar panel. Most quality panels offer a manufacturer warranty that specifies that after 10 years of installation, the panel will produce 90 percent of its rated power and 80 percent of power after 25 years. You can look for warranties that meet or exceed this to ensure you are buying a quality product.