The photovoltaic panel of a home or business solar energy system is what actually converts sunlight into electricity. They are widely available in a wide variety of makes, models, and price points, and they constitute one of the technology’s primary pieces of hardware.
To get the most out of your solar panel system, it’s important to choose high-quality photovoltaic panels (the proper technical term is photovoltaic module).
Although price is an important consideration when shopping for solar panels, it is not the only factor to consider; other factors, such as the panel’s generation and operation characteristics, are just as, if not more, crucial.
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How do solar panels function?
The photovoltaic (solar) cells in solar panels are what actually make the panels work. The amount of electricity produced varies with the time of day and the changing of the seasons, both of which affect the intensity of the incident light. Therefore, on a day with no clouds, a photovoltaic solar panel will generate more electricity than it would on a cloudy day in the winter.
Solar panels produce direct current, which is incompatible with most of the electronics in our homes. This power is direct current, so an inverter is required for use. It is essential to check the panels’ compatibility with the inverter (or microinverters).
The majority of generated electricity must be used exclusively within private residences. When production exceeds consumption, the surplus can be either injected into the electrical grid or stored in batteries for later use.
When deciding which solar panel to buy from the many available models and manufacturers, it’s important to consider factors beyond just the panel’s price.
Here are a few examples:
Variety of solar cells, modules, and uses
The first step is to determine which solar panel technology is most suitable for the setup. For this reason, thin film panels are preferable in applications where the panels will be tilted at an unfavorable angle, such as BIPV systems or building facades.
Crystalline, mono or polycrystalline silicon plates will be used in the vast majority of photovoltaic systems. This is due to the fact that they are the most cost-effective panels for conventional applications, while thin-film is typically applied in more unusual projects, such as the case of building facades (discover the various uses for each type of solar panel here).
When it comes to practical use, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels are identical. Although monocrystalline panels might be more efficient overall, polycrystalline and monocrystalline technologies compete for market share every year based on price.
Silicon is used in photovoltaic cells, and different kinds of solar panels can be made from silicon depending on how pure the silicon is.
They are more effective (yield) because their crystals are bigger and more pure. However, their high production costs mean that they will also be the most expensive. Solar panel price for Monocrystalline is the most expensive.
They are made up of less valuable elements like copper and iron and have smaller crystals as a result. They are gaining popularity despite producing a slightly lower yield than monocrystalline due to their lower production costs.
Electricity can be generated from both sides, as the name suggests. Both the upper and lower sides are designed to collect sunlight; the former through direct exposure, and the latter through reflected light from the panel’s mounting surface.
Thin-film photovoltaic panels are another type of solar cell that can be easily integrated into materials like tiles, glass, masonry, and more. As an example, these enable the generation of electricity by these constructive solutions.
How do I decide on a solar energy system?
Self-consumption photovoltaic systems are designed to meet the demands of the building in which they are installed, making precise sizing of the necessary components absolutely crucial. Given that the system can only produce during the day (when there is sun), the sizing must take into account the energy consumption registered in the house during the same period, so the design and conception must be such that the amount of energy produced is as close as possible to the consumption profile of the house. In order for installer companies to propose a viable solution adjusted to real needs, technicians on site must properly answer and collect this type of information as well as questions relating to the conditions for installing the system.
Since most Indian homes are less occupied during the day, most of their energy use occurs at night. Because of the constant power needs of appliances like TV boxes, refrigerators, and freezers that are left on standby, a compact system is ideal in this situation.
It’s important to remember that increasing your system’s capacity beyond what’s required won’t automatically increase your return on investment. In fact, the opposite is true; initial costs will rise because of the increased amount of energy that is not used locally but instead is fed into the grid at no additional cost. Consider solutions with higher powers if daytime occupancy is high and many electrical appliances are in use during this time, or if you plan to purchase an electric vehicle.