How to Determine the Best Solar Panel Option for Your Home

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How to Determine the Best Solar Panel Option for Your Home

Solar panels offer homeowners the opportunity to power their home with minimal need for an alternate energy source. They can even make it possible to power the home entirely with green energy, with no need to connect with an alternate energy source at all. This, as well as other monetary incentives, can equate to the homeowner saving large amounts of money over the long term. The initial cost of the panels, as well as the amount of money the homeowner can expect to save by installing them, are two of the biggest factors to consider when choosing the right solar panel option for your home.

While installing solar panels represents an opportunity for great savings over time, they are also quite a large initial investment. Make that investment wisely by educating yourself about the effectiveness of current solar panel technology, how much power you can expect them to produce, and the solar requirements for your specific home before shopping for the right ones for your home.

Educate Yourself About Current Solar Panel Technology

Solar panels are a developing area of technology. Depending on their construction, the materials used, and their capacity, solar panels provide a varying range of power. This also depends on the location of the structure they are installed on and the angle at which they are placed.

As the field is relatively new, government set standards may yet change and develop, so it is important to stay informed of any changes in policies before making the purchase. Currently, in order to be eligible for certain credits, the panels must meet international standards. Information about this and other factors can be found on the Clean Energy Council's website.

Choosing a Solar Panel Option that Produces the Greatest Amount of Power

When many homeowners consider the solar power option for their home, their main concern is ensuring that the system produces an adequate amount of power for their personal needs. This is an important factor to consider, and a good reason to be very selective when picking out the panel. Many solar panel options look appealing, especially because they may be available at a lower price when compared to other panel options.

These lower price options are great because they allow a wide range of homeowners from different economic circumstances to get in on this self-sustaining, green power trend. These low cost options may indeed provide the homeowner with a break in their power consumption from the electric company, which is very welcome. However, it is important to keep in mind that these lower priced options also produce a lower number of kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, which means that the consumer may only experience a marginal effect on their electric bill.

Typically, an average Australian home uses approximately 18 kilowatt hours of energy per day. The most common solar panels currently being installed on homes are 1 kW or 1.5 kW systems. The cost of these systems varies depending where the home is geographically located, as well as a number of other factors, these small scale units that represent the bottom end of the price range generally produce between 3.5 and 5.0 kWh per day. Clearly, this is not enough to completely offset the need for an external energy source.

Larger units are available, but the prices for such go up dramatically, and they may still not produce enough energy to compensate for that higher initial cost. Even an expensive 4.0 kW system only produces between 14 to 20 kWh. In some areas, this may be enough to completely displace the homeowner's electric bill; in others, however, it is not. When it does, most communities have programmes in place that pay the homeowner for the excess energy the solar units produce. For the consumer who can afford the larger initial purchase price of these larger options, this factor should play a role in determining the size of the system to consider. Another way to bring down the price might be to consider buying used or new but never used solar panels.

There are solar panel options available in a number of sizes, with 4.0 kW system typically being the largest that homeowners are currently installing (although larger systems are available). The following chart shows the difference between the number of kWh the consumer may expect from 1, 2, and 4 kW systems relative to geographic location.

City

1.5 kW

2 kW

4 kW

Adelaide, Brisbane, and Cairns

6.3 kWh

8.4 kWh

16.8 kWh

Alice Springs

7.5 kWh

10.0 kWh

20.0 kWh

Canberra

6.45 kWh

8.6 kWh

17.2 kWh

Darwin and Perth

6.6 kWh

8.8 kWh

17.6 kWh

Hobart

5.25 kWh

7.0 kWh

14.0 kWh

Melbourne

5.4 kWh

7.2 kWh

14.4 kWh

Sydney

5.85 kWh

7.8 kWh

15.6 kWh

Understandably, these are averages, and homeowners need to consider other key factors when trying to calculate how much the solar panel may affect their power consumption. The number of electronic items used in the home on a regular basis also greatly affects these averages.

The Season Affects Solar Panel Performance

Because of the angle of the sun relative to the earth, solar panels produce less energy during the winter months than they do during the summer. This factor is increased the further the home is located from the equator.

The Surroundings Affect the Power Produced by Solar Panels

For optimum efficiency, the panels should face north on the house. They should also tilt at around a 10-degree angle in order to ensure that the rain can easily wash away any particles and debris that may accumulate from the air. For some homes, it may be difficult to find a suitable location that meets these optimum requirements. Some homes may have a good location for the panels that works well, but there may be other homes, trees, or other structures that block some of the sunlight. All of these affect how well the solar panels can provide power for the home. It is best to understand these factors before deciding which solar panels to purchase.

Determining Your Home's Solar Power Requirements

For some homeowners, the solar power option must depend solely on the cost factor alone. Many families just cannot afford the initial cost of a larger kW system. The savings that they may provide, however, are something to consider when making the decision.

In order to determine how large of a system best suits your needs, first, do some research to understand how the home's location and the panels location on the home affects the amount of power it is likely to produce. Then refer to past electric bills to determine how much electricity your family regularly consumes, and compare these numbers. By doing these calculations, it is relatively easy to determine how much money the consumer can save by installing the average 1.5 kW system, as well as how much may be saved with a larger option.

Buying Solar Panels on eBay

Before purchasing solar panels for your home, it is wise to do the necessary research in order to have a complete understanding of what system works best. After doing that research, the consumer should have a clear understanding of the system they prefer. These can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or from a number of different venues, including online marketplaces, such as eBay where you can easily search for both new and used solar panels and find great deals.

Find solar panels available for sale on eBay by entering the keywords "solar panel" into the search engine on eBay's main page. For a narrow list of only the size you are specifically interested in, also enter that keyword. For instance, search for "1.5 kW solar panel". With that list, further narrow it based on any other factors the research suggests are best for your home, such as such as mono crystalline, poly crystalline, or thin film panels.

Conclusion

Installing solar panels is a wise choice, allowing homeowners to save money and affect the environment in a positive way at the same time. Even if the panels do not supply enough energy to completely power the home, the energy that they do supply has virtually no impact on the environment and is sustainable. There are several options for the homeowner to choose from when it comes to solar panels and a number of factors to consider before making the purchase.

A homeowner who is seriously interested in making the wisest investment for the long term should do the necessary research before making a purchase. More expensive units often produce more power, lowing the monthly electric bill, allowing use of more electronics, or even earning credit for the excess energy produced. These factors, as well as the home's geographic location, are important things to consider before making the final decision about the solar panel investment.

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