Solar panels live on your roof and receive the sun’s rays, turning them into energy. The panels are made up of photovoltaic cells produced using crystalline silicon, a light-absorbing semiconductor. They come in two types:
Darker in colour with diamond shaped edges. Manufactured from a single silicon crystal.
Advantages: Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon; Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient; Monocrystalline solar panels last the longest.
Disadvantages: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive; If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow, the entire circuit can break down; A significant amount of the original silicon ends up as waste; Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more efficient in warm weather.
Lighter in colour, rectangular in shape. Manufactured from many silicon crystals. Raw silicon is melted and poured into a square mould, which is cooled and cut into square wafers.
Advantages: The process used to make polycrystalline silicon is simpler and cost less; Polycrystalline solar panels tend to have slightly lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline solar panels.
Disadvantages: The efficiency of polycrystalline-based solar panels is typically 13-16%; Lower space-efficiency; Not as aesthetically pleasing since they have a speckled blue colour compared with the more uniform look of mono crystalline.
This converts DC power (created by solar panels) to AC power, which is used in the home.
This is a device that records the movement of electricity into and/or out of a home or building. A solar meter is sometimes referred to as a “bi-directional” meter or “net” meter. It records electricity received from the grid and electricity exported to the grid. A smart meter is a digital meter that records electricity use in 30-minute intervals. They can also be programmed as bi-directional and are compatible with solar. Contact your electricity provider if you are not sure what type of meter you currently have.
A kilowatt (kW) is a unit of power equal to 1000 watts. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy you get from one kilowatt for one hour. Your electricity provider measures how much electricity you use in kilowatt hours. On average, a 4kW solar power system has a daily output of 14.4 to 20kWh of solar energy. If your system includes a fully charged storage device, it can even output 6.5 to 16.5kWh of energy, depending on the size of your battery.
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