In the past few years, the cost of solar power has declined to such an extent that it’s now cost-competitive with the traditional electric companies.
While there are still some disadvantages to using fossil fuel sources to generate electricity, such as CO2 emissions, the fact is that clean, renewable solar power is now an option for many people. Thus, more and more people are considering installing solar panels on their property.
If you’re thinking about doing this, keep reading. Here we’ll discuss some of the things you need to know, including:
How Do Solar Panels Work?
The process of converting sunlight into electricity using solar panels is called photovoltaic, or PV for short. (For the record, a watt is one joule per second.)
PV works because, well, you guessed it: sunlight has the ability to strike the surface of the earth and create electricity. This is mainly due to the fact that the earth’s atmosphere acts as a giant lens, bending sunlight into a concentrated beam that can be captured by solar cells on a sunny day. If you bring a cup of water to your roof-top and point it toward the sun, you’ll notice that the sun’s light passes through the water and creates a little shower of sparks. This is the same thing that happens when sunlight hits a solar cell on a sunny day (hence why panels are usually installed on the roof).
In the case of a conventional power plant, the aim is to create as much electricity from sunlight as possible. However, with solar power, the goal is to create as little energy loss as possible, so that as much electricity as possible can be generated. Thus, solar panels are usually designed to absorb the maximum light possible.
Where Can I Install My Solar Panels To Get The Best Results?
In almost all cases, installing solar panels on the roof is the preferred option as it provides a clean, uncluttered view of the sky. However, if you have a large area that is lacking in shade, it might be best to install them on the ground with the aim of collecting more sunlight. (Yes, having them on the ground can actually increase your energy production because more of the surface can be covered by the sun’s rays. But it’s typically not a preferred option because of the safety issues that can arise from installing them on the ground (particularly if you’re not used to working with electric circuits).)
Another option is to install them on a wall or a nearby fence. Since the wall provides a clean surface that isn’t affected by the elements, it’s ideal for keeping the elements out of your roof structure (such as water or snow). This, in turn, can prevent a lot of wear and tear as well as provide a clearer view of the sky.
Some people also choose to install their solar panels on the exterior walls of their garage or other buildings, as it lets them use any type of metal object as a shade to protect the panels from direct exposure to the sun’s rays. This is especially important if you live in a place where sunlight is particularly strong (like Florida or Hawaii).
How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels?
The cost of solar panels varies based on a number of factors, including the type of material used and the size of the system. However, experts have predicted that the cost of solar panels will come down in the near future. In fact, according to a report by the Coalition for Climate Change Regulatory & Taxation Reform (C4), rooftop solar photovoltaic systems will become cost-competitive with traditional electric companies in 2020.
To put this into perspective, the cost of a small rooftop solar photovoltaic system with an output of less than 10 kilowatts (kW) is around $15,000, compared to the average cost of electricity generated by traditional power plants, which is around $22/kw annually. (To calculate this, we used a Sunset commission rate of 16.78¢/kWh and a panel efficiency rating of 14.7%.)
While this is generally considered good news, keep in mind that the cost of solar electricity still comes with some caveats. First off, as we mentioned above, you need to have enough sunshine to generate sufficient electricity. In addition, the environment will also bear in mind that while solar energy is clean and green, it is still energy we don’t need, as it can only produce electricity when the sun is out. Moreover, traditional power plants operate around the clock, and in some cases, they need to be restocked with fuel every few days. This can make them a bit less environmentally friendly than solar panels, which only need to be cleaned every few years.
Wondering If All The Pipes And Cables Are Nondestructible?
It’s always nice when a product is built with all the necessary safety features, but sometimes, these features can be a little pricey. Take, for example, the case of waterproofing copper wires and plumbing pipes. (If you want to be extra safe, it’s always advisable to go with steel pipes and wires because they are less likely to rust or corrode over time. Moreover, you can find a wide range of steel pipes and wires that are already water-resistant, so you don’t end up having to buy an entire system of water-proof materials just to handle routine maintenance. This can be a significant cost-saving item if you’re dealing with a lot of rain or snowfall.)
Nowadays, copper wires and plumbing pipes are built with a protective coating or wrapped in layers of plastic to prevent them from being damaged by water. While this does ensure that your expensive electronics and appliances will stay safe and functional even if they are damaged by water, it also adds significant bulk to your electrical cords and plumbing lines. This is why it’s often best to choose alternative methods of powering your home.
Are Electric Cords And Plumbing Pipes A Fire Hazard?
Just because your appliances and electronics are powered by electricity doesn’t mean they are free from fire hazards. For example, if there is an electrical short in your home’s wiring, it could lead to a fire, particularly if it’s not detected and addressed promptly. (A typical house wiring diagram can be found at www.adamkemper.com/wiring-diagrams.)
To avoid this, it is always best to power your appliances and electronics using alternative, non-electrified methods.
Why Do I Need To Be Careful Where I Place My Fridge And Freezer?
Having a fridge or freezer near the kitchen is pretty common these days, but you need to be aware of some facts regarding these home appliances. First off, freezers create a ton of heat which, if not handled properly, can cause your home’s temperature to increase by several degrees. Moreover, if you have a large freezer, it can also create a dangerous situation concerning the over-freezing of foodstuffs.
Having a fridge or freezer in close proximity to the kitchen is also bad because it can act as a lure for hungry teenagers and intruders. (Yes, it’s always difficult to prevent children from coming in to the kitchen while snacks are being prepared, but putting a fridge in the vicinity of a kitchen can increase the chance of them wandering in while the door is open.)
As a general rule, if your home has a freezer, it’s usually a good idea to keep it in the garage or another room away from the kitchen.
Do I Need An Air Purifier Or Other Pollution Absorbers?
It is always important to keep dust, debris, and other pollutants out of your home because they can reduce the lifespan of electronic appliances. (The same goes for moisture too, by the way.) To this end, having an air purifier in your home is always a good idea because it can help remove dirt and other particles from the air.
However, some people consider these devices to be a bit excessive, so if you’re looking for alternative, non-electrified methods to generate electricity, you might not need to invest in an entire system just to replace your ventilation fan. (You can find many ventilation fans that run on batteries, making them portable and ideal for camping or other outdoor activities. Just make sure that you buy one that has the necessary amps to provide adequate air flow when you’re generating electricity.)