Converting Sunlight into Electricity

Light striking a silicon semiconductor causes electrons to flow, creating electricity. Solar power generating systems take advantage of this property to convert sunlight directly into electrical energy.

Converting Sunlight into Electricity
Converting Sunlight into Electricity

Solar panels (also called “solar modules that produce direct current (DC), which goes through a power inverter to become alternating current (AC) — electricity that we can use in the home or office, like that supplied by a utility power company.

There are two types of solar power generating systems: grid-connected systems, which are connected to the commercial power infrastructure; and stand-alone systems, which feed electricity to a facility for immediate use, or to a battery for storage.

Grid-connected systems are used for homes, public facilities such as schools and hospitals, and commercial facilities such as offices and shopping centers.
Electricity generated during the daytime can be used right away, and in some cases surplus electricity can be sold to the utility power company. If the system doesn’t generate enough electricity, or generates none at all (for example, on a cloudy or rainy day, or at night) electricity is purchased from the utility power company.

Power production levels and surplus selling can be checked in real time on a monitor, an effective way to gauge daily energy consumption.

Stand-alone systems are used in a variety of applications, including emergency power supply and remote power where traditional infrastructure is unavailable.

Solar Panel Costs

Solar Panel Costs And Considerations

When you are thinking about moving toward the next evolution of energy, you owe it to yourself to consider getting solar panels installed. There are a variety of things that you should know before reaching out to solar panel installation pros. This guide will teach you all about the benefits of solar panels, how you can find the right expert and an understanding of solar panel costs. With this in mind, read on and apply the tips in this article, in order to get your solar panels installed and to be a good steward of your home energy.

What are the advantages of buying solar panels?

The benefits of solar panels are twofold — not only will you protect the environment, you will also protect your money. By taking energy from the sun, you will not have to worry about wasting valuable resources such as coal and oil. This also gets you off of the grid, so that you are not subject to power outages and problems that come with your municipal electricity company. As a bonus, solar power is abundant and incredibly cheap, so you do not have to worry about having an electric bill every single month. This lets you keep more money in your pocket for years.

How can I find a solar panel installation pro?

Once you are ready to get solar panels installed, you need to research the companies that can sell you the solar panel equipment and also install it. This is an industry that a lot of professionals are getting into now, so you should have a lot of options. Ask them about any references they have and also look for reviews. Make sure that the solar panel installation professionals rate highly with the Better Business Bureau and your local state board. Further, speak with them individually in order to get a good feeling for how they provide customer service and to make sure that you are aware of every step of the process.

How much do solar panels cost?

Reach out to different solar panel companies to get estimates on their work. You can usually expect to pay between approximately $25,000 and $30,000 on a solar panel installation. Buy a warranty to go with the installation, to know that you are protecting the work and that you are spending your money as wisely as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out to lenders and financial institutions that can also provide you the money that you need to get started. Look for the best deals, so that you are getting solar panel installation without having to overspend.

Start out with these three important points, so that you are able to then reach out to a solar panel installation provider. They will help you shop for the right model and brand of solar panel, while also inspecting your home and taking measurements for an effective installation. By capitalizing on these tips, you will experience high quality energy use that will pay large dividends in your life as a whole.

How solar panels work

How Solar Panels Work, Their Benefits And A Guide To Having Them Professionally Installed

When you are thinking about upgrading your home in a way that is advantageous to you, consider upgrading to solar electricity. This is a new type of technology that will allow you to truly maximize on the earth’s resources in a way that is eco friendly and cost effective to your home and your life as a whole. By following this guide, you will not only learn how solar panels work, but will be in a much better position to understand their benefits and get the most out of a professionals installation.

To make sure this happens, keep reading and use the advice in this article.

Understanding How Solar Panels Work

Now that you know that you are in the market for solar panels, you owe it to yourself to learn a little bit about how the panels work. Solar panels consist of cells that draw in energy from sunlight. They are arranged strategically and in a way that lets them draw in power from the sun at the clearest angles. Obviously, the sun is not always very visible, so these systems are also equipped with storage components that allow you to store the energy for later use whenever sunlight is scarce. Each system has a certain amount of energy that can be stored in these situations. Whenever stored energy is not needed, the systems will use the sunlight to power the household on a case by case basis. There are a lot of different solar panel kits that can be purchased, based on the level of power that you need.

The Benefits of Solar Panel Installation

It pays to understand the advantages of installing solar panels, so that you can get what you need out of them. The benefits below will give you a clear understanding of why these panels will be very much worth your while.

#1: Solar panels can save you plenty of money

If saving money is a priority for you, solar panels are definitely worth your time. You won’t be subject to expensive electrical bills when you install these systems, and that will allow you to keep that money in your bank account and use it for other purposes. Solar energy is one of the most cost effective measures you can take, and you will definitely make back the money that you spent on the initial investment. This way, you’ll drastically reduce the cost of your utility bills and will be able to then use that money for other endeavors.

#2: Solar panels are an investment in your household

Keep in mind that purchasing solar panels will add plenty of equity in your household. Because they add so much value and usefulness, you will be able to get a great return on the investment, in a way that lets you get a bigger and better asking price. If you know that this home is one that you will sell or rent out, you will be able to get a greater bang for your buck and you’ll enjoy the usefulness that it provides. It also allows you to get a jump on the technology before it becomes as commonplace as it will be in the near future.

#3: Solar panels allow you to be environmentally conscious

Perhaps most importantly, these solar panels are very green friendly. What this means is that you are able to be a big protector of the environment, since this technology does not involve any sort of crude oil or any of the earth’s natural resources. You will be able to lower your carbon footprint and make it easier to reduce the pollution that you create. Further, in many states, you will be able to get a tax break when installing this type of equipment and will be able to make it work for you from that financial standpoint as well.

#4: Solar panels let you not be dependent on your local electrical systems

You will not be dependent on the local electrical company for your power when you decide to install solar panels. So when the power goes out because of a storm or any other issue, you will still have power while the rest of the neighborhood is in the dark. It also lets you have more control over the financial aspect, since you will not have to deal with the rise in price that comes with the territory any time you are dealing your municipal electrical system. Electric companies are subject to many different changes that deal with taxes and fees, so having your own electrical system is ideal.

How To Get Solar Panels Installed

Reach out to a solar panel company that can help you out with any kind of installation. Ask about how they will handle the work and also browse through their inventory in order to purchase a great set of panels that will best serve your household. These solar panel systems will cost about $30,000 or so, so give yourself the opportunity to shop for the best price that you can afford. Get agreements and contracts in writing to make the most of this purchase.

By applying this advice, you’ll learn all you need to know about getting the ball rolling on your solar panel installation. Learning how solar panels work is the beginning, so take that information and begin getting in touch with some installation contractors that can help you out. This way, you will be able to make your home more energy efficient and can improve its valuable by a considerable amount. If you start with the advice in this article, you’ll know exactly what you need to do and will be in a great position to upgrade your house. So what are you waiting for? Use this information as a foundation and then reach out to solar panel experts who can give you the helping hand required to install panels on your house.

Solar Panel Kits

The Benefits of Buying Solar Panel Kits

We live in a time in which technological advancements are allowing people to live smarter, healthier and more financially independent, as long as wise decisions are made. One of the wisest investments that you can make is in the purchase of solar panel kits. Solar energy is one of the newest waves of technology that can make your life better in a number of different ways. Purchasing kits allows you to install this form of energy on your own terms, so that your property can enjoy these benefits. To this end, read the tips in this guide to get a clearer idea of what you are going to do.

Why should I consider investing in solar panel kits?

#1: Your energy costs will diminish

The savings that you will experience by installing solar paneling will blow your mind. Electric bills are very expensive, especially during the summer and the winter. Since solar paneling allows you to only use the energy of the sun and store it for long periods of time, you do not have to worry about having electrical bill at all. This is so critical, because electric bills fluctuate for a lot of different reasons — including reasons that are out of your control, such as taxes and fees. To get the most out of your electricity, a solar panel installation will be great to serve you.

#2: You will get to energize your home off the grid

Living off the grid from your municipal electricity will have numerous advantages. For instance, if you are caught in the middle of a hurricane that leaves your neighborhood without power for days, this is not something you will ever have to worry about. The reason for this is that you are not dependent on the municipal electric grid and will have your own personal solar electricity stored up and ready to go. You also will not have to worry about sanctions and other political matters that come into play involving the energy industry.

#3: You will boost your home values

By installing new wave technologies such as solar panels, you will experience a boost in your home equity. You have incredible resale value by installing panels on your home and will be able to fetch a much larger asking price. This serves you well to keep your home a valuable investment regardless of what you hope to do with it in the future. People are continuously looking for energy efficient ways to improve their households, and solar energy is one of the most effective ways to do this.

If you think about these three tips, it is abundantly evident that solar panel kits are worth every penny that you spend on them. Because of this, you should start reaching out to some professionals who can sell you these kits. To this extent, you are improving your life in wonderful ways. So consider these advantages and start shopping for kits.

The Best Solar Panel Companies

Qualities Of The Best Solar Panel Companies

Solar panels are a big part of the future, and they are important for those who want to remain eco-friendly with their living.

Whether it is a residential property or a commercial property, solar panels have real value and can ensure positive results in the long-term.

For those who are considering solar panels, it is time to start thinking about finding the right solar panel company as soon as possible.

What qualities do the best solar panel companies have to offer that others don’t? This is a question one has to ask as they move forward.

1) Good Reputation

A company’s reputation says a lot about the work it does and the value it will bring to your property.

Don’t go with those who have a poor reputation because it can lead to inefficiencies that are hard to repair. The best companies are the ones who are impeccable when it comes to maintaining their reputation and will spend time in making sure you are content with what has taken place.

Always look into the company’s reputation when you start searching for a resolute fit. It is a must in this day and age as a property owner wanting to take the next step.

2) Best Materials

What materials are going to be used when they start your solar panel project? Are they going to use materials that will fade away over time or are they using the best available to them?

The finest companies are the ones who make sure they are vetting all materials and will provide guarantees along the way too.

Until this happens, you are not going to enjoy the materials being offered at all, and this is going to bother you. Make sure to go with those who are committed to doing a good job and will use materials that are proven to do well.

3) Fast

No one wants to be waiting around until a project is completed.

This gets frustrating in a hurry, and that is why the best companies are the ones who are quick. They will set a deadline and make sure to meet it as well. This is what makes all the difference as time goes on and you have to decide which direction to go in.

Those who aren’t going with a quick solution will struggle.

You want to have the solar panels put up within a set period, and anything more than this won’t do.

4) Iron-Clad Contracts

The contracts being offered to you are always going to matter because it is easy to get lost in the details and not get something that is resolute.

Many issues can arise, and the right company is going to spend time focusing in on this as much as possible. They will not put you in a position where things are being done without a plan.

The contract is for both parties and is a must while you are moving forward with an investment of this nature. You shouldn’t be investing money in those who don’t provide contracts such as these to all clients.

5) Warranty

What is the warranty like when the company is completing your project, and things have been put in place?

Do you get a warranty on the parts? This is something you will want to ask about as it will put your mind at peace in the long-term. No one wants to be put in a position where they have to pay more for repair work when it was just done. Make sure you are asking about this as soon as possible.

The best company in the area is always going to back its work because they know the work being done is world-class.

6) Consistent Results

Solar panels have been growing in stature over the years, but that doesn’t mean all of them are going to perform the same way.

Any inconsistency in the setup will lead to major issues in terms of performance, and that is not something you will want to have to deal with as a property owner. You will want a seamless solution, and that is only going to happen when you are pursuing those who guarantee consistent results.

Until you get this, you are going to struggle a lot, and that isn’t worth it in the end.

7) Affordable

Make sure you are going with a solution that is affordable because it is going to make a real difference in the long-term.

What is your budget like?

Make sure you are ready with a set figure before starting your research. The right company is the one that is going to have a fair price point in place for you and your needs. Always ask around because good companies are going to remain flexible for you.

They will listen and make sure a fair quote is being provided at the end of the initial consultation that is done.

8) Good Customer Service

With solar panel companies, customer service is just as important as the setup.

If the customer service isn’t there, you are not going to have a good experience, and that might bother you as time goes on.

Don’t go with those who don’t care about who they are working for or what they are doing on your property. It is these details that are going to put you in a good spot if you are selective and patient.

Take your time and speak to a representative to gauge how they are to their clients as this can say a lot about them and what they stand for.

Recommended Solar Panel Companies

1) SolarCity
2) Vivint Solar
3) Sunrun

These are just some of the recommended companies that are available to those who are interested in going with the best fit.

With this information on the best solar panel companies, it’ll become easier to spot those who are worth your time and those who are not. This is a big investment, so do take the time to research on who has the best value on offer.

Solar Panel Efficiency and Benefits

The Ins and Outs of Solar Panel Efficiency and Benefits

In order to really make your home more effective and efficiency overall, look into solar panels. Solar panel efficiency and benefits will improve your home in remarkable ways. Because this technology is far more accessible than in years ago, you should have no problem getting in touch with contractors who can help  you handle the installation. To make this happen, you can begin by reading these tips and solidifying your understanding of why solar paneling is so advantageous. Follow these tips and then reach out to a company that can set you up with the panels that you need.

The Benefits of Solar Panels

#1: You are living cleaner and greener

The main perk of installing solar panels is that they are very green friendly and clean. Even though you might not recognize it, electricity is created by using precious resources that are limited, while also creating a lot of pollution in the meantime. Solar panels use the power of the sun and convert it into energy in a way that lets you protect the ecosystem and not contribute to pollution. You will lower the amount of harm that you contribute to the environment by installing these solar panels. It will allow you to also research some tax benefits that might come with the territory.

#2: You are saving loads of money

From a very practical point of view, installing solar panels will allow you to keep more money in your pocket. The reason for this is that you will not be tied to an electric bill, which gets very expensive over the course of a year. Instead, your electrical system will exist outside of your municipal electrical provider, which saves you a tremendous amount of cash. With the savings, you will be able to make other improvements to your home, making it a win-win situation overall. This is very critical, because electricity is often the most expensive utility bill.

#3: You are making your home an investment and improving it

Finally, installing panels will allow your home to increase its worth. This is the type of improvement that can give you a drastic increase in home equity. With this increase in home equity lets you round out your portfolio and all but guarantees that you will make a profit if you ever decide to sell your home. This sort of improvement keeps you ahead of the game in terms of technology and will make sure that you are spending your money in a way that is beneficial across the board.

This guide explains exactly why solar panels are so advantageous to your home. A lot of studies have been done about these panels and they clearly have shown that there are a lot of benefits you will receive, including those explained above. Take the next step and get in touch with a solar panel contractor who can install any sort of equipment that you need.

What Is Solar Energy?

Most of us are familiar with solar energy to some degree. We’ve all seen solar panels on the roofs of houses or other buildings and we know that they are there to generate electricity. But what is solar energy exactly? How can we use it and what are the benefits?

The word solar can be defined as; of or relating to the sun. So, solar energy is just energy from the sun. What most of us are interested in is how we can use that energy to our benefit. Using solar energy seems like a relatively new technology, but there is actually some interesting history and people have been using solar energy for a lot longer than you may realize.

There was a British astronomer named John Herschel in the 1930s who used a solar thermal collector to cook food while he was on an expedition to Africa. Some people still use similar solar cookers today. In 1888, the French actually developed a solar powered printing press. They used energy from the sun to boil water and produce steam. The steam was then used to power a steam engine which drove a mechanical printing press. Of course the machine was very expensive to build and it wasn’t very reliable either, so it wasn’t until much more recently that using solar energy really started to catch on.

The first photovoltaic cells, which convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity, were developed in the late 1800s, but they operated at less than 1% efficiency. In 1954, Bell Labs invented the first practical silicon solar cell which operated with about 6% efficiency. In the 1970s, there was an energy crisis due to decreased oil output following the Iranian Revolution and interest in photovoltaic technology increased significantly.

Of course photovoltaic cells are not the only way to harness the energy of the sun. Some people use solar energy to heat water for their homes. This is a very simple technology where water is run through black tubing, usually on the roof of a home or other building, and the hot water can then be used for taking showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, or even heating swimming pools and hot tubs.

On an industrial scale, parabolic mirrors are used to concentrate the sun’s rays, heating water to create steam which is then used to turn turbines and generate electricity. This type of system is a very efficient way to create electricity for a public utility, but for individual residential use, photovoltaic cells are much more practical.

Using the sun to generate electricity gives us access to clean, renewable electricity that is much better for the environment. And fortunately, improvements in technology have been causing the price of photovoltaic cells to drop in recent years making them more and more affordable. Because of this, their popularity is at an all-time high and there is no better time to get started with your own solar energy system.


Solar Energy Pros and Cons

Solar energy is getting more and more popular and part of the reason is because as the technology improves, the cost goes down. A lot of people look at solar energy as a way to greatly reduce their electricity bills while also doing something good for the environment, but people are also concerned about some of the possible drawbacks.


On this page we’re going to look at the solar energy pros and cons and then you can decide for yourself whether you think investing in a solar power set up would be a good idea.

The Pros of Solar Energy

Solar energy is renewable and sustainable. As long as the sun rises every morning, we will have the potential to harness some of that energy for our own uses. Scientists estimate that the sun will continue shining for at least another 6.5 billion years, so there’s plenty of energy for the taking.

Fossil fuels on the other hand are a finite resource. The more we use them, the harder it is to get more of them, and because of that, the price of fossil fuels will continue to rise. And at some point, there won’t even be any fossil fuels left for us to use.

Solar is a clean energy source. It is true that in the manufacturing of solar panels, there may be some harm to the environment, so you may want to buy your solar panels from a reputable, ecologically friendly company. However, once you have your solar panels installed, you’ll be generating electricity without burning anything and contributing to air pollution or releasing greenhouse gases.

Solar power can help you reduce your electricity bills. While it’s true that there is an upfront cost involved with setting up a solar power system, once the system is in place you’ll be generating electricity at no additional cost. After a number of years, your solar setup will pay for itself and then you will be effectively generating free electricity for many years to come.

You can supply power to remote areas. If you want to get completely off the grid and not rely on a local utility company, solar power can make that happen. For some people who live in remote areas, a solar power system will actually be a much less expensive option. If you live in a remote area, the cost of bringing electricity from the utility company to your property can be extremely expensive. A solar energy system could be your best option.

Solar energy systems require little maintenance. Because there are no moving parts in a solar energy system, they require very little maintenance. Your solar panels will need to be cleaned a few times per year, and you may need to replace a faulty component every once in a while, but a solar energy system can last for 20 years or more with virtually no maintenance.

The Cons of Solar Energy

You’re not producing any power at night. One of the obvious drawbacks to solar energy is that when the sun is not shining, you’re not producing any electricity. If your solar energy system is tied to the grid, you will be generating your own electricity during the day, when electricity is most expensive, and you’ll be using electricity from your local utility company at night, when it’s least expensive, so that is a bit of a benefit. If your solar energy system is off grid, you will have to invest in batteries to store electricity for use at night.

Storing electricity can be expensive. If you are off grid and you need to have a battery bank, the batteries and other components can add significantly to the initial cost of setting up your solar energy system.

The initial cost. That leads us to another major drawback, the initial cost of setting up a solar energy system. While it’s true that solar power can save you money in the long run, you’re effectively paying for your electricity upfront, and most people don’t have many thousands of dollars lying around to do that. You may have to borrow money from a bank in order to get started with solar energy.

Like with anything, there are pros and cons to solar energy, but for a lot of people, the pros greatly outweigh the cons and with prices continually coming down, solar energy is becoming a viable option for more and more people.


How Much Does Solar Power Cost?

The thought of being able to harness free energy from the sun is very enticing. It’s better for the environment than burning coal and it can even save you a lot of money.

Although the sun is bombarding the Earth with free energy every day, there is still an expense involved with buying the equipment and components it takes to collect and use that energy. So how much does solar power cost?

How much money will I need to get started with and how quickly will I see a positive return on investment?

The amount of money solar power is going to cost depends on a number of different factors. The more electricity you use, the more solar panels you will need. And if your system is going to be off grid, you’re going to need a battery bank large enough to store all of the electricity you when the sun is not shining. Needless to say, the more efficient your home is, the less solar power will cost you. If you have good insulation and you’re running energy-efficient appliances, getting started with a solar power set up will be less expensive.

So to answer the question how much does solar power cost, a good place to start would be to figure out what your average energy usage is. According to the US Energy Information Administration the average household in the United States uses about 900 kWh of energy every month. To figure out what your energy usage is, you can look at your electric bills from the last six months or more and then average them out to find out what your average kilowatt hour usage is on a monthly basis. You may also be able to call your local utility company for help in figuring out what your average usage is.

Once you know how much energy you use in an average month, you’ll have to figure out how many solar panels it will take to supply all of the energy you need. You’ll have to look into the average number of hours of sunlight that your area receives. When you know how much sunlight your area receives and what your average energy requirements are, you can start to calculate how many solar panels it will take to provide you with the energy you need.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you will need to buy more than just solar panels. You may need to purchase batteries and you’ll certainly need to purchase things like inverters and charge controllers. To help make solar power more affordable, a lot of local governments offer tax breaks or other incentives to help offset the cost, so you’ll have to look into those types of programs as well.

The most recent information we were able to find the time of this writing says that in the United States, homeowners are paying anywhere from $3 to $4 per watt to install a solar panel system, with the average price being $3.70 per watt. To get an accurate estimate of how much a solar system will cost you, you have a couple of different options.

There are a number of websites that have cost calculators where you can enter information about your power consumption, the number of hours of daylight you receive, and a number of other factors, and then the computer will generate some estimates about how much you may have to pay. The most accurate way to figure out exactly how much solar power will cost you would be to get a consultation from a professional. If you’re going to hire a company to do the installation for you, they will be able to help you figure out exactly how many solar panels you need and tell you how much it’s going to cost. If you’re going to do it yourself, collecting all of the various data and then using one of the online calculators may be your best bet.

Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit

The Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit is designed to provide backup power during an emergency, but it’s also a great option for campers, hikers, or anyone who enjoys being outdoors. It has a rugged, weather resistant exterior, and when you open the case there are two, 10 W solar panels inside for a total of 20 Watts of recharging power.

The battery in this kit will provide you with up to 175 W hours of electricity so you’ll be able to charge things like laptops, tablet computers, smart phones, flashlights and other gear.


Product Features and Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 11.8 x 3.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 pounds
  • Ease of Use: Straightforward LCD display and various outputs for different devices.
  • Versatile: Various outputs for different devices. It can charge any USB or AC appliance under 150W.
  • Portable:Compact with a carrying handle, it was designed for mobile, off-grid applications.
  • Emergency:Provides up to 175Wh of energy and includes an LED flashlight on the side with two modes, lighting and SOS.
  • Upgrade: The Firefly’s internal 10A charge controller allows for the addition of a 12V solar panel and includes a 5.5mm adaptor cable with DC to MC4 connectors to make expanding your system quick and easy.


The Reviews

There are not a lot of reviews online yet for the Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit, but the reviews that we did find were extremely positive. This solar generator kit received an average customer rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit is a lightweight unit, weighing in at just 12 pounds, so it is easy to carry with you. It’s also very rugged. Being designed for emergency situations it can get banged around a little bit or even be used in foul weather. Most customers are also very satisfied with the battery capacity on this device and people are saying that you can really get a lot done with one charge.

Some customers are using the Renogy FIREFLY for camping, others are using it for amateur radio operations, and some customers are even using it to recharge power tools on construction sites. This solar generator kit is a very versatile device that can be used for many different applications.

The two, 10 W solar panels will take quite a long time to take the battery to a full charge, but you can also charge the batteries by plugging into an AC wall outlet, or even your vehicle’s DC outlet. You can also attach an additional solar panel to reduce the time it takes to fully charge the batteries.

According to our research, the Renogy KIT-FIREFLY 20W All-in-One Generator Kit is an excellent choice for people who need an efficient, reliable source of backup power. It’s getting very positive reviews from customers online and people are saying that it works as advertised so we feel confident giving it our recommendation.