If you’re designing a solar energy system to power your home, you obviously want the most effective solar panels you can find, right? Homeowners from coast to coast are turning to rooftop solar arrays to provide clean, renewable, and affordable energy for their families. Not only does this protect the environment, but it also protects your wallet by reducing or even eliminating your reliance on the traditional utility company.
High-efficiency solar panels have become increasingly popular for homeowners all across the country, but not everyone needs or can take advantage of these panels. To help you decide whether you should install residential high-efficiency solar panels, we’ll walk you through several important distinctions in this high-efficiency solar panels comparison guide.
Why Does Solar Panel Efficiency Matter?
To start, let’s quickly define what solar panel efficiency even means. When you hear the term “solar panel efficiency,” this is referring to the amount of direct sunlight that the panel is capable of converting into electric current. There is some variance when it comes to the number of cells in a solar panel (some panels have as few as 60 cells, while others get close to 100 of them), and these cells can also vary in efficiency and quality.
Therefore, a solar panel’s efficiency rating is determined by the number of cells present in the panel, how efficient each of those cells is, and how much space there is between the cells and the body of the panel itself. So, what does this mean for high-efficiency solar panels? It’s important to understand that high-efficiency solar panels don’t necessarily generate more energy than other panels. Instead, they simply require less room to generate the same amount of power.
So, for instance, if you’re looking at two solar panels that both produce up to 400 watts of energy, the smaller of the two panels is the more efficient one. As a general rule of thumb, the typical residential solar panel usually has an efficiency rating in the ballpark of 15-18%, while high-efficiency panels can approach 23%.
Can Hot or Cold Days Affect the Efficiency of Solar Panels?
All solar panels are affected at least somewhat by changes in temperature. As with most other electronic devices, a solar panel’s efficiency increases as the temperature drops. Manufacturers usually test high-efficiency solar panels in controlled-temperature environments set around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. As the temperature rises, the panel’s efficiency suffers a bit, although it’s typically not a big deal.
For instance, solar panels in 60-degree weather will typically produce about 5% less power, while 80-degree heat reduces efficiency by roughly 8.5%. Some solar panels are less affected by temperature changes than others, but this does not factor into the distinction between high-efficiency solar panels and standard panels.
That said, the temperature does not affect solar panel efficiency nearly as much as light levels do. As you might expect, solar panels produce significantly more energy in direct sunlight than they do on an overcast day — and they generate very little energy at all in the evening. This is why, in some scenarios, your solar panels will actually generate more energy on hot days because the abundant direct sunlight outweighs the loss of energy generation due to the heat.
How Much Does Geography Affect Solar Output?
Where you live has a tremendous impact on your residential solar energy system’s output. In certain parts of the country that receive lots of sunshine (say, Arizona or New Mexico), solar panels can have a 50% or even higher efficiency advantage over the exact same panels in cloudy climates, like parts of the Pacific Northwest or New England. Google’s Project Sunroof is an excellent tool to help you determine the solar viability of your specific address within the U.S.
How Expensive Are High-Efficiency Solar Panels?
The cost of high-efficiency solar panels does vary from company to company, and it’s possible that you may pay higher or lower rates than average depending on who you choose as your solar installer. However, we can still make some general statements. As you probably expect, high-efficiency solar panel costs are indeed higher than those of a typical panel.
As a quick benchmark, the SunPower MAXEON 3 is one of the most efficient commonly available solar panels on the market today. For a 400W MAXEON 3 panel, you will likely pay around $435. Meanwhile, you can often find a typical 400W panel for less than $300, and used panels can cost significantly less than that.
If your roof is large enough to handle your entire solar array, you likely don’t need to spend the extra money on high-efficiency solar panels. However, high-efficiency panels are a fantastic option if you need to generate lots of energy from a relatively small footprint. To create a system with identical power levels, the version with high-efficiency solar panels will take up significantly less space.
Still have questions about the cost of high-efficiency solar panels, or whether you need them to begin with? Simply contact LGCY Power at your convenience by calling 855.903.1909, and one of our expert representatives will be happy to help you find the answers to your toughest questions.
Are you ready to make the leap into residential solar energy production but you’re not sure how the process works? You’ve come to the right place! A new solar array installation — or even just adding solar panels to an existing array — has several important steps, as well as some crucial questions you’ll need to answer about your energy needs and production capacity.
That said, there are some basic guidelines that we can walk you through before you contact a reputable local solar installer to handle the specifics of your solar array installation. Let’s discuss some universal aspects of residential solar panel array installation and determine how a solar array can help your home achieve energy independence.
Definition of a Solar Array
The solar panel array is a vital part of any residential solar system as without it, your system would simply not generate any energy. “Solar array” is a term that typically refers to a group of solar panels, linked together into a cohesive system. Working with the solar inverter (and the solar battery, if you choose to install one), the solar array generates energy in a direct current (DC), which it then sends to the inverter for conversion to alternating current (AC), which you can easily use to power your home.
Types of solar arrays
Before we move on, we’ll briefly mention that the term “solar array” is also sometimes used to discuss massive photovoltaic power stations or solar farms. However, for the purposes of this guide, “solar array” solely refers to a collection of panels used for residential energy generation.
Location and Capacity: The Details of Solar Array Installation
There is a lengthy list of variables to consider when planning your own solar panel array. The size of your home, where it’s located, the angle and direction of your roof, your family’s daily energy usage, how much shade your property receives — this is honestly just the start of the list of factors that go into determining how much energy you need your system to generate, or where to install it. In this section, we’ll dig into the answers to three commonly asked questions about the location and capacity of residential solar arrays.
How many panels are necessary to build a residential solar array?
We always recommend that homeowners install enough of a solar panel array to no longer require energy from the utility company, or at least to significantly minimize the occurrences where you need to pull power from the grid. After all, what’s the point if you’re still paying an energy bill every month? A good way to figure this out is to analyze your recent utility bills to determine how much energy you’ll need your solar array to produce.
How does my home’s location alter the equation?
That said, there are other variables that can significantly affect the number of panels you need. Most importantly, where you live can have a big impact, as some parts of the U.S. (like the Southwest) receive nearly twice as much daily direct sunlight as other regions (such as the Pacific Northwest).
In addition, the direction and angle your panels face are important as well. For most people, you’ll want your panels facing south at a roughly 35-degree angle. Some homeowners will require west-facing panels, while others will need a greater angle of installation. To nail down an exact figure for how many solar panels you need in your array based on your energy needs and location, speak with a reputable solar installer.
Should I install multiple solar arrays or just one?
For the majority of homes, you will be able to get by with one solar array. Installing more than one solar panel array can get quite costly due to increased installation expenses, and most homes don’t need two or more arrays anyway. However, if you’re adding solar panels to an existing array, or if your roof doesn’t have enough space for all of the panels you need in the same location, there are times when multiple solar array installation is a necessity.
How to Acquire and Install Your Own Solar Array
At this point, you’re probably thinking about installing a solar array of your own. And who could blame you? Our most important piece of advice when installing a solar energy system for your home is that you should only work with reputable, experienced local installers. In addition, we recommend getting a rough estimate of your electricity needs before contacting an installer. You can use the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s handy PVWatts Calculator to get an estimate to use as a benchmark for quotes from installers.
If you still have questions about installing a solar array, give LGCY Power a call at 855.353.4899. Our expert representatives have a wealth of knowledge to draw upon, and they can help you answer many of the tough questions you might have. In addition, we can send one of our reputable, experienced solar installers to your home to do an in-person analysis of your solar energy needs.
Solar array installation isn’t always easy, but with a partner like LGCY Power in your corner, the process will feel a whole lot simpler.
Making the decision to buy solar panels for your home is a smart choice for several reasons. Most importantly, a residential solar array can help you save money over buying energy from the utility company, and it’s also highly beneficial to our environment to replace fossil fuels with clean energy from the sun.
One of the most important questions we hear from people who are transitioning their homes to solar power is, “what is the best direction for solar panels?” Some people don’t have much of a choice, due to issues like rooftop slope, shading, and more. However, if your roof presents opportunities to aim your solar panels anywhere you want to, some options are certainly better than others. Let’s discuss the finer details of solar system installation and determine the best direction for solar panels to face on your roof.
What is the ideal installation angle and direction for solar panels?
For just about everyone living north of the equator, south-facing solar panels are the preferred option. While the sun’s angle does vary throughout different parts of each year, it always shines from the south in the Northern Hemisphere. The angle of installation matters too, as the ideal amount of tilt for a rooftop solar array is somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 degrees. As a general rule of thumb, people living near the equator should have a bit less of an angle, while people living further north may want to tilt their panels more.
Standard tier-based rate structure
Especially for customers of utility companies that operate on tiered rates, the best direction for solar panels to face will most likely be south. A tier-based rate structure results in customers paying higher prices as they use more energy from the utility. For instance, a company might charge five cents per kilowatt-hour for a customer’s first 500 kWh of the month, with prices escalating to ten cents per kWh for the next 500 kWh, and 15 cents for anything beyond that first 1,000 kWh.
Because this system determines pricing based on average usage, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you’re generating electricity with your solar panels, or when you might need additional energy from the grid. However, as we’ll discuss shortly, different rate structures present different challenges and preferences regarding the best direction for solar panels.
The benefits of a west-facing solar array
Interestingly, many people choose to install their residential solar panels facing west, despite the fact that for most households in the Northern Hemisphere, facing south is the best direction for solar panels. This is all based on a common rate structure used by utility companies known as “time-of-use.”
Time-of-use rate structure
Earlier, we discussed how a standard tier-based rate structure works. However, not all utilities use this format, as some instead opt for a time-of-use structure. Instead of using averages, a time-of-use structure focuses specifically on when you’re using energy from the grid, charging higher rates during peak periods. This system typically does not vary rates based on how much energy you use in a month.
We mentioned that a west-facing system may be the best direction for solar panels to face under a time-of-use rate structure, but why is that? The answer lies in when utilities choose to charge peak pricing, which is almost always between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. This is the time of day with the highest electricity usage, as most people return home from work and school in this window, and the sun also starts to set.
Therefore, under a time-of-use rate structure, you would want west-facing panels that could generate the most energy at the same time your utility company charges its highest rates. That said, this consideration doesn’t matter nearly as much if your residential solar array has a battery, which allows you to store excess energy until you need to use it.
Depending on the specifics of your home’s location, roof slope, and more, it’s possible that the best option for your home may vary from those presented in this guide. That’s why it’s so important to have a qualified solar installer consult with you when planning your residential solar energy system.
Thankfully, LGCY Power makes it easy to find a reputable local installer. We partner with hundreds of solar consultants and installers from coast to coast, ensuring that you can get top-notch assistance no matter where you live in the U.S. A LGCY Power local installer can help you figure out the best direction for solar panels to face at your home, how many panels you should purchase, and much more. Give us a call today at 855.812.2467 and find out why LGCY Power is the best choice for residential solar installations in America.
If you’ve already installed a solar energy system for your home, you’ve taken a huge step toward energy independence. You’re saving a significant amount of money compared to buying energy from the utility company, and you’re doing your part to protect our environment as well. However, there are some situations in which homeowners realize their solar systems aren’t producing quite as much power as they’d like. Thankfully, there are solutions to this issue that may be less of a hassle than you might expect.
If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to consider adding solar panels to your existing system. To determine whether you should be adding solar panels to your house, let’s walk through a few different indicators that it might be time to expand your system.
Aspects to consider before buying more solar panels
The first and most important question to ask yourself before adding solar panels to an existing system is, “Are my current panels compatible with the panels I want to add?” The best option is to add the same type of panels you bought in the first place, if they’re still available. This has some practical applications, as it’s advantageous to have solar panels with similar outputs and efficiency ratings. Likewise, it just looks nicer to have all of your solar panels match when it comes to appearance.
If you can’t find the same exact panels, or you would prefer different ones, you should still make sure that any new panels you install have the same power output ratings. If you don’t, you could cause significant damage to your current system due to compatibility issues.
Do you have room for more solar panels?
This may sound like a bit of a silly question, but you’d be surprised by how many homeowners make the mistake of adding solar panels to an existing array that doesn’t actually have room for more panels. Rooftop systems often don’t have much room for expansion, especially if your roof is shaded or significantly angled. If you have a ground-mounted array instead, this is usually much less of an issue.
How much energy do you need?
There is a fine line between having the right amount of solar energy for your home and generating more power than you could ever actually use. It’s important to carefully consider your home’s energy usage before purchasing additional solar panels, especially if you live in an area that doesn’t have net metering regulations. With net metering, you can sell excess energy back into the grid, but this isn’t allowed everywhere.
If you decide that you do want more energy, you will need to decide how many panels you should add. In this scenario, you should have a respected solar installer (like one of LGCY Power’s local installers) help you analyze your energy needs. Providing your installer with copies of your electric bills both before and after adding your solar system will help them figure out how many panels you need.
Inverter capacity issues
Does your inverter have the capacity to handle adding panels to the solar system? Your residential solar energy system was originally installed with an inverter that can handle the output of your existing panels. If you’re adding more than a panel or two, the significantly increased size of your array may present issues that your current inverter cannot overcome.
This is one of the reasons why microinverters are becoming increasingly popular. Because they’re attached to each panel itself, adding panels is simply an issue of adding microinverters, as opposed to replacing an optimizer or string inverter.
Who should install your new panels?
Many homeowners simply contact their original solar installer to add new panels to their systems, and it’s easy to see why. After all, that installer already knows the ins and outs of your array and can easily expand on it. In fact, some solar installers won’t work on projects they didn’t originally install.
First off, solar add-on projects are often quite small, making them financially inefficient for the installer. Furthermore, there can be warranty issues and disputes between installers if the system ever fails — many installers find it easier to only add onto their own original work.
Connectivity and permits
Another aspect to consider is whether adding solar panels to a house will require you to acquire any permits. While most small additions won’t require additional permitting, if you add more than a couple of panels and/or have to swap out your inverter, there’s a very good chance that you’ll need to acquire further permits for the project. Thankfully, any reputable local solar installer can help you figure out your permitting and interconnectivity needs.
Solar incentive availability
Finally, when adding solar panels to an existing system, you should consider the solar incentives available to you. In many states, incentives are limited to one use per address or per person, meaning that if you took advantage of solar incentives to originally build your array, you may not be able to use them for your add-on project.
If this seems like a lot to keep in mind, just remember that LGCY Power’s local installers can help you answer all of these questions and more. If you have concerns about adding solar panels to an existing array, contact us at your convenience at 855.546.0851 and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process. We can help you figure out the cost of adding solar panels to your house, adding a portable solar panel to an existing system, and much more.
Adding solar panels to a house can be more complicated than it seems on the surface, but with a partner like LGCY Power, you won’t have anything to worry about!
In the first quarter of 2021, America made the investment of inserting 5 GWdc (gigawatts, direct current) of solar capacity throughout the nation.
To put that into perspective, that is enough energy to supply roughly 18.6 million American homes with power.
Annually, hundreds of thousands of panels are installed across the country, leaving both businesses and homeowners delighted with energy savings.
These installations aren’t just in solar farms or on the buildings of tech companies, but on the homes of regular everyday Americans.
Many people are turning to solar panels because of the plethora of advantages they provide. Therefore, if you’re looking for a solar panel installation company so you too can get in on the action, then keep reading.
The Benefits of Solar Panels on Your Home
Some people are still in the dark, asking themselves, “Are solar panels worth it?” And the truth is, there are many benefits to having solar panels installed on our homes.
Some of these benefits are clear and obvious, and others are a little more subtle. Let’s look at a few of them here, so we’re a little more certain of some of these advantages.
1. Reduced Carbon Footprint
With climate change and global warming accelerating every year, solar panels are an effective way for all of us to do our part. It’s clear that we as a society, collectively, have to cooperate and be adaptable.
Solar panels can reduce carbon emissions by as much as 5 to 10 times per module of energy compared to the alternatives (natural gas and coal).
That’s an astonishing amount that perfectly illustrates how solar panels are a cut above our traditional methods of power usage.
Introducing this solar investment could change everything and get us on the right track as a society.
2. Lower Energy Bills
Depending on location, the cost savings of energy bills are going to vary. For example, living in Florida will yield lower energy bills than living in Alaska, for the obvious reason of the amount of sunlight that each state receives.
But even then, as long as panels are properly installed, we can still experience solar energy savings, regardless of the state we reside in — which is something we should all try to take advantage of.
Yes, sunny days will generate more power, and as a result, more savings. But solar panels will still continue to extract energy even when cloudy weather is imminent.
Earn Rebates and Tax Credits
The cost of solar is something that once we look into it, is well worth it. Because once installed, we actually get paid by our solar panels!
Being responsible has never sounded so good!
For starters, we receive 30 percent of the entire cost of the system back once federal income taxes are filed. What this entails is that if we spend $30,000 on a solar panel installation, then we’ll get back $9000 in return.
This along with the SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) and the expense of installing solar panels can be reduced by as much as half.
Moreover, this investment has a graceful payback period of about three and a half years. The solar panels themselves retain a warranty of about 10 years and a functional life of an impressive 25 years.
This means it will produce free electricity, as well as additional credits for more than 20 years! Not bad, right? That’s the power of being self-sufficient!
Furthermore, if you can’t afford to make the initial investment, installers offer another option. There is what is referred to as no-cost installation.
They will front you the cash for the panels, install them, and then charge based on electricity usage at a lower rate. How convenient is that?
Begin Saving Immediately
When it comes to solar benefits, this is certainly one of the most appealing. Yearly energy expenses can jump up into the thousands.
In fact, the annual costs of the average American for energy consumption tops out at $3,891.
Solar power has the capacity to dispense with these costs the moment the panels are installed.
You can begin seeing your solar energy savings immediately and that is guaranteed to please everyone.
What Is The Cost of Solar Panels?
Many of us are left wondering, “How much are solar panels?” Sure, we understand the benefits, but how much do solar panels actually cost?
While installing prices certainly will require an upfront investment, it will more than pay for itself down the line.
Furthermore, the cost will also vary based on the solar panel installation company we choose, as well as other factors, such as our location, the size of our home, how many panels we want, etc.
But once it’s all said and done, the medium price for the installment of solar panels is about $12,000.
If that’s a bit of a stretch, there are also smaller systems that can be installed for as little as $5000. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are also more high-priced options that can be upwards of $50,000 or more.
So when it comes to the cost of solar, we definitely have options.
How Many Solar Panels Are Needed?
The answer to this question will be determined by the specific energy needs of your household. Many homeowners want the goal of being completely self-reliant for their energy needs.
Meaning, to have their panels produce enough energy where they no longer rely on a company or any external source to supply it for them.
To completely terminate the electric bill altogether, we would need to produce 100% of the electricity to sustain our needs and run our household. How ecstatic would that feel??
But in order to do that, it could take anywhere between 25 to 35 solar panels.
Of course, there are other variables that can affect this number. However, this is a good rough estimate.
For a more detailed analysis, we can use a satellite photo of the rooftop of our home to do a more reliable calculation.
Based on the square footage of our rooftop, it will be easy to see how many panels will fit, and therefore, we can get a more accurate number of exactly how many panels will be needed to achieve energy independence.
When we invest in solar, we take our lives — and our savings — to another level! This is how we secure our energy needs and create a more stable future.
Industry Updates on Solar Panels for the Month of September
Everything is changing at such a rapid pace these days, and the world of solar energy is no exception. The solar energy industry is constantly being inundated with a flood of technological advances and sudden changes.
Here are a few of the latest developments you’ll want to be up to date on:
Over 700 Solar Companies Requested Congress for a Long-Lasting ITC (Input Tax Credits) Extension (September.8/2021)
Close to 750 companies from the American solar supply chain sent letters to Congress asking for action on programs that promote clean energy distribution to assist in the fight against global warming.
This letter was a part of a campaign headed by SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) to bolster the revelatory solar and clean energy programs in the federal economic development constitution.
The ITC acts as the primary program driver for the American solar industry. The industry is now valued at over $25 billion and employs over 231,000 workers in valuable, in-demand jobs in every one of the 50 states.
September Solar Program Snapshots (9/7/2021)
A $1 trillion economic development bill was passed by the U.S. senate. The bill holds provisions for the storage of energy development, as well as power grid modifications.
All of which would be needed to enhance solar distribution. This bill is to make its way to the fine House of Representatives, where it may then be refused unless, of course, the Senate decides to pass a detached $3.5 trillion program bill come fall.
The Solar Panel International Event Canceled for 2021 (9/3/2021)
A statement was released on Friday, September 3, by SETS (Solar Energy Trade Shows) that the landfall of Hurricane Ida left officials no choice but to cancel Solar Power International. The event was set to go from September 20 to 23.
But unfortunately, the monstrous Hurricane had left a good portion of New Orleans without any power.
Additionally, the restoration of electricity is expected to be weeks, as the city is now declared a disaster zone.
Refunds will be issued via email with instructions about how attendees can be reimbursed for their ticket money.
Clearloop Starts Construction on Solar Project in Tennessee Financed by Small Businesses (9/2/2021)
The corporation of Clearloop is working hard alongside big as well as small businesses to minimize their carbon footprint. They are doing this by broadening access to pure energy and stimulating profitable development.
Every one of Clearloop’s allies in this venture will get carbon credits for backing their part of the undertaking.
Clearloop’s structure allows for smaller businesses to contribute a one-time payment that is directly connected to the amount of carbon they wish to reclaim.
Are You Ready to Choose Your Solar Panel Installation Company?
As you can see, this industry is continuously evolving and always growing with the times. Furthermore, solar energy is something that has tremendous advantages for all of us.
The benefits of solar are numerous and far-reaching, not just for us and our everyday lives, but also for the environment as well as the planet that we call home.
So if you’re looking to go solar, and need a reliable solar panel installation company, then look no further, get in touch with us for a free quote!