Solar Panel Systems
The heart of home solar panel systems are the solar panels. They are by far the most expensive component in the system.
Other Solar Panel System components
Other components for on grid systems are:
- a grid tied inverter; the inverter converts Direct Current (DC) to Alternate Current (AC) compatible with the grid supply electricity (110V 60 Hz in the US)
- a smart electronic controller
Other components for an off grid system are:
- a off grid pure sine inverter
- a storage battery (to supply stored electricity over the night)
- a charge controller to protect the battery from over charge
- a smart electronic controller
Home solar panel systems are becoming more popular with the increased awareness to the advantages of clean renewable solar energy.
The economic appeal of home solar power systems is increasing with the improved efficiency and cost of solar electric panels
Advantages of Home Solar Generator
If you get your electricity from the local utility and you consider an investment in a solar power system, here are the expected advantages.
- The system produces clean renewable electricity
- Batteries are not required (the utility will supply electricity after sunset...)
- You will see lower electricity bills, with larger area systems you may even expect to get money back from the utility
- Marginal maintenance cost (no moving parts)
- Long system life expectancy with a sound long life reliability
Homeowner Checklist for Solar Systems
Whether your roof is flat or tilted, the following is a checklist to follow:
- Is it feasible to install the panels facing South or Southeast?
- Do you have enough roof area? (Typical required area is 100 square feet to 300 square feet)
- Ask a solar power system contractor for a site survey and a price proposal (even if you might decide to Do It Yourself)
If you want to get a feeling of what is the size of the system and how much you will save on your electricity bills
this site has useful handy calculators
As a rule of thumb for panel size estimate, if you live in the sunny states, for each kWp (kilowatt peak) you need roughly 90 square feet. A typical household panels' area is 250 square feet (3kWp panels). A solar contractor will give you more accurate estimate and a price proposal
What can you expect from a good Solar Contractor?
You can expect the following from a contractor if he is experienced and authorized.
- Site survey, technical proposal, price proposal.
- Calculation of power delivery capability.
- Assistance with licenses(municipality, state, utility)
- Supply of all required components
- Turn key installation
- Training, manuals and after sale support
Estimated Cost of Solar Generators
Estimated gross cost is $1-$3 per watt if you do it yourself (DIY). It is $3-5 per watt if you take a solar contractor for a turn key job. You are however entitled to federal tax credit and in certain states you are entitled to additional tax credits.
It is estimated that your investment, taking into account the tax benefits will be returned in 5-8 years. After that, you'll enjoy freedom from electricity bills for the rest of the useful system life (15-20 years)
Off grid considerations
Off-grid solar panel systems are attractive in rural areas that are not connected to the grid yet, or for people who are conscious to the environmental situation
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