olar panel houses are becoming increasingly common throughout the country, with more and more homeowners powering their homes by utilizing the sun’s power. For homes solar panels mean lower electricity bills, reduced carbon footprint, and independence from the local utility grid. If you also want to harvest solar at home but don’t know where to start, read our guide on the types of photovoltaic (PV) systems out there.
Types of homes solar panels are best suited for
First, let’s see what homes solar panels perfectly fit. Well, photovoltaic systems are particularly beneficial for households wanting to get rid of high electricity bills. If you have a large family and your power consumption is above average, choose solar for the home electricity supply and enjoy considerably lower energy costs.
For grid-connected homes solar panels can be especially advantageous if they qualify for a net metering program. If solar panels on homes with net metering generate more electricity than homeowners need, they can sell it to the utility by feeding it to the grid. And if the PV system underproduces (on cloudy days, for example), consumers can take the lacking power from the grid.
For householders who do not rule out selling their homes solar panels can offer increased property value. Solar on house makes the selling process much easier, as property buyers nowadays look for greener and more sustainable solutions.
Types of solar panel houses: on-grid, off-grid, hybrid
There are three main types of solar for homes, depending on whether solar panels in home are connected to the electricity grid. We’ll look briefly at each of them.
On-grid solar for homes
On-grid photovoltaic systems, also known as grid-tied systems, are the most widely utilized form of solar power on homes. In on-grid homes solar panels are connected to the local power grid, meaning homeowners can benefit from net metering. However, if you don’t have a battery, going solar for the home with a grid connection makes you dependent on the utility: you will have no choice but to take power from the grid at night or whenever your system underproduces. Besides, grid-tied systems don’t work during blackouts, so you will be left without electricity, just like those without solar panels on homes.
Off-grid solar for homes
Off-grid solar panels on homes are designed to operate without connection to the grid. These PV systems are fully self-contained and can produce, store and supply electricity to households in remote areas. So an off-grid solution is perfect for you if you don’t have access to the grid or would like to be fully independent from the utility.
Hybrid (solar power plus battery bank)
There is a third (and probably the best) option: solar panels on a home can be tied to the grid and paired with storage. Hybrid systems generate electricity in the same way as grid-tied panels, but the battery provides backup power at night or during blackouts. Pairing solar with battery is relatively expensive, but the higher flexibility justifies the price.
Solar energy and wind energy are both renewable sources. Solar energy harnesses sunlight, while wind energy uses the power of moving air to generate electricity.
Solar panels on homes vs. ground-mounted panels
Placing solar panels on houses isn’t the only available option. Let’s look at how rooftop and ground-mount PV installations compare.
Roof mounts are the most common. They use rails attached to the roof to support PV modules. Installing solar panels on a home is less expensive as, in this case, they use your roof structure as a foundation, lowering installation labor costs. Additionally, PV systems generating solar power on homes take up less room. However, for rooftop solar power a home must have a large and strong roof, ideally facing south.
Ground-mount solar panels
PV modules can also be installed at the ground level. Ground-mounted panels are the preferred option when the roof isn’t sturdy enough to support the weight of the array. Additionally, ground installations are easier to clean and maintain. As for disadvantages, ground-mounted solutions make solar for homes pricier.
Best solar panel for home: monocrystalline vs. polycrystalline vs. thin-film
Once you've decided on a grid connection and mounting type, the next step is to choose the PV modules. Let’s look at the three most common PV technologies used to generate solar in home.
Monocrystalline solar panels
PV cells for monocrystalline modules are made from a single crystal of silicon. They are characterized by black color and rounded edges. Monocrystalline options are worth considering if you are looking for the most efficient solar panel for home: their efficiency ratings range from 17% to 22%.
Polycrystalline solar panels
As the name implies, polycrystalline panels have multiple silicon crystals in a single solor cell. The cells for poly-si modules are blue and have pointed edges. A polycrystalline solar panel for home is almost always less efficient than its monocrystalline counterpart. Nevertheless, poly-si models offer a cheaper but still viable alternative that would fit a tighter budget.
Thin-film solar panels
In most homes solar panels utilize monocrystalline or polycrystalline technology. There is, however, a third option that is frequently overlooked: thin-film pannels made of one or more layers of thin-film material laid onto a substrate. Some of the most significant advantages of thin film solar for house are flexibility and lighter weight, which makes these modules ideal for curved buildings or walls. And yet, using thin-film solar for homes is often complicated as TF solutions require much space.
To sum up, for most homes solar panels can be a great way to generate power
Generating solar in home is an easy way for any householder to shift from fossil fuels while saving on electricity bills. Luckily, there is a vast selection of PV equipment on the market, so everybody can choose something that fits their needs and budget. No matter whether your property is connected to the grid or not or whether your roof is strong enough to support PV modules – you can always find a solution that will work for you.