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Solar 101: A Complete Beginner Resource About Solar Energy

Solar power has created an incredible era of renewable energy sources in the universe. If you are planning to go solar, solar 101 will develop the complete information structure of solar energy to you.

In this part, we have added most of the questions from the basic to advance level that would cover the whole solar system installation process from the grass-root level.

It will make your queries comprehensible and enable you to understand the criteria like a piece of cake.

Let’s explore the most wanted guidance of solar energy.

Solar 101: Overview – General Solar Energy Concepts

Solar 101: General Solar Energy Concepts
General Solar Energy Concepts

What is solar power?

According to the Online Dictionary, Solar energy is radiant energy emitted by the sun. In other words, solar power is a kind of renewable energy that absorbs sunlight via solar panels and converts to electricity for regular usage.

What are the parts of a solar energy system?

There are several parts of a solar system, and they work together to make the system workable. The four major components are panels, inverters, racking, and solar battery storage unit. Battery stores energy for further usage, especially at night.

Understanding solar concept is not difficult, solar 101 will walk you through the next concept. Let’s continue!

What are the pros and cons of solar for humans?

Solar energy will reduce electricity bills, reduce carbon emission, provide uncut electricity service, and give electricity access in a remote place, even in the middle of the sea. On the contrary, it requires expensive primary investment and makes people too individualistic.

In terms of a solar 101 conversation, we will not deeply talk about the pros and cons of solar for humans. If you want to check the complete source. This is the link.

What are the pros and cons of solar for the environment?

Solar energy reduces air pollution, water usage, dependence on traditional electricity. Similarly, improve human health in the long run and help fight climate change. On the contrary, it uses a lot of space, and solar panel production is not completely eco-friendly.

Read full: pros and cons of solar for the environment

What’s the difference between grid-tie and off-grid solar?

For the one who is looking for solar 101 resources, grid-tie means your solar system is connected to your local utility grid. It is also called on-grid solar. Besides, off-grid refers to an independent solar system where you are not connected to the grid.

What is net metering?

Net metering is an electricity billing system that allows solar energy owners to supply their additional energy to the utility grid. The system is particularly important for renewable energy like solar systems. It is also known as net energy metering or NEM.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_metering

Solar 101: Solar Panels

Solar 101: Solar Panels
Solar Panels

What are solar panels made of and how do they work?

Solar panels are made from pure silicon, and they work by absorbing light from the sun. The attoms knock by electrons, and these free atoms generate a following of electricity. Sunlight allows the Photovoltaic cells to complete the energy production process.

Why is Silicon Used in Solar Panels

Silicon comes with diverse chemical properties, especially the crystalline form that makes it suitable for PV cells. A Silicon atom has 14 electrons, and they are arranged in three different shells. Besides, this material is affordable and available across the globe.

Read: Why is Silicon Used in Solar Panels

How long do solar panels last?

The life expectancy of a solar panel is up to 30 years. In general, a solar panel performs fine during this estimated lifetime. It doesn’t mean that the solar panel will stop working after this time frame.

How big are solar panels?

It depends on the wattage of the solar panel. But, as a solar 101 conversation, the typical residential solar panel’s size is 65 inches in height and 39 inches wide. With this measurement, a solar panel contains 60 PV cells.

What are the types of solar panels on the market?

There are three major types of solar panels in the global market. These are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Among them, the monocrystalline solar panel is the most efficient and absorbs up to 27 percent energy from the sunlight.

Read full: types of solar panels

How is solar panel efficiency measured?

Solar panel efficiency is measured by Standard Test Conditions (STC). It calculates the produced energy under the several weather conditions and figures out by with wattage. The major aspect is how much sunlight is converted to electricity.

Selecting the best solar panels & Top solar panel manufacturers

How to choose a solar installer

You have to check the solar installer’s credentials, reviews, and client testimonials. Then concentrate on the warranty and turn around time. If you need customized installation, ask them to calculate the total costs and compare it with other competitors.

Solar installers have special certification to do the job. Choosing an installer for your system is the best way for the installation problem. Readout how to become a solar installer to see how hard the job is.

Inverters For Solar System

Solar 101: Inverters
Solar 101: Inverters

What does an inverter do?

Another name of the inverter is AC Drive. It converts DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current) in a solar system. With the help of the inverter, you can directly run the AC appliances and devices on solar power.

What is a micro-inverter?

A micro-inverted is a small plug and play device that converts DC electricity to AC electricity in a solar system. It works with a single solar module to make the electricity production more convenient and usable to most of the devices.

What is a string inverter?

A string inverter also converts DC to AC. But, it is suitable for multiple solar panel groups. A string inverter will be connected to the main inverted from the different groups of solar panels, which transforms the DC electricity produced by the panels into appliance-friendly AC electricity.

What are power optimizers?

A power optimizer is a DC to DC converter that works to enhance the energy harvest from solar panels to the maximum level in a solar system. It will turn the solar system into a smart solar module.

Solar 101: Batteries For Solar System

Solar 101: Batteries
Solar 101: Batteries

Does my solar energy system need batteries?

It is not mandatory. Most of the people are using the on-grid solar system that is tied with the utility grid. But, if you want to install an off-grid solar system, where it is not connected to the grid, you must need batteries.

How does energy storage work with grid-tie systems?

In a grid-tied solar system, the energy provider pays for the extra energy that the grid received from the homeowner. It allows you to save electricity costs. When batteries are used for storage, the system is called battery-to-grid.

Which battery chemistry is best for solar? (FLA / SLA / Li)

A solar system should have the best quality solar appliances and batteries are very important. When it comes to storage, lithium-ion (Li) is the best battery chemistry for a solar system. It doesn’t require any maintenance and venting.

Solar 101: Racking For Solar System

Ground mount or roof mount?

There are two types of mounting options for solar panels. The roof mount system holds the solar panels on the roof with a rack and steel structure. For the ground mount system, solar panels are installed on the ground by establishing a foundation on the ground level.

What are pole mounts? Are they worth it?

To help you easier understand as a solar 101 conversation, the pole mount system allows you to install the solar panels on a pole that is mounted on the ground. It is not so different from the ground mounting option because the system requires pole installation on the land.

What are trackers? Are they worth it?

A solar tracker is a device that allows you to track the sun’s path in the sky. It works just like a sunflower to optimize the sunlight for producing more solar power. The biggest benefit of this tracker is that you can boost your electricity production.

Solar System Design Guidelines

Before going solar, I would recommend you read the two books about solar and solar DIY. All of my knowledge is coming from these books at the beginning.

Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System

Buy on Amazon

Mobile Solar Power Made Easy!: Mobile 12 volt off grid solar system design and installation. RV's, Vans, Cars and boats! Do-it-yourself step by step instructions.

Buy on Amazon

How To Power Everything From The Sun

Buy on Amazon

When to go solar?

There is no accurate time to go solar. It depends on the investment and your interest. The only potential way to make the decision is to know that you are ready or not. There is nothing else with this term.

What size solar energy system do I need?

It completely depends on the appliances that you have at your home or business. If you have a lot of devices, then you need a solar system comparing the power of the appliances. To get an accurate answer you have to estimate the energy consumption of the house.

What is string sizing?

It completely depends on the appliances that you have at your home or business. If you have a lot of devices, then you need a solar system comparing the power of the appliances. To get an accurate answer, you have to estimate the energy consumption of the house.

How does local climate impact system sizing?

A solar energy system requires perfect sizing with efficiency. The system sizing depends on the efficiency of the solar panel in different weather conditions. If the local climate gets enough sunlight the system doesn’t affect too much. It works as usual.

Solar System Installation

How much does it cost to hire a solar installer?

The solar installation costs rely on the area and size of the system. For a standard 2kW solar system installation, you have to pay $5,000-$7,000 for a professional installer. It may vary depending on the location and government policy.

Can I install solar myself?

Yes, you can only install your solar system when you get sufficient technical knowledge of the installation process. It can be a risk if you want to install your solar system by yourself. It is better to hire a professional to do it.

Solar Cost / Return on Investment

What credits and incentives are available for going solar?

There are five types of Solar Rebates and Incentives in the U.S. You can get the federal solar tax credit and net energy metering for installing a solar system. Besides, SRECs and solar tax exemptions are beneficial for going solar.

Is solar a sound investment?

The solar system remains the most popular renewable technology, and the investment in solar energy will return the money very quickly. It is still a good investment sector for renewable electricity consumers. You can reduce electricity costs by installing a solar system.

How long does it take for the solar system to pay for themself?

The cost will be returned within seven to twenty years after installing the solar system. It depends on the size of the system and the amount of energy consumption. But you will get electricity without costs for the next twenty years or more.

Question & Answers during solar panels installation

There are several questions that you should ask your service provider before installing a solar system. These frequently asked questions will help you to understand the total system. You can get all the information by revealing these questions.

Solar Financing

What solar financing options are available?

You can buy a solar with cash and apply for a solar energy loan. Besides, there are government financing options for solar installation. Some manufacturers offer payment in installment, and you can lease solar equipment.

How do solar leases / solar PPAs work?

You can get the benefit of the solar leasing system for your home and business. The solar leasing system allows you to rent solar equipment for a certain period. Solar PPA refers to a solar power purchase agreement.

Owning Solar

Do solar systems require maintenance?

Photovoltaic solar cells require a little bit of maintenance in their lifespan. Sometimes you have to clean the solar panels to remove frost and dust from it. Otherwise, the solar system doesn’t require major maintenance.

Solar panel cleaning

Solar panel cleaning is one of the major concerns when you are installing a solar system. But the good news is that the solar system requires a little cleaning in case of dust or snow.

How does solar impact the value of my home?

Using a solar system at your home not only helps you to reduce the electricity costs, but it will potentially increase the value of the home. With a solar system, the value of the house will be increased by up to 4.1 percent.

Solar monitoring system

The solar monitoring system allows you to track the performance of your PV solar cells. It will enable you to get information about energy production, consumption, and optimization. Using a monitoring system, you can detect any error of the solar module.

Solar Resource Center

Before going solar, I would recommend you read the two books about solar and solar DIY. All of my knowledge is coming from these books at the beginning.

Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System

Buy on Amazon

Mobile Solar Power Made Easy!: Mobile 12 volt off grid solar system design and installation. RV's, Vans, Cars and boats! Do-it-yourself step by step instructions.

Buy on Amazon

How To Power Everything From The Sun

Buy on Amazon

Consumer Education

Consumer education helps the solar system users to understand their benefits. In this concept, you will get ideas about buyer protection and transparency during installing a solar PV system. It will lead a customer to the right path.

Solar Industry Research & Reporting

Solar industry research and reporting refer to the knowledge, technology, and invention related to the field. It will help the industry to establish a sustainable and affordable energy solution system for the world. The news regarding this field will enhance the usage of solar power.

Solar Industry News

Solar industry news reveals the opportunity for spreading the technology worldwide. The latest news about new inventions and projects enable the consumers to get the most recent technology for their energy solutions. It will also create a new era for remote villages and lands.

Calculators and Tools

Calculators and tools will help you to go solar. With these most common devices, you can estimate the budget and figure out the cost before installing a solar system. It is also the best companion for measuring energy production.

DIY Topics

What are the potential DIY ideas when it comes to solar energy?

Do-it-yourself! Yes, for personal growth and zeal, people want to establish something by themself. It will increase your confidence and enable you to start a new project from personal experience.

Like other projects and experiments, you can also try a potential solar energy DIY project, among many ideas.

Solar light, solar floor lamp, solar jar, solar fountain, solar water heater are some excellent ideas.

Best Solar Gadgets

What solar gadgets are popular out there? What is that gadget for?

Solar power banks, solar outdoor lights, and solar string lights are the most popular solar gadgets.

The solar power bank allows you to charge your USB devices even in a remote place.

A solar outdoor light helps you to get light during walking, camping, hiking, fishing, and more.

Solar string lights are perfect for decorating your garden, party, or outdoor with colorful lights.

There are so many solar gadgets nowadays, you can check the full list of best solar gadgets here to have a better overview of solar gadgets.

Before buying any solar gadget, consider reading our complete solar product buying guide. The article will help you choose the right product to buy based on multiple factors. You will not have to say sorry.

Wrapping Up

Solar energy is a huge knowledge if you want to know. Every seconds you put into learning about solar will worth absolutely if you have a good preparation.

Before going solar, I would recommend you read the two books about solar and solar DIY. All of my knowledge is coming from these books at the beginning.

Designing and Installing a Photovoltaic System

Buy on Amazon

Mobile Solar Power Made Easy!: Mobile 12 volt off grid solar system design and installation. RV's, Vans, Cars and boats! Do-it-yourself step by step instructions.

Buy on Amazon

How To Power Everything From The Sun

Buy on Amazon

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