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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 plan to go solar, solar 101 will develop the complete information structure of solar energy.

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 grassroots level.

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

Let’s explore the most important 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 it to electricity for regular usage.

What are the parts of a solar energy system?

There are several parts of a solar power 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 the 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 remote places, even in the middle of the sea. On the contrary, it requires expensive primary investment and makes people independent.

In terms of a solar 101 conversation, we will not talk deeply 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 panels 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 someone looking for solar 101 info, 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.


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. Electrons knock the atoms, and these free atoms generate flowing electricity. Sunlight allows the Photovoltaic cells to complete the energy production process.

Why is Silicon Used in Solar Panels

Silicon has diverse chemical properties, especially the crystalline form that makes it suitable for PV cells. A Silicon atom has 14 electrons 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, for 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. The monocrystalline solar panel is the most efficient and absorbs up to 27 percent of 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 several weather conditions and figures it out 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 must check the solar installer’s credentials, reviews, and client testimonials. Then concentrate on the warranty and turnaround time. If you need customized installation, ask them to calculate the total costs and compare them with other competitors.

Solar installers have special certification to do the job. Choosing an installer for your system is best 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 electricity production more convenient and usable to most 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 inverter from 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 people are using the on-grid solar system tied with the utility grid. But, if you want to install an off-grid solar system that is not connected to the grid, you 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 receives 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. Lithium-ion (Li) is the best battery chemistry for a solar system when it comes to storage. 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. Solar panels are installed on the ground by establishing a foundation on the ground level for the ground mount system.

What are pole mounts? Are they worth it?

To help you understand a solar 101 conversation more easily, the pole mount system allows you to install the solar panels on a pole 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 recommend reading the two books about solar and solar DIY. In the beginning, all of my knowledge came from these books.

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 decide is to know whether you are ready or not.

What size solar energy system do I need?

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

What is string sizing?

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

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 isn’t affected much. It will work 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 must pay a professional installer $5,000-$7,000. 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 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 return on investment will happen quickly. . It is still a good investment sector for renewable electricity consumers.

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

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

You should ask your service provider several questions 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 solar panels with cash and apply for a solar energy loan. Besides, there are government financing options for solar installation. Some manufacturers offer payment in installments, and you can lease solar equipment.

How do solar leases / solar PPAs work?

You can benefit from 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 the 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. Otherwise, the solar system doesn’t require major maintenance.

Solar panel cleaning

Solar panel cleaning is one of the major concerns when 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 house’s value will increase 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 in the solar module.

Solar Resource Center

Before going solar, I recommend reading the two books about solar and solar DIY. All of my knowledge comes from these books.

Consumer Education

Consumer education helps the solar system users to understand their benefits. This concept will get ideas about buyer protection and transparency while installing a solar PV system. It will lead the customer on 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 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 enables the consumers to get the most recent technology for their energy solutions. It will also create a new era for remote villages and towns.

Calculators and Tools

Calculators and tools will help you to go solar. With these most common devices, you can estimate the budget and determine 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, people want to install something by themselves for personal growth and zeal. 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 excellent ideas.

Best Solar Gadgets

What are solar gadgets popular out there? What is that gadget used 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 remote places.

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

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

There are so many solar gadgets nowadays, and you can check the full list of the 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

There is a huge collection of resources on Solar energy if you are interested in gaining some knowledge in the niche. Every second you put into learning about solar will be absolutely worth it.

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