Whether you decide to harness the power of the sun for your home or for outdoor use, it can be a bit daunting to buy solar panels for the first time. This is why in this post, we answer some of the most common questions and provide an easy, quick beginner’s guide to buying a solar panel.
What are solar panels?
Solar panels - or photovoltaics - are made of either monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar cells. Each panel is made up of a large number of semiconductor cells that convert sunlight to DC (direct current) electricity.
The most common solar panels are those fitted to a roof, which can be used to power households. There are also folding solar panels available for people that need a power source while camping or for general outdoor use.
Before you can start using solar energy though, it needs to pass through a power inverter. An inverter is necessary to convert DC electricity to AC (alternating current) electricity which is what gadgets and appliances need to run.
How long do solar panels last?
The answer is a really, really long time which makes them amazing investments. The great thing about solar power systems is the parts do not wear out as quickly. In fact, fixed and even portable solar panels are known to produce clean electricity for decades.
How do you maintain solar panels?
Solar panel maintenance can be as routine as cleaning your car. Yes, you read that right - they are very easy to have around. Solar panels are built to last for several years without much fuss on upkeep.
Regular cleaning and making sure the panels are free of debris is pretty much all these panels need, maintenance-wise. You may need to regularly wipe down the surface during change of seasons but again, that is pretty much it.
Will solar panels work during rainy or overcast days?
Yes. Let’s get that straight, right away. Fixed solar panels, portable solar panels, solar blankets - it does not matter what system you have in place.
Solar panels work just as well when it is cloudy, raining or cold. While it is true that these power systems are most effective when there is direct sunlight, solar panels can still generate power during overcast days. It generates more than enough power actually, for it to remain a viable source of clean electricity. This is helpful particularly if you are camping and need a power source.
How many solar panels should I buy?
The answer depends on the total power requirement of the appliances you will connect to the system. The general rule is to determine the total Amps needed to run the appliances per hour and multiply that by the expected number of hours the appliances will be used.
Once you have that figured out, it’s just a matter of choosing the solar panel capable of supplying the total Amps needed.
A few safety reminders before we go
In case you are having issues with your solar panels, do not try to repair them or do any kind of work on the panels and the accessories. Best call the manufacturer to schedule a technician’ visit or ask for advice.
While it is perfectly safe for the solar panels to get wet during rainy days, the power inverter should be kept dry at all times.
Keep the wiring and the inverter indoors and away from children. Again, if any problems occur with the inverter, wiring or accessories, do not attempt to fix them on your own.
Whether you need solar panels for home or outdoor use, learning more about them can help you decide what type to choose based on your needs. You have, after all, done the right thing by choosing green energy. We hope this quick and easy guide can help you make the best investment.