Solar power has become quite popular today for many reasons. The main one is that it is pollution-free — solar energy doesn’t cause the emission of greenhouse gases to the environment after installation. It is also a renewable and clean power that can be available every day of the year. Solar energy has also reduced human dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil to produce power.
Nevertheless, solar panels’ reliability has been a great debate ever since the invention of solar energy. It has deterred many potential solar energy consumers from making the final decision and installing a solar energy system once and for good in their homes or business premises. In this blog, we will discuss the reliability of solar panels, so you make the right decision if you want to install one.
Solar Panels Reliability
Electricity is a basic necessity, not just in our homes but in businesses too. Electricity powers our homes, workplaces, and our lifestyle. However, it has not always been an essential commodity. After its invention, only a few individuals could afford and had access to electric power some years ago. Today, people even have a choice on where their electricity will come from.
Across the globe, we have many electric companies that have invested in various types of electric production. The good thing about this advancing technology is that even homeowners can invest in their electric generation. A primary electric generation method for homeowners is solar power. A once-off installation can ensure that everything in your home runs smoothly without costing you an arm and a leg.
However, since installing solar power in your home or business premises will replace fossil fuels, it is an excellent investment. That is why it’s essential to establish how reliable solar panels are and whether or not you might regret your decision after that.
The generation of electric power using solar panels is mainly dependent on the sun’s rays. Panels capture the sun’s ultraviolet rays to create an electric current. It means that solar panels are solely reliant on the sun. Thus, it is impossible to produce electric power every day, considering that sometimes there will be plenty of sun and other times the weather will be unfavorable. But there are other inventions to rectify this problem, which comes in the form of solar batteries.
Solar batteries are used as backups for the excess electric energy your solar panels produce. The extra energy can be used on those days when energy production is down due to weather conditions. There is even a solution for homeowners who would wish to make their solar power more secure. You can use your grid together with your solar backup to ensure that everything in your home is well-powered throughout.
With backup systems in place, your panels will be more reliable than other fossil fuels. It is because excess power that your solar panels generate is stored up for later use. Then you can use the stored energy at your discretion.
But you’ll be responsible for the maintenance and servicing of your solar system. It is another reason why many people are not quick to install solar systems in their homes or businesses. The longevity and maintenance of solar systems have always been a point of concern.
Can Solar Panels Fail?
Most solar panels come with a guarantee of at least 25 years. Some even have a lifespan guarantee. But they are machines, and all machines eventually break down or wear out. It means that your solar panels can serve you for a long time, but they will not be working as well as they did on the first day. Their performance declines with time and as their solar cells undergo degradation due to inevitable conditions like weather cycles and exposure to UV rays.
Most solar panels that underperform soon after installation have been hit hard by water ingression or extreme heat. These are two main factors that could cause corrosion in a panel’s early life. Fortunately, most come with warranties. Therefore, you can have an underperforming panel replaced before the expiration of its warranty. Since most solar panel manufacturers have realized this, they are now producing solar panels to guarantee at least 80% solar energy production for 20-25 years.
The next advantage is that solar panels do not have any moving parts within. It makes it hard for them to break. The efficiency of your panels could degenerate over time, but you’ll not have to deal with repairs and parts replacement for the length of their service.
Reliability of Solar Energy as Your Home’s Energy Source
If you are planning to make the big switch from fossil fuels to solar energy, it is advisable to determine whether the solar energy you’ll be producing in your home will be sufficient to support your lifestyle. Before discussing this, let’s first understand in detail how solar panels generate electric energy.
We know that solar energy is one that you can generate from the sun. But to convert this energy from the sun to usable electric power, you’ll need solar panels. All panels come with silicon-made Photovoltaic cells. When the sun rays hit the surface of these cells, the cell produces flowing electrons. Simply, electricity is those flowing electrons.
The electrons flow to an inverter, where they are changed from electricity from the solar panel (DC) to usable energy (AC) that you can easily consume in your home. Not all light rays that fall on your panel’s cells are convertible to electric energy. Each solar panel has an efficiency of between 15 and 18%. Panels with higher efficiency are those with high-quality Photovoltaic cells. These panels also require less installation space to attain the desired output.
Generally, solar panels depend on the sun to produce solar energy. It means that more power is likely to be produced during the day than at night. Again, solar energy production is seasonal, as the sun will not shine on some days at all. The reliability of solar energy to sustain your home will depend on how you’ll overcome the challenge of ensuring that you have sufficient power at night, and on those days there’ll be little or no production.
The two main ways through which most homeowners have overcome this challenge are:
Through Net Metering
This law requires utility companies to compensate homeowners who export the excess solar energy to their grid. Generally, you do always consume all the energy your panels will be generating every day. Thus, you might have some extra power to deliver back into the grid, and then you can receive credit for it. In the end, the utility company will only bill you for the net electric power you have used for every billing period. It is an excellent way of saving money on electric bills than you have seen before.
Through Solar Batteries
As previously mentioned, solar batteries are an excellent way of saving the excess power your solar panels are generating every day for future use. Your panels will be charging your batteries all through the day as they generate energy, then you can use the batteries to power your home.
Some homeowners prefer not to invest in solar batteries because they are already saving through net metering. Net metering in itself is a great incentive that you cannot overlook if you are considering installing a solar system in your home. With it, you are guaranteed a round-the-clock connection to the grid while you are mostly consuming electric power that you are generating right at home. In the end, it might even cancel out the entire or a large part of your electric bill.
But solar batteries are an excellent investment too. What matters most is that you have sufficient energy for your home needs, even on those days when your solar panels have not generated enough electric power.
Can Solar Panel Output Be Maximized?
Maximizing your solar panels’ output is one way you can boost their reliability for your home electric power needs. The amount of energy generated in most homes is a significant concern for most homeowners who have already invested in quality solar energy systems. The low production of electric energy could be due to several factors, some of which will be discussed here.
Poor Choice of Solar Panels
The market today is flooded with all kinds of solar pane brands from different companies. Therefore, it becomes a challenge for a homeowner to know the right brand to consider for his/her needs. However, several factors are in place to guide your choice and ensure that you buy a solar panel that will serve you well for years.
First, it is advisable to buy your solar panels from a company that is likely to be around to honor any warranty claims you might have, at least for the minimum 25-year life of your panels. As earlier mentioned, solar panels should be fit for about 25 years even if their production over those years will not be the same as from at the beginning. Working with a reliable company ensures that you’ll always have support if something happens to your panels along the way.
Second, it is advisable to buy solar panels from a reputable company. You probably have friends or family members who have invested in solar energy systems, who might know about the market’s best brands. They will point you in the right direction.
Third, there are higher-efficiency panels in the market today. You can invest in these, other than the regular panels. However, they are more expensive than ordinary solar panels. But are the best even when the roof space for installation is limited.
Sub-optimal or Unprofessional Installation
Choosing the best brand of solar panels is not enough. You need to ensure that your panels are correctly installed for optimal production. Bad installation is a nightmare for many homeowners. While solar energy systems are meant to cut down your energy costs, poor installation could tremendously increase your energy costs, leaving you counting huge losses. When solar panels are poorly installed, they’ll need constant servicing and repairs, which will cost you a lot more.
To ensure proper installation of solar panels, you must engage the services of an expert who will conduct appropriate roof assessments to determine the right position for your panels. Experts will not rush the installation or make mistakes during the installation process. They will also be careful not to interrupt your roof’s water flow. The best installation team should also be available for inspections and regular maintenance to ensure that your panels are working well at all times.
The Positioning of Solar Panels
The position of your solar panels is as important as the installation itself. Solar panel experts have agreed that panels that face south have a higher potential of producing more energy than others. If your panels face south, you might increase their energy production by up to 30%. The idea is to have your panels in a position where they’ll receive maximum sunlight during the day.
Even as they face south, ensure that they are not locked by any object from receiving 100% sunlight. For example, solar panels shouldn’t be installed between buildings, in an area crowded with tees, or a place that receives sunlight only for a few hours.
Maintain Clean Panels
Cleanliness is recommended if you want to maximize the output of your solar panels. Your solar panels are bound to accumulate dirt and dust while on the roof, which might affect their functioning. Fortunately, solar panels are made of glass materials. Therefore, cleaning them shouldn’t be hard. Regularly wipe out dirt and dust to enjoy maximum solar energy.
Find Solar Power Installation and Services Near Me
The reliability of solar panels is a great debate that doesn’t seem to end soon. However, you can be sure that a solar energy system for your home is an excellent investment as it can significantly cut down your energy costs. For more information and help regarding solar power solutions, contact Sun Solar Electric at 707-658-2157. We have a team of skilled and experienced solar power experts that serve Northern California and the Bay Area.