Starting the search to find the best residential solar option for your home can be a bit of a daunting and intimidating task. There are different types of solar panels with various purposes, so how do you find which one is the best for you? Here is a general guide to find the best residential solar option for your home and some helpful tips that you should keep in mind as you consider your options!
The 4 Types of Solar Panels
Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from raw silicon that is melted and formed into wafers. These solar panels are typically lower in price because their creation process is more efficient and lower cost. However, this type of solar panel is not as heat-tolerant, so polycrystalline solar panels do not produce as much energy as monocrystalline solar panels.
Monocrystalline Solar Panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are made of single-crystal silicon. The silicon is first made into bars and then they are cut into wafers. These solar panels are more efficient than polycrystalline solar panels because they are made from single-crystal silicon, which allows them to be more heat-tolerant. Monocrystalline solar panels are also more uniform in appearance and color, so many find it more aesthetically pleasing. However, monocrystalline solar panels also tend to cost more than polycrystalline solar panels because the creation process is not as efficient and has higher costs.
Thin Film Solar Panels
Thin Film Solar Panels are made from layering thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. These solar panels are very thin, and somewhat flexible. The production of these solar panels is easier and less costly, so these are a more affordable solar panel option. However, thin film solar panels are also not as efficient as other solar panels, while they also take up more space.
Solar Roof Shingles
Solar roof shingles look like typical asphalt shingles, so people find these to be more attractive than other solar panel options. Besides, if you ever move, you can remove and then reinstall solar roof shingles on your new home. However, solar roof shingles tend to be less efficient than standard solar panels. These solar roof shingles can be integrated with your current roof, and on average, they last 20 to 30 years.
Other Residential Solar Options
Adding solar panels to your roof isn’t the only way to use solar energy to power your home. Check out these lower-cost solar options!
- Outdoor Lighting – Add solar-powered lights to your front walk or backyard. The solar panels on top charge during the day and keep the lights powered at night.
- Swimming Pools – You can warm up your pool water by putting a solar blanket on top, or you can add a solar water heating system.
- Ventilation Fans – Power your ventilation fans with solar power. You can buy roof vent fans that are solar-powered or use solar-powered free-standing fans.
You can also install more extensive residential solar options like adding solar water heaters or solar house heating. Find the best option for your home!
Things To Consider Before You Decide/Buy
There are many things to research and look at before deciding which solar option is best for you. Here are just a few factors to consider before you buy.
- Upfront costs – Ensure you can afford the installation costs and consider government subsidies.
- Predicted Energy Savings – See how your solar panels will “pay off” in the future
- Product Lifespan – Check to see if there are any lifespan guarantees
- The amount of sun your home gets – See if your location is ideal for solar panels
- The amount of energy that you currently consume – Make sure the system that you are looking at can handle the amount of energy that you typically use
Making a Difference – Large and Small
There are many different solar energy options for the home. From solar panels to solar powered outdoor lights. In addition, there are many renewable and custom solar options for businesses. Whether you are a large business trying to reduce your carbon footprint or a homeowner looking to run their home on solar power–your actions are making a difference.
Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.