So, you’ve heard about solar panels and want to check them out but have no clue where to start? Not to worry. We’ll break down the basics and highlight everything you need to know about the technology harnessing the power of the sun!
The sun is more than a source of light and warmth – it’s also a major source of energy. Solar power is the process by which sunlight is converted into electricity, either directly through a process called photovoltaics, indirectly through concentrated solar power, or a combination of the two.
As of 2017, solar power accounted for 1.7% of the world’s electricity production. However, a 2014 prediction by the International Energy Agency predicted that by 2050, solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power would contribute about 16 and 11 percent, respectively, of the worldwide electricity consumption, and solar power would be the world’s largest source of electricity. But how do we harness that electricity to power things such as our tv, computer, or air conditioner? That’s where photovoltaic solar panels come into play.
In 1839, Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel discovered it was possible to create an electrical charge from exposing certain materials to light. The first commercial solar panel was created in 1881 by Charles Fritts; however, it was very inefficient, especially in relation to the power produced by coal during that time. In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is currently used in many solar panels. Ohl’s design was then used in 1954 by Bell Labs to create the first commercially-available silicon solar cell.
Saving Money & Saving the Planet
Florida is the Sunshine State for a reason! In 2006, the State of Florida passed the Florida Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency Act to encourage residents to invest in photovoltaic solar systems by providing rebates and tax credits. As the price of solar panels has decreased, their efficiency has increased. Tax credits – both at a state and federal level – have become more prominent, which makes 2019 the best year so far for investing in solar panels for your home. Another perk? The added sense of accomplishment you will feel while doing your part to utilize the gifts Mother Earth has given us.
Before investing in solar panels, there are a few important questions to ask.
- What direction does your roof face? Because of the United States’ relation to the sun, south-facing roofs, followed by west-facing roofs, are the best for installing solar panels.
- How much sun does your roof receive? The sun should ideally hit your roofing – and the solar panels – for at least five hours a day.
- What type of roofing do you have? Asphalt shingles and corrugated metal roofs are the ideal roofing materials for installing solar panels, while slate or tile roofing can make for a more difficult, and costlier, installation.
- How long do you plan to live in your home? Despite the increase in popularity for solar panels, it’s hard to know how much the next owner of your home will value their installation. If you plan on living in your home for a length of time that will allow the solar panels to pay for themselves, that’s ideal.
While some people may feel comfortable installing solar panels on their own, there’s no harm in asking for help from the professionals. Luckily for Florida residents, Model City Roofing has a team of certified commercial and residential roofing experts ready to assist with making your home as energy efficient as possible. Visit their website to request a free estimate.