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Residential Solar Panels

There are many types of residential solar panels available for home installation. The style, wattage and number of panels will depend upon whether homeowners want to power just a few electronic items using solar energy or are looking to use solar as their primary source of electrical power.

What are Solar Panels?

Some basic understanding of what residential solar panels actually are and how they work is the first step in deciding which of these products will be best for you. According to How Stuff Works, solar panels like the ones often seen on the rooftops of homes are made up of many photovoltaic cells, the workhorses that actually turn the sun’s rays into electricity. These cells are made up of semiconductors made of silicon or similar material. Light hitting the cells causes a reaction within the semiconductor that causes movement of electrons, creating electricity. A panel’s wattage is determined by combining the electrical current produced by each cell along with its voltage. The power supplied by these panels varies quite a lot, so homeowners will need to calculate the amount of energy they feel is necessary to power the household before they make a purchase.

Solar Panels for Residential Homes

Silicon photovoltaic panels dominate the residential solar power market because of their high efficiency. They can be pricey, however. Newer, more flexible thin-film panels are becoming more popular but are not as efficient as their silicon counterparts. Since they cost less to produce, they are also less expensive to buy. Consumers should research each type before they actually buy residential solar panels.

Residential Solar Panels for Sale

There are many companies selling and installing residential solar panels and panel arrays, as a quick internet search will show. For those who are on a limited budget, there is also an active used solar panel market. Experts suggests that those looking to buy residential solar panels second-hand should be aware that panels manufactured before 2005 are much less efficient than newer models; any shading at all will reduce their efficiency even further. New solar panel kits are now being sold at Costco which allow homeowners to install smaller versions of a full solar array, thus allowing a less expensive foray into alternative energy. Also, Clarian Technologies is developing a “plug-and-play” residential solar package that can be up and running in one hour for under $1000. It is important to remember, though, that most residential solar packages require trained technicians for installation of the panels and is probably not something that the average homeowner should undertake himself.

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