Solar power only became a feasible alternative to conventional power after 1954, following the first silicon photovoltaic cell development, created by Bell Labs in 1954. Before this, varying solar energy capture and conversion methods were explored. The first solar cell conversion of solar energy to electricity was at a 4% efficiency rate. In present-day use, this conversion sits at above 20% efficiency and continues to increase.

Incentives and policies, both state and federal, to decrease solar energy costs gradually increased, despite an initially slow rate of solar energy implementation. This contributed to lower pricing for solar panels, with solar power accounts powering 11 million out of 126 million households countrywide.

Solar panel requirements for the homeowner

Figuring out the number of panels needed requires careful calculation and reliable solar companies to quote accurate installation. The following considerations can also change how many panels a home needs:

When it comes to panel measurements, a standard size for one panel for home installation is approximately 65 by 39 inches (some dimensions can differ, depending on the manufacturer). A comparative size to consider is that of a television (75”) or a twin bed mattress. The best solar companies can facilitate these measurements.

Other factors in solar installation

With regards to the amount of power that can be generated per panel, the varying kinds of panels generate variable wattage amounts. Higher watt producing panels cost more. In addition, panels will decrease in efficiency over time (with a shelf life of about 25 years in total).

A standard household consumes approximately 1 000 kWh monthly. To calculate an average, use your previous electricity invoices to see how much energy your household consumes. Solar companies can help you calculate this, and help you devise a plan to help you save as much as possible.

The energy storage capacity of a system can also very. Batteries store power to use in periods of lower demand. A consistent, efficient battery requires the use of fewer solar panels.

Roof assessments are important before committing to panels. To gauge solar panel placement, the best solar company in Orange County will determine how to install panels to benefit from solar panel use.

Natural shade and sunlight play a huge role in the process. Solar panel installation and the number of panels required must also consider shade and concentrated areas of sunlight in the home.

What makes a solar panel function?

A solar panel functions by virtue of the “photovoltaic effect”. A solar panel is composed of the following elements: silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing unit, and wiring, which transfers electric current from the silicon. Silicon can take in sunlight and change it into energy to power devices. When a beam of light reaches a cell, the light sets electrons in the silicon in motion, generating electricity. The photovoltaic effect refers to how solar panel technology works as a whole.

Electricity generation from solar is due to the photovoltaic effect, initially discovered by Edmond Becquerel in 1839. The photovoltaic effect owes to the effects of semiconductors, which create an electric current through exposure to sunlight.