Solar panels have rapidly become the energy source of choice for many concerned about the environment and the devastating effects of climate change. However, as with any other power source, it is common for people to have concerns about whether the method is energy-efficient or not. Some of the good news for people concerned about energy efficiency is that solar panels are a good choice. They offer many advantages over some other types of renewable energy and also have less waste associated with them.
Is there any wasted energy in a solar system?
One of the important things for homeowners considering solar energy to keep in mind is that each panel has an energy efficiency rate of about 11 to 15 percent. How solar power manufacturers measure this rate is by measuring what percentage of sunlight that the panels pick up becomes energy you can use. High-efficiency panels that take up less of a surface area provide better results than many low-efficiency panels would. As such, people who purchase solar panels for renewable energy prefer the best option available within their budget.
Although there is a potential for energy loss, it is less than many other types of non-renewable energy sources. The easiest way for people to avoid energy loss is to choose the proper placement of the panels. An ideal situation would include a roof that faces south for solar panel placement, or a design that increases the chances of the panels receiving as much southern exposure as possible. Another factor includes theangle of the sun during the day, which is tricky for homeowners to follow. Careful planning is a necessity for those who want to use panels as a primary energy source to get the most from them.
What are the effects on the environment?
As a residential power source, solar power has a very small carbon footprint. There is a small negative effect on the environment from the manufacture of these panels, because of the use of heavy metals. However, even the hardest of these minerals has a low impact compared to coal. Because solar energy produces no emissions, it is one of the cleanest sources you can use overall.
Many people consider the costs associated with panels negligible in comparison with the low impact on the environment. Although experts have decided to keep studying the effects of the use of the metals involved with solar panel construction, there is a lot of hope. Many are optimistic that newer, more energy-efficient methods will negate any of the environmental risks over time.
What happens when it’s cloudy?
When you use solar panels, you obviously expect to get the most use out of them during sunny weather. However, many people are unaware that the panels also work on cloudy days, although with decreased efficiency. The same principles also apply to days with foggy weather. During cloudy weather, your panels will provide between 10 to 25 percent of their capacity. Some homeowners with solar panels find that their panels even exceed capacity on cloudy days. One of the biggest factors that impacts efficiency on cloudy days is how much of the color spectrum the panels capture.
Also, worth noting is the fact that cities with frequent cloudy weather may offer an advantage over areas with a lot of hot, sunny weather. Although dry, sunny areas produce the sunshine needed for high efficiency, there is also more of a strain on electric components. Examples of cities with a lot of cloudy or foggy weather that do well with solar panels include San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon. Cooler countries also tend to fare better, with Germany being a good example of a company that generates a lot of solar power with numerous cloudy days.
Is energy stored?
Many marvel at the energy that solar panels provide but wonder how well they provide power after dark. Rechargeable batteries play a major role in storing energy for use at night. They offer the advantage of lasting for as long as 10 years and allowing power storage in remote areas without utility grid access. When solar panels are used for heating water, the water is diverted into storage tanks for later use. This sort of system is simple, yet it keeps homeowners from worrying about whether they will have access to hot water whenever they require at it night or during overcast weather.
Homeowners who are seriously considering solar power will be pleased with the overall energy efficiency. Although there are some drawbacks to the use of solar power, the benefits are certainly greater than any of the drawbacks. Those who take advantage of solar power are likely to be very pleased with the results.
RGS Energy, founded in 1978, was the first solar energy system provider and installer in the United States, and it’s still the market leader. To learn more about how solar could lower your electric bills and to get a free quote, visit RGSEnergy.com.