Do you remember the hottest day you’ve experienced, with no pools nearby?
Remember the time you were just too exhausted because you were under the sun at its highest position and you were just thinking the world should have been covered with solar panels?
Think about it, solar panels everywhere absorbing all the heat, providing free electricity to the whole world and even protecting you from the heat of the sun.
We have to tell you that that was not a good plan, however, It might work in some circumstances, which in this article, we will be introducing you.
Just like every technology, solar panels are very useful (and profitable!) when utilized wisely, with serious considerations and with necessary calculations.
However, they can become a waste of time with poor planning, wrong choice and installation.
How to Produce Electricity?
Do you know how electricity is produced in general methods?
In all conventional methods, you practically do the same thing, which engineers call cycles, where water or gas is heated by an energy source, like coal, fuel or nuclear.
Whichever method you use, other than solar panels, you need to use a turbine at the end of the process, which will be turned by the power you generated using either steam or gas, in order to generate electricity.
Solar panels, however, do not require turbines, as they’re directly getting heat from the sun, which means if you do not invest on a high capacity battery, you will need the sun lighting your solar panel directly when you need a high amount of electrical power.
How do Solar Panels Work?
Unlike common belief, most solar panels do not work by heat, instead, their system is based on absorbing sunlight (as photons) and turning them into electricity.
It’s accomplished by absorption of those photons which are available at different amounts, at different wavelengths of light, and inducing electron movement in solar panel, which electricity depends on as the simplest explanation.
This kind of solar panels would even work with a light bulb as a source, but that would be extremely inefficient!
However, there are still solar panels that use the heat of sun directly and use it for heating water either to be used directly, like bathing or using it for cleaning, or using it as a fuel alternative in heating.
Therefore initial decision that is to be made is, which application is required for the particular situation.
Solar panels that are used for heating are more logical if fuel prices are expensive in the region, meanwhile, the electricity generators are more valuable if electricity prices are higher.
You can find more detail on the working principles of solar panels using our guide here.
Since they’re the more common and complex ones, the rest of this article is dedicated to electricity-generating solar panels.
When to Use Solar Panels
Even in 2020, Solar panels still require some initial investment and maintenance payments, making it logical to calculate your savings before deciding on installing them.
There are several applications of solar panels, from heating the building to using it in every electrical device possible, where you can read more details in our guide.
Solar panels are only used when they’re worth it!
Evaluation of solar panel efficiency and understanding the concepts of the solar panel are more complex than most even realize.
Most, just expect sunny and hot regions to be perfect for solar panels and cloudy and cold regions to be useless in terms of profits.
But let us tell you something, the results can be much different from what you expect, even in Portland, one of the rainiest regions in the US, solar panels are having wider attention every day and increasing their market share.
This evaluation requires expertise, this is not a decision a novice can make, just by looking at the sun at a particular day and feel it’s hot enough.
Just because you have a tan when you go out in your region, it does not mean solar panels will work perfectly there.
This expectancy arises from misunderstanding the concept that makes solar panels work, where heat is related directly to the capacity of solar panel, while it’s not.
Do Solar Panels Work on Rainy Days?
As explained above, solar panels use sunlight to generate electricity, hence they can operate well at unexpected conditions.
Despite general belief, solar panels do work on cloudy days, rainy days and even in winter!
So how does a panel work on a cloudy day?
This is possible due to the fact that sunlight contains different wavelengths of light, some of which are not even visible for the human eye.
So even if we don’t see any light, there are photons absorbed to the solar panel, generating electricity.
This even applies for rainy and snowy days and considering all solar panels are tested for their stability in extreme weather conditions, you will be all safe.
You can even enjoy an occasional rain, as it will clean the panel surface, increasing its efficiency.
However, we do not mean solar panels will be as efficient as sunny days with these weather conditions, this is impossible to state without necessary calculations for the specific location.
Before the decision of application, technical analysis from experts has to be done, in order to decide how much power can be generated using a solar panel and which type and size combination have to be used for this particular application.
It’s not uncommon to obtain much less power than the potential, just due to the lack of knowledge and expertise.
You should either consult to a professional or follow our guide very carefully supporting it with extra information available online, before even considering buying one.
Should I Use Solar Panels Everywhere?
In order for solar panels to be profitable, prices of electricity at the particular location should also be a concern.
It’s almost same to construct a solar panel system at every part of the world, however electric prices deviate significantly from region to region.
This makes general calculations and profit estimations useless, indicating the need for a detailed cost-profit analysis made specifically for the region.
Solar Panels to Save the World!
Cost concerns left behind, Solar energy is being used because the world needs it.
Over the years, reliance on fuel-based energies have slowly accumulated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and now we’re heading to a no-turn point.
For over 570 years, scientists have been searching for alternative clean sources of energy, yet they have failed to find a more suitable one than sun for now.
If you think, you should be doing something for our mother earth, you should be looking for a solar panel already, for which our list here may help you.
Become Your Own Supplier
How many times did you have your power off, right at the middle of a movie?
How many times did you have to cancel important online meetings?
Placing solar panels also prevents these problems, making you as the electricity provider of yourself.
From now on, you won’t be distracted by the volatility of oil prices or lack of service from your electricity provider.
How to Store Your Own Electricity
Solar panels alone, do not represent a whole system that can provide you with 7/24 electricity, even if you live in a region very suitable for solar energy with a huge sun spreading its light.
Even at the best regions, eventually, every day the sun will set and the long (or short) dominance of owls, shades and vampires will begin!
As you can expect, your solar panel is useless at night and it’s quite ironic that you mostly need instant electricity at night.
The beautiful sun you had whole day does not help you at night and you even wasted it if you did not spend as electricity as it can generate.
This is quite sad, after all those calculations and considerations, your solar panel is generating electricity that you do not use.
This has a very simple solution.
You will need a battery, but not the ones you regularly use.
You should choose an appropriate size and capacity battery to store the electricity generated the whole day, keeping it fresh and moist for the time you decide to consume it.
However, let me warn you, those batteries can be quite costly and you should be deciding whether to buy one, rent one or share one with nearby solar panel owners.
How to Place Solar Panels to Make Them Work Best
Another concern is that generally solar panels are constructed on the roofs of buildings and this reality brings new considerations before application.
First of all, you should make sure that you’re completely content with your roof and not planning for a renovation or complete change for at least 30 years, as it’s the minimum lifetime of most solar panels.
Also, even if your region can be sunny, for some reason your roof can be an exception due to the angle, nearby buildings or just bad luck.
Make sure you have necessary calculations before installing a solar panel to your roof, in order to prevent any disappointment.
Meanwhile, you have to make sure your roof is strong enough to carry this extra weight, especially for winter as the snow creates extra mass for your roof to carry.
The roofs usually collapse at the time you need them most and you will also lose your solar panel along with your collapsed roof.
We don’t need to mention that, if you share your building, you need the permission of the people you live with.
Combining all, it can be clearly stated that, you should consider installing solar panels if you have made all the necessary calculations and definitely sure you will enjoy them for a long time.
If you’re not having a professional team setting up your solar panel for you, there are several considerations you should be making for them to work best.
Their direction is important!
The direction your solar panel is looking at can decide whether it’s profitable one or just a huge load of cash thrown away.
So how should you direct your solar panel for most efficient performance?
You definitely know that sun rises from east and sets at west.
This basic information can create a huge difference in the profit you’re making from your solar panel.
Setting your panel looking either west or east will decrease the sunlight you’re getting to the half!
You should always be setting the solar panel to look south, as it will enjoy both rise and set of the sun in this direction.
The Angle is Also Important
If you think the correct direction of a solar panel is enough, you could not be more wrong, we’ve told this is a more complex technology than it’s generally expected.
Not only direction but also their angle is very important.
Panels will be most efficient when the sunlight hits them with a 90-degree angle, means perpendicular.
Whenever sunlight hits the panel in perpendicular angle, the panel will enjoy nearly all wavelengths of light it can absorb to generate electricity and work at full capacity.
Arranging this angle all the time, considering all the movement by earth and sun, is not possible and solar panels do not allow constant turning after instalment.
However, you can make an optimum arrangement, which is between 30-40 degrees, which would cover you for both summer and winter.
Also make sure there is no shade at any time of the day where you installed your solar panel, remember the position of shades will change throughout the day.
Everything is Better Clean
Now that you’ve made your calculations, installed your solar plant and enjoying free electricity!
A year later, you sadly realize your solar panel has been working like a lazy student for a while now, isn’t one year too early for it to die?
Yes, it’s and it’s not dying!
Remember, your solar panel depends on the absorption of sunlight and if they’re covered in dust, you’re certainly betraying them.
Either get up and clean them or hire professionals to do so.
Solar panels do not require much of maintenance, but they will need to be cleaned once in a while.
You’re Good to Go!
Now that you know when are the solar panels used and how can you optimize their performance, you can consider having your own solar panel.
You can check our list to make sure you’ve made the everything right.
Solar panels, admit it, are life savers.
Just ensure that you do your research before getting one, buy it from a reputable supplier, install it correctly to maximize its use and maintain a cleaning schedule to enjoy it for a long time.