Solar PanelsPrice: US$800 + installation
Mono-crystalline types of solar panels use solar cells which are made from a very pure single large crystals cut from ingots. They are the most efficient type of solar panels but are also the most expensive. Their performance is better in low light conditions but extremely high efficiency with higher lighting conditions. Overall efficiency on average is about 14-17%. Most panels of this type are warranted for 20-25 years. They are usually blue-grey in color and have a fairly uniform consistency.
A solar panel is nothing more than a collection of solar cells on a single panel. Each individual solar cell in the solar panel can generate approximately half a volt of current so if you combined 36 cells you would get around 18 volts of current. The panels usually have light aluminum frames to hold the solar cells in place and are covered with a non-reflective glass to protect the cells from weather and damage since silicon cells are very fragile. Solar panels vary in size and in electric output. In general, the more solar cells on each panel the more watts of electricity they can produce.
The output of a solar panel is usually stated in watts. The amount of watts of electricity generated by the panel is determined by multiplying the rated voltage by the rated amperage.
The formula for wattage is:
VOLTS x AMPS = WATTS
Let’s use as an example a large solar panel measuring about 37.5 inches by 61.8 inches that might be used in a typical home energy system. The solar panel has a rated voltage of 26 volts and a rated amperage of 6.9 amps. The wattage calculation would look like this:
26 volts x 6.9 amps = 180 watts
If a particular location has an average of 6 hours of peak sun per day, then the solar panel in this example can produce an average 1080 watt-hours (6 x 180) of power per day or a little over 1 kilowatt-hour per day.
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