Solar panels, also called photovoltaic systems or PV, mounted on the roof (less typically on the ground) to collect solar radiation and convert it to electricity that can be used immediately using an inverter, fed back to the electric grid (see: net metering) or stored in batteries for future use. (Jerry Yudelson)
PV panels range in type, size and electrical output. Solar power systems for houses can be designed to power a home or reduce the amount of conventional power a home uses. The type and size of a PV system depends on the size of the house, appliances, lighting and HVAC requirements. The amount of power used in a home depends on the energy consumption of the family in the home. Five people living in a house will use more power than a single person living alone. The amount of energy costs a PV system will save the homeowner always depends on how much power the occupants use.
Solar panels are made from silicon. Some types of solar panels include:
Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline – Monocrystalline panels have larger more efficient crystals and cost more to produce. Polycrystalline panels are composed of multiple crystals; they are cheaper to produce but not as efficient. Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline panels are made up of multiple “cells” that are wired together to create a single panel. Both Mono and Poly panels are usually mounted on rack systems and attached to the roof of a home.
Thin Film – This panel type is made of thin layers of photovoltaic material. Thin film panels are much cheaper to produce because the crystals can be very small and applied in mass. Thin film panels are cheaper to produce, but also less effective than mono or poly panels. Because the panel is monolithic and thinner, thin film panels can be installed flat on metal roofs and TPO roofs. Some even have peel-and-stick backing for easy installation.
All Make It Right homes and buildings are solar-powered. Depending on roof type, we use different panels and racking systems to create a 4.2 kWh systems for our single-family homes. Solar energy production covers all usage needs in many households; in some cases, our solar systems create excess energy which is sent to the grid.
We do not use solar battery backups - all our PV systems are grid tied. This means that all power generated from the panels feed the house first, and any excess power runs into the Meter Box, which spins the meter backward. When the sun goes down, the home is powered by the grid and the meter spins forward. If houses use less power than is generated, homeowners get a credit on their bill which offsets the cost of power used when the solar power is not producing.