Dan Sharp (Green Family Expert) gives expert video advice on: Can I install solar panels myself?; Is it easy to repair damaged or missing solar panels? and more...
What is a 'Grid Tied Photovoltaic System'?
A Grid Tied Photovotaic System uses solar panels, along with an inverter, in conjunction with your normal power provider, which is also known as the grid. With a grid tied system you have solar panels, that goes to an inverter which changes that direct current that comes from the solar panels into energy that's usable inside the house. During times when it's cloudy or if it's at night and your solar panels aren't producing energy, you're able to pull power from the grid. When, during the hot of the day, the solar panels are producing lots of energy, if your house is not using all of that, the power is able to flow back out into the grid and that power can be used by anyone else who happens to need it who is connected to the grid.
What is a 'solar panel'?
A solar panel is a device that absorbs solar energy and turns it into direct current that's basically usable electricity. It needs to be exposed as much as possible to solar energy, so ideally it would be put in an unobstructed location, catch the full rays of the sun and basically what happens is you have a thin, mostly silicone plate and as the solar energy hits that it dislodges electrons in that silicone which eventually flow into the wires, and flow into the inverter and into the house.
What is 'net metering'?
A net metering agreement is set up between a homer and your power provider. If you have a photo fault X system that allows you to put that energy back into the grid when your solar panels are producing more power than your house is using. The net metering agreement allows you to pull that power back into your home when you are not producing enough power, so it effectively works as batteries. When your panels are producing a lot of energy on a hot day with lots of sun, your meter spins backwards. When at night time or whatever or on a cloudy day when you need more energy, your meter won't spin back the regular way and you will be able to retrieve that energy.
What does it mean to be 'off the grid'?
Need of the Future "off the Grid" photovoltaic system. This System generates electric power through solar panels, and the excess power is stored in a battery, which can be used in case of need. Hurry, install the "off grid" photovoltaic system and save tax.
What are some of the drawbacks to solar power?
Some drawbacks to solar power are mainly the initial startup costs which can be pretty high. You know it might be a drawback but it might be a benefit, because you are effectively buying your power for the next thirty years or so. But it is still tough to come up with a big chunk of money to invest in solar panels. Weather is a huge factor when deciding whether or not to go with solar. If you live in a really cloudy climate or if you are in an area that is far away from the Equator, your solar panels are going to be less efficient. It is not that it can't be done, but you should definitely check with a solar power provider or an installer to decide if that is appropriate for your community where you live.
Can I install solar panels myself?
With enough research, a novice handyman, or a handyman with enough skills should be able to install the acutal solar panels themselves. If you're going to connect up the electrical components, you should probably have a pretty good knowledge of how electricity works, and if you're at all uncomfortable with that, I really recommend getting a qualified electrician to do the job.
How long will solar panels last?
Most solar panels come with something around a 25 year warranty, so they are guaranteed to last 25 years. When you re doing an economic analysis to evaluate whether or not it is worth it to put in a solar power system, you usually use a 30 year life span, but panels are regularly known to last at least 40 years.
Is it easy to repair damaged or missing solar panels?
The most likely cause for a problem with your solar panels is going to be a neighborhood kid throwing a rock through it, or maybe a tree branch falling and breaking it; something along those lines. It's pretty unlikely that you'll have a problem with the solar panels.
What kind of maintenance do solar panels require?
Once your solar panel system is installed, it is virtually maintenance free. There are no moving parts associated with it. Actually, the most that you're going to have to do is every once in a while, depending on the dust level or pollen level in your community, is to jump up on the roof and sweep them off or spray them off, just to make sure that any dirt on the surface doesn't interfere with its ability to collect the solar energy.