Investing in photovoltaic solar panels

Converting energy from the sun into electricity and storing it for home or business use is gaining popularity. The past decade has seen an explosive wave of interest in building and installing solar panels. They can dramatically reduce energy costs and do so in a way that's environmentally friendly. Plus, using solar power to generate the energy your home needs means you won't be vulnerable to your utility company's capacity issues and rate hikes. Though the paneling is expensive to buy and install, many people consider the long-term investment well worth the price.

Photovoltaic solar panels are the most popular of solar-powered systems. They don't require a generator to gather, store and convert the sun's energy. Instead, the panels are built with crystalline silicon that can absorb energy and facilitate the movement of electrons. Below, we'll take a closer look at the value of PV paneling and give you a brief list of reputable manufacturers to consider.

Determining the value of PV paneling

Most people who choose to install photovoltaic solar panels are motivated by the energy cost savings of doing so. Keep in mind that installing a system that can adequately store and convert enough electricity to power your home can require up to $100,000. So, the initial investment is sizable and a critical factor in determining the long-term value of PV paneling.

The value of your PV solar panels should be judged by your investment per wattage. If 1 photovoltaic solar panel costs $1,000 and can generate 200 watts, the value of that panel is $5 per watt. As your PV paneling system ages (it should continue to operate for nearly 40 years), its efficiency in absorbing, storing and converting energy will gradually decline.

Determining how much paneling you'll need

The level of photovoltaic paneling you'll need is based on 2 factors: the size of your home and your normal energy usage. Bigger homes typically need larger solar panel systems. That being said, your monthly energy usage may be significantly higher than that of other people. For example, if you operate a business from your home, it's likely you'll require larger PV solar panels to generate the energy you need.

Try to determine your monthly energy usage over the past several months. You should be able to derive an average. Once you do, you'll be able to shop for photovoltaic solar panels based upon the respective dollars per wattage investment. As the cost of producing the crystalline silicon used in PV paneling declines, the value of your investment will rise.

Dependable manufacturers of photovoltaic solar panels

There are several companies that produce reliable PV solar panels. Kyocera produces a high-capacity, 200-watt system that provides a high-energy conversion ratio (16%). Evergreen Solar produces the Spruce Line of photovoltaic paneling. They deliver almost as much wattage as the Kyocera systems (195 watts). General Electric offers their own line of PV solar panels which includes their GEPV 200 Solar Panel (designed specifically for homes). This system uses 54 poly-crystalline cells in 1 panel. It costs a bit more than PV units offered by other companies but remains one of the most robust solar paneling systems available for residential use.

Photovoltaic solar panels for the future

If you decide to invest in photovoltaic solar panels, you'll be able to enjoy decades of power generation without being at the mercy of your utility company. The cost to generate solar power for your home is still expensive compared to the current rates charged by many utilities. However, as the rates for commercial energy increase, your energy costs should remain constant. As companies (and governments) look toward expanding our use of cheaper energy sources, your options for PV solar panels will expand. And as the production of crystalline silicon increases, the cost of these systems will likely drop.

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