Solar Panel - FAQs

solar - done reading

What are the components and terminologies involve in going green?

  • solar electric: There are different types of solar panels. These are solar panels that capture sunlight and convert the energy into electricity.
  • solar-thermal: Rather than generating electricity, solar-thermal panel capture the sunlight and energy and use it to do other thing such as heating your water, or drying your cloth.
  • collector
  • solar blanket: This is used to cover swimming pools. Covering a pool with solar blanket keep the pool clean, warm, and reduce water evaporation. This lower the energy cost (for keeping the pool at comfortable temparature), and lower the cost of water due to evaporation.
  • solar pool heaters: These are heaters powered by sunlight, and designed specifically to keep the water in swimming pools at comfortable temperature. See
  • solar air convection heater
  • smartypant insulation: Phase-change materials (PCMs) shift between solid and liquid forms, absorbing and releasing large amounts of heat. In houses, they’ll stabilize interior temperatures and lessen the work load — and energy costs — of your HVAC systems. They come in thin mats that are installed between walls studs and cost about $3/sq. ft. PCMs save up to 40% of annual heating and cooling costs and pay back in about five years. See

Before going green, what are the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption?

Solar panels are still expensive. Before installing solar panels, check to see if you are already doing everything that you can to reduce your energy consumption. The cheaper and more cost-effective solutions:**

  • Install insulation if it is not already installed
  • Buy new energy efficient equipments (refrigerator, dryer, washer, TV, computer)
  • Buy new energy efficient windows
  • Hire a contractor to check your house for air leaks. Places to check for air leaks includes: plumbing lines, electricity wires, recessed lighting, windows, crawlspaces, attics, and more.
  • Hire an HVAC contractor to take a hard look at all your ductwork — are there any ducts leaking that need to be resealed? — and give you an HVAC tune-up.
  • Program your thermostat.
  • Replace all your light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs. LEDs have fewer issues than CFLs (namely, no mercury), and although expensive are coming down in price.
  • Reduce the temperature on your water heater. Set your tank heater to 120 degrees — not the 140 degrees most are set to out of the box. Dropping 20 degrees could save 6% to 10% on your annual water heating costs, which are 14% to 18% of your utility bills. Also wrap an older water heater and the hot water pipes in insulating material to save on heat loss.
  • If major appliances like your HVAC and water heater are nearing the end of their useful life, research energy-efficient replacements and keep the info where you’ll remember. Otherwise, you’ll make a reactive purchase when the unit finally breaks.

What options do I have for going green?

What do I need to consider before going solar?

  • There are different types of solar panels. There are solar thermal panels. There are solar photovotaic / electric panels. There are solar panels that plug directly into the grid and do not use battery. There are solar panels that are connected to battery.
  • Cost versus efficiency.
  • Make sure that your home has as few shading obstructions as possible
  • Check state and local financing incentives through DSIRE
  • Determine the type of system appropriate for your climate
  • Compare manufacturers and models at
  • Find and contact a certified installer through NABCEP

What do I need to ask the seller when buying solar panels?

  • Are these solar panels designed to be connected to an existing in-home electrical wiring system (on-grid versus off-grid)?
  • Do I need to hire a licensed installer?
  • Do I need to get certification from the city?
  • Do I need approval from the utility company?
  • How long is the warranty?
  • What parts are covered by the warranty?

Among the options for going green, what is the best and most cost-effective option?

What is your solar access right?


What is Solar Decathon?

A U.S.-funded academic competition to build the world's best solar-powered home. See,

How does adding insulation help with going green?

Using insulation help reduce the need for heating, thus reducing the electricity used by heaters (if you use electric heaters)

How long does it takes for a solar system to pay for itself?

How much energy does the earth receive from the sun in one hour?

The earth receives more energy from the sun in just one hour than the world uses in a whole year.

How much land is required to produce enough solar energy to power the whole world?

1% of the land today used for crops and pasture could supply the world total energy consumption.

How much energy does the sun provide per square meter peak at sea level?

The sun provide 1020 Watts per square meter peak at sea levels. Cell efficiency of 10% would translate to approximately 100W per square meter.

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