Solar 101: Guide to Solar Panel Systems
Welcome to one of the most complete guides to home solar in 2023 you’re going to find!
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Why everyone is talking about solar energy right now
- Why brands are important when it comes to choosing solar panels
- Solar trends for 2023 and why they matter
- Lots of pro tips on going solar and choosing wisely
- Solar Smart Tips that can help you make informed decisions
So if you’re thinking about going solar this year and have lots of questions, this guide is for you.
And even if you’re already a solar pro, this guide for 2023 will give you the most up-to-date info.
Let’s get started.
Solar Energy 101
In this chapter we’re going to break down the basics of solar energy, including:
- Why solar energy is taking off
- Why old energy sources are running out
- Why alternative energy sources are becoming increasingly important
- Why you should look to the sun to power your home in 2023
The Rise of Solar Power
Solar might seem like a fad, but it’s not going away anytime soon. According the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in November 2022: “Solar power accounted for 2.8% of U.S. electricity generation from all sources in 2021.” (2)
That may not seem like much, but it doesn’t stop there. With major legislation in place to promote solar adoption, the move to solar is expected to accelerate in coming years. In fact, in a 2021 report done by the U.S. Department of Energy, one of the key findings was:
“Solar will grow from 3% of the U.S. electricity supply today to 40% by 2035 and 45% by 2050. In 2050, this would be supplied by about 1600 gigawatts alternating current (GWAC) of solar capacity.”
And many cities in the U.S. are setting 100% renewable energy goals every year. There’s a simple explanation for this rapid growth: solar is not only great to power your home, it’s also great for the world.
Old News: Fossil Fuels
Our old sources of energy are running out.
That’s right. Fossil fuels (like coal and gas), the most widely used sources of energy on Earth, are non-renewable.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at this. This image shows us renewable vs. non-renewable sources and how much potential energy they provide each year.
Image source: GW Solar Institute
Parts of a Solar Energy System
In this chapter, we’re going to break down the parts of a solar energy system. If you’ve ever wondered, “How do solar panels work?” this one’s for you, including:
- The three types of solar panels and why efficiency matters
- Microinverters versus string inverters
- What racking is
- Why brands matter in solar
For those curious tech hounds, let’s dig into the parts of a solar panel system.
1. Solar Panels
Solar panels are the solar technology you may have heard about before. It’s pretty simple. Solar panels collect the sun’s energy from your rooftop and convert it into usable energy for your home.
Solar Fun Fact
There are 3 types of solar panels.
- Monocrystalline is the most widely used type of panel for residential use.
- Polycrystalline panels are typically less efficient than monocrystalline and are often used for commercial buildings.
- Thin film is more flexible, has a shorter life-span and is typically used in small solar installations.