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solar energy cell technology

Knowing Your Solar Energy Cell Technology

By | Solar Panel Tips

Many households are tired of relying on the electric grid and the capricious prices of the local utility company for their electricity. To save money and the planet at the same time, they’re choosing to go solar by installing solar panel systems on their property. If you have been considering making the switch to solar energy technology, one of the first things to decide is what type of solar panel you want. Because, you should know, not all solar energy cells are alike.

Types of Solar Energy Cells

There are three main types of solar energy cells used for residential and small business applications. The type that you choose depends on your energy needs, your property, and your budget.

  1. Monocrystalline – Monocrystalline cells, often abbreviated to mono-SI, account for about one-third of all solar cells currently in use in the United States. This type of cell is made from a single panel of crystalline silicon. They are identifiable by their even, dark color. Mono-SI cells convert an average of 22 percent of sunlight into energy. Since these cells are the most efficient, they can yield the same amount of energy as other types of cells while requiring less space.
  2. Polycrystalline – Like monocrystalline cells, polycrystalline cells are made from crystalline silicon. However, this type of solar cell is made of multiple pieces, not a single panel. These cells, often referred to as poly-SI, are currently the most commonly used panels in the United States. These cells are slightly less efficient than mono-SI cells, but they are generally less expensive. They also result in much less waste during production and have a slightly higher heat tolerance.
  3. Thin Film – Cells made using this newer technology are notable for their even matte black appearance. They are made from depositing a photovoltaic substance onto a solid surface like glass. This technology is still being developed and is likely to improve dramatically in the next decade. Currently, these cells are the least efficient, but they are also the least expensive of the three types of solar cells. Since they are less efficient, more space is required for this type of cell installation. However, their uniform, monochromatic appearance is somewhat more attractive than silicon cells.

To learn more about solar energy and which cells will work best for your property, contact the solar installation professionals at PES Solar.

Call Us for Your Custom Solar Cell System

At PES Solar, we’ve been helping businesses and homeowners with their solar energy needs for more than two decades. We also offer zero-down financing pending credit approval to further assist homeowners in going solar. To receive a solar panel system that produces valuable energy and savings for your residential home or commercial business, call us today at 386-668-4222.

voltage drop

What Is Voltage Drop?

By | Solar Panel Tips

The electrical current carrying wires of a solar panel system have an inherent resistance to the current’s flow. As a result, small amounts of voltage is lost during the transmission of the current, a process known as voltage drop. Due to voltage drops, an array of solar panels cannot deliver a full 100% of the power produced at any one time. However, it is possible to minimize these losses and increase the efficiency of your solar array to obtain peak voltage.

In accordance with the National Electric Code (2017 NEC 210.19), an ideally designed solar array should be able to keep voltage drop below 3%.

How to Prevent Voltage Drop?

Resistance in transmission wires leads to voltage drop. Therefore, the best way to counteract this scenario is by reducing resistance. The four basic approaches to preventing voltage drop include:

  • Using thicker wires – Metaphorically speaking, the more lanes you have on a road, the more cars can pass through. The same case applies for electricity — the wider the thickness of the wire, the more electrical currents pass.
  • Minimizing wire length– Electric cables have a per foot resistance. This means the longer the wire, the higher the resistance and the voltage drop. Always use solar array designs that minimize the length of the wiring run to achieve higher efficiency.
  • Transmitting a higher voltage – Using high voltage results in a low current. This means you minimize power losses associated with the current.
  • Strategically installing your inverter – In order to reduce voltage drop, your solar inverter should be as close to the panel as possible, as compared to the meter box.

How Does Voltage Drop Affect Your Solar Energy System?

Voltage drop reduces the efficiency of your solar energy system. Using small wires and having a long wiring run may lead to potential power losses and cause your solar energy system to not live up to its expected power needs. Even though it is impossible to completely eliminate voltage drop, minimizing it below 3% should be enough to eliminate any significant energy loss and maintain your solar efficiency.

Efficient Solar Energy System Installations

To receive a high-quality solar panel system that produces the energy and savings you need, contact the professionals at PES Solar. For over 20 years, we have satisfied homeowners with efficient solar panel installations, zero-down financing (pending credit approval), and excellent customer service. To find out more about solar energy products and services, call us today at 386-668-4222.

best batteries for solar energy storage

The Better Batteries for Solar Energy Storage

By | Solar Panel Tips

When it comes to residential solar energy storage, there are two types of batteries that are most commonly used: lead-acid, which has been around for over 100 years, and lithium-ion, which gained popularity in the 1990s. To help you make an informed decision on which type of battery to go with when purchasing your solar panel system, here are some of the pros and cons of lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

Lead-Acid Batteries

The lead-acid variety has been in existence since 1859, and it’s likely to be on the market for years to come. However, they’ve only been used to store solar power for homes since the 1970s. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using lead-acid batteries for your solar energy storage systems.

Advantages

  • Larger and rechargeable power supply – While they’re similar to car batteries, the lead-acid batteries used for home energy storage have more storage capacity and can be used and recharged much more often than a regular vehicle battery.
  • Less costly – Traditionally, lead-acid batteries costs less than lithium-ion, making them more attractive to homeowners.

Disadvantages

  • Shorter lifespans – Lead-acid batteries last about five years and would need to be replaced multiple times over the life of your solar panel system.
  • Low energy and depletion risk – Their lower energy efficiency and inability to store a charge after being depleted make lead-acid batteries a less desirable option for solar energy storage.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more widely used for a variety of applications, including laptops, power tools, and even vehicles. They’re now included in packages for solar-powered homes as well.

Advantages

  • Longer lifespan – Lithium-ion batteries generally are able to operate continuously for 10 years, and they experience much less degradation in their storage capacity. For example, research showed Tesla’s Powerwall could operate for over 15 years without losing its ability to store and discharge energy.

Disadvantages

  • Higher cost compared to lead-acid batteries – The foremost disadvantage of lithium-ion batteries is price; however, the cost is coming down.

If you’re looking at installing home solar panels with a strong storage capability, then the future is moving toward lithium-ion batteries as they are only going to keep getting better and cheaper as technology advances. However, it’s best to talk to a local solar energy installer for advice before deciding on a solar panel system.

Local and Professional Solar Installation

The experienced solar installers at PES Solar have over 20 years of A+ rated experience by the BBB. To get a free quote or learn more about solar storage battery capacity, lifecycle, depth of discharge, efficiency, and warranty, contact us today at 386-668-4222.

 

Inverters vs Micro Inverters for Solar Energy

String Inverters vs Micro Inverters for Solar Energy Conversion

By | Solar Panel Tips

Solar inverters convert direct current (DC) that solar panels generate into alternating current (AC) that powers most home appliances. With all the solar technologies available, you may find it difficult deciding on the right solar option. The two main types of inverters include string inverters and microinverters. Knowing the key differences between the two can help you make an informed choice on which inverter to use for your solar panel system.

What Is a String Inverter?

A string inverter (also known as a standard or central inverter) is a standalone box with inputs for “strings” of solar panels to be run into one unit. Usually, six to ten individual solar panels are wired together in string-like series, the end of which is plugged into the central inverter.

Advantages of String Inverters

  • Easily reparable – You only need one string inverter to stay connected. In case of a failure in the solar system, it will be the inverter—easy to diagnose and fix.
  • Economically-priced – String inverters are the most cost-effective option available. Installing a string inverter is usually cheaper than installing micro-inverters.
  • Equal energy production for less – If your solar panels are all facing the same direction, and you do not experience shading issues, use a string inverter. It will help you produce about the same power as microinverters, without paying a higher cost.

Disadvantages of String Inverters

  • Only as strong as its weakest panel – Because string inverters require solar panels to be wired in a series, the output of the entire series of panels is affected when one solar panel’s production is affected — shaded or soiled. Therefore, if one of the solar panels fails, your entire string stops operating and you’ll have to repair or replace the defective panel for it to work.
  • Can’t monitor individual panels – You have to use add-on optimizers to track the production of an individual solar panel. Otherwise, you can only monitor the production of the entire system.

What Is a Microinverter?

A microinverter pairs with a single panel to convert the DC-to-AC power for that individual solar panel. Microinverters function in a parallel circuit. There is no centralized inverter in microinverter systems as each solar panel is hooked up to its own inverter.

Microinverters take full advantage of the production of each solar panel. They convert the power generated by each individual solar panel to the grid voltage.

Advantages of Microinverters

  • Greater energy production – You can yield more solar electricity by using microinverters as compared to using string inverters that connect panels in a series.
  • Multidirectional accessibility – Microinverters are the most suitable option if your solar panel system is facing multiple angles, meaning some of your solar panels are facing east, west, or south. They also help yield more power if you are facing shading issues. Under such situations, your individual panels will be generating a different amount of power at different times of the day. However, microinverters ensure that you harvest all of the energy, unlike the string inverter.
  • Optimizable – You can use optimizers with standard inverters to function as microinverters, thereby increasing the production cost.
  • Long-lasting – Microinverters are more durable and more reliable than string inverters. Microinverters usually have 25-year warranties, while standard inverters have between five to 10-year warranties.
  • Individual panel monitoring – Microinverters help you track the production of each individual solar panel. On the other hand, you can only achieve system-level monitoring with standard inverters.

Disadvantages of Microinverters

  • Pricey in comparison to string inverters – Microinverters are more valuable and, therefore, more costly than standard inverters, raising the cost of residential solar panel installation.
  • 1:1 micro inverter to panel ratio – The number of inverters must be equal to that of solar panels on your roof.

Even though both string inverters and microinverters perform the same functions, they have unique benefits and drawbacks. Not only should you consider the various factors above before selecting the right inverter for your solar panel system, but you should also seek the informed opinion of an experienced solar energy professional.

Professional Solar Panel Consultations

The solar energy experts at PES Solar can help you determine the best option to suit your unique energy needs and residential conditions. Feel free to contact us online for a free quote or call us at 386-668-4222 for more information, inquiries, or questions about solar inverters.

Can a Residential Solar Panel System Charge My Electric Vehicle?

By | Solar Panel Tips

Homeowners looking to reduce their carbon footprint are likely considering alternate sources of energy such as solar power and zero-emission transportation like electric cars. Fortunately, solar panels and electric cars and are a match made in heaven.

Similar to the way an electric vehicle (EV) does not contribute to pollution, generate savings by reducing mileage costs, and avoiding the ever-rising price of fuel, solar panels can help save you a lot of money each month by converting sunlight into electricity that does not rely on your local electric grid.

However, before you go out and buy a solar panel system to charge your EV, you need to know the amount of electricity it consumes, if you can use solar energy to charge it, and how many solar panels you would need to power both your EV and your home.

How Much Energy Does Your Electric Car Need?

Not only can a residential solar panel system power your home and all of your appliances, but it can also sufficiently charge your EV for emission-free transportation.

Before you can decide on the size of your solar energy system, you should determine the amount of electricity your car needs. Also, find out your electric car’s mileage rating to determine the amount which you can save by shifting to solar power. Find out how many kilo-hours it consumes to drive 100 miles. Once you have determined your vehicle’s kWh, you can now calculate how many solar panels you will need to fully charge your car. For example, an electric car with a rating of 40 kWh/100 miles needs 40 kWh to drive 100 miles.

How Many Solar Panels You Would Need to Power Both Your EV and Home?

The number of solar panels you require depends on your usage and your physical location. Solar panel energy production varies and depends on the amount of sun on a particular day. An average home uses around 25 kWh per day. Having an EV will increase this amount by 9 kWh per day. This will total to around 35 kWh consumption per day. Even a medium solar panel array of only 20 solar panels can produce enough energy to simultaneously charge your vehicle’s battery and home consumption.

Armed with this data, you can confidently begin researching solar panel providers for help choosing the right residential solar panel system for your needs and budget.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with a Solar Panel System

If you want to install a solar panel system on your property, contact the professionals at PES Solar. We will help you estimate the price and size of the solar panel system you need for your home. To find out how much you can save on solar panels that will generate enough power to charge both your electric car and your home, contact PES Solar today.

The Difference Between Community Solar Farms and Rooftop Solar Power

By | Solar Panel Tips

Solar power has been an energy source since the early 19th century and undergone significant changes over the years. Today, different options of solar technology have emerged and become more dependable and scalable as a way of electrifying different areas globally. One of the primary benefits of solar power is its renewable nature, accompanied by a limited impact on the environment. To access solar energy, you can choose either rooftop or community solar.

Community Solar Farms

Community solar farms include shared solar energy and offsite fields erected with solar arrays to distribute power locally. Here, members of the community invest their resources into a solar power grid and share the energy among themselves. Some of the benefits of community solar farms include:

  • No upfront or hidden costs
  • Lack of rooftop panel installation and maintenance
  • Extended price security
  • Provision of power to those unable to own a home
  • Accessible solar power rental to anyone in the area

Community solar can also be accessed by those who subscribe while being managed by a single local power center or utility facility. Such a method of community solar power is known as a utility-sponsored model. Other models of community solar power include:

  • Special purpose entity – this is an investor-backed venture consisting of several investors under one community solar farm.
  • Non-profit model – this model involves volunteer contributors for community solar farm installation.

Rooftop Solar Power

Rooftop solar power is generated from panels installed on the roofs of homes or businesses. The power remains solely used by the premises and accompanies upfront costs, maintenance, and inspection. Unlike community solar farms, the energy generated is low and serves a single building. The significant benefit of this type is that homeowners don’t necessarily depend on the grid for power supply.

Community Solar Farms vs. Rooftop Solar Power

Both community and rooftop solar offer 100% renewable power, therefore, minimizing dependency on fossils for fuel and reduction of electricity bills. However, community solar is installed on fields and owned by the community. On the other hand, rooftop solar panels are erected on rooftops and owned by homeowners. Again, community solar supply generates significant amounts of power over a wide area, while rooftop solar focuses on a single building with a much lower energy supply.

Whether you prefer a community or rooftop solar panel system, PES Solar can assist you with your solar energy needs. Join our long list of satisfied homeowners with quality solar panel systems by contact PES Solar today!

The Best Angle for Solar Panels

By | Solar Panel Tips

If you are a home or business owner who took the leap into solar energy, then you likely want to get the best return on your investment. And while properly installed solar panels will do their job of transferring sunlight into electricity, there are ways that you can adjust them ever so slightly to increase their solar energy output.

Because the angle of the sun changes depending on the time of day and season of the year, you’ll need to vertically tilt your panels to be perpendicular to the sun’s incoming rays to maximize electricity production.

Why Solar Panels Need a Tilt Angle

During the summer, the sun is higher up in the sky compared to during the winter. Positioning your photovoltaic panels at an average position between the two seasons will maximize your electricity production. This position has a close relationship with the latitude of the location where you are going to house the panels. When you establish this position, you can get the maximum electricity from the sun all year round.

How to Calculate the Tilt Angle for Solar Panels

You can calculate your solar panel’s tilt for each season using the following methods.

  • Summer angle – When calculating the tilt angle for your solar panel during summer, subtract 15 degrees from your latitude.
  • Winter angle – Add 15 degrees to your latitude when calculating the angle during winter.
  • Autumn/Spring angle – Subtract 2.5 degrees to get the angle during fall or spring.

A second method of calculating your solar panel’s tilt accounts for changes in season and midday sun when it is hottest during the day. This method involves multiplying your latitude by 0.9 and adding 29 degrees for winter. For summer, you subtract 23.5 degrees after you have increased your latitude by 0.9. The results from the second method have a variance of plus or minus 10 degrees from those of the first.

Optimal Tilt for Solar-Powered Homes in Florida

By understanding the correct angle for your solar panels, you will get the most out of your investment. For maximum year-round production, the optimal angle for solar panels in Florida homes is 28 degrees from the horizontal, facing to the south. Homeowners can, however, adjust their solar panels to optimize power production based on the demand for electricity in their homes.

Central Florida Solar Power Installation Experts

Investing in renewable, green energy of solar power is a smart decision for any home. Not only will it significantly reduce your home’s energy costs by saving you money on your electric bills, but it also helps protect the environment. To select the best solar panel system for your needs and budget, contact the A+ rated professionals at PES Solar today at 386-668-4222 and ask out our zero-down financing pending credit approval.

Does My Solar Power System Require a Solar Charge Controller?

By | Solar Panel Tips

A charge controller is a voltage or current regulator that keeps electric cells from overcharging. While most batteries need 12 to 14 volts to get fully charged, exceeding this voltage will damage the batteries. Thus, solar panels can be equipped with a charger controller to shunt the PV charging circuit, meaning charging stops when the battery voltage reaches a certain level.

Types Of Solar Charge Controllers

There are two categories of charge controllers — Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). While PWM is basically the switch that connects a solar panel to the battery, the MPPT is more sophisticated, since it is able to convert the excess voltage into amperage.

PWM Solar Controllers

These controllers send pulses depending on the battery’s current status of the charge. For an almost fully charged battery, the pulses sent will be short and inconsistent, but for a discharged battery, they’ll be longer and more constant.

Pros:

  • These controllers are a good low-cost solution for small systems only
  • They come in sizes up to 60 amps
  • They have a longer lifespan
  • They are built on a time tested technology, and have been used for many years

Cons:

  • Can’t be used efficiently with a 60-cell panel
  • The Solar input voltage must match the battery bank voltage

MPPT Solar Controllers

The principle behind MPPT is squeezing maximum solar-generated power from a solar panel by enabling it to operate at a more efficient combination of voltage and current.

Pros:

  • They have the highest charging efficiency by up to 30%
  • You can get sizes up to 80 amps
  • Can be used on a higher volt grid connect module
  • Offer the flexibility of having a solar panel with higher input voltage than the battery
  • MPPT is the only way to standardize grid connect modules for charging batteries

Cons:

  • 2–3 times more expensive than a comparable PWM controller.
  • Shorter expected lifespan due to more electronic components and greater thermal stress.
  • MPPT units are usually larger in size

The Sunshine State can support steady solar power energy year-round. Whether you chose PWM controllers or MPPT controllers for your Off-Grid Solar System, you stand the benefit of being energy self-sufficient. These controllers will ensure optimum performance of your solar panel system for a cozy home.

Get a PES Solar Panel for Your Florida Home

Ever wonder what it takes to go solar? PES Solar has your answer. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and zero-down financing pending credit approval, we’ve been helping satisfied Central Florida homeowners go solar for over 20 years. To receive a quality solar panel system that produces the energy and savings your home needs, contact PESolar for more information.

Will Solar Panels Damage My Roof?

Will Solar Panels Damage My Roof?

By | Solar Panel Tips

There’s no doubt that solar panels make a great investment. Incentives range from tax savings and drastically lower electric bills to the reduction of your household’s carbon footprint. However, some might feel reluctant to take the plunge in the solar panel market for fear that it will damage the roof of their home. In reality, this is just not true. In fact, if properly installed by a solar panel professional, a solar panel system can actually be worth its weight in savings. Here are a few other misconceptions about solar panel installations.

Common Solar Power Misconceptions

  • Solar panels will leave holes in my roof

    Professional installers with years of service in the solar industry will install Lag Bolts to secure the solar panel rack to your home’s roof. These are extreme weather resistant bolts that are then sealed with flashing (a round plastic or metal disc placed on top of existing roof tiles) and tar to ensure a leak-free installation.

  • Solar panels must be drilled

    Have a flat roof? Then this is virtually a non-issue as many solar panels are weighted down to flat roofs. No drilling or bolting down necessary. And no, the panels will not blow off the roof. This installation method is called a ballast mounting system and its extremely reliable.

  • Solar panels are too heavy for my roof to hold

    Solar panels do not compromise the strength, durability and longevity of your roof. An average roof in a winter climate holds more snow than solar panels can ever weigh. Again, an experienced installer can foresee potential structural integrity concerns prior to installation. However, in most cases, this is not an issue at all. In addition, the solar panels are installed at an angle to ensure debris slides off their surface.

  • Solar panel companies are all the same

    This cannot be further from the truth. In order to reap the benefits of convenience, effectiveness, and maximum cost-savings, finding a reputable and experienced installer can make all the difference.

The benefits of solar panels, when installed properly with an experienced solar panel contractor, can last a long time without compromising the roof of your home.

Quality Solar Panel Installations

For over 20 years, PES Solar have satisfied homeowners with quality solar panel system installations. Not only will we protect the integrity of your roof, but our solar panels will add value to your home by generating valuable electricity that will save you money each month on your utility bill. The savings and financial assistance doesn’t stop there; PES Solar also offers zero-down financing pending credit approval to further assist you in going solar. To receive a solar panel system that produces the energy and savings you need, contact PES Solar today at 386-668-4222.

What Is the Lifespan of Solar Panels?

What Is the Lifespan of Solar Panels?

By | Solar Panel Tips

Solar panels are considered a long-term investment for many homeowners. However, the lifespan of your solar panels depends on the quality of materials and the knowledge and experience of a qualified installer. When all these factors are considered, the average lifespan of the typical solar panel installation should range somewhere between 25 to 30 years. Here are some facts and tips to help you get the most out of your solar panel system.

Tips to Remember About Solar Panels

  • Always opt for higher quality materials upfront. This greatly contributes to the longevity and reliability of your installation for years to come. Better parts make a difference.
  • Compare panels side-by-side and consult with your solar panel installation specialist to determine the right system for your home.

Solar Panels Degrade Very Slowly

Solar panels, when properly maintained, degrade very slowly. This means you will get many years of prime use out of them before experiencing signs of aging. Recent changes in technologies have allowed for the degradation rate to drop even more. However, homeowners should still be conscious of several factors that can extend the lifespan and efficiency of their solar panels.

Regular Panel Inspections Extend Lifespan

Don’t throw the installer’s business card out just yet. Regular inspections by a qualified individual will maintain the integrity of the factory warranty and ensure the system stays in top shape, functions at a high capacity, and produces years of electricity. Inspections can prevent or repair the following:

  • Loose solar panel racks.
  • Exposed wiring.
  • Dirt and debris affecting the solar panels functionality.
  • Malfunctioning solar inverter

As long as you schedule regular maintenance appointments and the panels avoid serious damage from a severe weather event, then the system should produce electricity for decades to come. 

Long-Lasting Solar Panels

The more you put into protecting your investment the more likely you are to not incur problems that will cost excessive time and money to fix. Solar panels are an investment into the future of your home and should continue to be viewed as such for the duration of their serviceable lifespan. If so, you will be very happy with your decision to go solar.

To ensure you get a long-lasting solar panel system for your home, turn to solar professionals with a long and reliable history in the solar power industry. At PES Solar, we have over 20 years of solar power experience and will apply our expertise to help you get the solar panel system that fits both your home and budget. To get started, contact PES Solar today at 386-668-4222.