Blog Introduction: No longer just the Sunshine State, Florida is quickly becoming the Solar State. And Tampa is leading the charge, with a recent boom in solar installations. In fact, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Tampa ranks 4th in the state for solar installations.
Why the sudden interest in solar energy? For one, it’s a great way to save money on your electric bill. With solar panels installed on your home, you can offset the cost of your electricity usage by generating your own power.
Another reason is that solar energy is good for the environment. Solar panels don’t produce emissions that contribute to air pollution or climate change. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, going solar can reduce the equivalent of up to 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Lastly, solar panels can increase the value of your home. Homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more money than homes without solar panels, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
How Solar Panels Work
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, also called PV cells. PV cells are made of semiconductor materials like silicon and have positive and negative layers. When sunlight hits the PV cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the silicon. The positive and negative layers create an electric field that draws the electrons toward opposite poles in an electrical circuit, creating a flow of electricity.
The number of PV cells in a solar panel determines its power output capability. Most residential solar panels have between 36 and 72 PV cells and can generate between 250 and 400 watts per hour under full sunlight conditions.
Types of Solar Panels
There are two types of solar panels commonly used for residential applications: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single large silicon crystal, while polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple smaller silicon crystals fused together.
Monocrystalline panels are more efficient than polycrystalline panels but also more expensive—typically about 15% more expensive per panel. However, monocrystalline panels will generate more electricity over their lifetime than polycrystalline panels, so they may be worth the investment if you have the budget for it.
Solar Panel Installation Process
The process of installing solar panels on your home generally takes 1-2 days depending on the size and scope of your project. First, a site assessment will be conducted to determine whether your home is suited for rooftop or ground-mounted systems and to assess shading conditions around your property—shade can negatively impact PV cell efficiency by up to 30%. Once that’s complete, your installer will obtain all necessary permits before proceeding with the installation.
Tampa is quickly becoming one of Florida’s leading cities for solar panel installation due to a recent boom in interest and demand. Homeowners are interested in going solar because it’s a great way to save money on electric bills and increase the value of their homes while also being good for the environment. If you’re considering going solar, contact a reputable installer today to get started on your project!