Rooftop solar panels are an affordable and renewable energy source that provides the highest form of energy and saves electricity bills. The prices of conventional electricity sources continue to rise, while solar energy systems remain the same. Moreover, the cost of these systems is expected to drop in the coming time.
An increasing number of homeowners are realizing and reaping the maximum benefit from their rooftop solar systems for homes. Are you also planning solar energy adoption for your home power needs but don’t have much information about solar rooftop panels? Read on to learn everything you must know about rooftop solar panel installation, its performance, and more.
What do you mean by rooftop solar system?
Rooftop solar systems, solar rooftop panels, or a solar PV system (photovoltaic system) are installed on the roof of any social, residential, commercial, industrial, government, and institutional buildings. These solar power systems capture the energy from the sun and change it into usable and renewable electrical energy emitting no harmful gases or pollution.
When several solar panels are connected to form a solar array, it is called a solar electric system. The produced solar electricity can be used for various applications in the home including lighting, heating, cooling, etc. When photons–lightning energy–hit the panel, photons are changed into electrons of DC (direct current) electricity.
The solar inverters of panels convert DC electricity into AC (alternating current) to be used by different home appliances and devices. Regular rooftop solar system maintenance is important to remove the obstacles that don’t allow sunlight to reach the panel surface.
How does the rooftop solar system work?
Rooftop solar systems use layers of specific material known as semiconductors (solar cells). These inbuilt cells harness sunlight and change it into usable power. This square-shaped semiconductor device is made of conductive material called silicon. When sunrays fall on the solar cells, it creates a chemical reaction. During this reaction, electrons are released which produce electric current as DC. Most solar rooftop cells are PV cells, which are also used in small appliances like calculators.
PV cells are of 3 types – single-crystal cells, polycrystalline cells, and amorphous silicon. Single-crystal cells work at higher power hence they are comparatively more expensive than other PV cells. But, this type of solar cell can improve your home efficiency by up to 30%. Polycrystalline cells are small and can be easily packed closely together for enhanced power generation.
Compared to single-crystal cells, these types of cells have up to 15% lower efficiency and lower cost. Amorphous silicon cells have approximately 5% efficiency and are the least costly among all types of solar PV cells.
What are the main types of rooftop solar systems?
A solar rooftop panel is mainly classified into 3 categories based on the end-user application –
The grid-connected solar panel is linked to the local utility power grid to balance the regular electricity supply from the specific utility company. These systems feed produced energy again into the grid while you use electricity according to your household use from the grid. This is the most cost-effective and simple to install solar panels that pay for themselves by offsetting utility bills after five to eight years of installation.
These rooftop solar systems work with either a diesel generator or a battery backup to support the additional load even during the power outage.
These solar systems are not made to work with the grid because they’re not linked to the power supply company or utility grid. Off-grid solar systems are highly common in remote areas where utility grid connection is more costly than buying it.
What are the key components of rooftop solar systems?
The solar rooftop system consists of different components. Some of the main solar rooftop system components include –
- Solar panel
- Solar inverter
- Module mounting stand
- Solar battery
The components of a solar PV system are based on which type of system you’re purchasing and installing at your home. A typical installation process may need some more accessories like AC and DC wire, ACDB, DCDB, lighting arrester (LA), Earthing kit, and MC4 connectors.
Benefits of solar rooftop systems for home
Alongside saving electricity bills, a solar rooftop system offers many advantages –
- Pollution-free source of energy
A solar PV system is a clean and green source of energy that uses endless, free, and direct fuel sources of sunlight. It is completely environment-friendly energy and inherently short-circuit protected. Compared to conventional power sources, solar panels pose less environmental pollution risk and reduce carbon footprints.
- Secure investment with great savings
Calculating the cost of solar power generated by solar panels is easier. You can determine the cost of producing solar energy for the next 10 years. Thus, it is a 100% safe investment that helps with short and long-term savings. Rooftop solar tariff rates are 17% less than industrial and 27% less than commercial tariff rates. Since these panels deliver electricity to residential buildings, it enables homeowners to purchase less electricity from the main grid and save a higher amount of money on their power costs.
- Produce own energy and reduce grid dependence
Many people in urban and rural regions of India have insufficient or irregular supply of electricity. Due to this, they mostly rely on alternatives like diesel generators that emit emissions harmful to the environment and human health. Solar rooftop systems, on the contrary, allow users to generate their own electricity using solar energy. They have a reliable source of electricity which makes them highly energy independent.
Things to consider before planning a setup of a rooftop solar system
Before you go solar for your home, do a complete inspection of your property. Figure out if enough sunlight is received on your household rooftop. Inspect if your home roof is strong enough to hold the panel and if there is enough space for solar panel installation. If your roof is over 15 years old, you will require repairing or replacing it during solar system installation. For maximum performance, about 100 square feet of space is required on the roof.
A rooftop solar system will require an unshaded area with a south-facing location for every kW of power to be generated. The shadow of other things like a chimney, nearby buildings, trees, etc. can also affect the system performance. Once you find out that a solar panel is suitable for your residential rooftop, buy the best-in-class rooftop solar system based on your budget, energy efficiency, and your electricity consumption. Get the complete solar warranty guide from your installer and carefully review the maintenance instructions to keep your system operating effectively.