The cells on a solar panel convert sun rays into direct current (DC) electricity. Then, a machine called an inverter changes the DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is the type of electricity that powers most appliances.
Solar energy systems produce less energy over time, but the working lifespan can be as long as 50 years. Most solar panel warranties cover the first 25 years after installation.
The average residential solar energy system costs around $15,000. However, there are governmental tax credits and incentive programs that pay you back up to 30%.
The amount of energy savings generated by a solar panel system depends on the size, geographic location, and other factors. According to www.energysage.com, a cash purchase of a solar energy system will save homeowners around $100/month in electricity costs.
Solar panels can gather energy from direct or indirect sunlight. This means that cloud cover will not prevent your solar energy system from generating electricity. While the energy generated on cloudy days will be slightly less than in direct sunlight, it will still be enough to power your home.
Solar panels are typically installed at an angle, which allows snow to slide off easily. However, if snow does happen to accumulate, the panels will not produce energy. The weight of snow is not enough to cause any structural damage to a solar panel.
The ideal roof for a solar energy system is south-facing with little shade and a pitch between 30 and 45 degrees. Solar panels can work on east or west facing roofs as well, so long as there is no shade between 9am and 3pm. Shade has more impact on the viability of a solar energy system than directionality or pitch.