Solar panel systems come in an ever growing number of sizes, configurations and power outputs and while their development is focused primarily on energy conversion percentiles, functionality presents even more choices. Despite all of these types of solar that are available the buyer needs to know certain facts that relate to solar panels, the materials they are made from and most importantly their power output and area foot prints. There are 3 primary types of solar panels used at present. Mono Crystalline, Poly Crystalline, and Amorphous Poly Crystalline and while each has the ability to turn the sun’s light into viable electricity, it is their power output levels which determine their functional use.
Of these 3 types of systems the Mono Crystalline offers the highest power outputs per square foot of solar installed. This type of solar panel is typically warrantied by their manufacturers for 25 – 30 years, they can vary in size, shape and power output levels and they require rack mounting. They are primarily manufactured in a rectangular shape of approximately 2.5 feet X 5.3 feet however even this sizing is dependent on what the power output value of the panel is. A solar panel with a 175 watt output is going to be smaller than a solar panel of 240 watts and if your project has a limited amount of space then this becomes a balancing act between the available space and power needs.
There are typically 2 types of solar racking installations that are used by the majority of solar panel users. Roof racking systems come in a wide array of adjustable and configurable components that allow them to be used on a sloped roof just as easily as a flat roof. Pole mounted systems are probably the best in terms of their actual foot print as they take up no roof line real estate which can be a concern when that roof needs re-surfacing. Pole mount systems also have a number of tracking systems available which automate the adjustments and movements of the solar panel array. Single axis tracking systems will track horizontally while dual axis solar tracking systems will track horizontally and vertically.
Why do we need to consider solar tracking systems? In terms of the annual solar cycle we experience every year your solar panels regardless if they are roof or pole mounted are going to require periodic adjustments to keep them aligned at the best angle to the suns path in order to optimize the volume of power they can generate. By using a dual axis solar tracking system you are able to keep both the horizontal as well as vertical angles of your solar panels at the optimum angle to the suns path throughout every day. Thereby picking up and additional 15% of energy generation of your solar array which directly affects its power output to your home or business.
Many of these solar panel systems can become a bit overwhelming for the Do-It-Yourselfer’s especially in terms of any added complexity of systems used such as the tracking systems, inverter or charge controller systems or system monitoring software usage. It is always a great idea to select a company that is not only specialized in renewable energy systems but also NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) Certified. Most reputable companies offer service installation warranties of at least 2 years with annual maintenance plans and partnering with these companies will keep you informed and your systems operating in top form.