Root NationArticlesTechnologyWhat You Need to Know Before Installing Solar Panels

What You Need to Know Before Installing Solar Panels


Solar energy is a crucial part of everyday life. We rely on it to power our devices, heat our homes, and cook our food. While most people pay for electricity, few stop to consider where it comes from. Typically, electricity is generated by power plants that use natural gas, nuclear fuel, hydroelectric power, and so on. Since companies own and operate these energy farms, most people have to pay them. An exception to this rule is solar energy through solar panels. Because you can install solar panels on your own home and use the electricity they generate for your own needs, solar panels are one of the few power generators for which you don’t need to pay for electricity. But are solar power plants (SPPs) a universal alternative?

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей на своєму будинку

Before installing solar panels, you need to consider numerous factors. Do you have enough money to purchase them? Will your local government permit it? Can you save as much money simply by replacing all the light bulbs in your home with more efficient ones? These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before embarking on the path of solar energy, as it is not the utopia you might think it is.

Read aalsо:

Feasibility and benefits

Before we delve into the pitfalls on the path to owning solar panels, it’s worth exploring the reasons why someone might need solar panels in the first place.

Solar energy systems (SES) offer numerous benefits, the most obvious of which is cost savings, as users can derive a greater portion (and in some cases, all) of their electricity from panels installed on their rooftops. In fact, depending on how much electricity your solar panels generate, some energy companies may pay for surplus electricity usage or provide a credit that can be used on days when your solar panels aren’t generating electricity. This system, known as net metering, is not guaranteed, but if available, it serves as another incentive to transition to solar energy.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей на своєму будинку

Like other household modernization projects, solar panels also increase the value of your home. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (as reported by Forbes), solar panels increase your home’s value by $20 for every dollar they save on electricity. This is not surprising, as homes that reduce current expenses on electricity bills are highly valued. Ultimately, the less you spend on electricity bills, the more you can allocate towards paying off your mortgage.

Additionally, using solar panels generates fewer pollutants than many other electricity generators, making them environmentally friendly. But let’s be honest: many people install solar panels because they want to save money on electricity bills. Whether it’s for the environment or your bank account, solar panels are an investment.

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly in our current context, solar panels provide households with much-needed autonomy in the face of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Even a few panels in a setup with a solar inverter and a storage battery can be invaluable in case of new attacks by Russian missiles and drones on energy infrastructure.

The cost of a solar power plant

Solar panels can save you a ton of money, but only over a long period – too long for many people. The average cost of a solar panel is not insignificant. Prices vary depending on the type of panel, who installs it, and how many panels you’re buying.

In 2022, the average solar energy system (SES) cost $24,000, but by 2024, prices had dropped to a more affordable average of $12,700. However, this is still more than most people can pay upfront, especially considering that the “payback” factor typically takes around 10 years on average. Government incentives can shorten or lengthen this waiting period. Many companies offer financing options that allow you to pay as you go, as well as credit programs that provide you with money you repay over time.

- Advertisement -

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням СЕС

Calculating how much money you’ll save on electricity bills thanks to solar panels is one thing, but figuring out how much they’ll cost you upfront is a whole different story. Not all purchasing or leasing plans are equal, so choose the one that best suits your wallet.

Read also:

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей

Solar panels and roof

Since solar power stations are enormous (one of the largest in the world has 500,000 panels), they are typically installed in open areas with minimal shading. This is usually not feasible for the average homeowner, so they often opt to install solar panels on their roofs. However, before doing so, it’s essential to ensure that your roof can handle this task. When planning to purchase panels, determine the shape and size of your roof.

Another factor is the orientation of your roof. Since the equator receives the most sunlight on the planet, it is widely recognized that solar panels should face towards it. If your roof is oriented to the east or west, you may need to spend more money on a larger number of panels to compensate for this inefficiency.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням СЕС

Arguably, the most crucial element to consider is the age of your roof. Since solar panels are guaranteed to last at least 25 years, you must ensure that your roof can withstand the additional load for the next few decades. If your roof will need replacement soon and you plan to transition to solar energy, it’s better to combine the installations together.

Ultimately, roof replacement is expensive, and if you already have solar panels installed, removing and reinstalling them during the process will only increase this cost. The roof is not just a place where you place solar panels; once installed, they become symbiotically linked with your roof. A healthy and sturdy roof means healthy and sturdy solar panels.


Like much other electronics, solar panels come with a warranty ensuring they will perform as advertised. Since solar panels are intended for long-term, around-the-clock use, their warranty typically ranges from three to 25 years, and companies will repair or replace solar panels as needed. However, this applies only to solar panels installed by licensed professionals. If you attempt to install solar panels yourself, you risk voiding the warranty.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням СЕС

Installing solar panels yourself also comes with many other risks. For example, while solar panels are typically able to withstand strong winds due to their mounts, if you don’t know which mounts to use and how to install them properly, your solar panels could literally be blown away. Additionally, a standard solar panel installation includes waterproofing and flashing, but only when done by professionals. If you forget to do this when installing solar panels yourself, water could get inside. Hiring a team to install solar panels may cost even more money on top of the cost of the panels themselves, but it will provide peace of mind and financial security.

Read alsо:

- Advertisement -


The dark secret of solar panels lies in the fact that, like other electronics, they degrade over time and become less efficient. On average, solar panels lose 0.5% efficiency per year, although some sources claim this figure drops to 3% per year. Because these changes are as slow as they are imperceptible, the average user is unlikely to notice them, especially at the initial stage. However, you can prevent the inevitable and possibly extend the lifespan of solar panels through regular maintenance.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей

Indeed, while solar energy systems have robust construction, you still need to ensure that nothing interferes with their surface. Anything that can block or damage the surface, from dust and dirt to falling debris, reduces the space available for solar elements and decreases efficiency. Washing solar panels with a hose (or during rainfall) can do the trick. However, using soap, on the other hand, may leave streaks that could potentially damage the solar panels. And that’s not even mentioning our mischievous neighbors.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей

Exactly, solar panels are not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Once they’re installed on your roof, you’ll have to take care of them just as regularly as you do with your roof as a whole.

Solar battery

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot claim independence from the grid solely with solar panels. While a sunny day may provide ample electricity, what happens when the sun sets or when clouds obscure it? This is where energy storage solutions come into play.

Solar batteries, as the name suggests, utilize solar panels for charging. To be more precise, solar batteries collect excess electrical energy generated by solar panels but not used by household appliances, storing it for later use. These batteries come in handy as they provide electricity that doesn’t need to be paid for when the sun is unavailable. And yes, solar batteries also provide power during power outages if they are sufficiently charged.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей

Depending on the maximum capacity and the material used, you may need to install multiple solar batteries. These devices always increase the cost of installing solar panels. And sometimes, solar batteries are a critically important addition because you need to utilize all the electricity generated by your solar panels to prevent excess energy from causing reliability issues with the grid.

It’s better to have a solar battery and not need it than to need it and not have one. If you don’t anticipate generating too much excess electricity, opt for one of the less expensive options.

Read also:

Ratio “energy demand” / “panel power”

Before deciding which solar energy system (SES) you want to buy, determine if you need one at all. How much money can you save on electricity bills by using more efficient light bulbs or household appliances?

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням СЕС

If you’ve decided to purchase solar panels, pay attention to their output power and compare it with the power you expect your home to consume. To calculate the latter, multiply the average power of your electrical appliances by the average time they operate, and then multiply this by the percentage of energy you expect the system to lose. Alternatively, you can simply consult your local energy provider. The solar panel you purchase should either match the calculated amount or exceed it, but you should also consider the efficiency of the solar panel, as not all absorbed sunlight is converted into electricity. You may need to invest in more expensive solar panels than you initially thought.

Panels and sun

Solar panels cannot operate without sunlight. However, to achieve maximum efficiency, you can’t just install them and call it a day. You need to orient the solar panels to capture as much sunlight as possible, and even then, the Earth doesn’t always cooperate.

While some companies advocate for orienting solar panels to the east or west, as mentioned earlier, most organizations agree that panels should face the equator. Aligning solar panels along this direction maximizes the absorption of solar radiation. However, if your roof is shaded by trees or tall buildings, you won’t get the maximum output from your installed solar panels. The same applies to your location.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням сонячних панелей

Not every country in the world can rely on solar energy. Due to factors such as geography or even infrastructure, the effectiveness of solar panels can vary. To compensate for this drawback, you can install more solar panels, but then you’ll have to deal with additional costs. And that’s not to mention whether your roof is large and sturdy enough to withstand additional panels.

Before considering installation, always do your research. Look at solar maps and reach out not only to solar panel installation companies but also to your local electricity provider. The more information you gather, the better.

Carbon footprint

People buy solar panels for various reasons, usually because they want to save money or rely on a less polluting energy source. However, the production of solar panels costs more than money. As they say, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and solar panels are such an omelette.

Photovoltaic cells of solar panels can be made from several different materials, but silicon is the most common. Although silicon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, it is still challenging to process it into solar panel cells. According to research, each panel requires 600 grams of silicon. Additionally, regardless of the primary material, all solar panels use metals such as copper, silver, and lithium, which are much rarer and need to be mined. And, of course, mining metals results in carbon emissions.

10 речей, які потрібно знати перед встановленням СЕС

But these are just the material sourcing costs. Different compositions of solar panel components require different manufacturing processes, each of which has its own impact on the environment. The most efficient solar panels, monocrystalline silicon, are expensive and cause the most pollution during production. Meanwhile, the least efficient panels, thin-film, are relatively inexpensive and produce fewer carbon emissions during production. This sounds like good news, but the production of thin-film solar panels also involves the use of the most toxic chemicals among all types of solar panels. Additionally, not all countries have the same standards for energy production and manufacturing emissions, so some countries allow their solar panel manufacturing plants to emit more carbon than others.

Solar energy systems can help preserve the environment, but if we are not careful, we may produce so many of them that we ultimately harm the environment.

Read also:

Julia Alexandrova
Julia Alexandrova
Coffee lover. Photographer. I am writing about science and space. I think it's too early for us to meet aliens. I follow the development of robotics, just in case ...
- Advertisement -
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments