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Do Solar Panels Actually Work-An Electricians Opinion

Do Solar Panels Actually Work-An Electricians Opinion

Are you thinking of making a solar panel purchase and wondering do solar panels actually work? Is it worth my investment. Let the certified electricians help you with that decision.

As a general rule solar panels do actually work providing they are installed in an ideal location and installed correctly. They must be installed due south and depending on your location, the correct angle to the sun must be taken into consideration. Purchasing larger panels will result in less labor and install costs.

Solar Panels have different efficiencies so it is important to do your research before making a purchase. This post will help you better understand.

1.So Do Solar Panels Actually Work?

They are a number of reasons you would want to purchase solar panels and make use of them. One being to save money. What is all the fuss about really? Do they really work? The fact of the matter is, solar panel technology hasn’t changed much in the pass number of years. They have just been more mass produced resulting in the price to come down per watt.

The do work however providing that you have an ideal location to mount them and they are installed correctly. Some countries, states provinces have better payback programs than others so it is important to check with your local government before deciding to make a purchase.

When we speak about ideal we mean a field or clear area free from shade or trees. If this happens to be a house than make sure you have enough roof space to properly support the amount of panels you are looking to have installed. Below is a chart with the different kinds of solar panels and what their efficiencies are.

Panel TypeAmorphous PanelPoly Crystalline Mono Crystalline
common costs N/A$1 per watt$1.80 per watt
Conversion of
sunlight to electricity
From 100%
13% efficiency 15% to 16%efficiency18% to 20%efficiency

Note that is table is only a reference of types of panels, however if you were going to make a purchase you would want to pick the highest efficiency level.


2.Do You Save Money With Solar Panels?

You can definitely save money during solar panels installed on your home. The key to being successful in heaven solar panels installed is there have been installed in the correct location. You will want to have them installed in an open area facing do south. This is so you can reap the benefits of sunlight hours per day.

Most solar installers will be able to tell you how much money you can save on your electricity bill. This will result in the area you live in and how close to the equator you are. Also to take into consideration it depends on how many kilowatts of solar panels you would like to have installed. They can calculate how many kWh would you use of electricity per day and how many kW hours you can produce per day. Most solar installers proper rebate programs through your local government. This will help with the payback.

They can also inform you of what your local power utility offers for offset payments or buy back program to sell directly onto the grid. The most cost effective way to save money with solar panels is to sell directly back to the grid as this involves less equipment and hardware to perform that task.

3.Knowing If Solar Panels Are Worth It

Once your solar installer does the calculations for you. They can determine how much of a Surplus of energy you will be producing to sell back to the grid. This will all play into the equation weather solar panels are worth it. You will need to take the install cost in the price of the panels into consideration when working out your equation.

We recommend the best solution is to talk to an independent certified electrician or installer. They can give you in work out the truth numbers on the payback.. If you speak do the sales person selling you the panel sometimes they will fudge the numbers of it to convince you to buy them. As an example 100 Watt solar panel does not truly produce 100 Watt. Keep in mind that these are maximum efficiency and the highest possible rating does the solar panel can produce for energy in the perfect condition. You can always count on a 20% loss of whatever the solar in output is.

This is assuming can you buy the highest efficiency panels you can find on the market log into kated above. The polycrystalline technology would be the highest of the technologies available on the market today. Keep in mind they only convert up to 20% at the sunlight energy into electricity.

As a comparison solar hot water can generate up to 65% efficiency of the sun’s energy. You can see that photovoltaic or power producing electric panels are still up the lowest power production.

are solar panels actually worth it

4.Disadvantages Of Owning Them

Some disadvantages of owning solar panels would be simple maintenance. You need to keep them clean as if they become dirty from what we called wind dirt they will lose their efficiency and effectiveness quickly. Secondly if you live in an area that you have a winter are you going to want to get up and clean the snow off the panels. This is why is important do you have them installed in the right location.

When you speak with their installer they should be installed on enough of an angle the snow will slide off. Solar panels are not without maintenance. They do we are out of after time I need to be replaced. The equipment that comes with the solar panels like the grid tie inverter can become faulty. The worst of all is replacing roof shingles if you have them installed on your asphalt roof.

Additionally of you do not do proper research into the amount of general sun hours you get in the run of a year in your area. The system could be undersized and you could be disappointed with the outcome of the power generation.

5.Advantages Of Owning Them

Solar panels save you a lot of money in the long run by generating your own electricity and this makes you energy independent. Solar power has been regarded as the best form of clean energy due to the significant decrease in price of solar panels that have been made available. Although this may appear very small, yet this is the real deal, considering the fact that there are plenty of people that are having sleepless nights because of energy shortages.

It’s not big surprise that you will be helping the environment by installing the panels. The more you generate the less stress on the power utility to generate hence less burning of fossil fuels on their end. Having a clean carbon footprint is important.

if you have any other doubts, power rates are not going down. They are always going up, by adding panels to your property gives you piece of mind and stability.

6.Do Solar Panels Work At Night?

Most solar panels can work at night. However they only produce a fraction of what they would normally produce in direct sunlight. It is actually only about 10% of their production. This is assuming that they would be under full moon light reflection from the sun.

If you measure this for the power meter it is miniscule. The best method is just so back the energy during the daylight hours 2 local power utility.

Check with your local power utility do you get a combination meter that allows you to sell back during the day and purchase from the company at night during cheaper off peak hours.

7.How Much Do They Produce On Cloudy Days?

Solar panels will produce 15 to 20 % of their rated output on cloudy days. You still will get some energy production from them. If you have a darker cloudy day, raining or storming the production and be as low as 5 %. as an example a 100 watt panel would produce 20 watts on a cloudy day or as low as 5 watts in a heavy rain storm.

To give you a better idea if you have a 10 thousand watt solar system, or 10 kw commonly referred to. Lets say you are receiving 20 cents per kwh generated back to the grid. In normal sun conditions you would generate $2 dollar per hour. On a Cloudy day you would only be generating 40 cents per hour. A fraction of what you would normally use.

In colder climates it is considered to be a good idea to oversize the amount of power generation to make up for the shorter sun hours per day and added heating loads in the winter increasing your power bill.

The standard for North America of sun hours per day is 4 to 6 hours. This depends on exact location and accounts for rainy days into that equation.

8.How Long Do They Last?

As a general rule solar panels are rated for a 25 year lifespan but often will last longer in many cases. Provided that they are maintained properly we have seen as high as 40 years plus of power production. We we say “maintained” we mean, clear from debris, falling objects, hail downed trees etc. Once the tempered glass on a solar panel has been compromised or shattered the power production of the panel will drop off quickly. The internal parts and components will quickly fill with water.

The worse part is if the the damaged panel is part of a string of panels hooked in an electrical circuit. The one damaged panel may effect the production of many panels . This is why it is important to do regular visual check on your panels to check for issues from the weather effecting them.

It is recommended to have the faulty panel removed as soon as possible.

do solar panels actually work

9.Will Solar Panel Damage My Roof?

Solar panels installed on a roof can be damaging. If not installed with the correct air gap they can overheat the roof and cause the shingles to curl.

“I’m not sure why anyone would want to install solar panels on an asphalt roof anyways. They will only have to pull them off to have the roof reshingled then have to pay to install the panels again.”

Andrew Whynacht

We recommend only having panels installed on a roof with long life, like a metal roof. This way you will not have to worry about it for a number of years. Alternatively you can have them installed on solar panel racks mounted at ground level. This method of course is much more costly. You would also have to be careful on the location as if they are in too open of an area the panels can become a giant sail.


So the question at the beginning of this post was do solar panels actually work? Meaning in other works if I spend the money will I get a return on my investment. The answer if yes but not clear. Some best case scenarios would be the following.

If you were younger and was building a house or renovating then I would definitely consider having the largest amount of solar panels installed on my metal roof as my mortgage would allow.

If I were older or retired I would look more into power generation in a field of panels. Possible with a few other investors to get maximum return on investment as quick as possible. It would also be very important to find a location that is remote for less chance of vandalism to my investment. In addition it would be in an area secured with an agreement on contract with the power utility to have the maximum payback in kwhs. All power companies are different and some offer more payback than others.

Some will even offer government subsidies or grants to have them installed.