Residential Solar Panels

Residential solar panel systems fit in to two main categories, systems that heat water and systems that generate electricity. Both systems use solar panels that are designed to be mounted on the roof of you property and connected to either the electric ring main or the hot water cylinder. Solar panel can be mounted on flat roofs or pitched roofs. They can also be laced on the ground inside the boundary of the property if siteing them on the roof is not practical.

Solar water heating systems

Solar water heating system

A solar heating system is used for heating water using the heat from the sun. It usually consists of a collector, which is often mounted on the roof, and a fluid system to enable the heat to be taken to the point where it is used, a hot water boiler for example. Sometimes electric pumps are used to move the fluid from the collector to the boiler.

The systems can be used for a variety of purposes like heating water for homes, businesses, under floor heating, and swimming pools. In some climates, solar heating can generate up to 85% of domestic hot water needs.

Solar electricity:

Solar electric system

A solar cell or photovoltaic (PV) cell is a device that converts sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Their construction is completely different to solar panels for hot water which use pipes to collect the heat from the sun. Solar cells are made up of thin layers of silicon, and when sunlight strikes a cell's light absorbing material, chemical reactions release electrons, generating an electric current.

The average amount of solar radiation falling on each square meter of earth is around 1000kWh per year - of this, it should be possible to collect between 20% (depending on the efficiency of the cell) Therefore, 5 square meters of solar cells are required to produce 1000kWh of electricity.

Portable solar panels

Solar electric panels are also available on a smaller scale. Portable solar panels can be purchased that will charge a 12v battery or connect to a light of power tools. These panels that are less than $100 will produce 70watts of electricity.

If you have a power need for your shed or stable but its inconvenient to lay a get high voltage electric cable then solar electricity kits are available that will power six 8 watt fluorescent tubes for $300.

Portable solar cell