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Solar Roof Panels

Last Updated Feb 15, 2011 · Written by Craig Gibson

Solar roof panels are an excellent means of supplying electricity for your home.  They are environmentally friendly, energy efficient, and you’ll find that you’ll have the lowest power bills of anyone you know!  Read on to find out more.

The Basics of Solar Roof Panels

Solar panels are photovoltaic panels that convert light energy from the sun into electrical energy.  The electrical energy is then converted by an inverter for immediate use by the household with excess energy being fed into the local electricity grid. If you export electricity into the electricity grid, most electricity companies will credit you on your next bill.  If you live in an area with no electricity, the energy is stored in batteries for later use.

Solar panels are placed on the roof in a position to maximise the amount of sun that they receive.  North facing aspects are usually best.  These panels are extremely low in maintenance and only require the occasional cleaning.

Why Should I Use Solar Power?

There are many benefits to using solar power including:

  • it can run most of, if not all, of your everyday electrical equipment
  • it reduces your electricity bills
  • it is energy efficient and environmentally friendly
  • it cut downs on unsightly power lines
  • it can increase the value of your home  
  • it avoid blackouts during storms
  • solar panels have a 25 year warranty

What Do I Need to Know About Installing Solar Panels?

The number of solar panels that you need for your home will depend on the amount of power that you consume.  However, a typical rooftop solar power system has an area of around 7.6 square metres (approximately 12 80 watt panels), and generates 1600 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which can power 5 compact fluorescent light bulbs, a 4 star 250l refrigerator, a 4 star washing machine, a stereo, and a medium sized television.

Before installing solar panels, it is a good idea to check with your local council as to what their regulations are.  You do not need home building insurance in order to install solar panels, but it is a good idea to have home and contents insurance that cover your panels.

Even though it is ideal to have a north facing roof in order to install solar panels, it is not necessarily bad if you don’t.  Most systems can work up to 45 degrees off north.  Solar panel systems can cost anywhere from $6000 up to $60,000 and this depends on the technology, the size of the system, your roof, what extras you choose and the amount of power that you need.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Solar Roof Panels?

The typical solar roof panel system should produce up to 5 kilowatts of energy a day on average.  The actual amount of energy will depend on factors such as the temperature, weather conditions, and the angle of the panel.  The system will automatically shut down during blackouts, but if you have batteries in your system, the batteries will provide your house with power until they either run out or the power is restored.

You may also be eligible for a government rebate if you install solar roof panels.

You might also like: Go German for Solar Panels

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