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Helpful Guide to Residential Solar Panel Installation – 2021 Edition

Considerations for Solar Panel Installations

The first and foremost step when considering solar panel installation is if the solar panel will be beneficial for you. Consider your location, if there is enough sunlight to generate solar energy. How much energy that you normally use and if solar energy will be able to provide enough power? Please note that most residential solar systems are around 6 kiloWatts. Have you checked any regulations regarding solar energy in the state or in your own neighborhoods? While it is illegal for a homeowners association to restrict solar panels, it doesn’t hurt to check. Once all these are considered, you can start looking into what you want for your solar panel installation.

Types of Solar Systems

When you have decided to get a solar panel installation you should look into whether your solar system will be grid-tied, off-grid, or both. The difference between the two is grid-tied means your solar system will be connected to the local power grid, and off-grid will generate all the electricity, but with the optional help of batteries and generators. Depending on your home’s electricity needs, if the solar system isn’t able to satisfy that need, then a grid-tied can make up the power the solar system can’t generate. Whereas, an off-grid system allows you to store energy in batteries to use for emergencies. 

Another deciding factor to grid-tied and off-grid is pricing. The pricing will vary depending on location, but grid-tied is often referred to as the cheapest option, especially if the location is near the power grid. Another benefit to grid-tied systems is net-metering, which is the process of giving extra energy to the power grid in exchange for electricity credits that can go towards your electricity bill.

Off-grid is more expensive due to the additional cost of batteries and generators. In exchange, you have full control over your electricity, so if a blackout occurs you can power your home, while everyone is left in the dark, including those on grid-tied systems. Not to mention, not all net-metering policies are the same, so depending on the company, you could be given less electricity credit than you are giving. Overall, location and pricing is the key factor into deciding a grid-tied or off-grid solar system.

Types of Solar Panels

37 types of solar panels
Source: SolarReviews

After deciding the type of solar system, there is the type of solar panels you have to decide next. There are 4 different types of solar panels, which are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin-film, and passivated emitter and rear cell (PERC), with PERC being the most recent addition. 

Starting with monocrystalline, it is considered the most popular when it comes to solar panel installations. The reason being it is the most efficient when compared to the other options with efficiency ratings sitting around 20%. Although the only downside is the cost. Monocrystalline is the most expensive compared to the other options in solar panel installation. Therefore, if you are looking for a budget solar panel installation, monocrystalline solar panels may not be for you, but if you can afford them, then it will be worth the cost.

Next is polycrystalline, it is considered the next best option to monocrystalline with the bonus of being cheaper. Then again the downside to polycrystalline is you won’t be receiving the same efficiency as you would get with monocrystalline. The efficiency of polycrystalline sits around 16%, although there are reports with predicted developments in polycrystalline to hit similar efficiency as monocrystalline in the near future. In conclusion, polycrystalline is the best option for budget solar panel installations.

Afterward, we have thin-film, thin-film is more recommended for commercial use, but there are residential options. Thin-film has the lowest efficiency with an average of 11% efficiency, but it is said to handle the heat a lot better than the other solar panels. The thin-film panels are the most expensive. In return, the panels are lightweight and flexible, which makes solar panel installations easier and it is cheaper. Ultimately, thin-film panels are recommended for those who live in more humid areas.

Last but not least, PERC panels are an improvement of monocrystalline panels. It has an efficiency boost because of an additional layer to help with energy production. Due to the rarity of PERC panels, the cost is most often dependent on the area, but it is a bit more expensive than polycrystalline panels. So if one were to go for PERC for solar panel installation, you would be getting around 22% efficiency with a similar price range as monocrystalline panels. 

These are the general 4 types of solar panels, but there are many more options than you could choose from. This can include the type of solar panel styles as there are multiple variants of solar panels, like a portal, roof, and flexible solar panels.

Solar Panel Installation Checklist

Here is a checklist to help summarize what we have discussed in this guide.

  • Consider:
    • Location
    • Energy usage
      • There are multiple Energy Cost Calculator applications to help calculate how much energy you would need for solar energy
    • Regulations
      • Find out what types of solar systems are allowed and aren’t allowed
  • Solar Panel Installation Options:
    • Solar Systems:
      • Grid-tied
        • Cheaper Option
        • Solar System is connected to power, which can provide additional power outside of solar energy
        • System can generate electricity credits, which helps save more on electricity bills
      • Off-grid
        • Expensive Option
        • All electricity relies on solar energy stored in batteries or generators
      • Hybrid
        • Connected to both a power grid and battery
        • The commonly picked option
    • Solar Panels:
      • Monocrystalline
        • Most effective but most expensive
      • Polycrystalline
        • Least expensive but not as effective
      • Thin-film
        • Least effective but temperature coefficient
      • PERC
        • Most recent but more effective than monocrystalline


Given these points, there are still many more benefits to having solar panels, such as an increase in house value and the money you can save from installation. The bottom line is your house’s potential in solar energy, and how you can benefit from it through your decision in the solar panel installation. If you are still unsure of the best option for your home solar system feel free to contact us, and we can help set up and install the solar panels for you. We wish you all the best with your solar energy journey.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article. If you would like more information on obtaining Solar for your own home, business, or recreational vehicles. Contact us today!

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