Only about 1.8% of the energy used in the U.S. comes from solar panels. Despite that, there are 2 million solar installations across the U.S.

What’s happening is even though we’re continuing to add solar panels to the grid, we’re also, as a nation, upping our energy consumption.

So even though only a small percent of our energy comes from solar, it’s still a popular option. But is it viable? How efficient is solar energy?

Let’s explore that.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels consist of many smaller cells called photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits these cells, it breaks electrons off atoms, which creates energy.

So the effectiveness of your solar panels comes down to how well the electrons are broken away from the atoms.

And generally, most solar panels are about 15% to 20% efficient at this process. However, some solar panels have been invented that are 23% efficient.

Even still, these are market outliers, and you’re more likely to get something closer to the 15% to 20% range.

What Affects Panels Efficiency?

There are a lot of factors that go into how efficient your solar panels are. The initial quality matters of course, but even after that, there are several things you can do to keep your solar panels at peak efficiency.

How Much Sun Is Available

If you live in a sunny area, solar panels are a great idea! But if your forecast involves more cloudy days than sun coverage, you need to do some more research.

But don’t give up hope! There are a lot of factors that go into an effective solar panel, and just so long as you can see it, that means it’s getting light, and it can make energy.

Temperature – but Not Like You’d Expect

If you live in a cold, sunny area, you’re in luck! This is the perfect environment to get the most out of your solar panels. Solar panels are more efficient in colder climates than they are in warmer ones.

On top of that, snow acts as a mirror, and it can reflect sunlight off the ground back onto your solar panels, so they get more sunlight than they do without snow.

Position to the Sun

To get the most out of your solar panels, you need to make sure they’re properly positioned. Many solar panels come with systems that will orient them to the best angle throughout the day.

The more directly in line with the sun, the more sunlight they can turn into energy. This solar company can help you make sure your home is in a good position to use solar energy.

Will Weather Break Them Down?

Fortunately, no! Thanks to laws like the Consumer Protection Act, solar panel companies have to provide solar panels that do what they promise.

Solar panels are extensively tested in a variety of circumstances. This is to ensure that common weather scenarios won’t break them down.

These include things like snow, ice, wind, hail, UV radiation, heat cycling, humidity, and even chemical exposure. Your solar panels need to be able to withstand these elements before they can hit the market.

As a result, most solar panels come with pretty impressive warranties, because companies know they can last. Most solar panels come with two warranties, one for the equipment itself, and one to guarantee performance.

The performance warranty ensures your solar panels will still be 90% as productive in 10 years, and 80% as productive in 25 years. The equipment warranty guarantees the equipment is good for 10 to 12 years.

Is That Enough to Power My House?

It is 100% possible to power an entire house, even if your solar panels only convert 15% to 20% of all the sunlight that hits them into energy.

But there are some things you should consider. When you decide to invest in solar panels, you need to know your exact goals. Are you looking to just subsidize your current energy usage, or do you want to be 100% solar powered?

You’ll need to know how much energy you already use. You can usually find this number as a whole on your energy bill from your power company. That’ll give you a good idea of where to start.

But many people decide that if they want to be completely solar-powered they should cut down on their energy usage in the first place, and that’s a good idea.

To Get the Most, Go With the Pros

It is possible to do a DIY solar power installation. But it’s smarter to go with the pros. Their experience and professional advice will keep you safe. You’ll be able to get the best deals and the most application out of your new solar power system.

Solar panels today are cheaper and more efficient than ever before. On top of that, solar tax credits have recently been extended. You can get a tax credit worth 26% of your system if you install it in 2020. But that drops to only 22% in 2021, and won’t exist after that unless Congress decides to renew the bill.

So if you’re looking to get solar, there is no better time than today.

How Efficient Is Solar Energy? Now You Know

So how efficient is solar energy? Only about 15% to 20%. But that’s enough to dramatically lower your energy bills – or help you become entirely self-sufficient.

On top of that, recent extensions to solar tax credits make today the optimal time to invest in solar energy.

Plus, you know, the environment is collapsing, so you probably should make sure your energy needs are covered.

We’re here to give you the advice you need to live the environmentally-friendly lifestyle you want. Keep exploring for more great tips.