The Utah Solar Power Periodic Table of Elements

Utah solar power has its very first periodic table of elements, courtesy of Go Solar Group.

Why? Well, we’re pretty charged up about solar power in the state of Utah, and want to share with others what’s needed to make residential solar as beneficial as possible for Utah homeowners.

So, in the name of all that is charged through the periodic table, we bestow to you the very first periodic table of Utah solar panel elements.

Solar Panel Factors

Temperature Coefficient of the Solar Panels (Tc):

Your temperature coefficient is production lost when your panels overheat. Is temperature coefficient considered in solar panels’ output predictions at point of assessment? +1

Power Optimizers (Po):

Your Utah optimizers essentially increase the amount of energy our panels will generate. Is DC electricity optimized before sending it to the inverter? +1

Material absorption (Ma):

This is the amount of energy that is collected by your panels. Is enough energy being generated to efficiently knock electrons from their weak bonds and create an electric current through the panels? +2

Wafer (W):

Wafers are slices of a semiconductor. When they are strung together they create solar cells. The manufacturing process can be a bit tricky. Is the solar panels’ manufacturing process reducing large material losses of the wafer’s silica substrate semiconductor material? +2

N-type semiconductor (Nt):

This semiconductor has extra electrons creating a negative charge. Are the negative bases of the solar cells efficiently engaging with the positive top of the conduction process? +1

P-type semiconductor (Pt):

The p-type semiconductor has was some call holes. Basically, the semiconductor has fewer electrons then it needs making it hungry for more. This makes it positive. Is the positive semiconductor of the panels effectively attracting the negatively charged electrons? +1

Polycrystalline Panels (Pc):

Polycrystalline panels are made from multiple silicon crystals. Because there are more edges it is less efficient. Is your Utah solar company relying on outdated/inefficient solar panels? -2

Monocrystalline Panels (Mc):

Monocrystalline panels as its name suggests are created from one silicon crystal. Is your Utah solar company using high-quality panels in manufacturing and design? +2

Pitch (P):

Pitch is the angle of your roof. To measure the pitch of a roof one looks at how many inches it rises in 12 inches increments. Will the solar panels needed fit your Utah home with a light-absorbing southward-facing pitch? +1

Front contact (Fc):

Are the line resistances on the front contact (a sheet of metal enhancing solar panel circuitry of P and N-type semiconductors) reduced? +1

Back contact (Bc):

The back contact is a metal plate that touches the bottom cell. Both the back and front contact enhances the circuity of semiconductors in the panel. Are the resistances on the back contact reduced? +1

European Manufacturing Location (Em):

German technology has had the time to advance and become the best of the best. Are your Utah solar panels German-engineered? +1

Asian Manufacturing (Am):

Although many companies are claiming to be Utah or European made they actually are being manufactured in Asian countries. If the panel prices are too good to be true they might be cutting some corners. Is your Utah solar company relying on Asian-imported solar cells? -1

Non Solar-panel Factors

As a system of interwoven complexity, residential solar modules in the state of Utah hinge on many elements that occur or co-occur away from the solar panels themselves. Keep reading to see which of these elements matters most in ensuring a successful residential solar install.

Balance of System (Bs):

The balance of your system has to do with all the components of your solar array aside from the panels. It is balanced against the amount of energy you need for your home. Is everything other than the solar panels ‘balanced’ and installed correctly? +2

Mounting system & railing (Ms):

Mounting for your Utah solar array is critical. If you don’t have quality mounting gear you could run into avoidable problems down the road. Are the railing and mounting simple, solid, and secure? +1

Solar Charge Controller (Sc):

A charge controller allows your battery to function at its best. Is charging of deep cycle batteries optimized to keep electrical currents from percolating through the panels without sunlight? +1

Microinverters (Mi):

Microinverters are placed on the back of each panel. They allow for each panel to function separately. Is the microinverter mounted directly behind each panel to turn DC electricity from each solar panel into translatable AC? +0

String inverter (Si):

A string inverter converts DC power from a group of panels that are strung together. If one of the panels is not functioning right or is overly shaded it affects the production of the whole system. Is the string inverter properly installed and unobstructed atop the roof of your Utah home (if you have one)? +1

Battery Backup (B):

Battery backup stores the excess energy you collect during the day so you can use it at night. Go Solar Group gives free emergency battery backup with each solar array they install. With emergency batteries, you don’t have to worry about your food going bad and your phone losing its charge in a power outage. Are you using battery backup to maximize your return on solar investment given declined Utah net metering returns? +2

Inverter (I):

Inverters alter the current generated from your solar panels into usable energy. Is the inverter custom selected and tailored for your home? +1

Disconnects (D):

Firemen use disconnects to make sure your panels aren’t generating electricity to your home or the grid in an emergency. There are two different disconnects these include the AC and DC disconnects. Are AC and DC disconnects readily accessible when needed? +1

Conduit (Ct):

This is the tubing used to protect wires used in your solar array. There are both flexible and rigid conduits. Are extra conduits used for an install requiring extra durability and mechanical strength? +1

Flexible conduit (Fc):

A Flexible conduit is tubing that you would use in situations where your wires need to bend. Has your Utah solar installer used a flexible conduit for serpentine wire routes and or areas at high risk of vibrations that could disrupt solar panels’ electrical current? +1

Rigid conduit (Rc):

Rigid conduit is tubing made out of a material that is less likely to move around. This is used for situations in which you don’t want the wire to be jostled. Is your Utah solar installer using Rigid conduit in areas where it would hurt the system if the wires moved? +1

Combiner box (Cb):

Your Utah combiner box is used to combine several strings of panels. A combiner box is used more often for commercial projects where there is more than one sting of panels needed. Is the output of several solar strings brought together in synchronicity through the combiner box? +2

Azimuth (A):

Azimuth is determined by the angle your panels are in comparison to the sun. You want to make sure you have the best angle possible most of the day and year. Has your Utah solar installer utilized the right azimuth angle, which can increase panel efficiency by as much as 35%? +1

Net meter (Nm):

Is the net meter, which measures how much power you don’t use and push back to the grid, properly-sized based on your system’s wattage? +1

Bridging the Panels and Solar Power

Power Efficiency (Pe):

Power Efficiency is the amount of solar energy your Utah system can convert into usable energy. Has your Utah solar company stated your chosen system will generate clean solar energy for 35-40 years? +2

Production Warranty (Pw):

Your production warranty tells you at what rate your panel production will start to decrease. If your panels start to decrease at a faster rate then the warranty claims they should be replaced under this warranty. Has your Utah solar installer warrantied your system’s production to be at least 90% efficient 10 years after installation and 80% efficient 25 years after installation? +2

Service Warranty (Sw):

Service warranties are normally carried out by the installer. They will give you a service warranty on your panels to cover any dysfunctional components of your photovoltaic system. Does your Utah solar company offer a 10-year service warranty as part of its free solar quote? +1

Warranty Length (Wl):

Are your system’s service and production warranties longer than or equal to competitors’ offers? +2

Software monitoring (Sm):

Has your solar installer explained the web connectivity light and its monitoring purpose? +1

Charge controller (Cc):

Is the charge controller (the bridge between the solar panels and the batteries of the system), efficiently transducing the electrical current? +1

This periodic table of solar panel elements clarifies the benefits of rooftop solar for homeowners in sustainable energy’s age of confusion.

Bridging the Panels and Solar Power

In a complex industry like residential rooftop solar, consumers need companies authoritative enough to make an entire periodic table of elements about the product they sell.

That’s exactly what Go Solar Group, a Utah and Reno-based solar company, has done with its periodic table of solar panel elements. Much like an actual periodic table of elements, each solar item has a charge and charge count, positive charges indicating the item’s presence is good for residential solar and negative charges indicating an item’s presence is a downfall.

Homeowners who are considering going solar should know this periodic table can function as a checklist of things worth discussing with their solar installer of choice, or as a tool to vet several different installers when trying to select the best one. Therefore, this periodic table of solar panel elements doubles as an effective checklist of items and questions to run by solar installers.

If the installation expert at the companies you’re vetting can answer questions about each of these items, you can trust they are working for a reputable company that will not just install the solar modules correctly and give you the best available deal, but also provide ample customer service after the installation.

This periodic table also helps homeowners examine parts of their residential solar system of which they’d likely be unaware otherwise. Contrary to popular belief, much more goes into making solar panels work effectively than the solar panels themselves. That’s why this table divides solar into three categories, helping homeowners understand the tripartite functions of residential rooftop solar: off-the-panel factors, on-the-panel factors, and system components that bridge these two elements.

The periodic table also clears up two major misconceptions that have baffled rooftop solar prospects for nearly a decade, bringing them closer to the real benefits of rooftop solar for their homes.

Many American solar companies have relied on solar cell imports from China, and many of these imported panels contain polycrystalline solar cells. Although these panels are slightly cheaper than their Mono-crystalline counterparts, they are far less efficient, and actually, diminish the return on savings homeowners can save with solar. Opting into polycrystalline solar panels will save homeowners money up-front, but it will diminish solar’s return on investment over time, as the panels are less efficient. Choosing a solar vendor who either manufactures or imports Mono-crystalline panels will be key for homeowners moving forward.

The table also clarifies one of the most misunderstood aspects of rooftop solar: how it actually saves consumers money.

Energy independence has several paths, but each begins with net metering: the method by which utility companies pay rooftop solar users for the energy they don’t use and send back to the grid for others to use. Although net metering rate returns have changed, they are still close to the 1:1 credit, making solar one of the easiest, effort-free ways to save money.

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