The angle at which a solar panel faces the sun determines how much energy it will receive.The angle at which a solar panel faces the sun determines how much energy it will receive. (Image: ULTRA.F/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
The sun provides a huge amount of energy as its rays touch the Earth's surface. But the quantity of energy that you can harness is another matter. The efficiency of solar cells, their arrangement, and the amount of sunlight they receive all affect their output. Before deciding whether solar panels are a good choice to save you money, determine if you can fully power your home with solar panel electricity.
Determine your solar panels' efficiency rate. The amount of energy that can be taken in and converted into electrical energy per solar panel is its efficiency. For photovoltaic solar cells, efficiency can reach about 19 percent. But for concentrated photovoltaic cell panels, or CPV panels, the efficiency can exceed 40 percent. Whether you are creating your own panels or purchasing pre-made panels, determine the efficiency per cell of the panels you plan to install. Keep in mind when choosing what type of panels to use that CPV panels usually require more work to set up, and more land, as they are designed to concentrate sunlight on a specific panel.