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Guide to Buy the Right Solar Panel System for Your Home

Guide to Buy the Right Solar Panel System for Your Home

As electricity bills soar, more and more are opting for solar panel systems. In addition, there are some who are opting for this source of energy for one other reason – clean energy. 

There’s no questioning that having a solar panel system at home can reduce your electricity cost. Also, it is a reliable power backup option. However, despite their soaring demand, not everyone knows how to choose the best solar panel system for their home. If you’re one of them, this blog is for you. 

What to look for when buying solar panels? Which is the right solar system for my home? Here, you’ll find most of the answers regarding solar panel buying guide. 

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Check feasibility

Before you get a solar panel system for your home, it is important to check their feasibility. There are mainly two things you need to check.

  1. Available space
  2. Sunlight

You can contact any solar panel selling company or ask their technician to know how much space is required to install the solar system at home. It depends upon the size of system you require. Number and size of solar panels vary as per the system size so it is important to see if you have required space for this purpose.

Then, you need to check the availability of sunlight. In most areas of Pakistan, there is enough sunlight available to cater the needs of an average household. 

Which system to choose?

There are three main types of solar systems for households. 

  • Off Grid
  • On Grid/net metering system
  • Hybrid

Off grid

It is the system in which solar panels are attached to a battery via an inverter. It is not integrated with the main electricity grid. This system provides direct power in the daytime and charges the battery as well. You get electricity backup in the case of a power outage due to batteries attached with it. You need larger batteries for this solar panel setup as you are not using power from the grid. Due to the larger batteries, its price is generally higher.

On Grid / net metering system

It is the system in which your system is connected with the main power grid through a net metering system. There isn’t any battery involved in this system. Excessive electricity your solar panel system produces is transferred to the main grid in exchange for electricity from the grid in exchange for units. You can consume those units in the night when there is no sunlight. This reduces the electricity bill significantly.

The drawback of this system is no electricity backup. You will have to get a separate UPS or generator for power backup.

Hybrid (net metering + batteries)

Hybrid solar panel systems are highly popular as they offer all the benefits of both systems without inheriting their drawbacks. It charges the battery as well as transfers electricity to the main grid via a net metering system. 

The system works by providing enough power to take the house load completely. After that, the solar inverter in the system charges the batteries. When the batteries are charged, it transfers the excessive electricity to the main grid. So, it is considered the most efficient system. But it is also quite expensive.

Depending upon the requirements, you can choose any one of the above-mentioned system types for your home. 

Size or capacity of solar panel system

Here comes a big factor that confuses many people. Size of the solar system is a pretty significant factor you need to consider before making your buying decision. It mainly depends upon your electricity consumption.

From the average electricity bill, you can calculate the average monthly electricity units (kW) consumed. With this average, you can easily calculate daily average electricity unit consumption (kW) by dividing the number with 30. The following table shows which system you should get as per the daily unit consumption. 

Daily Units Consumption (kW)Capacity (Watts) Approximately
1250W
51,250W / 1.25kW
102,500W / 2.5kW
205,000W / 5kW
4010,000W / 10kW
8020,000W / 20kW

Solar Batteries

If you are going to get an off-grid or a hybrid system, battery capacity is an important element. 

Capacity of the battery (kWh) depends upon the backup time you need. You can get batteries with larger capacity if you need more backup time in the case of power outage. However, you should also consider the recommendations of the manufacturer.

There are many types of solar batteries such as gel, dry, lithium-ion, etc. Lithium ion batteries are the best but come at a higher price. Different solar panel systems require specific types and quantities of batteries. 12V batteries are the most common one in this regard. 

Click here to buy the Solar Batteries of your choice.

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Solar Inverters

A solar inverter converts the variable DC electric signals from the solar panel cells into a usable frequency of alternating current (AC). Choosing the right inverter is very important too. Generally, the inverter and solar panel have the same number. If you are getting a 5kW solar panel system for your home, you are most likely to get a 5kW inverter as well. It is important to get an inverter with a faster charging rate. 

Calculate your power usage kWh (Wattage)

It is easier to get an estimate of power usage from your electricity bill. However, you can also calculate your power usage with respect to different electric appliances. Here is the estimated wattage of different appliances. 

AppliancesWattages ~AppliancesWattages ~
Ceiling Fans80Amplifier450
Bracket Fans60Camera10
Bracket Fans – Heavy Duty450DVR/NVR50
Exhaust Fans50Door Bell10
Exhaust Fans – 18 Inch410Biometric Device20
LED Lights15TV LED 60
Tube Lights25Water Dispenser 300
Search Lights80Room Fridge150
Energy Saver Lights20Fridge450
SMD – Lights7Freezer600
Safety Lights50E. Water Cooler Vertical600
CPU250Submersible Pump2500
Monitor  – LCD50Water Pump1500
Laptop70Water Pump (Double Impeller)2500
Printer700Air Cooler550
Scanner150A.C Conventional (1 Ton) 1700
Xerox Copier2000A.C Conventional (1.5 Ton)2500
Projector500A.C Conventional (2 Ton) 3400
Server 500A.C Inverter (1 Ton)1200
Tele Exchange12A.C Inverter (1.5Ton)1800
Fax – Machine250A.C Inverter (2 Ton)2400

Solar Energy Production Throughout the Year 

Solar energy production varies in different months. Here is the average electricity production of a 5kW solar panel system.

MonthsUnits produced by a
5kW Solar Panel System (Approx.)
January250-300
February450-500
March500-550
April600-650
May900-950
June900-950
July830-880
August750-800
September600-650
October500-550
November300-350
December300-350

Panel Types (Cells)

Photo credits: codibly.com

Types of panels have huge significance. It is important to pay proper attention to it when getting solar panels for your home. Efficiency, price, production rate, etc. depends upon their type. Here are the 4 types that you will find in the market. 

1.Concentrated PV Cell (CVP)

Highest efficiency / most expensive

2.Monocrystalline Solar Panels (Mono-SI)

2nd highest efficiency / expensive

3.Polycrystalline Solar Panels (p-Si)

2nd lowest efficiency / economical

4.Thin-Film: Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels (A-SI)

Lowest efficiency / cheap

Panel Size

Panel size and production capacity matter a lot. You should go for a panel that has a larger size. But keep in mind that many panels have a large size but produce almost the same amount of energy as the smaller ones. So, get the panel that produces more energy among the others.

Quality

No doubt, quality matters a lot when selecting a solar panel. We are talking about the quality of panels (plates), inverters, and batteries. It is linked with the manufacturer you select. Choose the brand that is trusted in the market. It is also important to get the panels from a brand that provides more warranty. 

In the market, you will find many Chinese panels. You have to ensure that the panel has A or A+ quality if you want to choose an economical Chinese solar system for your home. 

Direction of Panels

Though the technician is the best person to help you with this, generally south is the best direction for your solar panels to face. However, it can be changed depending upon different factors. The idea is to get the maximum sunlight. It is the reason why the panels are placed at an angular position. 

Custom Made Vs Ready Made Structure

An important thing to consider is the structure or frame on which the solar panels are going to be installed. There are two options – ready made and custom made. Many choose the second option as they can choose the quality of the frame and get it designed specifically as per the space available. This helps in maximizing the utilization of space but increases the cost as well.

Solar Panel Price in Pakistan

Solar panel price varies depending upon the company, warranty, panel quality, system type, etc. Generally, the average price of a simple on-grid (without batteries) 1kW system is Rs.100,000. Here is a chart that shows the average price of different solar panels in Pakistan.

On-grid solar panel price in Pakistan

Solar PanelsAverage price in Pakistan
(Brands / Good Quality)
Average price in Pakistan
(Average quality)
1kW (on-grid)Rs.100,000 to 150,000 Rs.80,000 to 130,000
5kW (on-grid)Rs.600,000 to 1,000,000Rs.450,000 to 600,000
10kW (on-grid)Rs.1300,000 to 1,700,000Rs.900,000 to 1,300,000

Hybrid solar panel price in Pakistan

Solar PanelsAverage price in Pakistan
(Brands / Good Quality)
Average price in Pakistan
(Average quality)
1kW (hybrid)Rs.180,000 to 250,000Rs.120,000 to 180,000
5kW (hybrid)Rs.1,100,000 to 1,400,000Rs.900,000 to 1,100,000
10kW (hybrid)Rs.2,500,000 to 3,500,000Rs.1,800,000 to 2,500,000

Off-grid solar panel price in Pakistan

Solar PanelsAverage price in Pakistan
(Brands / Good Quality)
Average price in Pakistan
(Average quality)
1kW (off-grid)Rs.170,000 to 250,000Rs.100,000 to 170,000
5kW (off-grid)Rs.1,050,000 to 1,400,000Rs.900,000 to 1,050,000
10kW (off-grid)Rs.2,400,000 to 3,500,000Rs.1,700,000 to 2,400,000

Prices of off-grid solar panel systems are higher due to larger batteries (with more capacity) required in this system. Installation, earthing, boring, etc. prices are generally included in the packages provided by different manufacturers and sellers.

Note: These prices are just for reference. Actual prices may vary depending upon various factors such as quality, type, batteries, etc.

Summary

There are a variety of reasons why solar panel systems are becoming popular in Pakistan. A few years ago, you would see these panels only on the roofs of the rich and famous; now, even the middle classes are opting for them. There are some important factors everyone must understand before getting solar panels for their home. This guide is enough for a first time buyer.

You can choose from various Solar Panels available on OLX Pakistan.

Do you have such a system at home? What was your main consideration when buying a solar panel system? Share your thoughts and other useful information with readers here. 

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