solar panel

Solar panel facts

Just how far does your solar panel knowledge extend? At some point, you may have wondered what solar panels are made of or even when they were made. If that is the case, then you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading to find out, because, in this article, we are going to fill you in on the essential what, when, and how facts of solar panels. Let’s begin!

solar panel

What are solar panels made of?

Solar panels are made up of semiconductors that are capable of converting light into energy. These semiconductors are referred to as solar cells.

The first solar cell ever created was made of the element Selenium; however, it was not a very efficient energy source. It did, however, demonstrate the capability of specific materials to use the sun as a way to produce electricity.

Most commercial solar panels today use silicon coated with other metals as a semiconductor; this is one of the most renowned ways to create solar cells in the solar power field today. A large group of solar cells forms a solar module, and a large group of solar modules forms a complete solar panel.

When was the first solar panel created?

The first solar cell was created in 1829 by the French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel, and after his findings, many scientists furthered his work by designing more efficient cells. This research led up to Jan Czochralski’s development of the first single-crystal silicon cell in 1918 (much like the cells we use today). And finally, the first solar panel was developed in the 1950’s and used to help power the world’s first solar-powered satellite in 1958.

solar panel

How much do solar panels cost?

Solar panels are priced by wattage. The price of solar panels continues to decline year after year, but as of now, the standard rate for a panel is calculated by the wattage.

Let’s say, the cost per watt is $1. This means that a 100-watt panel costs $100 and a 1000 watt panel costs $1000. Of course, prices vary from place to place, but this is a reliable average.

Furthermore, this amount only reflects the panel itself; there are a lot of accessories that are required to run a complete solar power setup. For an entire installation, you would be looking at more than triple the price of just the panels alone.

solar panel

What is the largest solar power plant?

To protect the environment and save money on the cost of energy, many countries have built solar power plants. One of the largest power plant in the world is Golmud Desert Solar Park. 

Located in the desert to the East of Golmud in Qinghai Province, China, this park accommodates at least 55 solar power plants with a combined capacity of over 1,800 MWAC. It includes a 200 MWP plant by Huanghe – the largest individual solar power plant in the world, when it was first built in 2011.

It is not known what the final capacity will be, but the overall area would be sufficient for an eventual 4 to 5 GW.

Will Solar Panels Save Me Money?

The short and simple answer is yes, but only under certain conditions.

Can Your Building Support it?

The first question to answer is whether or not you own the building. If not, installing solar panels on a property that isn’t yours probably won’t be possible.

If you do own the building, the next step is to get it inspected by an engineer to make sure the roof is structurally sound. A new building shouldn’t be a problem, but you may need to make some improvements if your company is housed in one that’s a couple of decades old.

The final step in determining whether your building can support a solar system is to consider the size of the property. Businesses consume much more energy than residential buildings, so they need larger commercial systems.

Long-Term Investment

If your goal is to save money by installing solar panels for your businesses or your home – you should look at it as a long-term investment. Because you’ll have to pay for a solar panel installation upfront, you’ll put a dent in your wallet, and this is probably not saving money in any way, shape, or form immediately.  The saving will obviously come, but it will take a bit of time to get there.

Savings Statistics

The cost of electricity varies from state to state, but regardless, after at least 25 years of solar panel ownership, you will be able to save a significant amount of money.

One of the example is – On Feb 2020, Trilect solar installed a 65kWp solar system for Ons Dorp retirement village. The project was installed in 3 weeks and will generate ~90,000kWh of energy per year and offset Co2 emissions of 9,000kg per year. The system will save approximately $14,500 per year from the energy costs in the building and will continue to save money as energy prices increase.

Location Matters

Where is your business located? Some parts of New Zealand are more solar-friendly than others. Sunny regions provide more sunshine hours for your solar panels to soak up and convert to energy. On the other hand, regions with less amount of sun may not make as much sense.

Even if you’re in a high amount of sun’s regions, that’s not all that matters. Your actual building also needs to be out of the shade. If it’s located in a forested area, or the roof is often obscured by the shadows of other buildings, then the simple truth is that your company is not a good fit for solar power.

Going Solar? Make sure you get the right Solar Energy Company

Before you can decide which company you want to work with, it’s a good idea to shop around and make an informed decision about who your provider will be. But, what makes a good solar energy company?

A Reputable History

Companies that have been around longer will tend to understand the industry much better than newer ones. They will be able to ride out the ups and downs of the economy and have a much better chance of keeping themselves afloat as compared to companies that are just starting out.

Also, their time spent in the solar energy field shows that they are dedicated to their craft and will not bail out on you. It would be a shame for you to work with a newer company that goes under and ends up not having the time to assist you with whatever complications may arise. Companies with a distinguished history are much more reliable overall.

Experienced Technicians

Experience goes a long way, and you will want a company that is willing to send their most qualified technicians to handle your installation.

Some companies hire subcontractors to do the work for them, and this can quickly lead to a poor solar system setup. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask companies how they will handle the physical labour part of the job. Their willingness to send their best workers in to install your solar panels is always a good sign.

A Solid Energy Plan

The best solar energy companies will do their research and build a solid energy plan for your specific needs.

Solar energy systems can vary in size and power output; thus, it’s crucial to know how much power your home/ business will require and how you’ll need to adjust your lifestyle to meet the demands of solar living.

You’ll want to work with a company that understands your goals and establishes a plan to help you achieve them.

commercial solar


Trilect Solar is a division of Trilect Services, New Zealand’s master electrician since 1997.

We are members of the Sustainable Energy Association of New Zealand (SEANZ) which offers additional peace of mind to our customers.

Trilect Electrical Services is a large electrical service company which is a member of the Master Electricians & Mastercraft network with 40 employees and a 20+ years history of customer satisfaction.

We do not use sub-contractors. All of the installations will be carried out by our experienced team.

Trilect Solar offers a customised energy plan that works for your home/ business.

Get started now by booking a free on-site consultation.

Request Your On-site Consultation 

Or call us on   (09) 271 2493