How to make solar panels look good on your roof

Array of alternative energy photovoltaic solar panels on roof of residential house

Solar Panels – Pvs At Work

What is PV solar power? You have heard the term, but you are unsure as to its meaning. You are vaguely aware that solar power has something to do with making energy from sunlight. But what is PV solar power? Is it different from other kinds of solar power?

PV solar power is different from other types. Of the two main categories of solar power, active and passive, PV solar power is active. Let’s look at it.

Solar Panel

Active solar power relies on solar panels. You may picture them as flat, rectangular boxes on rooftops.

There are two main types of solar panel. From a distance, both look like rectangular boxes. Both convert sunlight into energy, but in two different ways. The terms for the two solar panel types are solar thermal collector and photovoltaic module.

1. Solar thermal collector: This solar panel takes in solar energy from the sun and uses it to heat air or water.

2. Photovoltaic module: This second type of solar panel collects solar energy and converts it to usable electricity.

Meet the PV

To answer the question, what is PV solar power, we must know what the PV is. The short answer is that PV refers to a photovoltaic module. “P” is for photo and “V” for voltaic.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionay defines “photovoltaic” this way.

“of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.”

In simpler terms, “photo” refers to sunlight and “voltaic” refers to electrical energy. PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. Sunlight flows into the solar panel. Electrical energy flows out of the solar panel.

A PV solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic (light to volts) cells. These cells are electrically connected, and then covered with glass. The glass provides electrical insulation. It is also good protection from weather and other damaging forces.

When minimal energy is needed, such as that necessary to power a small appliance, a single PV solar panel is sufficient. When more power is needed, an “array” of solar panels is created by connecting panels to one another. If the power will not be supplied to the power grid, the solar panel(s) is connected to a charge controller, and battery. If it is intended for on-grid use, the solar panel array will be connected to an electrical inverter.

What Is PV Solar Power?

PV solar power is solar energy in the form of sunlight, which has been collected by a photovoltaic module, and converted into usable electricity.

Conventional silicon solar panels convert about 14 to 17 percent of sunlight into usable electricity. That isn’t much. Late in 2006, however, a new solar cell was introduced. Solar panels that utilize the new cell can convert into electricity 22 percent of the sunlight they collect. Theoretically, the maximum that the cells of a solar panel can convert is said to be around 26 to 27 percent of incoming sunlight.

How does it work? Let’s look at a very simple explanation.

Each photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits those cells, a certain part of the sunlight is absorbed by those silicon cells. The cells take in that part of the sunlight’s energy. The cells then transfer the absorbed sunlight’s energy to the electrons in the silicon. The electrons begin to flow, and this creates an electrical current. Metal contacts built into the top and bottom of the PV cells draw off that current and it is sent to the grid or battery. It is now usable electricity. The power grid sends it on its way, if you have used an on-grid connection. If you are using a battery, it is stored in the battery awaiting your need.

PV solar power is being used increasingly with great success, and while it is true that cloud cover can affect it, the cloudy country of Germany leads the world in the successful use of solar panels. Why not find out about the options available to you from your local solar panel provider or contact a reputable national solar panel company on their Medium page or get on their website or social media blog for a more immediate response.

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Types of Home Improvement Finance

Are ready to finally start that home improvement project but don’t have the cash on hand to complete your desired renovations? it’s time to start thinking about home improvement finance. Home improvements can certainly be expensive. There are a variety of options when it comes to financing your home improvements.

types of home improvement finance

Here’s what you should know about the different types of home improvement finance.

Mortgage Refinance

If you could benefit from refinancing your mortgage, possibly with lower interest rates, this could the best option for your home improvement financing. It’s important to take into consideration the costs of renovation that are spread over the years. Of course, you don’t want to be repaying the costs of your home improvements for longer than those renovations will actually last.

Home Equity Line of Credit

If refinancing your mortgage isn’t an option, or you have great rates already, a home equity line of credit may be a great option for you to get those home renovations completed. There are a few considerations with a home equity line of credit. With this home improvement finance, your equity line allows you to draw money out for your renovations as required. You simply pay it back at your own pace. It’s important to remember that if you don’t make the required minimum monthly payments, you could lose your home. This type of financing for your home improvements should be carefully thought out.

Construction Loan

A construction loan is a great option for new home building or when you’re starting a major renovation that will require more funding than what’s available from the equity on your home. This type of home improvement financing may be difficult to find, and they can be quite cumbersome. Funding for this type of short-term financing is only released once pre-set stages of work are completed, and when the renovation is complete. This loan is generally transferred into a traditional mortgage.

Borrow from your 401 (k)

Most retirement programs, like 401 (k), have options to borrow from the savings account. This allows you to repay the amount over a period of time. The payments are generally deducted directly from your paychecks. It’s important to keep in mind that if you ever leave your position, the remaining balance of your 401 (k) loan will be due immediately.

Credit Cards

Your credit cards may be a valuable, and beneficial, source for funding your smaller home improvement projects. In some cases, the rewards some credit cards offer from the amounts you spend can come in handy. At the very least, use your credit cards to pay for the materials needed for your project. The reward points can offer additional benefits while giving you the opportunity to pay the balance off over time.

Contractor Financing

This financing option for home improvements should really only happen as a last resort. While some contractors will offer their assistance to arrange the funding for your project through their relationships with finance companies, this often comes at a very steep price. So keep your finances organized and your banking information handy when considering the investment.

How Much Does Home Remodeling Cost

So you’ve been thinking of remodeling your home, but haven’t moved much further than that stage because you’re unsure of the cost? To help you get ready to get moving on those big plans of yours we’ve gathered the best information to help you answer the question: How Much Does Home Remodeling Cost?

home remodeling cost

Here’s what you should know about the numbers.

The Cost of Home Remodeling

There are some areas of your home that can be incredibly expensive to renovate, and others that can be done with a minimal investment. Of course, specific numbers can be difficult to estimate simply due to the wide-ranging factors that can affect your costs. For window replacement, an example would be comparing Marvin window prices & costs that can be very specific costs layouts to make.

Some cost affecting factors will include size and scope of the project, regional location, the specific contractor used, as well as, materials and finishes chosen. Here are some of the most common areas of your home that you may be thinking of remodeling.


Kitchens are often the hub of the home, and the first on a homeowners mind when thinking about starting a renovation. Major kitchen renovations can have a budget of $50,000 or more, depending on appliances and materials chosen. For smaller projects, it’s wise to imagine an initial budget starting around $10,000.


Bathrooms are another area that can get wildly expensive to remodel if you aren’t mindful of the budget. Depending on finishing and material choices, as well as, any additional features like a steam shower, your costs can range from $9,000 to as much as $20,000 or more.


Installing new flooring is the perfect project to give your home the look it deserves. If you are considering new wood flooring, you should expect your project to range anywhere from $2,500 – $4,500 or more according to and more specifically their flooring costs guide, wood flooring will be more expensive than laminate alternatives.

Electrical Upgrades

Your home’s electrical system and its integrity are essential to the safety, well-being, and overall comfort of your family and home. While this isn’t the most glamorous renovation project, it is necessary- and a wise investment. Depending on the size of your home, and complexity of the project, you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to as much as $5,000 or more according to research from

The Contractor

The contractor you choose for your home remodeling project should also factor into your budget. A general contractor will supervise and oversee your entire project, leaving you to place your focus on what matters most day to day. General contractors will typically charge 10% – 15% of the total budget to handle your home remodel.

Where to Begin Small Jobs Like Chimney Repairs

Home improvement is no different than any other type of improvement. You have to start with what you have and try to make it better.

You love your home. Home improvement projects are ways to love your home even more. Even with a heart full of dreams, you want to approach your project with wisdom.

where to begin home improvement

Take Notes and Notice Opportunity

One home may have a great need in the family room. Or, perhaps your home requires work on its foundation. You need a list of priorities.

You can get this list created with the “walk through” approach. Walk around your home with a notepad and create a list of areas where your home could be improved.

Then, after you’ve got your punch list, it is time to rank your priorities. Be sure you share your prioritizing efforts with other decision-makers. These could be family members, tenants, or roommates.

Rank your Options by Budget and Need.

Sure, your kitchen remodel dreams may be at the top of your “wish list” but you also must be reasonable. Weigh your planned home-improvement budget against the estimated project cost for each need. Once you have all of this information in a single location, you’ll be able to make the proper decisions.

You may wish to start with something big like a new kitchen, a garage conversion or a finished basement. Or, you may wish for a handful of smaller improvements, such as a chimney repair thereby spreading out your budget. Each home is different and each individual affected by the decision will have a say in this.

Open ears and an open mind will prepare you for compromise and agreement.

Speak with a Real Estate Agent about Property Value

Are you hoping your property value will increase after your work is complete? Depending on where you live, this might be quite possible. A trusted real estate agent will be capable of predicting your home’s future value. Let your agent know what you plan on changing and they can tell you what you should expect.

Proper Contractor Vetting: Best Practices

  • Skip any provider who is not registered as a business entity. Be sure you’re vetting your providers on sound reasoning. You’re not the judge of a popularity contest. Rather, your home is on the line. Pay special attention to your needs and any possible legal ramifications.
  • Seek referrals from neighbors. The old saying about re-inventing the wheel applies here. Neighbors are a treasure-trove of information about so many things. Knock on your neighbor’s door and see what recommendations you may find.
  • Begin work after you have a signed contract, vetted by a lawyer or legal secretary. You might be wondering what you should include in your contract. Your contract should detail the budget, timeline, and legal aspects. Depending on your project cost, you may invest in a lawyer to draft your contract. Otherwise, you may find contract templates which you can modify to your liking.

A home improvement project is exciting, risky and rewarding. The emotions you face along the way will challenge you. Yet, you’ll also find excitement at the possibilities of what is to come. Take proper precautions and you’ll love your results.

How To Choose The Right Paint Finish

So you’ve finally decided to take the leap and start on that painting project you’ve been thinking about for such a long time. But now that you’ve started doing some color and comparison shopping you realize there’s a lot more to choose from than just the color.

choose the right paint finish

Now, you have to decide which finish you want for each room, and yes, the finish does make a difference! Choosing the right paint finish for your project is important to a lasting success. So, how do you know which paint finish is right for your project? Here’s what you should know about how to choose the right paint finish.

What is the Right Paint Finish?

The type of paint finish you choose will largely depend on the conditions your paint will need to withstand. Certain paint finishes will stand up better in kitchens while others are best suited for the bedrooms or family rooms. Here are the basics on each paint finish and which rooms they are best suited for.

Flat or Matte

A flat enamel offers a durable matte finish. This finish brings a bit more depth in the color tone, and when dry, the matte finish will display your chosen color in a slightly truer tone. Stains are a little more difficult to remove from this type of paint finish because the non-reflective surface is more porous than other finishes, allowing dirt and debris to be trapped more easily. This can make cleaning more challenging, so it’s important to keep this in consideration when choosing the right paint finish for your project. A matte finish is best suited for low-traffic areas like bedrooms and guestrooms.


This finish mimics the sheen on the shell of an egg – hence the name. Offering the slightest hint of a shine, this paint finish will tolerate cleaning better than a matte or flat finish. Often the go-to choice for businesses and homeowners alike, an eggshell finish offers the best of both worlds – excellent color saturation with the ability to tolerate cleaning very well. An eggshell finish is great for clean, smooth walls in low-traffic areas like bedrooms, home offices, and dining rooms.


A satin finish will deliver a smooth, velvety look, with durability to tolerate cleaning and even light scrubbing well. Most often, this finish is chosen for windows, doors, and trim. This type of paint finish is great for kids’ rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms due to its durability, resistance to humidity, and tolerance to frequent cleaning.

Semi or High Gloss

Just as the names sound, these two finishes offer a semi-reflective and a highly-reflective finish. Both finishes tolerate cleaning exceptionally well, but it’s important to note that application of these glossy finishes will require a lot more pre-paint wall preparation than other types of paint finishes. This finish is best suited for kitchens due to its durability and easy cleaning.