Solar energy is a clean, renewable, and reliable source of energy, which may lower the cost of your electricity bill. Not only is solar energy very competitive with other energy forms in terms of cost, but it is also more environmentally friendly as it reduces greenhouse gases and lowers your carbon footprint. In addition, photovoltaic (PV) modules, which are used to absorb solar energy, contain no moving or wearing parts. As a result, the components require little maintenance and last for decades.
A Photovoltaic (PV) system is one of the components of a solar electric system. The system utilizes solar cells to convert solar light energy into electricity. The PV modules are comprised of semi-conducting materials that attract sunlight while freeing electrons from atoms. As the electrons flow through the material, electricity is produced. Typically, several PV modules are combined to generate electricity for a single structure.
Renewable energy is all energy that is created through a renewable source. Energy that does not have a limited supply (such as the sun, wind and other sources) and do not pollute the environment, are considered renewable energy.
Non-renewable energy is all energy that is created through a non-renewable source. For instance, we have a limited supply of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Non-renewable energy also emits harmful greenhouse gases which have adverse effects on the environment.
There are several factors which will determine whether your home is a good location for a solar electric system. A location which has unobstructed access to the sun between 9:00am – 5:00pm is optimal. In the U.S. the sun is in the southern half of the sky, so it is essential to look for obstructions on the southern side of your home. Essentially, solar power systems may be installed on a flat composite: tar and gravel, bitumen, composite shingle, cement tile, or metal roof top. In most cases, solar panels are installed parallel to the surface of the roof. Since the orientation of your solar system is of great importance, the best position for the system would be the area of the roof that faces south. However, roofs that face east or west are also acceptable.
The typical solar panel and mounting equipment weigh less than 3.0 pounds per square feet, so they add very little weight to your roof. In very rare circumstances, older homes may require structural work prior to installing a system. If necessary, will help you conduct a more detailed engineering assessment.
The amount of roof space needed is dependent on the size or generating capacity of the solar system. For a residential system, the size of the system varies from 150 to 1,000 square feet. Generally, a 2,000 watt system would require approximately 200 square feet of roof space. The number of kilowatts needed depends on the amount of energy used. For instance, the typical Southern California home can calculate an approximation of system size by dividing the monthly electricity use by 150.
In general, a solar system will produce the most electricity in the summer since sunlight hours are the longest during this time. Depending on location, a 1 kW system can produce from 1,400 kWh to 2,000 kWh per year.
Solar systems produce the most electricity when the sun is out. Power may be significantly reduced on cloudy days; however, the system should still be able to generate some power if sunshine is present.
Since photovoltaics generate electricity through light and not heat, the system actually works well in cold weather environments. The solar system may even generate more power in lower temperatures because, similar to most electronics, it operates more efficiently in the cold.
Watts are units of power measured over one second. If one watt of electric power is used per hour, the total volume of power consumed is expressed as one watt hour, or 1Wh. Similarly, 1,000 watts of power is expressed as one kilowatt (1kW) and 1,000 watt hours as one kilowatt hour (1kWh). If a 2kW system produces power continuously for five hours, the total volume of power generated is expressed as 10kWh.
Because each solution is unique, system prices vary. Some factors that influence the total cost of your system are: the size of the system; local permits (where applicable); installation requirements; size, type and layout of the roof. Please click here for a free quote.
Both the state and federal government provide incentives for customers interested in solar whether it be for residential or commercial use. With the rapid increase in demand for solar, the incentive levels are dropping rapidly and federal credits are set to expire. Now is the opportune to take advantage of these incentives while they are still available. Please click here for more information on state rebates/incentives.
In California and other solar-friendly states you do not need to pay property tax on your solar system. However, you can claim the value the solar system adds to your home.
The typical payback period on a solar system is between four to ten years. It may vary, however, depending on the electrical usage, electric rate schedule, and the cost of the system. In general, a higher electric bill translates to a greater return on the investment and a quicker payback. Also, by financing your solar system, you may experience gross savings as early as the first year. Rather than paying your monthly electric bill, you will be making monthly payments to your solar system. Over time, you will begin to pay less for your loan than what you are currently paying on your utility bill. The yield on initial return on investment is 7 to 11 percent. If your utility rates continue to increase, your return will also increase.
Solar cells are small, square-shaped panels that can convert light directly into electricity. Solar PV Panels consist of dozens of solar cells. These cells are composed of silicon and other conductive materials. They are manufactured in thin layers of film and are arranged into square-shaped panels and larger PV arrays. When sunlight strikes these panels (which can be mounted to a tracking device that follows the movement of the sun), chemical reactions aggravate resting electrons and the result is a consumable current. Solar cells can also be used in the form of rooftop shingles, roof tiles, building facades, and glazing for skylights or atria while still maintaining the integrity of the originally used materials.