How Solar Works

We are living in a time of revolutionary technological advances; this includes a change in what kind of energy we are using. The use of fossil fuels has caused many a conflict, whether through the destruction of nature or a people’s bank accounts. This has led to a surge in popularity in solar energy being obtained. Let’s take a closer look at solar energy being used in the household.

HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK?

  1. Photovoltaic Cells – the photovoltaic (PV) cells absorb sunlight and use this energy to generate electricity.
  2. Inverter – this takes the electricity generated by the solar cells and changes them into alternating current (AC).
  3. Electrical Panel – the AC is then sent to power the lights and appliances within your house.
  4. The Meter – Your meter will measure the amount of energy used.

THE BASICS OF SOLAR ENERGY

Solar Cells

Where energy absorption begins, the photovoltaic cells aka solar cells. The cells are made of a semiconductor material, with crystalline silicon being the most common. To ensure maximum sunlight absorption, the panels will be installed on the roof.

Cells, Modules & Panels

A solar module, or PV module, is made of connected solar cells. The total number of cells in a module will vary, as will the module’s effectiveness. Because a single solar module can only produce so much electricity, multiple modules are often interlocked to create a larger solar panel.

From DC to AC

The electricity generated by the solar panels is direct current (DC), which in turn will need to be converted over alternating current (AC) for it to be able to be used within the household; this is accomplished through the inverter. United Solar will ensure that you receive the best possible inverter for your price range.

Measuring with The Meter

Now obviously an electrical meter is used to measure the intake of electricity within a house so the utility company can bill you the proper amount. This, however, is a bi-directional, in that you will see both electricity from the grid and the solar PV system used. When the PV electricity system is used any excess will go back into the grid, this is known as “net metering,” and the utility company will credit your bill for the excess electricity generated.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How do I find out how much I pay for electricity?

A: The easiest way to find out how much you pay for electricity (and how much electricity you use per month) is to take a look at your utility electricity bill.

Q: How does solar impact my property values?

A: Studies have shown that homes with solar energy systems sell for more than homes without them. However, your property value will only increase if you own, rather than lease, your solar panel system.  See Berkeley Labs Study:  https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/selling-sun-price-premium-analysis

Q: Do my solar panels produce power when the sun is not shining?

A: The amount of power your solar energy system can generate is dependent on sunlight. As a result, your solar panels will produce slightly less energy when the weather is cloudy, and no power at night.

Q: Do solar panels work in a blackout?

A: If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are specific inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.

Q: Can I afford to go solar?

A: If you can afford to pay your electricity bill you can afford to go solar. $0-down solar financing options, including both solar loans and solar leases, make it easy for homeowners with proper credit to start saving on their electricity bills by going solar.

Q: What if I move or have to cancel?

A: When you move, you can keep your share of the solar community project as long as your new home is within the same service area. If you run outside of the service area, you will have to sell your share (if you own it), transfer a subscription to another account, or potentially pay an early cancellation fee (if you choose a subscription-based model). Cancellation terms vary by project and provider.