Residential Pieces & Parts
About Solar Energy (Photovoltaics or PV)
Photovoltaic (PV) is a combination of two words: Photon (light), and Voltage (energy). Not too long ago installing a solar energy system may have seemed a difficult task to accomplish.
These days, thanks to major advances in solar technology, it’s quite common to see more and more people having solar panels installed on their homes or business locations. They’re proud and happy because they generate their own free and clean power!
Back in the 70’s the energy crisis pushed solar PV to the forefront of energy generation choices, but the market eruption was strangled by prohibitive prices to the common customer. Today we are happy to finally see the renewable energy market explode. Despite the difficult technology, the manufacturing prices have dropped considerably. The efficiency of the solar cells has almost doubled allowing the world’s energy consumption to tap into a new and practically inexhaustible source… the sun!
Common tips and tricks to save energy are only helping to a certain extent.
To really eliminate your electric bill, you can have a solar PV system installed which saves you money by generating clean power. A solar system is designed to offset your power needs from the utility; so, by generating the power you need the goal is to eliminate the utility bill.
Some people see it as an investment for the future. You’d need to pay for your power generation, regardless! So why not pay towards something you own?
An investment in a solar system has a triple effect in the long run :
- It locks in your payment, protecting against price escalation;
- It adds value to your property, without increasing property taxes;
- It generates clean power, giving you a chance to contribute to the world’s effort against global warming.
How does solar PV power work?
The sun light hits the surface of the solar electric panels (1). PV stands for Photo Voltaic which means they are able to transform the sun light energy (Photo) into electrical energy (Voltaic).
The electricity generated from the solar panels flows in one direction only and we call it Direct Current or DC power. DC Power is the same type of power you will find in most cars, boats, or RV batteries. DC power is safe, easy to work with, and can be stored over long periods of time.
From the solar panels this DC power is harnessed to a device we call an inverter (2). The inverter transforms the DC power into Alternative Current or AC power which is compatible with the power we use in our homes and get from our utility.
The energy generated is then recorded via a data monitor (3) by one of three methods: your inverter, a wall mounted device, or this energy data can be logged into your computer via the internet.
Now it can be hooked up to the main service panel (4). So now every time there is light outside, your solar energy generating system will be generate electricity for your benefit. This power will be used primarily throughout the house right away. This is done through a breaker hookup into the main service panel.
Any excess energy is fed back into the utility. You neighborhood is receiving your green, clean, friendly power. As your solar electric system generates power, it has the capability to spin your utility meter backwards.
Why solar is a smart investment
Solar power has proven to be a very smart move these days. Having a solar electric system installed to meet your electric needs can be considered one of the safest investments home or business owners can make.
1) Why rent your electricity, when you can own and $ave. You could reduce or eliminate your monthly electric costs with solar panels, and earn credits from the utility for your excess power.
2) Solar electric panels add value. Adding an alternative energy solution will increases the resale value of your property and lasts at least 30 to 40 years.
3) End price manipulation. Decrease the use of foreign oil and minimize utility company price increases.
4) Existing financial incentives. Federal, state and local tax credits may be available for your solar electric solution.
5) Help save the planet. No pollution or harmful emissions. Use your house to save the environment. The typical home produces 350 tons of greenhouse gases over 25 years. You can make a difference!
6) Future generations. When our children look back on the world their parents left them … will they say, “Thank You”.
A while back, in the early 70’s, along the early days of energy crisis, solar power was viewed as a viable – but expensive – alternative. Back then it was actually called “Alternative Energy”. Due to technology advancements these days, manufacturing efficient solar panels has become more affordable and the price dropped from about $200/Watt to less than $10/W over the past 35 years.
At these prices, combined with the governmental incentives in place, a solar PV system is affordable to almost every home owner.
What’s the long term scenario? Over 70% of the conventional electricity these days is primarily generated by burning up coal or natural gas. Due to the limitation in fossil resources and the increase in fuel prices, the price of electricity has increased dramatically during the past five years. It is expected for the price of electricity to jump at unexpected heights within a few short years, making the ROI on a solar system as high as 16%.
It’s like buying your electricity upfront for the next 30-40 years, and paying only 8-10 years!
In fact, by going solar, all you have to do is switch the recipient of your checks: instead of paying the electric company, and never seen a return on your investment, change the name on the check, from your utility to your own line of credit. Simple, Smart and Tax Deductible!