SOLAR ENERGY BASICS
Together, We Produce Solar Energy
Each appliance you use operates on a rate of energy called a watt (W). For example, a typical computer and monitor uses 270W, a dishwasher with dry cycle 1000W, and a microwave 1500W. These appliances also require high spikes of energy when they are turned on.
Solar energy systems produce power in kilowatts (1 KW is equivalent to 1000 W), and the power they can produce is more than enough to power much, if not all, of your household energy needs. 1st Light Energy can help you understand your use of electricity while showing you how to produce clean energy through solar energy panels. The excess energy you produce is credited to you for use when your solar system is not producing (example: nighttime electrical needs). Your solar energy system will also attract others to produce energy and increase the amount of renewable energy available throughout the system. What a wonderful way to make a difference while becoming self-sufficient.
What are solar panels and how do they work?
Solar panels, typically made with crystalline silicon, which turn sunlight into electric energy. Solar cells, or photovoltaics (PVs), are arranged in grid like patterns on the surface of solar panels. During daylight hours, these cells collect sunlight and convert it to electricity. (Solarpanelinfo.com)
Can all homes use solar panels?
No, not all buildings are good candidates for solar panel systems. The roof or space where the solar panels will be installed must get direct sunlight without shading from trees in the area, and panels must be installed so they are facing south.
(U.S. Department of Energy)
How is solar power generated electricity stored?
Solar energy used to be a way to live “off the grid” in rural areas, with the sun’s energy stored in solar batteries. But now most homes with solar power are connected to the grid. Energy that isn’t used immediately is sold to the grid, with the meter running backwards to give the homeowner credit. When more energy is needed than what is being produced, the utility provides the electricity and the meter runs forward.
(National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy)
Is the market growing for solar energy?
2014 was the largest year ever for concentrating solar power, with 767 MW of capacity brought on-line. And in the first quarter of 2015 alone the market grew by an astounding 76%! Now, the US has the capacity to power 4.3 million homes, with California generating nearly ten times more solar energy than other states.
As the solar industry scales, prices drop, making solar panels a more affordable option than ever before. The solar energy trend is expected to continue through at least 2016, as more businesses and residences take advantage of the opportunity to save on energy costs and improve on efficiency in the most green–and golden–way.