Defining Solar Energy:
Solar power is the conversion of solar energy into electrical or thermal energy. It is an abundant and highly environmentally friendly renewable energy accessible today.
Photovoltaic panels are the most frequent approach to harness solar energy's power. The panels use an electrical process that happens naturally in semiconductors (the "photovoltaic effect") to generate power from sunshine. Solar energy liberates electrons, which move through an electrical circuit to power electrical devices. They connect to the electrical grid and send electricity there.
Solar energy is employed in thermal applications in addition to photovoltaics for electricity generation. Solar cooling and heating systems use the sun's thermal energy to offer pool heating, cooling, hot water, and space heating.
Solar panels get used in various settings, including industrial, commercial, and residential. A community "solar farm" connects a utility-scale solar energy plant to residential consumers in some places where individual home solar installation is not practical.
How Does Solar Energy Function?
A solar panel is made up of a layer of silicon cells encased in glass and metal. The panel is devoid of any moving parts. When sunlight strikes the silicon cells of a solar panel, it sets electrons in the silicon in motion. The "photovoltaic effect" is caused by the migration of electrons, which causes a flow of direct current electricity. The D.C. electricity is then converted to A.C. electricity for use in your home by a solar inverter. Solar panels generate excess electricity, which is fed into the grid.
A Brief History of Solar Energy
In 1883, an American inventor named Charles Fitts created the first solar cell utilizing selenium as the semiconductor. The efficacy of the cell was less than 1%, and selenium made the cell prohibitively expensive. Research demonstrated that sunshine could be converted into power. New York City was the first place where this technology was used to install the first rooftop solar array in 1884. Solar electricity was overlooked mainly as a power source during the industrial revolution. With the start of the space race, this mentality shifted.
Bell Labs invented the first silicon photovoltaic cell in 1954. Since then, several state and federal incentives have helped drive down the cost of solar panels, resulting in the widespread use of the technology. Solar energy is more economical, accessible, and widely used in the United States.
The Cost of Solar Energy
Residential solar panel systems cost declined 63% between 2010 and 2018, according to the latest benchmark report by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Hardware prices fell 82%, and labor costs fell 77% during that period, accounting for a little more than half of the savings.
The federal Investment Tax Credit is one of the essential incentives offered to individuals and businesses engaged in solar energy (ITC). For the rest of 2020, the ITC allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar power system from your federal taxes. The federal ITC is presumed to be lowered down to 22% in 2022. In 2022, the ITC for commercial developments is presumed to stay at 10%.
In addition to the federal ITC, certain states and utilities offer extra incentives to assist cut the cost of solar energy even more, depending on your area.
Solar Energy: A source of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy, often known as clean energy, is derived from naturally replenishing sources such as sunshine, wind, and water. While renewable energy is frequently thought of as a new technology, it has long been utilized for heating, transportation, lighting, and other purposes.
Solar energy is a safe, low-cost, and renewable energy source. Solar energy can be used to generate electricity anywhere sunlight strikes the earth's surface. Solar energy is an endless source of power because of the direct sunlight.
Oil, gas, and coal are finite resources that have formed over thousands of years. They are gone once they've been used to generate electricity. Renewable resources never run out as long as the sun shines.
Solar and Storage
Solar panels capture the sun's energy and convert it to electricity. That only happens in the presence of sunlight. It's vital to save energy for later use. Thus, the ability to store solar energy (Solar + Storage) is crucial. Solar energy storage aids in balancing the supply and demand of electricity.
Solar batteries store energy to supply power during the night and when solar production is low.
Solar-plus storage systems are compatible with all solar panel installations and offer numerous benefits like energy reliability, grid resiliency, and lower-cost power.
Solar power is one of the most affordable, reliable, and clean ways to power an electric future in today's world, with a rising need for electricity throughout the home.
Why Go Solar
Save the Environment
Reduce Electric Bills
Raise Property Values
Reduce Utility Inflation
10 Things you Need to Know
What Are Solar Panels?
Types of Solar Panels
Where to Install
Net Metering for Home Solar Panels
Types of Solar Panel Installations
Is My Home a Good Fit for Solar?
Your Financing Options
Comparing Solar Loans vs. Solar Leases
Solar Financing Companies
Savings with Solar
Cost of Solar
Solar Incentives & Rebates
When to Go Solar
Solar Panel Payback Period
Why Compare Multiple Quotes for Solar
Evaluating Solar Panel Quality
Selecting Solar Panels
How to Choose a Solar Installer
Questions to Ask During Your Solar Installation
How Do Solar Batteries Work?
Should You Install Solar Batteries for Home Use?
Solar Battery Economics
Tax Credits and Incentives for Energy Storage
What is the Best Battery for a Solar Panel System?
Adding a Battery to Your Solar Panel System
Solar + Storage for Resiliency
Solar Operations and Maintenance
Solar Panel Cleaning
Solar Monitoring Systems
Solar O&M Packages
Independent Monitoring For Solar
Community Solar vs. Rooftop Solar
Community Solar Pricing Models
What to Look For
Why Use a Community Solar Marketplace