The Basics of Solar Energy Systems

Harnessing the sun’s power to make electricity once seemed like a futuristic dream, but today it is a growing reality for many around the globe. Experts predict that one in seven U.S. households will have a solar energy system by 2030.

There are many reasons homeowners choose to invest in the sun’s energy to fuel their homes. The environmental benefits are one apparent reason; however, there are many other benefits of solar energy. Some of them include:

  • Saving money on electric bills
  • Taking advantage of the tax benefits of solar panels
  • No longer needing to rely on the unreliable power grid
  • Adding value to their homes

Continue reading for basic information about solar panel installation, including how solar panels work, the different types of solar energy system, and a list of required items.

See Solar Energy: Mo’ Money (Not Mo’ Problems) For You?

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Have you ever heard of “photovoltaics?” It’s just a fancy word for the small solar cells that make up a solar panel (also known as P.V. cells). Each P.V. cell is made from silicon and contains a negatively (-) charged panel and a positively (+) charged panel. 

The sun’s rays first hit the solar cell’s negative panel. From there, electrons move toward the positive side. The free-flowing electrons that result are solar energy!

When electricity comes out of the solar panel, it is in the form of direct current (D.C.) electricity. However, our homes only run on alternating current (A.C.) electricity, so a solar inverter is required to convert the D.C. power into A.C. power for our homes.

Types of Solar Energy System

People install three main types of solar system for home:

  • Grid-tied Solar System – is connected to the utility grid and provides overflow energy back to the utility.
  • Hybrid Solar System – is connected to the utility grid and an offsite battery that can act as a backup to the system.
  • Off-grid Solar System – a battery only to store overflow power. 

What You Need for a Solar Panel Installation

As more homeowners are turning to this renewable energy source, demand has created new jobs, and solar panel costs have dropped nearly 70% since 2014. As a result, taking on a DIY commercial solar panel installation is becoming more commonplace.

Here is a list of items used in a home solar system:

  • Solar panels – collects the sun’s energy
  • Charge controller – regulates the voltage and current
  • Battery – stores power for backup operations
  • Inverter – converts D.C. power to A.C. power

Let the Sun Shine

Before investing in solar panel installation, consulting with a trained solar expert like Bright Planet Consulting is an excellent idea to ensure you have everything you need for a great solar experience.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful in understanding the basics of solar! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or want more information on going solar. Just 15-minutes of your time can result in thousands of dollars per year!

To compare solar financing options and see how much you can save, use our solar calculator below.

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