Before you commit to solar, you may be interested in how solar panels work and how they benefit the environment. We've written a glossary and provided some links to help you learn more about solar!
WHAT IS WHAT? A BRIEF GLOSSARY OF SOLAR TERMS:
Solar PV-- PV stands for photovoltaic. This is a type of solar system that converts photons of sunlight into electricity.
Solar Panels-- These are what people think of when they think of solar. Solar panels typically go on your roof (although some arrays are on the ground) and capture the sunlight via photovoltaic cells made of silicon.
Inverter-- Solar panels produce direct current, or DC. This needs to be converted to alternating current, AC, in order to power your house/business. The inverter does just that. To help you remember, you can think of the rock band ACDC, but in reverse.
Solar array-- A solar array is the entire collection of solar panels that are on your roof.
Solar system-- The solar system is both the entire array of solar panels as well as the inverters and electrical work that are required to make your system work.
The grid-- What does it mean to go "off-grid" and what is the grid in the first place? The grid is short for electrical/utility grid, which is the interconnected network that delivers electricity from the power plant to your home. Think of power lines and poles and transformers. These are all part of the grid. When you have a solar system that is on the grid, this means that any power your system makes that you don't use goes onto the electrical grid for other customers of your same utility company to use.
Off-grid-- Contrary to an on-grid system, an off-grid system does not connect to the utility grid. With an off-grid system, your home will be completely powered by your solar panels. Keep in mind that these systems are usually more complicated than on-grid systems, as batteries, generators, etc are required.
Net-metering-- Net-metering is an electricity-billing mechanism that permits you to save money due to the power your solar panels produce that you do not use. When the excess power you produce goes onto the grid for other customers to use, your electric company will essentially pay you for the power you are producing, which helps to reduce your electric bill. Unfortunately, local politics and your utility company play a large role in whether or not net metering is offered in your area. We will inform you of the policies in your area and provide you with the information to determine if solar would be a good investment for you.
Your solar panels don't produce energy! Remember the 1st law of thermodynamics from your high school physics class? Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Solar panels convert energy from the sun to electrical energy via power from the panels.
The answer? Most likely! However, some homes may not be good candidates for solar, depending on how many hours of sun the roof gets per day, surrounding trees that produce shade, etc. We will evaluate your home in our free assessment and honestly advise you on whether or not your home would be a good candidate for solar.
Typically, the average lifespan for a solar array is about 30 years. Though solar panels do have a high up-front investment cost, with the low maintenance and the benefits your utility company provides for having solar, the simple payback period for a solar panel array is about 8-14 years, depending on your personal usage. This means that within a solar panel array's lifetime, it will pay for itself at least twice!
While other solar installers use solar panels made in many different countries, we only use North American solar panels. Why? The answer is simple! They are sourced locally in order to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, last longer, and are made by workers who are fairly paid in factories that are required to comply with strict environmental regulations. We promise to provide you with quality, long-lasting panels that will also provide you with a better return on investment.
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