Thursday, May 23, 2024

How Does Going Solar Work

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost

How Do Solar Panels Work? (Physics of Solar Cells)

Even though the price of solar has dropped far more quickly than expected, a residential solar energy system is still a significant investment. As with an investment of any other nature, solar panels come with the expectation of a positive return in the future. Saving money on your monthly electric bills will help balance out the installation costs, and incentives are typically available to help undercut the cost of solar panels .

Your total solar energy system cost will depend on a handful of factors, mainly:

With that said, according to Sunrun, the average cost of installing solar panels in 2021 is between $12,000 and $16,000 after the solar tax credit.

Check out our piece on the cost of solar panels to learn more.

Save On Your Power Bills

You should see a saving on your electricity bill, because you will be using power from your solar panels during the day rather than just from the electricity grid.

If you install a battery with your solar PV system, you can store your solar power not used during the day to use later. This should cut your electricity bill even further.

How Is Solar Panel Efficiency Measured

The concept of solar panel efficiency is often misunderstood. Most panels have an efficiency rating in the range of 15-25%, which sounds really low without context.

Some people hear this and think, wow, I only get 20% of the production from my panel? That sounds like a waste. The assumption is a 100-watt panel would only produce 20 watts of power. But thats not what we mean when we talk about efficiency.

In reality, the efficiency rating measures how much of the suns potential energy is converted to solar power. Using the same example, a 100-watt panel with a 20% efficiency rating will absorb 20% of the potential 500 watts of continuous power coming from the sun.

Dont sweat too much about panel efficiency. The only real benefit to more efficient panels is that they fit more solar in less space.

High-efficiency panels matter if youre trying to build in a tight space, but theres nothing wrong with building a larger array with less efficient panels. The latter option typically reduces the overall cost of the system .

Learn more with our guide to solar panel efficiency.

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What Are The Types Of Solar Panels On The Market

There are two established cell technologies that dominate the market: monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells .

Mono cells are cut from a single source of silicon, while poly cells are made by blending multiple bits of silicon into a single cell.

Since the composition of poly cells is less pure, they tend to be slightly less efficient on average. However, this isnt a hard and fast rule, since other factors affect solar cell efficiency as well.

In addition to mono and poly panels, there are several emerging technologies to keep an eye out for, like thin film and bifacial panels. Read our breakdown of solar cell technology to learn more.

How Does Solar Impact The Value Of My Home

How do solar panels work?

A 2017 study suggests that solar homes sell for 3.74% more than comparable non-solar homes. That comes out to about $15,000 more on average for homes evaluated in the study.

Solar is a major selling point, so long as the homeowner owns the solar system. Leased systems are a different story, as the home buyer must agree to take on the contract and lease payments from the solar installer.

We took a deep dive into the study to see what else we could learn. Check it out here: Do Solar Panels Increase Property Value?

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How Much Will You Save With Solar

The first question youre probably wondering if youre considering going solar is: how much money will you save? And for good reason! Afterall, solar is an investment so youll want to understand your payback period before making any decisions. Most property owners will break even on their solar investment in seven to eight years but as you start exploring your solar options, there are a few key questions you should ask to approximate your personal return on investment:

Are Solar Panels In Florida Worth It Your Expert Savings Guide For 2021

The Sunshine State has seen a recent boom in solar panel installations as more homeowners become aware of the huge savings solar energy offers.

Solars value proposition has been driven up by the declining cost of solar panels, which are now available in Florida at an average cost of just $2.61 per watt before incentives.

Combine the reduced cost of solar panels with generous federal incentives, favorable utility programs, and Floridas Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, and going solar in Florida is a better deal than ever before.

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Check Out Smaller Installers

These inflated solar prices often come from some of the larger solar installers in the industry so its important to consider all of their solar options, not just the installers large enough to pay for the most advertising. The same 2017 NREL report referenced above found that quotes from large installers were typically 10 percent higher than those from mid- and small-sized installers. If you receive quotes from some of the bigger companies in the industry, just be sure to compare them with quotes from local installers so you dont overpay for solar.

What Happens To Excess Energy

How do solar panels work for your home?

To manage the excess energy, you can either store excess energy in a solar battery or use net metering to sell the energy back to the utility companies. During peak sunlight hours, your solar energy system can potentially produce more renewable energy than you need. Storing the remaining energy in a solar battery can help you have access to power during outages or allow you to power portions of your home during the night.

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How Does Local Climate Impact System Sizing

It shouldnt come as a surprise that solar performs better in sunny climates. Some regions get more sun hours per day, which gives your system a bigger window each day to hit peak production.

Most regions in the US get 3-6 sun hours a day, which is quite a bit of variation. A system built in Seattle, WA needs to be nearly twice as large as a system built in Arizona to produce the same amount of power!

That said, solar is still quite effective in less than ideal climates. Take a look at this case study submitted by our customer Dave, who shares observations and production data 5 years after going solar in the Frozen Tundra of Wisconsin.

What Are Pole Mounts Are They Worth It

A pole mount is simply a tall pole that lifts your solar array higher off the ground than a traditional ground mount.

Pole mounts are great for snowy climates. The elevated mount gives the array extra clearance, so the array doesnt get buried in a snow bank during the winter.

Pole mounts can also be tilted at a steeper angle, which helps snow buildup slide off the face of the panels, keeping them free of obstructions and producing closer to their peak output.

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What Is Solar Pace Financing

The state of Florida allows for localities to offer loans which are paid for through a property tax increase to your local government.

PACE loans can finance not just solar systems, but most energy efficiency upgrades, as well. The benefit of PACE is that you can start saving money on your utility bills from Day 1, and if you choose to move, you can pass the remaining balance on the loan to the next property owner.

This is why PACE is different from regular solar loans. The new owner can elect to keep paying the loan or have the equipment removed, although itd be unwise to do so, as the savings from solar would far outweigh the loan payments.

See what solar panels cost in Florida after applying all incentives

Giving You The Power To Go Solar


The future of solar is bright in Georgia, and Georgia Power is leading the way in making our state a national leader in solar energy. To help meet our customers’ growing electricity needs, Georgia Power is committed to using reliable, cost-effective, renewable energy sources that work best in our state.

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Your Roof Isnt Suitable For Solar Panels

When solar panels are installed on homes, they are nearly always on the roof. This is because the roof has the two necessary ingredients to host solar panels: surface space , and sun exposure .

But what if you dont have a roof to call your own, or you have a roof but it just isnt up to the job? Here are all the factors that could either prevent a successful solar installation or make it uneconomic:

How Can Solar Energy Potentially Save Me Money

Now weve come to the big question. How much can solar energy save you? And the simple answer is that it depends on you and your energy needs. The amount of savings you get from solar power varies depending on a myriad of different things, including: the size of your house, the number of people living in your house, the amount of electricity you consume as a household each month, the size of your solar energy system, the amount of exposure that your solar energy system gets to direct sunlight, the incentives available in your area, the type of solar agreement you sign, and your local county/utility company requirements can all affect how much your solar energy system may potentially save you.

The good news is that we can help. With your permission, our solar energy experts will go through your home and take measurements of your roof, its tilt, your attic the size of your home, and a bunch of other things that help them determine if your home is a good fit for solar. Theyll also talk to you about the different solar plans we offer and help you determine the type of plan available to you that will suit your needs and the plan thats available to you based on your area. Our plans range from a Solar Cash Agreement where you buy solar panels outright to a Solar Loan Agreement where you could take out a loan to pay for them. You could also pay for the power your system produces with a Solar PPA or lease the equipment through a Solar Lease.

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The History Of How Solar Panels Generate Energy

Weve gone over it simply, but you might still be wondering how it really works. How do solar panels generate energy in the form of DC current? How is the sun powerful enough to power our entire planet for 500,000 years with just a small bit of light? And how do solar engineers plan on harnessing that energy for the good of mankind? Lets take a deeper look.

Solar Power For The Home: Benefits

How Does Solar Energy Work?

A significant benefit to PV installation is a lower energy bill, but the magnitude of this benefit depends on the amount of solar energy that can be produced given the available conditions and the way in which utilities charge for electricity.

The first consideration is the solar irradiation levels available in the home’s geographical location. When it comes to using solar panels, being closer to the equator is generally better, but other factors must be considered. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory produces maps for the U.S. showing solar irradiation levels the tools on its website provide detailed solar information for specific locations within the U.S.

Similar maps and data are available in other countries as well, often from government environmental agencies or renewable energy organizations. Equally important is the home’s orientation for rooftop arrays, a south-facing roof without trees or other objects obstructing sunlight maximizes the available solar energy. If this is not available, panels can be mounted on external supports and installed away from the house, incurring additional costs for the extra hardware and cables.

The final benefit is the potential effect on a home’s value due to the addition of a solar array. In general, it is reasonable to assume that solar panels would raise the value of most homes.

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What Is Solar Power

The sun doesnt just provide warmth and light its also a source of energy.

Solar energy is the energy we generate from sunlight. Through a process known as the , we can convert energy from the suns rays into electricity that can power our TVs, refrigerators, lights and other appliances.

To generate solar energy for your home or office, you need a solar power system.

Is Going Solar With Fpl Worth It

Yes, going solar with FPL is totally worth it. The cost of solar in Florida is a little bit lower than what youll pay in other states, plus the full retail net metering offered by FPL provides significant savings on your monthly electric bill.

All of those savings add up – a 5.82 kW system installed in FPLs territory is estimated to save you $17,148 over the lifetime of the system after the solar panels are paid off. Not bad if you ask us!

But, those savings might not be around forever. Utilities all across the country are trying to, and some are succeeding at, eliminating net metering altogether. Without net metering, the amount that solar can save you can be cut drastically.

So, the sooner you go solar, the better. To get started, use our state-of-the-art solar savings calculator that will give you a better idea of what system size you need to cover your monthly electric bill, what incentives are available, and how much electricity your solar panels could produce.

Can going solar save you money? Find out today

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Other Ways Of Harnessing Solar Power

We also discovered other ways to harness solar energy and convert it into solar power besides photovoltaic cells. Solar thermal and concentrated solar power , for example, operates in a different fashion than PV panels. However, in spite of the differences in electricity production, both methods harness the power of sunlight to either heat water or air, or generate electricity.

A Step By Step Explanation Of How Solar Energy Works

How Do Solar Panels Work infographic

The sun is one of the most powerful physical object known to man. Think about it: it’s massive, over 100 times the size of the earth. It’s so bright that it can blind you. It emits such intense radiation that it can burn you. Light, the fastest moving thing in the entire universe, takes minutes to travel from the sun to the earth. Pretty powerful for being a staggering 92.96 million miles away.

The sun is also the ultimate power source. It powers nearly all life on earth. The only exceptions are a handful of remote deep-sea vent and cold seep ecosystems. It is the base of the food chain, the ultimate source of the energy that all life needs to survive and to function.

So it makes a lot of sense that the sun is also a very important source of renewable energy for our homes.

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What Size Solar Energy System Do I Need

Your system size depends on your energy usage, which is measured in kilowatt-hours. You can find this info on your electric bill, or in your online account with your utility provider.

Sizing is a complex process, but fortunately there are plenty of online tools to help you out.

For grid-tie systems, the quickest way to get an estimate is to use our solar calculator. Punch in your location and energy usage data and let us do the rest. Well give you a target system size and show you a few kits that might suit your needs.

For off-grid systems, tally your daily energy usage on a load evaluation sheet, then use our off-grid solar calculator to hone in on a target system size.

Prefer to run the numbers yourself? Read our guides for a step-by-step walkthrough:

Critical Loads Panel And Battery Backup Work Together

When you decide what appliances or lighting you need during a blackout, a critical loads panel is separated out from your distribution panel. During a blackout, your main distribution panel will shut down, but your critical loads panel will power continuously during a power outage.6

Your battery backup system is also meant to cover critical loads like your fridge, freezer, furnace, water pressure, lighting, security system and air conditioning. If your local utility should fail, your solar battery and inverter will isolate themselves and continue to supply power to your home.7

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Everything You Need To Know About Installing Solar Panels On Your Home

Welcome to Your Washington DC Solar Guide!

Why Go Solar?

In a nutshell, solar panels are installed on the roof a property to generate clean electricity. The electricity coming from the panels will go directly to your home to help power any appliances you may have running. Any amount of power that you generated and didn’t use will exit your utility meter, rolling it backwards, giving you a credit with the utility to use later at night, or show up as $$ credit on your bill that rolls over from month to month.

People like jumping straight to the questions, but which are also discussed in more detail in the sections below

Solar panels really do work, and the technology is so legitimate that it is being used by our military, our power companies, and cities across the world are investing millions into it. Washington DC has the best incentives in the nation to go solar, for now, thanks to the strong support of the DC Council and Mayor. This has provided the option for absolutely everyone to go solar, no matter if you have upfront cash to buy a system, or no cash at all. Either method makes common sense. So read up, and join the energy revolution today. Show that no matter what, YOU will do your part to save our environment, promote green jobs, and make our city and nation a more cleaner and sustainable place.

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