How Does Solar Energy Work In A House
When solar panels are placed on a home, they absorb photons from within the sunlight, and then the process explained above takes place. Once the electricity has been created, it is a direct current, which cannot be used in our homes. An inverter then converts this energy into an alternating current, which can flow into the home and be used for energy.
Unless a home is entirely off the grid, then excess energy will flow into the grid, where it can be used by others. The homeowner will be paid for this energy. A home will also use energy from the grid when there is not enough sunlight to create energy to power the home.
How Many Solar Panels Do A 300w Need
With a 300W solar power panel, you can produce 300 watts of energy your household needs for regular activities. However, how much energy a panel produces depends on various factors such as climate, weather, location, and installation.
Here you can take a quick look at how many panels you need.
- 2 KW needs 7 panels
- 5 KW needs 17 panels
- 6 KW needs 20 panels
- 7 KW needs 23 panels
The number of panels depends on the ratio of sunlight a panel receives.
Here you can find how much space a solar panel requires for a 300 W installation.
Utility And Solar Meters
Youre probably familiar with a traditional electricity meter, which is what your utility company uses to measure your energy usage each month. But when you go solar, you will either need to replace your traditional meter or add a second one to measure how much solar energy you produce and send back to the utility.
Sunnova home solar system customers will have two meters:
- Your Sunnova meter will measure your home solar production.
- Your utility meter will measure how much utility electricity you use and how much solar energy you send back to your utility. If you have an older meter, you will need to get a dual direction meter from your utility.
For greater energy independence by storing solar production and the added security of a backup power source for essential appliances during grid outages3, consider adding a battery to your home solar system. The way your battery is linked, or coupled, to your solar system will depend on the type of battery you use.
- DC coupling: A battery-ready inverter is also known as a hybrid inverter. What makes it a hybrid is that its shared by both your solar panels and your battery. Since both components operate in DC power , there is no need for a second inverter specifically for the battery.
- AC coupling: AC coupled systems have two inverters: one for the solar panels and one for the battery. This simply means your solar panels and your battery are both connected to their own inverters to produce usable AC power.
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How Many Watts Do You Use
When looking at your utility bill, you should be able to see kilowatt-hours . KWH for homes can vary greatly depending on location. A home in the south is more likely to draw massive amounts of energy from air conditioner units.
Finding the average daily energy usage will help you calculate your solar needs. Once you have your usage you can look at how much wattage youll need to be able to run everything.
What Are Power Optimizers
Power optimizers can be attached to your solar panels, allowing the system to control each panels output independently from the rest of the string. If a single panel under-produces, optimizers ensure the other panels in the string are not affected.
We recommend adding power optimizers to mitigate shade from obstructions and overcast weather. Our favorite pick in this category is the SolarEdge HD-Wave series. Read our HD-Wave review here.
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How Do I Know My System Is Working
Check the color lights on your inverter box during daylight hours, since this is when your system should be running. A green light on your inverter means your system is operating correctly. A red or orange light during daylight hours means there is a system incident or error. Tips: Check the weather, Inspect your inverter, Read your solar meter, Examine your bill, and Check with us.
Excess Solar Power Is Exported To The Grid
If you have solar panels installed, its common to generate more solar power than your total electrical loads require . When this happens, the excess energy flows out from the home to the electric grid via your utility meter.
The utility meter will need to be a special net meter, which can keep a separate record of what electricity you export to the grid and what you consume from the grid.
Find out how much you can save with solar
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What Sort Of Maintenance Is Required
Not too much, really. Your solar panels themselves can last for decades on end without much upkeep . But you will likely need to replace the inverter a few times throughout the life of your system.
Like the solar panels themselves, inverters typically come with a warranty these can range from 5-15 years . Unlike your panels, your inverter will not see its efficiency dwindle very slowly instead, it may simply stop working and need to be replaced.
However, technological developments on this front are afoot! New micro-inverters, which are installed or included with each solar panel, are quickly replacing the more-common central inverters that handle the output of all your panels at once. These micro-inverters can have a much longer lifespan than a central inverter, and if one does fail, it wont shut your entire system down cold.
What Are The Different Fees And Charges On My Electric Bill
Your electric bill may include a few important line items:
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So Which Solar Inverter Is Best
As you can see, there isnât a single best inverter for any application. You need to understand the tradeoffs that come with each type, and work with your installer to weigh the pros and cons.
Hereâs a table that summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of string inverters, power optimizers, and microinverters:
Curious About Solar Production In Your City
Reviewing solar production on an annual basis as opposed to a day-to-day basis is essential. Energy production can fluctuate much like the stock market. Some days there is high production, others there is lower production. One week could be low production due to rain and clouds the next week could be your best yet. Give us a call at 1-800-POWER-90 so we can get you started on saving money on your electric bill. Learn more about how solar panels work.
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How Solar Power Works
1. Your solar panels are made up of silicon photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits your solar panels, the solar PV cells absorb the sunlights rays and electricity is produced via the Photovoltaic Effect. The electricity produced by your panels is called Direct Current electricity, and which is not suitable to be used in your home by your appliances. Instead, the DC electricity is directed to your central inverter .
2. Your inverter is able to convert the DC electricity into Alternating Current electricity, which can be used in your home. From here, the AC electricity is directed to your switchboard.
3. A switchboard allows your usable AC electricity to be sent to the appliances in your home. Your switchboard will always ensure that your solar energy will be used first to power your home, only accessing additional energy from the grid when your solar production is not enough.
4. All households with solar are required to have a bi-directional meter , which your electricity retailer will install for you. A bi-directional meter is able to record all the power that is drawn to the house, but also record the amount of solar energy that is exported back to the grid. This is called net-metering.
If it seems complicated, dont worry one of Infinite Energys expert Energy Consultants will guide you through the process of how solar power works either by phone, email or via a no obligation home consultation.
Solar Energy Basics: The Magic Of Photovoltaic Panels
Solar panels harvest the sun’s energy to power things in your home. But how?
There’s a lot of science happening behind the scenes here.
It sounds like magic: Capturing energy from the sun and converting it into electricity to run your toaster. It’s science, not magic, though. Solar panels use a curious bit of science called the photovoltaic effect to convert one form of energy into another. Here’s how solar panels harvest light, converting it into electricity.
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How To Find A Solar Partner For Installation
When you start looking for solar installers to help with your home solar installation, youll likely have a lot of questions. Before diving in and working with just any old solar installer, take your time to thoroughly vet each company that you might work with. Youll want to find a company that has your best interest in mind, and thats willing to work with you. Here are a few filters to put them through and questions to ask.
- How long have they been in business? Look for five years as a good threshold.
- Do they have a clean and easy-to-use website? A professional company will put time into its online presence.
- Do they offer a warranty? Not all companies will offer workmanship warranties. A good warranty is vital.
- Do they offer professional customer service? How youre treated in the sales process will likely be how youre treated throughout the time you work with them.
- Will they be there for you in the future? Finding a company thats willing to partner with you throughout the future and not just right now is a huge advantage.
What Do Solar Cells Mean
Solar panels are the direct ways to absorb sunlight, give the natural energy source for electricity, and keep the home eco-friendly. These are made of crystalline silicon-type solar cells that contain 60 square feet of PV cells . Also, it includes 72 solar cell modules, which are a foot taller and are most widely used in commercial projects.
This was first introduced in 1954 by scientists when bell telephones were discovered. This silicon element generates an electric charge when it exposes to the sun. Moreover, solar cells are of less thickness than human hairs. Solar cells are protected with solid materials of PV modules to achieve the best results.
However, the PV cells are small and produce up to 1-2 Watts. For boosting the power in cells, they are well-connected with chains to build the larger units and create powerful modules. These can be used individually or by connecting them to arrays.
It doesnt matter how long your array is it is mostly connected to the wires that carry the electric circuit from the cells from the inverter. The more solar panel and cells work together, the more you produce energy.
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The Energy From The Battery Is Used To Power Your Home
Whenever your solar panels arent creating enough energy to satisfy your power needs, the extra energy will be drawn from your solar battery until all of its charge is gone. The solar battery may need to convert the power from AC to a usable DC form before this happens depending on what type of system you have.
The Path Of Current Without A Battery Bank
Without a battery bank, the AC current will flow to your homes electrical panel and then to the rest of your home as you need it. Any extra electricity will be sent to the grid where it can be used by your neighbors. The biggest advantage to the electricity being sent back to the grid is net metering. We talked about it above, but net metering is when your electric company meters the amount of electricity that you give back to the grid and deducts it from your electric bill. In the best-case scenario, youll receive a slight refund for the electricity you provide to the grid in surplus.
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The Most Efficient Era Of Solar Panels Yet
Solar panels become more sophisticated every year. In fact, modern technology has ushered in the most efficient era of solar panels the world has ever seen. These new panels convert at an astonishing rate of 21-22%, which not only allows them to generate more energy for your home it also helps you potentially save more money!
More efficiency and lower production costs paint a bright future for solar energy. According to a 2019 report conducted by the International Energy Agency, solar power could potentially make up 60% of new renewable-based power capacity across the globe within the next five years.
Simply put, solar is here to stay because it works. Request a free quote today to see how it can work for you.
How Does Battery Storage Work With Solar Energy
Up until now, weve only discussed the most popular type of solar installation in the United States, grid-connected solar systems.
You may have noticed that these systems operate without any batteries. When the grid is available, as it is for most people, the addition of batteries to a home solar energy system is optional.
Furthermore, buying solar battery storage usually doesn’t make economic sense. Battery storage solutions are expensive and have relatively short lifespans, so they dont usually pay for themselves.
That said, battery storage solutions are rising in popularity, aided by the emergence of versatile lithium-ion solutions like the Tesla Powerwall.
Here are the two common scenarios where homeowners choose to use battery solutions with their solar panel systems:
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Who Do I Contact If My Solar System Is Not Working
If you have received permission to operate from your utility company, you would contact the Customer Solutions team. If you have not received permission to operate , contact your Concierge. Both teams can be reached at 833-423-1132. Option 2 will route you to the Customer Experience – for a quicker connection select option 8 and enter the extension of your assigned concierge.
*Based on source material from:
How Big Are Solar Panels
Panels come in two standard configurations: 60-cell or 72-cell. If you want to know when you might choose one over the other for your solar project, read our breakdown of 60 vs 72 cell solar panels.
60-cell panels measure 39 by 65, while 72-cell panels are 39 by 77. In reality, these dimensions can fluctuate by up to an inch because manufacturers use different frame sizes. But the 60 and 72 cell layouts are standardized across the industry.
There are also smaller options for RV / mobile use, and some companies are experimenting with larger 96-cell panels, but these sizes arent common enough to be standardized at the moment.
Learn more: Solar Panel Size Guide
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What Is Solar Energy
Simply put, solar is the most abundant source of energy on Earth. About 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strike the Earth at any given time – more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy needs.
By capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity for your home or business, solar energy is a key solution in combating the current climate crisis and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
The Silicon Photovoltaic Solar Cell Absorbs Solar Radiation
More specifically, the semiconductor, which is not as effective in conducting electricity than metal, hence semi, absorbs light energy. There are a few different types of semiconductors typically used in solar cells. Silicon is by far the most commonly used semiconductor, making up 95% of solar cells manufactured today. Cadmium-telluride and copper indium gallium diselenide are the two main semiconductor materials used in thin-film solar panel production.
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How Do Blackouts Occur
The very first electric power plant in the United States was the Pearl Street Station in New York. It first generated electricity on September 4, 1882, but burned down just eight years later.
While technology has come a long way since then, especially with advanced control systems and the introduction of renewable energy, much of the basic infrastructure of the modern electric grid looks remarkably similar to the grid of the earliest days of electricity. Wires, transformers, and substations carry electricity over vast distances and bring it into your home, just like in the days of Thomas Edison.
That infrastructure, made of up millions of miles of dangling wires, is vulnerable to acts of nature like hurricanes and thunderstorms, but also more mundane threats – such as rodents. In fact, squirrels and other rodents are the second most common cause of power outages, after equipment failures.
There are other emerging threats too: because of climate change, extreme weather events are becoming common occurrences. Wildfires have caused massive destruction to California, and some of those have been caused by power lines. With the threat increasing, California utility companies are going to start preemptively turning off the power to help avoid future fires.