PHOTOVOLTAIC ELECTRIC SYSTEMS
When it comes to Going Green there are truly very few home improvements that can out weigh the benefits of solar panels. The Suns light is the greatest renewable source of energy known to man. By allowing your home to draw its energy from the sun you eliminate your dependence on the electrical companies that use mostly fossil fuels to create the energy. Switching your home to Solar power is a wonderful contribution to your environment and a great step forward in reducing reliance upon depleting fossil fuels. The solar energy market has risen a steady 30% a year for the last 15 years and grew by 57% alone in 2007(Global solar center.) The wave of the future is renewable waste free solar energy.
Grid tied Vs Off Grid Tied
- There are currently two types of solar panel systems sold on the market. Although they both offer the same energy producing principals they have different features that separate them in cost.
- A grid tied unit is the more cost effective system of the two. These solar power systems are tied into the main utility grid. This allows them to transmit excess power collected back onto the main grid, which in turn the utility company will give power credits for. In essence, selling the extra power to the utility company.
- Before getting to excited about the prospect of selling power to the power company understand that there is good reason for creating the power credit. Solar panels do not produce energy at night or in the dark. At night you will need to draw power from the utility companies grid. The goal being to draw the same amount of power at night that you so generously sold to them during the peak of the day. Thus, canceling out any costs incurred.
- The grid tied systems are more cost effective than the off grid systems because they differ in one area. They must still rely on the power companies for off hours power. Off grid systems or photovoltaic systems are self reliant “and completely off the grid”. Unlike grid tied system, they have the ability to store there excess power in battery cells. In the night hours the charge from the batteries powers the home. These systems have zero reliance upon the utility companies and are self sufficient. Although the off grid systems cost slightly more, mostly due to the cost of the batteries. They have the benefits of removing your household from future electrical bills, power outages, rate increases or worrying about peak season bills!…ect.
Benefits of going Solar
The greatest motivation for going solar is going to be environmental impact. Before discussing any of the monetary advantages to going solar, PE Solar must emphasize the wonderfully positive impact on the environment solar panels make, they remove Co2 from the atmosphere and reduce our foreign oil dependency.
The benefits of solar energy to the environment is the single greatest aspect of making the decision to go solar. Solar panels release the grasp the utility companies have over your household. Over 70% of the utility companies in the US use un-renewable resources such as coal or natural gas to generate power. Fossil fuels being a un-renewable resource are continually depleting and rising in cost. In addition to there rising cost, burning fossil fuels has severe known and unknown impacts on our environment each day. As of 2008 renewable energy sources only contribute to slightly over 9.5% of the energy that fossil fuels do. This is a percentage that’s growth is essential for the well being of the environment. (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/consump.html)
While contractors and solar panel manufactures will certainly use government incentives, rebates, payback scenarios and many other incentives to sway homeowners into going solar, the environmental impact of switching to solar energy will remain the greatest incentive to go solar. Having that said, here’s some interesting details on the monetary benefits of going solar
The average homeowners utility bill can range from 10-40% of there monthly expenses. Solar panels eliminate utility bills. Over the course of the next 25 years (the predicted life span of current silicon based solar panels) you will be saving 10s of thousands of dollars on utility bills. In the long run the solar panels will certainly make up for there initial cost.
Government, State and Local incentives :
The government is well aware of the need to increase the countries renewability, in fact as a country we get less than 5% of our energy from renewable sources. Because of this the federal government offers 30% of solar’s total cost back to homeowners via a tax credit on qualifying systems. In addition, individual states and local utility companies often offer aggressive rebate programs as well. In some areas of the country your solar project can be over 80% funded by available credits.
Solar panels keep supplying energy regardless of what the utility company is struggling with. Power outages are virtually a worry of the past.
HOW THEY WORK
Old technology, A New application
Solar panels, although a relatively new product to storm market utilize a technology that was revealed in 1839 when a French physicist discovered the photovoltaic effect.
Solar panels are a photovoltaic cell, through the photovoltaic effect PV cells collect radiant heat from the sun and then convert it to usable direct current DC energy for the home.
Some of the first generation solar panels ranged from only 2 – 6% efficiency. Since the mid 1950s the focus has been on increasing the efficiency of the solar cells. Today’s solar panels are capable of reaching 30% efficiency levels. (they can convert 30% of the energy they draw from the sun into usable household energy.) The costs of solar technology has also significantly dropped making it more available to residential and commercial markets.
Today thousands are enjoying the benefits of solar power, while government programs encourage more to join the effort in conserving and using renewable energy.