How do solar panels work?
Solar panels use the sun’s powerful rays to create direct current (DC) electricity. Those currents then pass through an inverter to convert DC electricity into usable alternating current (AC) electricity. The AC electricity is used to power your home just like the electricity pulled from your utility company. Any excess energy generated is transferred to the power grid.
Will my solar panels generate electricity when it’s cloudy or raining? At night?
In order to create electricity, solar panels need direct, unobstructed access to the sun’s UV rays. Just as your skin can still tan/burn when it’s overcast outside, your solar panels will still generate electricity when it’s cloudy or raining. However, they will not produce as much energy as they do during clear, sunny days.
Solar panels do not generate electricity at night since the sun is not out to send it’s UV rays down to your panels. Since you are still connected to the grid, you will still have electricity sent to your property at night.
What is net metering?
Net metering is the mechanism by which utility companies credit solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a solar system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. With net metering, the excess electricity will be sent back to the grid and provide a credit towards electricity that is consumed at night or when the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use.
How will I save money with solar?
With the cost of electricity rising and the cost of going solar decreasing, there is no better time to save with solar. Solar customers will have a loan or lease payment for their system that is lower than their current, pre-solar electricity bill. The solar system will then offset a large majority of their new electricity bill. Once the system is paid off, savings will increase exponentially. In addition, utility company rates are increasing every year. For example, with an average 4% increase year after year, an average bill of $125/month will be $130/month next year and $152/month in 5 years. Going solar “locks in” a monthly rate for the length of the loan or lease to save customers from the rising utility rates.
How long will my solar panels last?
Solar panel manufacturers offer warranties that last between 20-30 years. The panels are easy to maintain and do not require regular maintenance, which means they will generate energy for your property long enough to see a significant return on your investment.
How will my solar system affect my property’s value?
According to a Zillow analysis of homes across the country, solar panels raise property values by an average of 4.1% across the US. That’s about a $31,000 property value increase on the median home value of $765,000 in Orange County, CA.
How do solar panels benefit the environment?
Solar systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels on your property helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit harmful gases that are the primary cause of air pollution and global climate change. Not only are fossil fuels bad for the environment, but they are also a finite resource. Because of this, the price is constantly fluctuating and can increase in a short period of time.
Renewable energy also improves public health. Coal and natural gas plants produce air and water pollution that is harmful to human health. By replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, such as solar power, we can reduce premature mortality as well as overall health care costs.