What is solar energy?

Solar energy is electric power that comes from the conversion of light and heat energy from the rays of the sun with the use of solar panels. It’s an infinitely renewable resource, which is unique even among alternative energy sources for being quiet, clean, and reliable. The greatest strength of solar power lies in the fact that even private homes can benefit from it, just as long as they have the panels.

How do solar panels work?

There are three main types of solar panels: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), and solar heating and cooling (SHC). PVs are the ones that convert the sunlight into usable electricity. These panels are made of semi-conducting materials (i.e. silicon) coated with elements like phosphorous and boron. This combination of materials helps activate electron movement when hit by sunlight.

These electrons move across the surface of the cell, and into the electrical circuit where it waits until homeowners turn something on.

How much does a solar panel system cost?

There are many factors that determine the final cost of a solar panel system. Just like any home improvement installation, the existing layout of the roof – or wherever homeowners want to place their panels – is a significant consideration. There’s no way to say for sure how much installation on a specific property would cost before conducting a thorough assessment.

The best way to appraise whether you’re getting a fair deal is to contact several solar panel installers, and compare their rates and services.

How much can I really save with solar power?

Again, there’s no way to answer this question, as it depends on a number of factors that can vary on the property. How often do owners use their appliances? How energy efficient are these appliances? Are they anticipating an increase in energy use after getting the solar panels? The kind of solar panel system a property owner decides to use is also a determining factor in how much money they can save on a monthly basis.

What is a solar lease or a solar power-purchase agreement?

These financial plans give customers the option to pay for their solar panel systems over the span of a few years instead of one up-front payment. Customers that choose installers that offer these financial services can often purchase a solar panel system with little to no money down. Many customers often feel their energy savings before they make their first payment.

Are there any rebates or incentives for using solar energy?

Yes. State governments have several tax break systems in place to encourage people to install solar energy equipment, or other reusable energy sources, onto their homes and businesses. Foremost among them is the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which can help customers shave off as much as 30% from energy taxes.

Every state has its own set of additional programs and rebates that similarly encourage the use of alternative energy. We recommend customers to become familiar with provisions in their area.