Everyone is familiar with the worldwide push to “go green.” This phrase simply means to reduce greenhouse gases, the world needs to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels as an energy source and tap renewable natural energy resources. These include the wind, through the use of wind turbines, running water to operate electrical generators and natural heat inside the earth. It also includes the largest source of potential energy source on the planet, the sun.
According to the Solar Energies Industries Association (SEIA), the US added more solar power installations last year than any other form of energy. Though most of the installations were at the utility level, the second largest area of installation was in the commercial market. In the northeast, the solar itc new jersey is still active. Tax savings help in defraying the cost of a new solar system.
Solar energy is harnessed through the use of photovoltaic or PV panels. The panels collect sunlight and convert it to usable energy. Panels can be located out of the way on a roof top or on the ground in a solar panel bank. They can basically be installed in any area that is free from obstruction and which receives sunlight through most of the day. Once installed, solar panels are designed to last 10, 20 or more years.
A complete solar energy system requires more than just attaching a panel to a roof. Panels must be wired together and the electricity generated must be transmitted to the building. Cables are connected to a power inverter, which transforms the direct energy current to usable alternating current. Here, the AC electricity is used to power the home or building.
In some cases, it can be connected to the incoming electrical hook up. If the solar panels generate more electricity than is used, it goes to the main power grid of the utility. In some jurisdictions, the utility must pay for the electricity it receives. With other systems, an array of batteries can be used to store electrical power for later use.
When the decision to use solar power as an energy source is made, it is important to bring in the contractor as soon as possible. Home or building designs can be configured to capture as much sunlight as possible. For retrofit applications, the solar panel company should be prepared to design as much of a turnkey project as possible to ensure it operates at peak efficiency.