Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity
An inverter connverts the DC electricity generated by solar panles into the alternating current (AC) electricity used in most homes
A monitoring system sends information about your solar installation, including the amount f energy it generates, to your solar provider, to maintain optimal system performance
Your solar system is still connected to the local utility grid to provide power after sundown. Connection to the grid also allows your solar system to return to the grid any excess clean energy your system generates during the day. A utility meter measures your power consumption and solar output
Home buyers are willing to pay a premium for a home with a purchased solar installation.
Source: reported in the study, “Selling into the Sun” by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Labaratory
For homeowners concerned with rising electricity prices, a solar home helps control electricity costs and may provide savings over time. This increase in values applies to home with purchased solar installations, not financed systems.
Most solar installations will require little maintenance during the life of the system, and some proactive care may help you maximize the value of your investment. For example, if you live in a dusty environment, periodic washing of the panels may help increase electricity production.
The lifespan of a solar installation depends on the local environment and the durability of the system you purchase. A high-quality solar installation can last more than 30 years.
Solar systems produce less electricity on cloudy days. The great majority of homes with solar still connect to the electric grid, drawing power from the grid when needed.
In many U.S. states, there is a policy called “Net Metering” which means the utility credits a homeowner for solar energy that is not consumed by the home. Those net metering credits are used up when the home takes power from the utility.
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.
Photovoltaic panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power, though they are most effective in direct sunlight. Solar panels will still work even when the light is reflected or partially blocked by clouds. Rain actually helps to keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. If you live in an area with a strong net metering policy, energy generated by your panels during sunny hours will offset energy that you use at night and other times when your system isn’t operating at full capacity.