First, What is Solar?
Solar energy is renewable radiant energy emitted by the sun. We can capture this energy with the use of solar electric, or photovoltaic (PV), systems.
Solar electric systems contain many components. Solar photovoltaic cells are the basic building blocks. They capture the sun’s radiant energy and convert it into electricity. Multiple solar cells are connected to form a module, and many modules together form a solar panel. Larger solar electric systems can contain multiple panels. Electricity flows from these panels to an inverter, where it connects to the utility grid and powers our appliances, lighting and other fixtures that rely on electricity.
Read more about Solar at A Consumer’s Guide:Get Your Power from the Sun produced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office.
What are the Benefits of Solar?
Lower Utility Bills
Producing your own electricity with solar panels will dramatically lower your utility bills. The exact amount of dollar savings will depend on the size of your photovoltaic system and your family’s electricity consumption. In addition to saving money on your current bills, you won’t be susceptible to rising utility costs for years to come.
Good for the Environment
Solar electric systems emit no pollution or greenhouse gases. According to PV FAQs, published by the U.S. Department of Energy, an average U.S. household uses 830 kWh of electricity per month. On average, the production of 1,000 kWh of electricity with solar power reduces emissions by nearly 8 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 5 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and more than 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide – these are all chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
Increased Energy Independence
Having solar on your home is like having your own personal power plant. Solar panels are noise- and pollution-free, have no moving parts, and require very little maintenance. As long as the sun is shining, your solar electric system will produce electricity. You will gain more independence from fossil fuels while avoiding peak utility rates and inflation. Overall, greater energy independence for America means a better economy and a cleaner environment.
Increased Home Value
Adding solar electric systems to your home increases its value without raising its property taxes. According to a study published by the Appraisal Institute, it is estimated that home value increases by $20 dollars for every $1 reduction in annual utility bills. So, if you save $1,200 dollars in one year, the value of your home goes up $24,000.
Questions about solar? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.