- As costs decrease and climate awareness increases, more homeowners than ever are opting for sun-powered energy in their own homes.
- The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that the total U.S. households to have installed solar panels has surpassed 700,000, that number is rapidly rising. The first quarter of 2015 broke a record: More than 65,000 solar systems were installed in the first three months of the year.
- If you own your home, you have more than 100 square feet of unshaded roof space and your roof is in good condition, your home can support solar energy panels.
- One of the first questions you may have is: “How do they work?” Solar panels are made up of a few key parts. Of course, there are the solar panels themselves, which are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells. They convert sunlight to energy.
- An inverter converts solar power from direct current (DC) to the alternating current (AC), which runs usable energy into a main fuse box that powers your home. The controller acts as a surge protector, protecting the batteries by regulating the electricity.
- Finally, you have the batteries themselves, which are crucial for homes in remote locations, not wired to a grid. Keep in mind that they can get expensive.
- One of the primary benefits of using solar technology is the opportunity for homeowners to help the environment by using a clean energy source. Unlike conventional power, solar produces no harmful emissions that hurt the environment. It’s a clean, renewable process that uses the most natural of all resources, the sun. Even the energy used to produce the PV cells is paid back soon after. Depending on the type, Energy Pay-Back Time (EPBT) for PV and CPV systems is estimated to be between 0.5 and 1.4 years. After that point, it’s all renewable, all the time. In the U.S., fossil fuels are used to generate 68% of the electricity we consume, and the resulting emissions from the combustion of those fuels aren’t good, including:
Carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming.
Carbon monoxide (CO) –
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) – causes acid rain, which is harmful to plants & to animals that live in water, also exacerbating respiratory illnesses and heart diseases.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) – contributes to ground-level ozone, which irritates and damages lungs.
Particulate matter (PM) – causes hazy conditions in cities & scenic areas. Coupled with ozone it contributes to asthma & chronic bronchitis
Mercury & other heavy metals – hazardous to human and animal health
- Additionally, homeowners who choose to purchase solar panels increase the value of their homes. Compare all that with the emission-free technology of solar energy & solar becomes the obvious solution.