How does photovoltaic (pv) or solar panels work?
Photovoltaic technology generates electricity directly from sunlight. Photovoltaic solar panels are made of silicon crystals, the major component of sand. Silicon itself is not electrically active, but when placed near another silicon atom, photons in sunlight are able to release electrons.
Electrons are released onto the electron-deficient side of the silicon crystal. Since the silicon atom has a hole, the electron moves through a copper wire around the crystal to fill the hole. This movement of the electron is electricity.
ON-GRID SYSTEM: Home that is connected to the electrical grid and one would like to off-set the cost with solar energy. When there is a surplus of solar energy per month, it can be sold back to the electric company.
Disadvantage: If there is a power outage, you are without power as well.
OFF-GRID SYSTEM: No interaction with the electric company, the energy collected from solar panels is collected by a battery bank usually 12, 24, or 48 V DC. An inverter converts the stored energy to 120V AC for common household components. Great for other applications such as RV, Boats, etc.
Disadvantage: Surplus power can NOT be sold back to the electric company.
HYBRID SYSTEM: This is combining the best of both worlds where you have a grid system in place and there is a small battery bank for emergency situations for essential components. Our home solar computer can add tremendous flexibility for this type of systems.
Disadvantage: CAN BE the most expensive system.
What's the difference between AC and DC?
AC, or alternating current, is what most appliances and luxury items with motors require. It is the electricity that flows from the outlets in your house. DC, or direct current, is a constant flow of electrons in one direction. This is the electricity produced by batteries, such as the 12 volt battery in your car. DC can be used to power most electronic devices
What is net metering?
Net metering allows homeowners to produce solar electricity and bank that energy in the utility grid. Thet meter will keep track on the surplus of energy to be used on higher demand by the client.
Do solar panels store energy?
No. Solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity. Without sunlight, solar panels cannot create electricity.
How well does solar work during winter?
Solar panels require light, not heat, to generate electricity. Therefore, solar panels generate electricity in the winter. Since the hours of sunlight decrease in the winter, so does electricity output. Be certain to remove snow off of solar panels. Snow blocks light from reaching solar panels, so the solar panels cannot generate electricity until the snow is removed. Solar panels do not produce as much electricity during the winter because fewer rays of sunlight reach the panels, but some electricity is produced.
How well do solar panels work under clouds?
Even on a cloudy day, light reaches the earth's surface. This is sufficient light for solar panels to produce electricity. Since about 50% of the light from a sunny day reaches the solar panels, the solar panels produce approximately 50% of the electricity of a sunny day. If excess energy is required, it is drawn from the electrical grid (moving the meter forward). On sunny days, the solar system produces excess energy. This moves the meter backwards and generating the homeowner money.
What does solar efficiency mean?
Solar efficiency describes the fraction of energy from sunlight that is converted into electricity. Solar panels lose efficiency with age, but will still produce electricity in 300 years.
How much electricity does a solar system produce?
Solar systems are completely customizable. A typical home solar system can produce anywhere from 12 watts to over 1 MW of electricity. Business and industrial installations can produce GW of electricity if desired. The only limits to a solar system are land available and one's pocketbook.
If I go solar with BondSolar, do I still keep my current utility?
For On-grid systems Yes, you'll stay connected to the utility grid and keep your current local utility provider to take advantage of solar net metering. On days when your home solar system produces more electricity than your home is using, your utility will automatically credit your account. At night and on days when your home uses more electricity than your system is producing, you’ll use up those credits and draw electricity from the grid.
Can I sell extra solar electricity my home solar power system produces back to my utility company?
Not in most states. 44 states have net metering policies which means you can get "roll over credit" if your system makes more energy than you use, that you can then use back in the case you need more electricity than you are producing. Very few utility companies in the U.S. will cut you a check if you make more electricity than you use over the course of a year. BondSolar will design a system that meets your electricity needs with the goal to net zero per month making the system as affordable as possible.
What if most of my utility bill is comprised of natural gas charges?
Solar electric systems offset only the electricity part of your utility bill - it won't help reduce your natural gas bill. If you're paying over $100 or $150 per month for electricity only, then solar makes a lot of economic sense for you.