Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about how solar power & renewable energy systems work?
How Do Photovoltaic Systems Work?
Sunlight is composed of photons, or particles of solar energy. Photons contain various amounts of energy. When they strike a PV cell, they provide energy to generate electricity. When enough energy is absorbed by the material, electrons are dislodged from the material’s atoms. Special treatment of the material surface during manufacturing makes the front surface of the cell more receptive to free electrons, so the electrons naturally migrate to the surface.
The Flow of Electricity
When many electrons, each carrying a negative charge, travel towards the front surface of the cell, the resulting imbalance between the cell’s front and back surfaces creates a voltage potential like the negative and positive terminals of a battery. When the two surfaces are connected through an external load, such as an appliance, electricity flows.
To increase power output, cells are electronically connected into a packaged weather-tight module. Modules can be further connected to form an array. The number of modules connected together in an array depends on the amount of power needed.
Converting the Power
The simplest PV systems power many of the small calculators and wrists watches used every day. More complicated systems provide electricity to power homes, businesses and utilities.
PV cells, like batteries, generate direct current (DC), which generally is used for small loads such as electronic equipment. When DC from photovoltaic cells is used for commercial applications or sold to electric utilities for the electric grid, it must be converted to alternating current (AC). Inverters convert DC power to AC. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The price of solar panels has dropped dramatically and you can still take advantage of significant federal incentives, bringing down the price of a solar PV system. Most solar projects have a return on your investment in five to ten years while your panels typically last for 30 years or more. This gives you peace of mind on your investment.
If the environment is a priority for you, solar photovoltaic systems are as green as it gets!
Every drop of energy generated by your solar PV system replaces energy that might otherwise come from burning fossil fuels. When there’s a solar spill, it’s called a sunny day!
Solar PV systems help the U.S. economy.
Solar PV systems provide great careers for thousands of American workers. In fact, more Americans today work in the solar industry than in the coal industry. We use only our local labor force and use American made solar panels and inverters.
Why rent when you can buy?
Why should I buy versus leasing?
How much does a solar electric system cost?
What incentives are available?
Source: DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency
Do I get paid for my extra energy production?
What are Portfolio Energy Credits?
Source: Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN) New PEC Application process effective June 16, 2014.