01 Oct 7 Commonly Asked Questions about Solar Energy
Wondering if you should get solar panels for your home or business? Curious about how solar panels generate electricity, save you money, and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere? You’ve come to the right place! The answers to these questions about solar energy from our experts at Energy Saving Pros (the leading Photovoltaic Solar (PV) developer and installer based in Northern California), will help you determine if solar energy is right for your home or business.
1. How do solar panels work?
At the most basic level, a PV system converts light energy directly into electricity. Sunlight is absorbed by the two-layer PV cells, which contain semiconductors made of silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) or organic materials. As sunlight hits the semiconductor material, its photons strip the semiconductors’ electrons. These electrons then create an electric current due to the difference between the positive and negative layers of the PV cell, and the current is converted by the inverter for use on the power grid.
2. Will my solar panels generate electricity during cloudy days or at night?
Solar panels can produce energy on a cloudy day, just not typically as much as they would on a sunny day. That’s because they don’t need the sunshine, per se. To generate electricity, they need direct access to the sun’s UV rays. Just as your skin can still burn on an overcast day, your solar panels can still generate some electricity during cloudy, rainy, or snowy days. Solar panels do not generate electricity at night since the sun’s not out. However, this does not mean you’ll have no power at night if you go solar. Here are some options in these scenarios:
Battery banks are designed to convert and store energy throughout the day for later use. They work best in smaller environments. If you need power at night, battery banks are a popular and effective method of energy storage.
Net energy metering is the most common and best investment option. Because solar energy systems are designed to produce more energy throughout the day than is needed, the extra energy is sent to a grid for solar owners to access for later use. In this setup, owners are issued credits for the extra energy their systems produce. Then you can use those credits to access energy at night.
3. How do solar panels save money?
Not only will solar energy save you money on your monthly electric bills, but going solar also provides tax credits, and it will add to the value of your home without increasing property taxes. On top of that, at Energy Saving Pros, we offer zero-down financing options. Check out this blog post to learn more about how solar energy can save you money.
4. How soon will I notice a difference in my electricity bills after switching to solar energy?
Your solar panels will start generating usable energy for your property immediately upon installation. Depending on when you receive your electric bill, you could start noticing lower bills the very first month.
5. How long do solar panels last?
Solar panels are designed to last 25-30 years, although they have been known to last even longer. Their efficiency decreases around 0.5% every year, which means that it will still generate 90% of its original energy output after 20 years.
6. How much maintenance do solar panels require?
Solar panels require very little maintenance throughout their lifetime. The glass, silicon and metal components are designed to last through all kinds of weather. And there are no moving parts to break.
The most you’ll have to do to maintain your solar panels is to ensure they’re free of dust, pollen, leaves, and other debris. You’ll also need to trim branches that may get in the way of your solar panels and brush off any heavy snow that doesn’t slide off on its own. Anything that is obstructing your panels will reduce energy efficiency. In the rare event that something does go wrong, our solar panels come with a warranty.
7. How does solar energy benefit the environment?
Solar panels require no burning or processing to transform sunlight into energy, creating a pollution-free energy generation option. The energy produced from solar emits no methane gas, requires no water cooling systems and reduces the global carbon footprint, creating a marked improvement in air and water quality.
The sun is also a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels. The sun produces enough energy to power the entire world 10,000 times over every second. Using the immense energy of the sun that comes our way to power our homes and businesses is a no-brainer. Solar panels aren’t intrusive or damaging to the environment and aren’t in danger of exploding or spilling dangerous, toxic fuels. Accessing what’s already there for the taking couldn’t get much easier.
Give us a Call!
If you’ve got questions about solar energy we haven’t answered, let us know! If you’re ready to make the switch for your home or business, call Energy Saving Pros today for a free quote! And don’t just take our word for it—see what our customers in Northern California are saying about making the switch to solar.