Solar power is something that most people are at least somewhat familiar with. We’ve all seen at least one home or building with a couple of solar panels attached on top. You’ve probably also seen solar installations used in construction and other fields to help power things such as warning lights and other important devices in areas that do not have normal access to electricity. Beyond that, however, most people are largely in the dark when it comes to solar power. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
What is Residential Solar Electrical Power?
Residential solar systems allow you to generate your own electricity for your home. These systems are normally designed to connect directly with you current electrical service, giving you a source of renewable energy without changing your every day electrical habits. In addition to providing electricity for your home, many utility companies have buy-back programs, and will pay you for any excess electricity that you generate and pump back into the grid Energy Plan Services.
How Does It Work?
Each solar panel is made up of solar cells that are designed to convert sunlight into DC power. This DC power connects to an inverter that then converts the power to AC current that can be used in your home’s electrical system. The system is then connected directly to your electrical utility so that you can use the converted electricity in your home. On sunny days, your panels may generate enough to power your appliances, lights and other devices, with any excess going back into the grid. At night, your system will normally work as it did before, by using power from the utility company. In some cases, you may choose to use a battery-based system that will store excess electricity throughout the day for use at night.
Does It Work on Cloudy Days?
Although your solar power system will work on cloudy days, it will not generate as much electricity as when under ideal situations. Cloudy conditions typically result in about half of the power generation as under full sun.
Will It Make Hot Water?
Although a residential solar power system works similarly to a solar thermal panel, it will not generate hot water. These systems circulate water through tubes so that they can be heated by the sun. This is normally used to heat swimming pools. In contrast, electrical solar panels convert this sunlight into electricity.
What do grid-connected, grid-tied, on-grid and off-grid mean?
Whenever your system is referred to as grid-connected, grid-tied or on-grid, that means that it is connected directly into your utility service. This type of connection works best for many homeowners, as it allows you to access both your solar power and power from your electrical utility without having to make any changes to your normal habits. An off-grid system is not connected to the traditional electrical service. While an off-grid system works right in some situations, it is not ideal for many homeowners.