Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What exactly is solar energy?
A: Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of energy that uses sunshine to produce electricity and/or heat.
Q: What are solar photovoltaic cells and how do they work?
A: A photovoltaic cell is made up of a popular semiconductor, like silicon. Within the semiconductor material are also elements such as boron & phosphorus that generate conductivity, activating electron movement. These activated electrons travel across a photovoltaic cell upon activation by the sun's rays to produce an electrical current that's limited to the corresponding solar panel.
Q: Explain the primary difference between integrated photovoltaic products and solar panels.
A: Integrated photovoltaic components include PV arrays that are literally built right within actual building materials, such as roofing tiles, walls, and windows. Solar panels, are self-contained panels containing photovoltaic arrays that are traditionally affixed upon a home's roof or other prime location. Solar panels are most popular for home improvement projects and renovation, while BIPV are more appropriate for brand new construction.
Q: What is the average cost of a solar electric power system?
A: On average, a 2kW system will run around $20,000. This estimated cost includes all the necessary system parts, mounting hardware, and associated labor for installation. However, it is important to note that this average cost does not include additional discounts that may be available due to potential tax breaks or net metering credits.
Q: How much can I expect to save on electric with a home solar power system?
A: The savings when switching from traditional utility providers to owning your own solar system are substantial. However, they are also very relative, largely dependent on your current rate of electric use and the overall efficiency of household appliances. Most individuals find their solar system generates an excess of energy during summer months, which typically offsets any use from the regular grid during winter.
Q: Is there a difference between solar hot water and solar photovoltaic systems?
A: Yes, while both of these systems perform functions designed to capture energy from our sun, they have different applications for use. Solar photovoltaic systems are designed to generate electricity for a household. Solar hot water helps you capture the sun's energy to make your own hot water, warm a swimming pool, or perhaps even produce a radiant heat solution.
Q: What do solar hot water systems do?
A: More broadly classified as solar thermal systems, these solar solutions are created to harness the sun's renewable energy as a means to heat water for household use. They are often employed in homes that wish to make their own hot water for personal use in bathing, washing, or simply to produce for a radiant heating system or even to heat swimming pools - reducing utility costs even more.