How Solar Works
Few power-generation technologies have as positive an impact on the environment as solar electric power. It quietly generates electricity from sunlight and produces no air pollution or hazardous waste. It doesn't require liquid or gaseous fuels to be transported or combusted. And its renewable energy source—sunlight—is free and abundant. That's a bright solution!
Solar installation can eliminate much of the electrical utility cost for your home or business and provide a secure return on your investment. Your system will be designed to meet your energy goals and to fit your budget. Solar Impact has the answer to your energy needs.
Photovoltaic solar power converts the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar cells, or photovoltaic cells are silicon-based pieces of material that absorb the sun’s light – not warmth as in a thermal application. Solar energy excites the electrons in the solar cell and electricity is produced. Solar cells are combined in solar panels, and groups of panels are linked to produce greater power.
- Photovoltaic solar panels: The solar panels convert sunlight (not heat) into Direct Current (DC) electricity
- Inverter: An Inverter then converts the DC electricity into 240-volt Alternating Current (AC) electricity suitable to power appliances in your house.
- Power for your home: Your home uses electricity from the solar panels first. Then, if your electricity use is higher than the supply available from the panels, your system gets the extra power from the electrical grid.
- Monitoring usage: A meter is used to monitor the electricity used from the electrical grid as well as the solar electricity your house supplies to the grid.
- Excess energy: If your solar panel system produces more electricity than you use, the excess electricity is exported to the electrical grid, and your meter spins backwards.
Types of Solar Installations:
connected to Grid
- Net metering is a state law that defines how solar interacts with the grid.
- Under net metering, you can buy energy from the grid when the sun isn't out, and sell energy back to your utility when your solar produces more than you are consuming.
- No batteries or storage needed; the grid is your perfect storage mechanism.
- Provides the highest return on investment.
- Does not produce electricity when the grid is down.
Connected to Grid
- A net-metered installation that utilizes batteries for emergency back-up power.
- Batteries power a critical load panel off the main breaker panel, designed to power necessities.
- Batteries require maintenance (must be replaced every 5-7 years), and are a significant expense, but a hybrid system requires less batteries than an off-grid system.
- You are able to sell energy you are producing but not using to your utility; providing a higher return on investment than an off-grid system.
Not Connected to Grid
- An off-grid system requires batteries to store and provide power.
Batteries require maintenance (must be replaced every 5-7 years), and are a significant expense.
You cannot sell unused power, because energy never leaves your closed system.
- But you are insulated from losing power since you are not reliant on the power grid.