What is Solar Power?

Simply put, solar power is electricity generated by sunlight.

Solar power is environmentally friendly and over time saves you far more money than the installation of your solar power system will cost.

In certain places, such as where it is difficult to run power lines, solar power has the advantage that it can be installed anywhere. You get your best results, of course, in areas with a lot of sunlight.

The wonderful thing about a solar power system is that once it is installed, the electricity it produces is essentially free. The systems do not require a great deal of maintenance once installed.

Solar power is produced by photovoltaic cells. Silicon is commonly used in photovoltaic cells, although other materials may be used. Electrons come loose when light strikes the surface of the cells, producing electricity. This creates a direct current of energy, which must be run through an inverter to create useable electricity for your home.

Solar power was previously relatively expensive, but the cost of manufacturing photovoltaic cells for homes has decreased dramatically over the past several years, making it now fairly practical to install a home solar power system. Better yet, many areas now offer homeowners incentives for installing solar power systems.

Yet another advantage is that in many areas you can connect your system to the grid, and sell your excess electricity to the power company, rather than storing it in a battery. With a grid connected system, you have to buy electricity at night, but during the day you are selling electricity, which results in tremendous savings for most people. The exact amount depends on where you live, of course. The more sunlight you have, the more power you can create.

Now, most people will still use more electricity than their system will create, but still this can produce a good savings over time. It can certainly help with the costs of running an air conditioner during the summer!

Some worry that it takes more energy to create solar cells than they produce, making them an inefficient source of electricity. In fact, most solar cells have an energy payback time of less than five years, yet are good for about 40 years.

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