Got questions about solar power or going solar? Click on the common frequently asked questions to check for your answers.
- Is Solar Energy Safe?
- How Does Solar Power Work?
- Do We Need The Sun To Shine In Order To Use Solar Power?
- What Are Photovoltaic Cells Made Of?
- What Are The Major Components Required To Produce And Store Solar Energy?
- What Would A Solar Power System Typically Cost?
- Is It Worth My While Going Solar?
- Can I Sell My Solar Power And Make Some Money?
FAQs About Going Solar – Answers
The answer is: Most certainly! Solar energy is one of the oldest known sources of renewable energy known to humankind, and has been in use in one form or another through various periods in history. When harnessed in the form of solar cells, this energy can be produced in a very clean and environmentally friendly way.
Simply speaking, the sun’s rays are used to stimulate activity in a photovoltaic cell, through a process called conductivity. This produces the electricity to run our household appliances.
No, we don’t need the Sun to shine in order to use its power. But we do need sunshine in order to be able to produce solar power. Once the power is produced, it can either be used immediately, or it can be stored in solar powered batteries, to be used subsequently.
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A Photovoltaic (or PV) cell is made up of 2 layers of a high-quality semiconductor that is built from superior grade silicon. To these layers, on one side is applied a film of phosphorous, and the other is coated with boron. There may be other parts to a PV cell, but these are the most critical to generate electricity.
To produce and store the solar energy, you need a PV cell module, which produces the electricity. If yours is a stand-alone system, you will need a charge controller that will route the electricity into a power storage source. You may be using Alternating Current (AC), in which case you will require an inverter. Or you may use Direct Current (DC) loads, in which case the battery will provide you the current required.
The real answer is: It depends. However, a typical ready-made 2kW solar system with installation services could cost anywhere between $12,000 to $18,000. A lot of things could impact the final cost of a completely built and installed system. Factors such as the cost of parts, cost of labor, whether you are building or installing it yourself, and how easy is it to install on your property, will directly impact costs.
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The answer again is: It depends. If you are passionate about the impact that “dirty power” from your electricity grid is having on the environment, then you are likely to answer “Absolutely”.
But for cost-conscious individuals too, the answer could be “yes”, depending on several factors, including:
- What does it cost you to use power from your local grid?
- What capacity of solar powered system would you need to meet your requirements?
- What are the environmental conditions around your property – do you get sufficient sunshine?
- Is it easy to install a solar power system on your property?
- How much would a system cost you and is it cost effective for you?
- How much in terms of dollars can you save in the next one, three, five or ten years?
- How much will you receive in tax breaks and energy rebates from Federal, State and Local governments?
Doing a thorough cost-benefit assessment by considering all these factors will ultimately determine whether a solar power system is ideal for you.
This is a classic concern among some people making a decision to invest in solar energy.
The answer is: Yes, but only if your local power grid accepts the electricity produced by your system. In that case, any excess electricity that you do not use flows back into the grid through a process called “net metering”. This means that your electricity meter starts running backward, effectively giving you a credit for any grid power you might have used earlier.
“Net metering” does not always net off to zero, meaning, if you use 1Kw-hour of grid power, and you give the same amount of electricity back to the grid, you could still likely owe the power company money. That’s because the rate the power company charges to “buy” your power may be lower than the rate it charges when it “sells” you power. Keep that in mind when you work out your business case for going solar.