If you have started to do research on solar energy systems then you have probably heard the term photovoltaic .. right ?
Well in this post we will help demistify the term, so that you can be better prepared to make a decision about going solar.
What is a photovoltaic system?
Anyone who is interested in a solar power system will be able to tell you that a photovoltaic system is simply another way to describe a type of solar power system. Solar power is a clean and renewable source of energy that has become increasingly popular in recent years. As more and more people are starting to become more aware of how our actions affect the environment, a shift toward finding renewable energy sources has become more of a point of emphasis for our society in general. When looking at renewable energy sources solar is clearly at the top of the list. A solar power system harnesses power from the sun, power which is sent to our world everyday, power that for all intents and purposes will never end. The point here is that the sun will keep shining everyday, so if we don't use a photovoltaic system to capture that energy then we are ignoring a golden opportunity to help solve our planet's energy problem. Currently we are far too dependent upon fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are not only a limited resource, burning them to produce energy is also very damaging for the environment. On the other hand a solar power system generates power without a limited fuel source, and it does so without polluting the environment.
Why Is It So Important That We Invest In Photovoltaic Power Systems?
Solar power really is the future. As a society we simply cannot continue to rely upon fossil fuels for our energy needs. While nuclear power plants are another alternative, they have drawbacks as well. Not many people want a nuclear power plant near their home, and fewer still want to have nuclear waste stored anywhere near where they live. That leaves other options such as hydroelectric power plants and wind farms in addition to solar as renewable clean energy sources. The big difference though is that you can install a photovoltaic system on your roof, which means that anyone that owns a home or building can have their own solar power system. Conversely it is unfeasible to think you can put up enough wind turbines on a private home to generate much power, and of course you can't have a hydroelectric power plant without moving water. So that leaves solar as the only viable option that everyone can take advantage of.
How Does A Photovoltaic System Work?
If you are considering installing a photovoltaic system on your home the first thing you need to do is decide if you want a stand alone system, or if you want to be connected to the power grid. If you have a standalone system then you are going to be dependent upon only your photovoltaic system for power. While it is possible to install enough solar panels to cover all of your energy needs, the inherent problem with a standalone system is that once the sun goes down you are going to be left without power. Now you can have battery back ups and a generator, but this type of setup is much more feasible when you are talking about providing power to an RV or similar vehicle.
If you are interested in installing a photovoltaic system on your home, and you are currently connected to the power grid, then your best bet is to include integrate your new solar system so that it is connected to the grid. There are a number of advantages to doing this. The biggest advantage of course is that you won't be left sitting in the dark once the sun goes down. The other advantage is that it allows you to actually feed power back into the grid when you are generating more than you need. So that means you can actually earn money back from the power company. Kind of a nice change to simply paying them all the time now isn't it?
As far as the actual photovoltaic system and it's components, it is a remarkably simple design that has no moving parts and requires very little maintenance. There are the solar panels, which house solar cells, that are mounted on the rooftop. These panels are then connected to an inverter that converts the direct current that the solar panels generate into the alternating current that you can actually use. Power cables are then converted to a fuse box, which then diverts off to cables that lead to your home, and cables that lead to the power grid. When you are using electricity then you don't send any back to the gird. If you are using more electricity than you need then you can draw power from the grid, and when you have an excess you photovoltaic system will feed power back into the grid.
How Expensive Is A Photovoltaic System?
The biggest obstacle that has prevented solar power from spreading more quickly has been the high up front cost of a photovoltaic system. The great news though is that as technology has progressed the cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically. While they are still far from cheap, they are far less expensive than they were in the past. One thing that is important to keep in mind when you are looking at the cost of a photovoltaic system is that it is an investment that will pay off long term. While you may have to take out a significant loan to cover the cost of your photovoltaic system, once that loan is paid off then you will be getting free electricity from your system from that point onward. On the other hand if you simply stay connected to the grid and remain dependent upon the power company for your electricity, then your bill won't ever end. You will simply keep paying each month, and as rates inevitably increase you will pay more and more. By making the decision to invest in a photovoltaic system for your home you will be making a smart financial decision while also doing your part to help reduce damage to the environment.
Here is a great infographic that helps explain the cost of solar > Source
If you are wondering how to pick the right solar company in orange county then here is a great article where you can learn more > Solar Companies Orange County