Solar 101: The Advantages of Solar Energy

History of Solar

In 1839, Edmund Becquerel, the seventeen-year-old son of a French scientist, took an electrolytic cell into the yard outside of his father’s Paris laboratory. Nothing that the cells activity increased in sunlight, the young scientist had discovered “The Photovoltaic Effect.”

It took almost seventy years for Albert Einstein to identify and explain the physics that cause the photovoltaic effect to ‘work.’

At age 26, before he was recognized as one of the world’s foremost physicists, Albert Einstein was working at the swiss Patent Office. In what was later referred to as “The Miracle Year” (1905), Albert wrote four groundbreaking papers. As a result, in 1921 Dr. Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of photoelectric effect, upon which countless inventions rest, including the PV solar panel.

The first prototype solar panel (“Bell Solar Battery”) was built by Bell Laboratories in 1954.

This is the same base technology that is still in use today, a high-grade Crystalline Cell that is encapsulated between glass creating a DC Power Output that we convert into AC Power using microinverter technology.  This is the same technology that is used to power the International Space Station, all the Satellites that orbit our planet as well on most homes throughout North American and around the entire world.

How Solar Energy Works

Over the past 10-years, Solar Energy has become increasingly popular across the United States and around the world. In fact, more than one million solar systems have been installed nationwide, and the costs of solar installations have steadily declined over the recent years. The average cost of a residential solar system is approaching grid parity.

As solar energy continues to become a part of the mainstream renewable energy industry, many people are wondering, “How does solar energy work?” Below, we’ll discuss how solar panels produce energy for your home and why they are a beneficial alternative to generating energy from traditional fossil fuel sources.

The Science Behind Solar

Solar panels work by allowing light particles to separate electrons from atoms, thereby generating a flow of electricity. The typical solar panel contains a layer of silicon cells and is made with an aluminum metal frame, glass casing, and wiring that allows the current to flow from the silicon cells. The silicon cells are what help the panel absorb and convert the sunlight into electricity. When the sun’s rays interact with the silicon cells, this sets the electrons in motion, initiating a flow of electricity called the photovoltaic (PV) effect.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how the process works:

  • The silicon PV solar cell absorbs solar radiation.
  • When the sunlight interacts with the silicon cell, the electrons start to move.
  • The moving electrons then create a flow of electricity that is captured by the panel.
  • Wires feed the direct current (DC) electricity to a solar inverter, and it is converted to alternating (AC) current electricity.

The glass casing is durable and protects the silicon PV cells. Underneath the glass is a layer of insulation and protective material to manage humidity within the panel and protect against heat dissipation. This insulation is essential to maintaining solar panel performance because as the temperature increases, efficiency decreases.

Steps to Going Solar

Orbit will prepare a no cost, no obligation proposal for your consideration.

Should you, as the homeowner, decide that solar is the right choice moving forward, then the entire process from your site survey to installing panels on your roof averages less than 30-Days.

  1. First, you provide Orbit with a copy of your electric bill which we will use to prepare a no cost, no obligation proposal.
  2. An Orbit representative will visit with you and explain all of the programs available.  We will discuss your equipment options and choose which solar panels and inverters are best for your custom design/ build solution.
  3. An Orbit Energy & Power engineer will inspect your property by evaluating your roof’s condition and looking at your electrical service and your main electrical panel
  4. Orbit Energy will then file all the necessary permits and paperwork before any installation work begins, including the applications for both state and federal solar incentives such as solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs) and any local/state solar rebates.
  5. Once the appropriate paperwork has been filed and all the approvals have been granted, we will schedule your installation.
  6. Installation begins with prepping and/ or replacing your roof if needed and then starting the electrical wiring installation that will connect your solar panels to your main electrical panel.
  7. Next, we install the racking to support the panels and attach the panels onto the racking mounts.  The inverters are attached and connected to the back of panels to convert the DC solar energy power into AC power which is then tied back through your electrical service.
  8. Once we receive your final Electrical/ Building Inspections, we notify the Local Electric Utility to swap out your existing electric utility meter with a new Digital Bi-Directional Meter at no additional cost to you as the homeowner.
  9. Your System is Now Fully Operational and is making clean, green, renewable energy from the Sun, fully guaranteed to produce electricity for a minimum of 25-Years but is expected to last 60+ years based on today’s technology.
  10. As for maintenance—the good news is that very little is needed! The solar panels, micro-inverters and racking themselves are guaranteed for 25-years.  In addition, Orbit Energy & Power provides a 25 -year Performance & Production guarantee along with a 100% Parts & Labor Guarantee for 25-years.

Benefits of Solar Energy for Your Home

Solar energy for your home can provide a wide variety of benefits. One of the greatest benefits of installing a solar energy system for your home is that it can help to eliminate or greatly reduce electricity bills significantly over time. As you use your solar energy system to meet some or all your electricity needs, you will drive down your overall electricity costs. The amount you can save with a home solar energy system will ultimately depend on the size of your system and how much electricity you are using also referred to as your Individual Household Load Profile.

In addition to saving on energy bills and reducing your overall carbon footprint impact on the planet, you can also take advantage of both federal and individual state tax credits and rebates. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, when you file your taxes, you are eligible to receive up to a 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit on the entire system cost.  In addition, you can also take advantage of local and state rebates as well as SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) which you will generate and accumulate throughout the year just by going green!

Not only will you save money through energy savings, tax credits, and rebates, but solar energy will also help to improve your home’s resale value. Most home buyers understand what a solar energy system means for their annual energy costs and when the system is already in place, they won’t have to deal with the initial investment or installation costs. One survey shows that homeowners with a home solar system see a $5,911 resale value increase per installed kilowatt.  The national average home value sales price increases by 15% over homes that do not have solar installed due to the mere fact that the next homeowner will not have an electric utility bill.

Are you wondering if solar energy is right for your home? Contact us today for a free solar evaluation at 1(800) 836-3987.