Learn all about how solar power in California works
SoCal Solar Energy, Inc. What is Photovoltaics?
Photovoltaic systems are solar energy systems that produce electricity directly from sunlight. Photovoltaic (PV) commercial solar power and residential solar power systems produce clean, reliable and affordable solar energy without consuming fossil fuels and can be used in a wide variety of applications. Providing reliability, durability, low maintenance cost, no fuel cost, reduced sound pollution, power independence, high altitude performance, and electrical grid decentralization.
PV solar cells are connected to make modules. Modules are wired in series and or parallel to make an array. An array is sized to meet the electrical demand. Balance of systems (BOS) are related components like: an inverter, charge controller, and battery bank, that may or may not be needed depending on your system configurations. An inverter takes the DC current created by the array, transfers it into AC current (used by most appliances) and connects the array into the main circuit breaker. The main circuit breaker than passes the AC current throughout the existing circuits in the house or building for loads. Any overproduction of power that is not used in a day is transferred to the grid via the meter spinning backwards (grid-tie systems).
How Does it Work?
Solar cells in commercial solar and residential solar power systems are made of two semi-conducting layers. Both layers are mostly silicon "doped" with an impurity to help facilitate electron flow. One side is doped with boron, the positive (+) side; and the other is doped with phosphorus, the negative (-) side, creating the positive & negative (p-n) junction. When light hits the top layer, negative electrons move from one layer to the other. This creates a flow of electrons which can be used as a power source and is passed along the circuit to the home or building.
Solar cells are wired to make a module, often called a solar panel. Modules are then wired together to create an array and the desired watt production. An solar system installation array can be sized to meet residential, commercial, and utility scale electrical needs. The array produces DC current, which needs to be inverted to AC current to power everyday loads like: lights, electronics, and equipment.
Why is it Beneficial?
Every day, more people are turning to the sun as a reliable energy source — and so can you. The thousands of Californians who have already decided to “go solar” know that powering their home or business with California solar energy is easy, and reaping the benefits even easier. Why “go solar”?
- California receives an abundant supply of energy from the sun — a renewable source of power.
- Affordable solar energy puts the power to supply your electricity needs directly in your hands.
- Harnessing the power of the sun can help lower your electric bill.
- There’s never been a better time to “go solar” — tax credits and incentives can help lower your out-of-pocket costs and maximize your California solar investment.
- You can reduce your annual operating costs and increase your property’s value.
- Real estate appraisers estimate that every $1,000 of annual electric bill savings from residential solar power systems increases a home’s average resale value by $20,000.
- Utilizing solar energy in California improves air quality by generating clean, green electricity free from harmful emissions, and it helps ease demand on the power grid.
It’s up to all of us to leave a legacy of clean energy for future generations. Together we can make a difference.