How A Solar System Works
There are a few components that are vital to every solar installation. Click on the selctions below to learn more.:
- The Sun
Maryland, Virginia and DC are in a region that experiences 4-5 full sun hours a day on average. Compared to California, the US leader in solar at 5-6 hours and Germany at 3-4 hours, our region is in an excellent location for solar performance.
- Solar Panels
The function of the solar panels is to convert the sun's energy into usable electricity. The conversion is into DC electricity. This electricity is the same as what your car battery stores and is not yet usable for your home and business.
The inverter converts the DC electricity created by the solar panels, into AC electricity. AC is the type of electricity you use in your home and business. Today's inverters are highly effecient and very little electricity is lost in the conversion.
- Electrical Panel
Your electrical panel will be supplied with electricity straight from the panels after going through the inverter. From your electrical panel the solar produced energy goes right into your various appliances and lights. When the sun is not shining, you get electricity from the utility as you normally would.
- Utility Meter
Your utility meter will track how much excess energy you produce, and how much energy you use from the utility company. Often, during the day when less energy is being used and the sun is shining, your system will produce excess energy which your meter will track by running backwards. At night when the sun is no longer available the meter will continue forward. The process is called 'Net Metering.' Learn more at the financial center.
Conduit is what holds the various wires and cables of the system, keeping them free from damage and safe for homeowners. Conduit can be run inside a house (through a basement, garage or chase to keep out of sight) or outside of the house (such as the pictures to the right). Since each home is unique, so too is the conduit run. Can you even spot the external conduit run on the top right picture? (It's along the right side of the roof line.)
- The Utility
The utility will receive excess energy that your system produces and supply you with energy when your system is not producing. Your solar power system also holds value to the utility company in the form of an 'SREC'. Visit the financial center to learn more.