5. How Does Solar Energy Work?
A photovoltaic system, also PV system or solar power system, is a power system designed to supply usable solar power by means of photovoltaics. It consists of an arrangement of several components, including solar panels to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity, a solar inverter to change the electric current from DC to AC, as well as mounting, cabling, and other electrical accessories to set up a working system.
Solar panel systems are a great way for you to save money, no matter what your budget is. If you can afford to pay your electricity bill every month, you can afford to install a solar panel system. With a $0-down solar loan from EHS, you can finance your system and see immediate savings.
Installing a solar panel system is a great investment. Investing in a solar panel system can deliver better returns than stocks and bonds – and now is the right time to make that investment. While solar photovoltaic technology is improving incrementally each year, financial incentives and rebates will decrease as solar becomes more popular.
- Solar photovoltaic systems have been around for a long time. Solar photovoltaic systems are a well-proven technology first invented in 1954 by scientists at Bell Labs. Today, solar panels are installed on over one million homes in the U.S. At EHS, our solar panels are manufactured right here in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Solar panel systems are highly durable. Solar photovoltaic panels are made of tempered glass and can withstand hail, snow, rain, and high winds. They can even extend the life of your roof by protecting it from daily wear and tear.
- Solar power systems can produce electricity for 25 or more years. When you purchase your system through Efficient Home Services, your solar panels are covered by a substantial 25-year warranty.
- Solar power systems are practically maintenance-free. We specifically chose our solar panels because they are incredibly durable, an important factor in Florida due to hurricanes. Other than extreme circumstances, they really don’t need to be washed or cleaned.
- Solar Power is a perfect fit for the “Sunshine State” Most locations in the Florida get enough sunlight to produce sufficient electricity from solar panels. The most important factors to consider when you evaluate your solar panel options are the rates you pay for electricity and the rebates and incentives available to you.
- Solar energy systems are tied to the electric grid and do not require batteries to store power. When you install a solar energy system on your property with EHS, you remain connected to the electricity grid. When your system produces more electricity than you use, you receive credit for the electricity you send to the grid; if you need more electricity than your solar energy system is producing, you can draw it from the grid.
- Solar power systems can eliminate most of your electricity bill. When you go solar with Efficient Home Services, we will design your system so that it is tailored to generate enough electricity to meet your needs. As long as you have enough roof space to install the right size solar panel system, the power that your panels will produce will effectively eliminate the entirety or majority of your electricity bill.
- Solar photovoltaic panels can be installed on the roof of your home or even on the ground in some cases Solar panels can be installed practically anywhere that receives direct sunshine for most of the day and is not shaded by trees or buildings. Panels that face south will produce the most electricity, but your panels can also face east or west.
Solar panel system components
Solar PV systems have four main components:
- Solar photovoltaic panels (“solar panels”)
- Racking and mounting systems
- Performance monitoring systems
Solar panels collect and convert the sun’s energy into electricity. They are a key component of a solar panel system. Most commonly available panels today are either poly-crystalline or mono-crystalline solar panels.
At Efficient Home Services, we have found that the best choice for our homeowners is mono-crystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline solar cells are made out of silicon ingots, which are cylindrical in shape. To optimize performance and lower costs of a single monocrystalline solar cell, four sides are cut out of the cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers, which is what gives monocrystalline solar panels their characteristic look.
- Mono-crystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon. The efficiency rates of mono-crystalline solar panels are typically 15-20%.
- Mono-crystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient. Since these solar panels yield the highest power outputs, they also require the least amount of space compared to any other types. Mono-crystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels.
- Mono-crystalline solar panels live the longest. Because of their durability and resilience, our panels are covered by a 25-year warranty.
- Mono-crystalline solar panels perform the best in low-light. These panels tend to perform better than similarly rated polycrystalline solar panels at low-light conditions.
The cells in your solar panels collect the sun’s energy and turn it into direct current (DC) electricity. Most homes, however, use alternating current (AC). Inverters change the DC electricity from your panels into usable AC electricity. At EHS, our inverters combine sophisticated digital control technology with efficient power conversion architecture to achieve superior solar power harvesting and best-in-class reliability. Our single-phase inverter comes with a built-in DC safety switch, integrated rapid shutdown and a standard 12-year warranty.
Racking and mounting systems
Racking and mounting systems are used to affix your solar panels either to your roof or to the ground. They also allow you to position your panels at an angle that is best for capturing the sun’s rays. To perform at their best, solar panels should face south and be installed at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees (depending on how far you are from the equator). Panels facing east or west and at a pitch angle of five degrees or more will still work well, but will produce 10 to 20 percent less electricity than those installed under ideal conditions.
There are two types of mounts: fixed mounts, in which the panels remain stationary, and track mounts, which allow panels to “follow” the sun as it moves across the sky during the day (single-axis track mounts) and during the changing seasons (dual-axis track mounts). Track mounts are only suitable for panels installed on the ground.
Performance monitoring systems
EHS includes a monitoring receiver with every system that has been integrated into the single phase inverter and aggregates the power optimizer performance data from each PV module. This data can be transmitted to the web and accessed via the monitoring platform on your tablet or smartphone for performance analysis, fault detection and troubleshooting of PV systems. Our performance monitoring systems provide you with detailed information about the performance of your solar panel system. With a monitoring system, you can measure and track the amount of electricity your system produces on an hourly basis. While some solar installers charge extra for installing a monitoring system, we include monitoring in every single one of our systems at no additional cost to you. Monitoring systems help you identify any performance issues to ensure that you maximize the electricity production (and therefore the financial returns) of your solar panel system.
Solar Systems installed by Efficient Home Services use power optimizers – a hybrid of micro-inverter and string inverter systems. So, what makes power optimizers so special? Instead of converting the DC electricity from the solar panels into AC electricity, the optimizers “condition” the DC electricity before sending it to a centralized inverter.
6. What To Expect The Day Of The Install
Your solar installation team arrives.
A team of expert installers will introduce themselves, review your personalized solar panel installation plan and ask you for access to work areas like your electrical panel and attic. Simple enough.
The crew marks off work zones.
This step is necessary so the team can gain better access to work areas. They will be as neat as possible but since your home is a temporary work site, you’ll probably be seeing a few tools and materials in designated areas during the solar installation process.
Safety ropes are installed, as well as the rails your solar panels will sit on.
You may hear some noise when this happens, but it’s nothing to worry about. Rest assured that the solar panel installation team will securely seal all holes at the end of installation. Plus, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re covered by our warranty.
Electrical equipment goes on the side of your home.
Crew members will mount equipment such as an inverter, a meter and electrical disconnects. They’ll also install electrical wiring (known as conduit) to connect the equipment and custom design it for your home.
The moment you’ve been waiting for.
Up go the solar panels and down goes the crew, leaving your home as spotless as they found it. Now, you’re one step closer to getting clean, renewable energy!
Reap the benefits.
Within the next few weeks, the city or county will do its final inspection. Then your local utility company installs its net meter and gives you permission to operate or PTO (don’t worry we submit all that paperwork for you) and you’re good to go.
Congratulations, the solar panel installation is complete! Now you can tap into those shiny new, energy-generating solar panels and start saving big on your electric bill.