How Solar Works: The Technology, the Cost and the Process

How Solar Works: The Technology, the Cost and the Process

Solar energy is now officially the least expensive type of energy over coal and gas. But what does this mean for you? Understanding the basics of how solar works, how it saves money, and how simple it is to deploy explains why solar now reigns supreme; and why homeowners are seeing that it is the way of the future. 

It’s official: Energy produced by solar panels is now cheaper than that produced by coal- or gas-powered plants in most nations, the International Energy Agency said October 13th in its annual report on global energy trends.

"I see solar becoming the new king of the world's electricity markets," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "Based on today's policy settings, it's on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022.”

This is great news for the planet and for our wallets. But as you see this news crossing your radar, it may leave you wondering, is solar something I should actually be thinking about for my own home? And more to the point, how does it even work? Understanding the basic process, cost and technology helps explain how easy it is for you to deploy the new king of electric energy generation.

Is it really feasible for me to go solar now?

There’s never been a better time to go solar. The federal solar tax credit is still in place at 22% through 2021, but drops to 10% for 2022, so now is a great time to take advantage of that savings.

Additionally, financial institutions are realizing that green energy lending is the wave of the future, and are putting together money-saving loans specific to these types of projects. We are partnered with Clean Energy Credit Union to bring you some of the best rates in the area, starting as low as 2.99%.

Solar also increases your home value. A recent Zillow study showed that homes with solar systems sold for about 4% more than those with typical energy systems. You can read more about the financial benefits of solar here.

How Does Solar Work?

Solar technology is pretty simple when you break it down. Check out the image below. Number one shows the solar panels on your roof. The panels are made of silicon (which is basically sand) compressed into cells which are able to convert the sun’s rays into electricity. That electricity comes through the panels as DC current. Read more about solar panels here.

Next, number two shows the wires running from the panels to the inverter. Each panel has small boxes called microinverters on the back, which run electricity through the wires to the inverter box attached to the outside wall. At the inverter box, the DC current is converted to AC current that your home can use. Read more about the benefits of microinverters here.

Number three shows your main electric service panel. Solar electricity from the inverter flows through this service panel into your home, or out to the grid.

Number four is the net meter. When you install a solar system on your home, the utility company will come and change out your regular meter for a net meter, which can measure the power flowing into your home as well as out to the grid. This allows you to participate in net metering and earn 1-to-1 credit on your electric bill for the extra power you generate. Read more about net metering here.

What is the Process?

There are many steps in any major home improvement project, and solar is no different. But Ipsun’s solar experts are here to walk you through it every step of the way. Begin with a free virtual quote from one of our consultants to get an idea of the viability of solar for your home. From there, we will work with you to design a custom system that fits your needs and budget.

In the construction phase, it’ll take time to go through permitting and procurement of your materials, but when installation time comes, that process will typically only take about two days. From there, once the install passes inspection and the utility company connects you to the power grid, you’re running on sun power!

Give us a call at (866) 484-7786, or connect with us online to learn more. We love talking solar, especially now that it’s officially “the king of the electricity market!”

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