Solar Energy: How Solar Panels Work

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In the Valley of the Sun, where cloudy days are few and far between, one would think rooftop solar is a great way to reduce or eliminate your utility bill. This paper will focus on three aspects of deploying rooftop solar: cost, efficiency, and permitting. For those thinking of pulling the trigger on this popular energy saving option please read on. Rooftop solar is comprised of solar panels, an inverter, and a meter connection to the electric grid. Solar panels are made from different types of silicon that produce direct current when exposed to sunlight. The direct current from solar panels is routed via metallic wires into an inverter which converts direct current to alternating current, also known as DC to AC conversion (Solarworld, 2014). The output of the inverter is tied into an electric panel. This is where your electric meter gets involved with tracking kilowatt hours produced by your solar panels before they are fed back into the electric grid (Zipp, 2013). If this seems like a lot of product to generate some electricity it is. The costs are steep, incentives limited and tax breaks remain minimal. Therefore, be sure you confirm all costs, evaluate purchasing verses leasing and fully understand the timeframe to recoup your out of pocket expense. Today in the United States, the average up front, out of pocket expense to deploy solar panels for homeowners is $17,056 (Glenn, 2014). This large sum of money is usually something the wealthier class can produce, not the lower working class. For an alternative to purchasing and owning solar panels, companies are beginning to come out of the woodwork to offer you financing and lease options. You get the benefit of solar with no out of pocket expense for installation or mainte... ... middle of paper ... ...ee-puts-a- dent-in-rooftop-solar-economics Randazzo, R. (2013, July 13). Costs of rooftop solar out of reach for many in Arizona. azcentral. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com/business/consumer/articles/20130726arizona-solar- -costs-high.html Solar Application & Integration. (2014, April 21). Solar Application & Integration. Retrieved April 3, 2014, from http://www.azsolarcenter.org/tech-science/solar-architecture/solar-application-and-integration.html Author, Solarworld. (2014, April 24). How Solar Panels Work. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.solarworld-usa.com/solar-101/how-solar-panels-work Swan, D. (2014, January 06). Why roof-top solar panels really don't make sense. Energybiz. Retrieved from http://www.energybiz.com/article/14/01/why-roof- top-solar-panels-really-don’t-make-sense

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