This is where you should answer the most common questions prospective customers might have about solar energy.
HOW DO WE GENERATE ELECTRICITY FROM THE SUN?
Solar energy systems work when sunlight hits a solar photovoltaic
module (solar panel or PV panel) and causes electric current to
flow. The current produced from the PV panels is controlled and
regulated by an inverter, which converts direct current (DC) to
alternating current (AC), needed for use by household appliances.
The electrical panel is where the power gets distributed throughout
your house; any excess electricity may be sent from the panel back
to your cooperative’s power grid.
HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY CAN I GENERATE?
That depends on several factors. 1) The size of your system. You can
determine how much electricity you want to produce; then size
your system accordingly. Note that you can start out small and
add on. A system that will generate 100% of your energy needs is
expensive, so most systems are sized to generate only a portion of
your home’s needs. 2) Your site. If you have a shade-free area from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you’ll be able to collect more sun and produce more
energy than if your site is shaded. 3) Your region. The more sunny
days in your area, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate.
For example, systems in the Southwest produce more electricity
per year than in the northeast.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH A SOLAR PV SYSTEM
AT NIGHT AND ON CLOUDY DAYS?
Battery-backed or grid-independent systems use on-site energy
storage to store excess energy produced during the day for use at
night or when the sun is not producing enough power. Choosing this
option will add significant cost and maintenance to your system.
Most people opt for grid-connected systems for reduced cost,
maintenance, and high reliability. With this type of system, your
cooperative continues to provide energy to you when you need it
24-7. Your PV system will produce energy, and even excess energy,
on sunny days. Your system will not collect sunlight at night and on
cloudy days. That means, you will continue to draw electricity from
your cooperative during these times.