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How Solar Works

Giving Customers in Treasure Valley 
and the State of Idaho a Crash Course in Solar 101

Welcome to Idahome Solar’s Solar 101, an informative webpage designed to give you all the information you need about solar, its benefits, and its uses. Whatever you want to know about solar, our technicians are here to help you. With our training, experience, and professional resources, we can help you discover everything the world of solar has to offer.

If you have questions about solar, we have the answers. Call Idahome Solar in Boise at (208) 793-5909 today for a free consultation and estimate!

The Science Behind Solar Panels

The sun is essentially one big nuclear reactor and the reactions that take place inside it release energy in the form of solar radiation. How much solar radiation does the sun release? At any given time, the earth is being exposed to roughly 173,000 terawatts of solar radiation, representing a huge source of potential energy that’s ready to be utilized.

But how do solar panels take that raw solar radiation and turn it into usable energy? Through a process known as photovoltaics. Solar panels are made of silicon-based photovoltaic cells. When those cells are exposed to solar radiation, the electrons within them are knocked loose and captured by the electrical circuit formed by your panel array, creating an electrical current. This process results in pure DC (direct current) energy that you can use to power your property.

How Energy Gets from Your Solar Panels to Your Appliances

Before anything else happens, the electricity generated by your solar panels has to pass through an inverter. The DC electricity your solar panels produce isn’t compatible with most appliances, so the inverter will convert it to AC (alternating current) electricity.

From there, the journey your renewable solar energy takes is surprisingly straightforward. Just like traditional electricity, it heads for your electrical panel or circuit breaker, which disperses it throughout your property as needed. Along the way, it’s measured by a net metering device that measures how much energy is being generated and how much energy is actually being used.

Where can Solar Panels Be Installed?

Most solar panels are installed on rooftops or set up on level ground, but specialized arrays can be constructed to fit the needs of specialized properties. For example, commercial properties can build parking structures that are equipped with solar panels, and agricultural properties can place solar panels on shade structures for livestock. Any kind of property can accommodate solar panels, and a trained and experienced solar technician can design a customized array to meet any property’s unique needs.

How Solar Helps You Save Money

Solar has many benefits, but one that most customers are interested in is lower operational costs. There are three main ways that solar helps you save money – lower utility bills, net metering credits, and government incentives. When you make solar power your primary energy source, you don’t have to pay the electrical company for nearly as much electricity, and any increases in their rates won’t affect you as much. And when you’re producing more energy than you’re capable of using, you can sell that excess energy back to your electrical company for net metering credits. To cap off all those savings, many local and federal agencies offer tax credits, rebates, and other incentives to residents who switch to solar.

Connected Solar Vs. Off-the-Grid Solar

Solar energy systems are typically placed in one of two categories, connected or off-the-grid. Connected solar energy systems are, as their name implies, still connected to the electrical grid, allowing customers to still draw on traditional energy sources to supplement their energy use. Off-the-grid systems, on the other hand, are completely disconnected from the grid and entirely dependent on solar. These systems typically utilize solar battery storage and backup generators to ensure that they always have a reliable energy supply. 

When you choose between these options, know that your choice doesn’t have to be permanent. A connected system can be converted into an off-the-grid system over time, and an off-the-grid property can be reconnected if necessary. 

Ready to see how solar can work for you and your family? Call Idahome Solar at (208) 793-5909 or get in touch with us onlinetoday for service anywhere in Treasure Valley or the entire state of Idaho!

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