You might not give your electricity bill much thought—except perhaps to lament how high it is—but electricity bills actually provide a lot of valuable information to inform the process of installing solar. For solar professionals, these bills are an easy way to quickly understand how much energy a customer uses, which is a key factor in…Trevor House
Solar PV Education 101
An introductory primer on the fundamentals of solar PV for beginners or for reference.
Solar Industry Growth and Affordability Solar is playing an increasingly important role in the transition to a world powered by renewable energy. Over the past decade, the number of solar installations has grown at an accelerating rate and with increasing affordability. In the first quarter of 2016, over 29 GW of solar was installed in th…Christian Brown
How a Photovoltaic System Operates As described in The Beginner's Guide to Solar Energy, solar panels convert the energy of photons into electricity. This process is called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a photovoltaic device, its energy is transferred from the photon to the local electrons in the material. These excited elec…Christian Brown
Sizing a PV System from an Electricity Bill An electricity bill typically reveals information about a residential or commercial customer’s total monthly energy consumption (as we discussed in the previous article in this series, Reading Your Electricity Bill: A Beginner’s Guide). From this value alone, it is possible to approximate the…Christian Brown
Effects of Shade on PV Output Since PV systems generate electricity based on the amount of sunlight they receive, it makes sense that when a shadow is cast on a panel, for example by a nearby tree, its power output decreases. However, the decrease in power could be a lot worse than it initially seems. Figure 1. Solar panels in partial sh…Christian Brown
Costs Associated with a PV System In order to determine financial returns, it is important to have a solid understanding of the basic economics that dictate PV system costs. There are two general categories of PV systems costs: capital costs and operation and management (O&M) costs. Capital Costs Capital costs refer to the fixed, on…Christian Brown