Solar - How it Works?

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What is Solar PV, Solar Electricity, Solar Photovoltaics?

The easy answer, Electricity from the Sun. The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek φῶς (phōs) meaning "light", and from "volt", the unit of electro-motive force, the volt, which in turn comes from the last name of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery. Solar Photovoltaics or in short, Solar PV, is a method of converting the Sun’s rays into electricty that can be used in your home to charge your cell phones, run your refrigerator and turn on your lights.

1. Sunlight hits your roof's solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight).

2. The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current ("DC") electricity.

3. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices.

4. The inverter converts that "DC" power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or "AC" power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.

5. A net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces.

6. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter.

At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your building needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the "net" consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess during a given period.