The Mechanics of Solar Power

A solar panel is a set of electrically-connected photovoltaic components mounted on a supporting structure that provide a source of non-polluting, renewable energy.  The panels generate electrical power by having the photovoltaic cells convert solar radiation into direct current electricity through the use of semiconductor materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect.  Materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, which the creation of electrical current upon exposure to light, include cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, and many different types of silicon.  With recent advances in solar technology, the once rarely utilized technology has now become a global phenomenon, with over 100 countries now equipped with solar panels. Even the International Space Station is equipped with solar panels, taking advantage of its closer proximity to the Sun to become a more self-sustaining station.

Despite the fact that solar panels have been around for decades, there are many that still struggle to understand what they are and how they work.  Luckily, you do not need to know how solar panels work in order to have them installed on your residential property.  One can simply call up a company such as Verengo Solar, get a free quote and make the switch to solar that so many others have already decided to make.

There are many advantages and benefits to making the switch to using solar power.  One of the main benefits of using solar power is the positive impact on the environment.  Because solar energy is a clean energy alternative (produces no waste or pollution), it can help reduce one’s carbon footprint, thereby minimalizing their impact on the environment.  Furthermore, solar energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog (unlike many conventional energy sources such as fossil fuels), meaning that using solar power actively contributes to the reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  This not only helps future generations, but also serves to make the air that we breathe cleaner, which helps increase our life expectancies.

Another major benefit of switching to solar power is the financial incentives.  To help offset the initial start-up costs, the Federal government provides a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the total cost of installing a solar panel system.  Moreover, many State, City, and local governments provide additional monetary incentives to switch to solar power, usually in the form of tax rebates or feed-in tariffs.  Feed-in tariffs are incentives primarily offered outside the US that reward homeowners for the number of kilowatt-hours that they produce over a certain period of time.  Since the price paid per kilowatt-hour under the feed-in tariffs exceed the price of powering the system’s grid electricity, the government is essentially paying you to continually use solar energy.  Combined with the fact that many utility companies also offer financial incentives to encourage their customers to switch to solar energy (and sometimes even offer to pay for surplus energy that one’s residential solar panel system generates), the financial barriers to entry that once discouraged many have been dramatically lowered.  As more and more homeowners continue to install solar panel systems, the economy of scale continues to grow, meaning that the costs to make the switch continue to decrease.

A final benefit to switching to solar panel is that it helps make our country more energy independent.  In the past, we have been very dependent on countries rich in fossil fuels to help keep our country running.  This has had an outsized influence on our politics, and has at times limited our political actions.  By installing residential solar panels, you can help make our country more energy independent, meaning that we will have more freedom in our diplomatic choices and relationships.

The Mechanics of Solar Power
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