What is solar energy?
A solar energy system creates usable power from sunshine. There are two basic kinds of systems: Photovoltaic or PV uses sunlight to generate electricity. It's the same technology found on pocket calculators, just on a larger scale. PV systems can be designed to generate the majority of the electricity used in your home, or just a portion of it. Thermal solar uses sunlight to heat water. Typically this is used for a home's hot-water supply. A well-designed thermal system can be extremely effective, and provide most of the hot water used in your home. Both let you do your part towards reducing greenhouse gases and improving the environment.

How does solar help the environment?
Fossil fuels are a leading cause of global warming and air pollution. Solar energy reduces the amount of fossil fuel that is burned, thus reducing the pollutants and CO² that get into the atmosphere. Solar energy systems that are recommended by Solar Energy World have the added benefits of very high efficiency, durability, and service life – they're engineered for sustainability. This means fewer replacements and repairs, saving even more energy and precious resources.
What regular maintenance do I need to do?
With systems that we recommend, very little. PV systems are inherently very low-maintenance, requiring the system owner only to wash the solar modules down with water when they get dirty so light can get through.
How long will my system last?
If properly installed, it should last 30-40 years. Systems that were installed in the 1970's are still fully operational today. Technology has evolved so the systems from the 1970's may not be as efficient as today's technology.
Are all solar panels the same?
Aside from the aesthetic differences in solar panels, quality makes a differenece. Solar Technologies offers the most efficient solar panels in the world, generating up to 50% more power than conventional panels, with less degradation from heat. This means more savings using less space at lower costs.
How does solar power work?
The two most commonly used types of solar energy technology in the Midwest are photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal collectors. PV panels contain a semiconductor material (typically silicon-based) which converts sunlight into direct-current (DC) electricity. An on-site inverter converts the DC power to 120-volt AC power, which can then be connected to a home or building's power supply or directly to the electricity grid. Solar thermal collectors absorb the sun's thermal energy and use it to heat water or other fluids, which can be used for hot water or circulated through a home or building for space heating.
How does solar power connect to the electrical grid?
The solar energy generated by PV panels is converted from DC to AC power by an on-site inverter. In grid connected systems, the AC electric current can then be routed directly into the home or business or routed to the electric grid via a two-way meter. In "net metered" systems, the meter runs forward when the home or business is using more power than is generated by the solar panels. It runs backwards when the solar panels are generating more power than is being consumed on-site. The system owner receives a credit from the utility for the value of the excess electricity sent to the grid. In other words, the solar system owner is charged only for the "net" electricity consumed.


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