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Solar 101: Everything You Need to Know About Solar Energy

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We see the sun shining and it feels great outside. The sun is a source of light and heat, but what is solar energy? How does it work? Let’s learn more about this amazing source of power!

What is Solar Energy?

Solar rays are made up of photons. When these photons come in contact with certain materials, they are able to generate electrical energy directly from the sun.

That’s right, you can create electricity without wires! However, wires are then needed to convert it into a usable form of energy.

How Does Solar Power Work?

Photovoltaic cells are made up of materials, usually silicon wafers, that form layers when stacked on one another. As sunlight hits a PV cell, the photons are excited and generate an electric field across the layers – this is direct current, a direct flow of electricity.

Because our homes are wired for AC, alternating current, solar PV systems require an inverter that changes the current from DC to AC. This energy is then wired directly to the grid, and is measured by an electric meter attached to the system or your home.

Benefits of Using Solar Energy

Environment

Whether you’re worried about climate change or air pollution, investing in solar energy is undoubtedly an investment into the environment. Once the equipment has been manufactured, solar panels take only 2 years to offset the carbon emissions they took to produce. If every home went solar, we would accelerate ourselves out of our energy trap! If it is feasible for you and your family to invest in residential solar or a community solar garden, you can play a big part in saving the planet for future generations!

Quality of Life

When you choose to rely on solar, you’re actually making yourself more productive and autonomous – you are generating your own electricity instead of relying on a power company. You’re contributing to the energy grid, and lowering your annual energy costs. You’re doing something positive for yourself and the planet!

Ways to Use It

Solar power has the capacity to harvest energy from the sun. On cloudy days, the panel won’t produce as much electricity, but this accounted for during design phase. Your local solar installer, or online professionals like Aurora Solar, can help determine the production potential of your home, and suggest the installation size that would offset all of your electricity costs. In areas that account for net metering, the kilowatt hours consumed and produced over the course of a year should be equal – this way, you are never paying the utility company for the energy you consume!

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Green.Org is a television show, podcast, social media, and news platform, hosted by Dylan Welch, that highlights climate change scientists, renewable energy experts, and clean tech entrepreneurs by giving them a voice in the mainstream media. The Green podcast highlights leading experts in cleantech, sustainability, media, finance, and real estate. Tune in and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify to listen to interviews with leading cleantech and sustainable experts. If you are interested in being featured on Green, click HERE.

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