In the past few weeks I have learned a good deal about how solar energy works and I wanted to share some of the basic information. I am not an expert, but this is a conversation that I’d like to start and an area that I am very interested in. This post is part of a series that will highlight some current issues regarding solar energy.
There are several forms of solar energy collection. I will discuss Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy which is probably what first comes to mind when you hear the term solar power. Photovoltaic energy collection consists of solar panels located in direct sunlight that convert sunlight directly to electricity. You can find PV panels on the roof of houses and other places like parking meters.
In most cases PV panels help to power homes and businesses that are connected to electricity utilities. Solar power contributes to the energy that the home or business uses. If the power required exceeds the amount being produced, the system simply draws power from the grid. Likewise if the solar system produces excess electricity, that electricity goes into the grid and the owner is credited by the utility company. This is called Net Metering and in many states it is mandatory that the electric company allow this.
There is a wealth of information about solar energy on the internet, here are a few great links.
Please check back. The next post will discuss some current political issues of interest. Please leave a comment if you feel there is anything important to add to the discussion or anything important left out.