There are two main ways the world currently harvests solar energy. Photovolatic Cells and Solar Thermal Capture. Solar Photovoltaics or Solar Cells are the most common method and are used in residential, small commercial, an community solar panel installation projects. Solar Thermal Capture is used for Utility Scale Solar, most often on a massive scale. Solar Thermal is often used to generate electricity but it can also be used for heating and cooling.
Solar Photovoltaic Technology improves every single year. Huge advances in technology are on the horizon. The cost of solar has dropped tremendously in the past 10 years. This has created a huge interest in consumers installing solar in their homes as part of our need to fight rising energy costs and climate change.
Photovoltaic Solar Energy for Property Owners
Most property owners will choose for a Solar PV System. The Solar Panel Installation converts sunlight directly into DC electricity. This energy can be used immediately to power the home or business. It can also be stored for later use in a battery storage system like the Tesla Power Wall. You may also sell your excess energy back to the utility in most states like Florida, Texas, and California and get a credit back on your power bill.
Solar panels are composed of many Photovoltaic Cells. Together the cells in the panel convert light into energy in the photovoltaic effect process. The sunlight hits the semiconductor material and frees electrons which then move and generate an electric current that can be captured. This DC (direct current) electricity has to be transformed using a DC Inverter into AC (alternating current) which is what your home or business runs on. The two rare exceptions to this are DC-powered Recreational Vehicles and Remote Off-Grid Cabins that have been fitted with DC lights and appliances. Even then, it is still often necessary to have an inverter to power any additional AC needs.