How does solar energy work?
Power is generated by converting energy from the sun into electricity. This is most often done through photovoltaic panels typically placed on residential customers’ roofs. The more the sun shines, the more energy is produced.
What happens on cloudy days?
Solar panels only produce energy when the sun is shining. As the sun goes down or is covered by clouds, energy output decreases significantly. Solar panels do not produce energy overnight. That’s why some homeowners choose a battery storage option as part of their residential solar installation. The panels charge the batteries during the day, then the batteries run the home’s appliances at night.
How does rooftop solar send electricity to my home?
Electricity produced by a solar panel is direct current (DC), similar to energy produced by batteries. In order to be used by appliances inside your home, DC must be converted to alternating current (AC), which is the type of energy supplied by the grid. To get the power from your rooftop into your house, a series of wire connectors is linked to a power inverter, which converts DC electricity to AC electricity so it can be fed into your home’s wiring. For more on how OUC delivers power to our customers, watch this video.
How much power can I generate with solar?
The power you can expect from rooftop solar varies based on your home’s specific conditions. For example, the angle of the roof determines how much sunlight and shade the panels will receive, and other factors like tree coverage play a role in how much power your panels can produce. There are many tools available online, and vendors can help you determine the ideal solar capacity for your home.
How much will I save with solar?
Savings will vary depending on the size of your home, the temperatures at which you set your thermostat and your water heater, your solar vendor agreement, and the size and capacity of your rooftop solar installation.
Should I improve my home’s energy efficiency before installing solar?
Yes! Saving energy is more cost-effective than producing energy, so taking measures to ensure energy efficiency in your home – things like setting your thermostat to the optimum temperature and replacing windows – is a great place to start before shopping for solar. For more tips on conserving electricity and water, and information on OUC’s consumer rebate programs, click here.
Do I need a new roof before installing solar panels?
Click here for additional resources to help you determine if a rooftop solar system is right for you.