Residential Solar Energy Basics

Solar technology offers you options.

There are two basic types of solar energy technologies – thermal and photovoltaic (PV).
Thermal systems produce hot water while PV systems produce electricity.
You can use either one, or both, depending on your goals.

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Photovoltaic Solar

PV solar collectors convert sunlight (photons) into electricity (voltage), known as the PV effect. Most PV panels are assemblies of about 60 silicon solar cells. When struck with sunlight, silicon creates a direct-current electrical charge which is fed to either a battery storage system for later use, or a device called an inverter that converts it into alternating current, which is used in your home.

This displaces power normally supplied by the grid, reducing your electric bill. In some cases, it can spin your meter in reverse, accumulating a credit with the power company. Later, in the evening, you will use that credit to keep your home lit and comfortable.

Free energy from the sun: keeps you warm while putting a chill on your energy bill.


Thermal solar panels

Thermal Solar

These systems consist of an array of pipes or tubes inside an enclosure. Water, or another fluid such as glycol, circulates inside the tubes and is heated by the sun’s energy.

This heat is transferred to your water system through a heat exchanger, reducing the amount of conventional energy needed for your water heater, radiant heat system, swimming pool or spa.

Thermal heat systems can supply up to 30% of your home’s energy consumption.