Solar Panels FAQ: Part I

Energy efficient, going green, eco-friendly, these are all buzzwords in society today.  Everyone’s heard of solar panels and the mythical ways that they can help you cut down on your carbon emissions and power your house while at the same time being kind to your wallet.  Are the rumors true?  What does this mean for your custom home design?  Let’s take a closer look at solar panels and their pros and cons.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

At first glance, solar panels seem to magically create energy out of nothing but in actuality, they are harnessing the power of one of the greatest sources of power in the universe: the sun.  More specifically, solar panels use photovoltaic technology which uses semiconductors to turn rays from the sun into electrons of direct current (DC) energy.  This power is directed into an inverter which changes the DC energy into alternating current (AC) which can be used as electricity in your house.

Your home’s electrical panel will be equipped with a bi-directional meter which will measure the amount of energy that is produced by your solar panels.  When solar energy flows into the meter from the solar panels, it will reverse your energy consumption which will be reflected as a credit on your utilities bill.

Why Install Solar Panels?

The major reason for installing solar panels is for the positive impact that solar power will have on the environment.  Because the majority of our energy in the United States comes from coal and oil, this has resulted in a lot of air pollution which is building up and affecting our world.  The supply of fossil fuels can’t last forever and as it goes down, the cost of oil and coal goes up.  The rays of the sun are not owned by any country or person, it is a free and plentiful resource which can be harnessed for the cost of solar panel installation.  Another good reason for installing solar panels is the money that they will save you on your utilities bill (see part two of this series).

Solar Panels are not easily understood from the information found in one blog post, that’s why we are making this part one of a two part series to help you better understand how to talk to your custom home builder about if solar panels are the right choice for your dream home.