A large part of the world depends on energy and machinery that utilize electricity to operate. While electricity has become one of humanity's basic needs, overusing energy is one of the causes of Mother Nature’s deterioration.
The burning of fossil fuels, alongside releasing harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increases the carbon footprint and rapidly accelerates global warming.
To save money and mother earth for future generations, many households and organizations are switching to more sustainable, cleaner, and reliable energy sources, like solar energy through solar-powered microgrids.
According to studies by Pew Research Center, about 6% of U.S. homeowners have already installed solar panels at their homes. Meanwhile, 46% say they are seriously considering adding solar panels to their home spaces.
So, why are a lot of households interested and shifting to solar energy?
In this article, we’ll answer that question and learn more about what solar panels are and how they're helping ordinary people and businesses cut costs.
What Is Solar Energy?
Simply put, solar energy taps on the natural power that comes from the sun, making it a clean alternative energy source to electricity that's generated from fossil fuels.
Solar energy brings many benefits to the environment and consumers—it doesn't emit greenhouse gases, produce pollution, or threaten the public's health.
Solar energy is converted into electricity using solar technologies like solar panels. Solar panels, also known as solar modules, are made by a group of photovoltaic cells. These cells carry thin semiconductor wafers made of two silicon layers, with one positively charged and the other negatively charged.
The panels capture the current and, with the power generated from other cells, convert the energy into electricity. There are various types of solar panels, with each having its own characteristics.
Below are the main types of solar panels:
- Monocrystalline solar module – This is the oldest type of solar panel technology that dates back to the 1950s. Since it's been around for decades, it's the most developed compared with other solar panels. Unlike polycrystalline panels, monocrystalline solar modules take less space but deliver the same efficiency.
- Polycrystalline solar module – This form of solar panel is easily recognizable due to its bluish solar cells. It's more affordable since building it is a lot simpler than the others. However, installing it requires more space since owners tend to need more of them.
- Thin-film solar cells – In comparison with the first two, thin-film solar cells come from various PV materials like silicon and cadmium. Thin-film solar cells are the more flexible type of solar panels and can be produced as a whole.
Save Money by Using Solar Panels
Shifting to solar panel technology allows you to save money on electricity bills since it generates energy from a natural source and powers up your home with it. This reduces your energy consumption from your electric power distributor, allowing you to protect yourself against electricity rate hikes.
As long as your panels get direct light, they will continue to convert energy into free electricity and operate your home. At night or when the sun isn't visible due to a storm, these are the only times you can use electricity provided by your utility company.
Moreover, U.S. states provide an incentive program for households to install solar panels. As such, you can get tax credits for switching to this environmentally friendly source of energy, depending in which state you live.
While solar technology doesn't come cheap and is a serious investment, you can extend your savings over a decade or more as you get ROI from using the technology for many years.
Solar panels provide benefits in more ways than one, and when you make the switch to solar, the advantages go both ways—to the environment and the consumer.