Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, also known as solar panels, solar energy or solar power systems, convert sunlight into electricity. You can use this electricity to power your home, business or any other building. For steps to receiving solar energy in your home, click here. To learn about Cobb EMC solar energy projects, click here.
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Photovoltaic is a solar power technology that uses arrays of photovoltaic cells to convert light from the sun directly into electricity. Solar cells produce direct current (DC) electricity from light, which can be used to power DC equipment or to recharge a battery. Adding batteries to your photovoltaic system will also provide a secure backup source of electricity for your home. An inverter, which converts DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, is required to power almost all electricity uses in the home.
The basic photovoltaic cell typically produces only a small amount of power. To produce more power, cells can be interconnected to form modules, which can in turn be connected into arrays to produce even more power. Because of this modularity, photovoltaic systems can be designed to meet any electrical requirement, no matter how large or how small.
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- Reliable and needs little maintenance
- Environmentally safe technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity
- Helps ensure our energy future by tapping into an infinite, renewable power supply
- Produced domestically, strengthening our economy
- Modular and flexible in terms of size and applications
- Helps meet the demand and capacity challenges facing many energy service providers
- Can be installed to just about any building type
Depending on your specific need and location, there are a number of factors that affect cost-effectiveness, including:
- System size: Because of economies of scale, large systems cost less per watt than small systems.
- Installation complexity: More complex installations, including mounting systems on racks, working around obstructions or on tile roofs can be more expensive.
- System production: Installing your system at the optimal orientation and tilt will maximize system production. The more energy your system produces over time, the lower the cost per kilowatt hour.
- Operation and maintenance: Compared to other distributed energy technologies, operation and maintenance costs of photovoltaic systems are relatively low. Costs may include occasional cleaning of photovoltaic modules, regular visual inspections and possible repair or replacement of the inverter and/or components after a number of years.
- Financial incentives: Federal tax credits and other incentives may be available to help lower the effective costs of investments in photovoltaic systems.*
*Consult with your tax advisor about the applicability of receiving a Federal Tax Credit and any available state credits.
- The payback period can be very lengthy depending on costs to install.
- Solar energy output is not available all the time, so it is less reliable than other sources.
- Battery storage backup is very expensive.
Use the solar calculator to estimate what size solar system you need, how much solar panels cost, available rebates and your returns and payback period.