By definition, the source of an energy supply determines whether it is considered renewable energy. Wind, rain, ocean tides, and sunlight are common sources of renewable energy. Earth-stored heat, termed geothermal power, and biomass, a moniker for any biological material, are other energy sources that are also considered renewable, along with hydroelectricity, which is produced by moving water.
Home solar panels, also known as photovoltaic panels, convert sunbeams into electricity, and have proven themselves as credible sources of energy for homes across America as well as in other parts of the world. PV solar panels are made from cells containing simple electrical circuits. Semiconductor wafers are manufactured with negative and positive energy fields on opposing sides. Placing electrical conductors on both wafer sides forms a circuit. Rays from the sun strike the surface of the wafer, releasing electrons from the atoms of light, which are now renamed photo-electrons. This completes the current, thus creating usable electricity.
To sell electricity back to the local power company, a policy known as net metering must be in place. Net metering measures how much power a home or business produces compared to how much it uses. When they are equal amounts, the cost to the customer is zero dollars. Any extra power produced is sold back to the electricity company at a profit.
Simply put, when the sunlight is shining brightly during the day, PV systems convert it into free electricity. If the day is especially cloudy or energy needs of the home or building are high, the power company supplies whatever more is needed from the utility grid. However, if the business or home is producing more energy than it needs, the extra electricity is directed back to the grid, spinning the meter in a reverse direction. Special meters must be installed to accommodate this arrangement.
The utility company keeps an accounting of what is provided and what is received, reconciling the account at the end of each billing cycle. If the consumer has produced more than it has used, the electricity is sold back to the power company. It is necessary to ensure that the utility company has a buy-sell agreement and policy in place. A photovoltaic solar system installer may be able to negotiate the agreement and handle the paperwork as well.
Having your own renewable energy company in the form of a photovoltaic solar system can bring unique satisfaction to both homeowners and businesses. If your goal is simple living and leaving a small footprint on the planet, give it a try.
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Article Added on Monday, July 12, 2010
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