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How Solar Energy Works

Solar technology is increasing in popularity every day and knowing the basics of how solar power works is important if you’re considering an installation.

When you know how solar power works and understand what it can and can’t do, you can make informed decisions about what is right for your needs.


Solar Technology Components

A typical residential or light commercial solar power system will have four main components:

  • The photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert energy captured from the sun into direct current (DC) power
  • The inverter, which converts the (DC) energy captured by the panels into alternating current (AC) electricity which can be used by standard household appliances
  • The mounting hardware, which fixes the PV cells on your roof or other installation site
  • A metering/data acquisition system, which monitors how much of your energy is being produced by your solar panel and how much comes from your utility company

Switching between solar and grid power

Because solar systems rely on sunlight, they will produce less energy on cloudy days or during the night. However, since most solar energy systems are connected to the utility grid, they can automatically draw power as needed without any interruption of service.

Most homes and businesses with a solar installation will still rely on their local utility provider for backup power. When your solar panels begin producing more power than you need, this excess energy is sold back to the grid and will be credited on your next bill. When you install with Empire Renewable Energy, we'll handle all the paperwork with the utility company and the city so you don't have to!

Factors affecting solar panel performance

There are several factors that determine the energy output of a set of PV panels. Some of these variables fluctuate, such as the time of day, the weather or the season. Others are fixed, such as the climate of your area. Locations closer to the equator that regularly see sun will typically produce more solar energy than those that are closer to the poles or prone to overcast conditions.

Although solar power can be useful anywhere in the United States, it is especially beneficial in regions with sunnier climates year-round, like Southern California and Arizona where Empire serves clients.

Is solar power right for your business?

We work with clients to determine the proper size/location of the system and provide a turn-key product, as well as support and maintenance agreements for systems for years to come. Your business’ suitability to a solar power installation will depend on the environment surrounding your property, too. Areas that see a lot of sunlight during the day are preferred to those that are shaded by trees or other structures. Additionally, enough space must be available — either on a roof or in open, sunny areas, for example. To find out what is best for your needs, request a quote and a solar expert will visit your property for a free site assessment.

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