Energize Your Home with Solar Panels

PV panels are a solar-electric system’s defining component, where sunlight is used to make direct current (DC) electricity. Behind a PV panel’s shimmering facade, wafers of semiconductor material work their magic, using light (photons) to generate electricity—what’s known as the photovoltaic effect. Other components in your system enable the electricity from your solar-electric panels to safely power your electric loads likelights, computers, and refrigerators.

PV panels are assigned a rating in watts based on the maximum power they can produce under ideal sun and temperature conditions. You can use the rated output to help determine how many panels you’ll need to meet your electrical needs. Multiple modules combined together are called an array.

Although rigid panels are the most common form of solar electricity collector, PV technology also has been integrated into roofing shingles and tiles, and even peeland-stick laminates (for metal standing-seam roofs).

PV modules are very durable and long lasting—most carry 25-year warranties. They can withstand severe weather, including extreme heat, cold, and hail stones.

What is the “real” delivered cost of photovoltaics versus conventional energy technologies? Does the use of photovoltaics and the subsidies supporting them just distort the energy market and create a chronic dependency of the solar energy industry on subsidies?

First of all, the energy market is not a free market. Our taxes subsidize nonrenewable energy by tens of billions of dollars per year, including well-drilling costs, oil and gas depletion allowances, special treatment for coal royalties, liability limits for nuclear energy (the Price-Anderson Act), and R&D on coal, oil, and nuclear energy resources. And this does not even count the military requirements to protect oil and natural gas production and shipping, or nuclear waste storage.
All energy technologies are subsidized to some degree. Could photovoltaics compete today if all the subsidies for conventional energy technologies were done away with? Yes.But will our political system ever stop subsidizing mature energy companies with mature energy technologies in mature markets? That’s not likely.
So how do we compensate for the bias that favors conventional energy technologies? By providing tax incentives, procurement and portfolio standards, emissions allowances, and demonstration grants—all common tools of federal, state, and local governments. Rather than being a reflection on the viability of solar technology, these incentives are simply a reflection of our political system and how it works. A typical U.S. household consumes about 900 kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity per month. Compared to coal-generated electricity, a PV system designed to generate 1,000 KWH per month will reduce carbon dioxide emissions (a major contributor to global warming) by about 1,400 pounds, and keep 8 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 5 pounds of nitrogen oxides out of the atmosphere—every month.
Because PV modules are net-positive energy sources, after they recoup the energy consumed during their manufacture, they generate pollution-free electricity over the rest over their operational lifetimes. They do all this right on your rooftop. And that payback—emissions-free electricity, energy independence, cleaner air—is priceless.

Contact Mazzucco Electric today (203-257-0297) to learn how we can help you with your electrical project.