A Solar Electric, or Photovoltaic (PV), system converts sunlight to electricity.
The conversion process requires only the sun’s energy and releases no harmful pollutants, which is why solar is sometimes called free fuel or clean electricity.
At SunBug, our Solar Electric systems use four main components: an array of solar panels that creates direct current (DC) electricity, an inverter that changes the power to alternating current (AC) electricity (the kind of electricity we use in our homes), a net meter that links your solar system to the utility grid, and an online dashboard that allows you to watch your system work.
Solar panels themselves come in different shapes and sizes, and are made by a host of manufacturers, which enables SunBug to put together customized systems that perfectly suit your home. On the roof, a series of panels - usually 8 to 20 - are linked together to create a system whose size is measured in kilowatts (kW). A typical solar electric residential system is 5 to 10 kilowatts in size. For an array to be efficient, panels need to be oriented so they receive the greatest amount of direct sunlight during the peak hours of the day, typically from 9 am to 3 pm. An optimal installation is flush mounted on a south facing, unshaded roof, but other orientations work as well. A site evaluation is important to determine the effectiveness of any solar array.
From the rooftop solar electric array, direct current electricity travels to an inverter, located near your electric panel, usually in the basement or utility closet. The inverter changes the direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) electricity, and that power is fed to your building. Inverters come in different shapes and sizes, but they all produce the alternating current electricity that we use everyday.
Usually on the outside of your home, you have a conventional electric meter installed by your utility company that measures how much power you consume, which determines your monthly electric bill. When you install a solar electric system, the utility company replaces that meter with a new net meter, free of charge. This net meter spins both directions and measures the electricity you produce as well as the electricity you consume from the utility. Your electric bill is based on the net difference between what your solar array produces and what you consume from the utility. Learn more about residential-scale Net Metering.
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