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25 Key Terms to Know Before Going Solar
Welcome to the world of residential solar energy! If you’re curious about solar panels and how they can transform homes into energy-efficient and independent havens, you’ve come to the right place.
In this beginner’s solar energy glossary, we’ll unravel the key terms you need to know about solar power. Whether you’re considering installing solar panels on your roof or just want to expand your solar energy vocabulary, we’ve got you covered.
Table of Contents
Learning about solar can be overwhelming, but we are here to help! Here are 25 Solar Terms to Know Before Going Solar:
Solar Energy: Renewable energy from the sun, converted into electricity or heat for homes.
Photovoltaic (PV) System: A solar power system that directly converts sunlight into electricity using solar panels.
Solar Panels: Photovoltaic modules that capture sunlight and generate electricity.
Inverter: A device that converts solar panel electricity (DC) into the kind used in homes (AC).
Net Metering: A billing arrangement where extra solar electricity sent back to the grid earns credits to offset future electricity use.
Solar Array: A collection of interconnected solar panels forming a unit to generate electricity.
Solar Tracker: A device that follows the sun’s path to maximize solar panel exposure and energy production throughout the day.
Orientation: The direction a solar panel faces to optimize energy capture (usually south-facing in the Northern Hemisphere and north-facing in the Southern Hemisphere).
Tilt Angle: The angle of solar panels relative to the horizontal plane, affecting energy production based on the installation’s latitude.
Kilowatt (kW): A unit of power, measuring a solar system’s electricity generation capacity.
Kilowatt-Hour (kWh): A unit of energy, representing electricity produced or consumed by a 1 kW device in one hour.
Off-Grid System: A self-sufficient solar power system operating independently of the electrical grid, often paired with battery storage.
Grid-Tied System: A solar power system connected to the electrical grid, allowing for net metering and easy access to electricity when needed.
Battery Storage: A system that stores excess solar energy in batteries for use during low sunlight or power outages.
Charge Controller: A device regulating electricity flow between solar panels and batteries, preventing overcharging.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): Certificates representing the environmental benefits of producing renewable energy, often traded to support clean energy initiatives.
Energy Efficiency: Measures to reduce energy consumption and waste, complementing the benefits of solar energy.
Feed-in Tariff: A government incentive that pays solar system owners for excess electricity fed back into the grid.
Clean Energy: Energy from renewable sources with minimal environmental impact.
Carbon Footprint: The total greenhouse gases produced by individuals, organizations, or products, contributing to global warming.
Sunny Day Guarantee: A performance guarantee from some solar providers, ensuring a certain level of energy production during sunny conditions.
Degradation: The gradual reduction in solar panel efficiency over time due to environmental factors.
Infrared Radiation (IR): Invisible electromagnetic radiation carrying heat energy that certain solar technologies can harness.
Photovoltaic Efficiency: The percentage of sunlight converted into electricity by solar panels.
With this solar energy glossary, you’re well-equipped to explore the world of solar technology and make informed decisions about integrating it into your life. Embracing residential solar energy not only reduces your carbon footprint and contributes to a greener planet but also grants you greater control over energy consumption and electricity bills.
As the demand for sustainable energy solutions continues to rise, residential solar power offers an accessible and practical pathway toward a cleaner, brighter, more independent future. So, let the sun’s rays guide you on your solar journey to energy independence and environmental stewardship. Start by checking out our solar score quiz to see if solar energy is the right fit for you!
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