Learn

Get the latest news, information, and facts surrounding solar energy. Stay up to date with all things solar.

Go Solar

Looking to get solar installed on your home? Learn about incentives, pricing, and installers in your neighborhood.

Shop

Check out the coolest solar gadgets and products on the market. See reviews, comparisons, and more.

Solar 101

What is Solar Energy?

Solar Energy (/sōlər ˈenərjē/): Radiant energy emitted by the sun. (Oxford Dictionary)

Solar energy (also called solar power) is simply energy from the sun. More specifically, it’s the heat and light that flows from the sun.

Thanks to innovative technology, we can harness the sun’s power and use it as electricity. We do this with something called photovoltaic cells. These cells absorb solar energy and convert it into electricity. When we group these photovoltaic cells together, it’s called a solar panel.

These panels are what you see on tops of homes. They’re responsible for capturing and converting solar energy into usable electricity. This type of solar energy is known as active solar energy.

Passive solar energy refers to the power of the sun in its natural state. For instance, the natural light and natural heat from the sun are examples of passive solar energy. In these examples, solar energy still results in an action (lighting and heating). The difference? No extra electrical component is necessary to harness its power.

When it comes to residential or commercial solar power, there are three main types of systems.

  • Off-Grid Solar Systems
  • Grid-Tied Solar Systems
  • Hybrid Solar Systems

An off-grid system is a way to be truly energy independent. The system doesn’t have any exterior energy sources. Instead, it harnesses the energy from the sun’s rays and stores them for later. The benefit of this system is that your home or property is entirely self-sufficient. The drawback is that if you don’t have enough energy stored in your system, you’ll have to go without power.

Grid-tied refers to a system that connects to a larger main system. Like the off-grid systems, these systems collect and produce their own energy. The primary difference is that if their energy supply runs out, they can tap the main grid. Sometimes, property owners can also sell their extra energy to the utility company that oversees the grid.

Hybrid systems are precisely what they sound like – a hybrid. They combine elements of the off-grid and grid-tied systems. They allow people to store their own energy and use it later. It also lets the user switch to the grid if they need to. By and large, hybrid solar systems have become the preferred system for most property owners

Why You Should Use Solar Energy

Solar power offers several benefits. It’s a terrific solution for the eco-conscious property owner. Plus, going solar saves money and supports energy independence.

Some of the top solar power benefits include:            

  • Saves You Money: The cost savings are enough to get any homeowner excited. The average homeowner saves over $20,000 by making the switch.
  • Increases Your Property Value: Did you know that homes with solar panels sell faster than those without them? Additionally, home buyers are willing to pay approximately $15,000 more for a house that runs on solar energy.
  • Provides Financial Incentives: There are several incentive opportunities when you choose solar power. Federal, state, and local governments have various cash incentives to encourage residents to make the switch.
  • Good for the Environment: Regular electricity uses fossil fuels, and fossil fuels aren’t good for the environment. Fuel sources have many known negative impacts on animal and human health – yet 63% of the U.S. still uses traditional energy. Solar power is carbon-neutral and clean. When you make the switch, you’re doing your part to make the planet a healthier place to live.
  • Supports Energy Independence: Many of today’s horror films include a power-outage. It’s terrifying to think about going without electricity. With traditional electricity, you’re at the mercy of the utility providers. With a solar system and battery, you have the ability to control your own power, so you never have to fret about an outage. True energy independence is a significant benefit to making the swap.
  • Long-Lasting & Reliable: Solar panel warranties usually last around thirty years, and that’s just when the warranty expires. Many panels continue to operate well past their warranty date, up to forty years. Throughout its life, a solar system is a reliable means for generating electricity. You can rest easy knowing your electricity is taken care of.

These are some of the most popular benefits of going solar. However, there are many other advantages to deciding to go down the solar path. Everyone has their own motivations for choosing solar.

However, once you’re aware of all the benefits – it’s hard to go any other way! Want to discover more reasons why you should consider solar power? Click the button below to learn more.

Find the Best Solar Panel Installation Company

Getting started with solar energy is simple. However, it can get overwhelming quickly. There are seemingly countless installers on the market and tons of differing advice. So, where do you get started with solar energy?

The first thing you want to do is to make sure you understand all the benefits of going solar. Get a good grasp of how solar energy works and why you want it for your house or business. This step might seem unnecessary. However, when it comes to going solar, knowledge is power.

Once you have a firm understanding, the most crucial part of the process is choosing the right installer. Unsurprisingly, your installer can be a difference-maker in your solar experience and can dramatically impact your results.

Choosing a lousy installer can lead to faulty products and issues with your solar panels down the line. On the other hand, a great solar installer will answer all your questions, keep you informed, and make sure you have high-quality panels that will last for years to come.

How do you choose a solar installer? For more information check out how to choose a solar installer.

If sorting through installers sounds too overwhelming – no worries. We created a list of the best solar companies by state.

Find the Best Solar Companies Near You

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

Other Ways To Use Solar Energy

If you aren’t ready to make the switch to solar energy on your home or property, there are still several ways to “go solar.” There are tons of awesome solar-powered gadgets on the market that let you use the power of solar energy.

If you’re new to solar products, you might be surprised to learn how many products there are. There’s everything from solar garden lights to solar backpacks to solar-powered gadgets and more. Often, these products have their own miniature solar panels to harness the sun’s energy.

A lot of times, these solar energy products are affordable, too. It’s not difficult to find a wide array of solar products and solar gifts for under $25. So, if you’re a solar energy enthusiast who wants to use solar energy but doesn’t know how – solar products are the way to go.

Here at Solar Metric, we’re obsessed with solar-powered products. Be sure to check out our latest solar-powered product recommendations, so you can start using solar power today.

About Solar Metric

We’re a team of passionate solar advocates helping smart consumers choose solar energy. We aim to empower consumers with the information they need to make the switch to solar energy. Our mission is to create a more sustainable future – for all of us.
Get to Know Us