Solar panels provide a renewable energy source by harnessing the power of the sun to create electricity for your home. To generate energy, the panels go through this process:
- Rays of sunlight hit the panels, creating an electrical current from the interaction of photons and electrons.
- This current flows from the solar panels to your solar inverter, where it is converted into energy usable in your home.
- From the inverter, the energy goes to your breaker box, where it is circulated through your home.
- Unused excess energy goes back to your utility meter, available for later consumption. Depending on where you live, this energy can often be used as part of net metering, meaning it will be sent back to the grid and used as energy credits on your next electric bill.
Benefits of Solar In Chicago
There are plenty of reasons to consider solar panels for your Chicago-area home. Beyond the potential financial benefits, there are environmental factors and the potential for a major return on your investment.
- Own Your Power — Protect your family from the impact of constantly rising electricity costs by owning your power and relying less on the grid.
- Potentially Reduce Your Electric Bill — Your solar panels can potentially help you save thousands of dollars on electric bills over time, since you’ll be generating your own power.
- Qualify For Federal Tax Credit — Chicago homeowners can currently claim a federal tax credit of up to 26% for installing solar panels on their property.5
- Potentially Increase Your Property’s Value — With more people going solar and seeing the potential in lower electric bills, studies have shown that solar can increase your home’s value. This means you could potentially see a higher return on your investment should you sell your home.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint — As a clean alternative to fossil fuels, solar energy helps reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll be doing your part to make a greener world.
What Happens To Excess Solar Energy?
Your solar panels may end up generating more energy than is needed at certain times of day. If your system produces more energy than you use, there are a couple of ways it can still be usable.
Store excess energy in a backup battery.3
If your solar panels produce excess energy, the extra power can be stored in your Generac battery backup to be used in the event of a grid power outage or at night when your panels are not producing any electricity. In addition, the stored energy can fill the gaps when your home’s solar panels are not producing at full capacity.
Use excess energy via net metering.
Net metering is the process of sending extra energy that your solar panels produce back to the grid in exchange for credits on future electric bills. If your panels produce extra energy, you can be credited for the energy you sell back (often at a 1-to-1 ratio), meaning that you sell it back at the same price you would buy it. This is a great incentive for using solar energy, but it’s important to note that some utility companies do not offer net metering. Availability, excess credits and other requirements vary by area and utility providers.
Solar Panel FAQs
Solar panels operate using the power of the sun. Once sunlight hits the panels, electrons come loose from their atoms, forming an electrical circuit with the conductors in solar cells. These electrons traveling through the circuit create electricity.
Typically, a solar panel’s lifetime is about 25 years with proper care and maintenance. Pink Energy’s panels fall into this timeline; our panels last about 25 years.⁶
How many solar panels are needed for your home depends on several factors: your electricity usage, how much shade your roof receives, your location, and the size of your home. Other factors may play a role in determining how many panels are necessary, but these are the most common.
Clouds do not stop sunlight from reaching your solar panels. Even if you live in one of the cloudiest parts of the country, you’ll be able to make use of solar panels. It is worth noting that solar panels will not produce the same amount of electricity as locations that receive mostly sunny days.
No, though that is the easiest way to generate electricity. As long as the sun is out, even if you can’t see it yourself, your solar panels will be working.
We recommend your solar panels face south or west, as those directions get the most direct sun exposure. If your roof does not face in that direction, though, you can still produce electricity with solar panels!
We recommend contacting professionals when you clean your solar panels for safety reasons. However, simple is best when it comes to cleaning your solar panels. Some clean water and a sponge or small towel will work in most cases. Do not use pressure washers on solar panels, as this can damage them.
During an outage, you can make use of the energy from your solar panels by using a battery backup system. That will power up select portions of your home, enough to keep limited backup loads running for a limited amount of time.
There is no one true way to keep snow off your solar panels. However, since solar panels are installed where they will get the most sun, snow should melt off with time once the sun does its work.
Yes! Pink Energy’s panels are protected with a sheet of glass. That glass covers up the delicate working parts that create the solar panels, so water is no trouble at all for your panels.
Net metering is the process through which you send excess solar energy produced by your solar panels back to the grid for points off your upcoming electric bills. It may or may not be offered in your area, so check your local and state government sites for more information.⁸
At certain times throughout the day, your solar panels may produce more electricity than your home needs. You might be able to send this energy to your battery backup system for later use, but another option could be to send it to the grid. By doing so, you might receive points off your upcoming electric bill as compensation for the energy – at no cost to you depending on local legislation and policy.⁸