What is solar energy?

Ah, the pleasant glow of the sun on your face—does it get any better than that? Actually, yes it does! Sunlight can do so much for you than just tanning your skin or growing your garden. Using solar energy technology to complement your standard HVAC system, will help you cut down on, if not completely eliminate, your electric bill.

You’ve probably noticed solar energy’s recent spike in popularity. You can’t go anywhere anymore without passing a field full of solar panels or a “green home” with a few roof-mounted cells.

But how does it work?

Let the “sun specialists” at Raynor Services explain:

  1. Light energy from the sun penetrates our atmosphere in the form of photons and heat radiation.
  2. Solar energy is potent stuff! Without our atmosphere acting as a shield, life down here on Earth wouldn’t stand much of a chance, at all. Luckily, our atmosphere is up there, encircling us, protecting us and doing its good work. So large portions of that harsh, harmful solar energy is either absorbed or reflected back into space.
  3. When the solar energy that does survive our atmosphere finally reaches the Earth’s surface, we can harness it using panels of photovoltaic cells.
  4. Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into usable energy in the form of electricity.

How? Let’s break it down.

  1. Photovoltaic cells are made of special semiconductor materials like silicon.
  2. When light touches these cells, a portion of that energy is absorbed into the semiconductor.
  3. That energy can then knock electrons loose, allowing them to now flow freely inside the cell.
  4. Once the electrons can move around, they form a current that can be drawn out of the cell to be used as electricity. This electric current along with the cell’s total voltage is what determines how much power the solar cell can produce.

Now that everyone’s up to speed, let’s talk ROI. What are the financial benefits of going solar?

  • The jury is out on this one—solar energy is one of the smartest investments you can make these days. According to Businessweek magazine, homeowners who invest in solar power can expect to see a return of around 15% or more per year!
  • Unlike other home investments, you’ll see a return on your solar investment the very day it’s installed—typically about 18¢ for every kilowatt of electricity you pull from your own solar grid rather than the utility company. And it only gets better from there. Typically, full ROI on the solar systems we install comes after just 4-5 years!
  • Everyone likes tax credits, right? Well, with current federal solar tax credits, you can claim up to 30% of the cost of your new solar set-up. And unlike the old solar credit program which capped payments at $2000, the credit you can receive is now unlimited!
  • But wait, there’s one more way to take advantage of solar savings—SRECs. SRECs, which stands for Solar Renewable Energy Credits, are tradable commodities that signify the green attributes of renewable solar energy. One SREC is generated every time one megawatt-hour of clean, renewable electricity is produced. SRECs are valuable because the state of New Jersey has recently passed legislation requiring utility companies to produce a set percentage of their electricity from renewable energy sources. Under these laws, utility companies must either produce a certain amount of solar electricity or purchase SRECs in order to avoid a fine. I don’t know about you but I certainly wouldn’t mind my utility company writing me a check once in a while instead of the other way around!

Raynor Services has been in the solar power business since 2005, so you know when you hire us, you are bringing in over 8 years of experience, which is a pretty long run in this fledgling industry. We have a solar system designer, installer and integrator on staff who will equip your home with only the finest solar equipment available. We are also well versed in the state and federal government hurdles standing between you and a solar grid to call your own. We can handle everything from zoning issues to ensure you are taking full advantage of your available tax credits.