Solar power is a clean and abundant resource. With today's technology, this potential can be harnessed to provide the public and businesses with an environmentally friendly power source.
Let’s run through some common questions about solar energy.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA): www.seia.org/
US Environmental Protection Agency – Clean Energy (EPA): www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-programs/index.html
What is solar power?
Solar power is clean, green electricity created using the energy from the sun’s rays. Sunlight is converted directly into electricity, most commonly using photovoltaic cells (PV).
What is the main solar energy technology?
Photovoltaic (PV) – solar cells are made of semi-conducting material, typically silicon. Light from the sun is converted into electricity when it comes in contact the solar cell. Solar cells were invented in 1954 and are commonly found in watches and calculators.
Do solar panels need full sun to operate?
No. A PV system can use direct or indirect sunlight to create power, although they are most efficient with abundant sunlight. Rain is also beneficial in keeping the panels clean and operating efficiently.
How many homes can be powered by 1 megawatt of solar energy?
The national average is 164 homes, based on the Solar Energy Industries Association calculation. This number will vary due to factors such as average sunshine, average electricity consumption and temperature/wind.
What are the main benefits of solar power?
Solar power is a major source of renewable energy that is sustainable, inexhaustible and non-polluting. It reduces our dependency on non-renewable energy sources and is environmentally friendly. There is no noise output from solar panels, they produce zero emissions and require no transportable fuels. Solar energy reduces the demand for fossil fuels and decreases the production of greenhouse gas emissions.
Are there any impacts to neighbors?
Solar facilities don't generate onsite pollutants, make noise, or increase local traffic once construction is completed. The land retains most of its natural low lying vegetation and the solar panels have a low profile, which can be buffered with vegetation when necessary. Additionally, solar facilities contribute important property tax payments to the local economy over the lifespan of the project.
How does a solar facility affect the land?
Utility-scale solar facilities have a low impact on agricultural land. The land remains fallow for over 20 years and is well prepared to return to farming in the future. With the addition of pollinator habitat, long-term soil health is enhanced from deep rooted vegetation which adds nutrients, improves soil quality and stormwater runoff. And, the addition of pollinator habit improves local crop pollination, increasing yields and crop quality.