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There are three ways that solar energy is harnessed for use in buildings: passive solar design (incorporating solar gain in the design of a building for comfort), solar thermal (heating water with the sun's energy), and solar electric (generating electricity from the sun's energy).
Photovoltaic, or PV, panels generate electricity from sunlight. They are made up of a semiconductor material, such as silicone, and other elements. Solar panels are typically mounted on a roof or a pole to capture the sun's rays.
PV panels capture the sun's energy, an inverter converts the direct current (DC) from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC), and a special utility meter keeps track of the electricity produced from your home's power system and any power you use from the grid.
Solar panels work well for retrofits or new construction. The photovoltaic panels are secured to your roof with panel mounts or are installed on poles that can be adjusted for sun angle.
A standard homeowner's insurance policy is usually enough to meet the requirements of the electric utility for grid-tied systems.
You will be required to sign an interconnection agreement with the utility.
Building permits and electrical inspections are required in most areas to install a PV system. We include the cost of permits in our estimate.
Current financing, rebate and tax credit information for Nebraska homeowners is found here.
The size of the photovoltaic system is correlated to your home's energy use needs, available space for a system, and overall costs for the system components and installation. AEA will help determine the best size for your solar photovoltaic system.
To get the most out of your solar electric system, ideally you have:
However, effective solar systems can be designed for other situations.
The location of your home will help determine where and how you install your solar electric system. Wind speeds and heavy snow loads can affect performance, determine the type of roof mount you need, and dictate how the panels are angled.