SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC (PV) CELLS are the most popular technology used to power homes with abundant, clean, renewable, price-stable, fuel-free and carbon-free energy! Solar photovoltaic cells use semiconductor technology to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electrical charge can then be converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by a power inverter to be used in a home or business. The power produced by solar panels is delivered to electrical outlets and lights in your building, allowing you to use less electricity from your local utility. Most solar energy systems are grid-tied systems which allow you to send extra electricity out to the grid and use electricity from the grid. Grid-tied systems are connected to the grid through a process called interconnection and able to recieve credit for the excess electricity generated through a policy called net metering. Grid-tied systems are connected to the electricity grid, but they can also be equipped with batteries to provide a home or business with electricity when the grid goes down.
Solar PV systems can also provide electricity independent of the electricity grid: these systems are known as "off-grid" systems. Off-grid systems are coupled with batteries which provide energy storage to be used when the sun is not shining.
Solar PV systems can be used to provide power for anything that uses electricity, including: homes, businesses, schools, irrigation, water pumps, street lights, highway signs, electric fences, remote cabins, off-grid homes, or recreational vehicles. Solar PV can also be installed in large quantities to provide utility-scale electricity to the grid. As demand for energy continues to rise, more utilities are exploring opportunities to develop large-scale solar PV power plants.
Types of Solar PV Cells:
Crystalline silicon cells can be fashioned from either mono-crystalline, multi-crystalline, or ribbon silicon. Crystalline silicon solar PV panels are the most commonly used type of photovoltaic panel.
Thin-film solar cells are made from amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium diselenide, among other materials. Thin film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials a few micrometers thick, which allow the panels to be more flexible.
How do I find a solar PV installer?
There are many solar dealers and installers in Utah. Contact a solar installer to explore options for your home.
What incentives are available for solar PV in Utah?
State and federal incentives are available to help offset the initial cost of solar in Utah, and through 2017 there is a utility rebate for renewable energy systems. Learn more about residential and commercial incentives for solar photovoltaic systems in Utah.
- Photovoltaics Basics: U.S. Department of Energy
- Energy Basis: Solar Photovoltaic: U.S. Department of Energy