Information about solar energy seems to be everywhere these days, so it’s easy to assume you know all there is to know about this subject. But you might be surprised to learn some things you don’t know. Check out some of the most common questions about solar energy, and find out if you know the correct answers.
The short answer to this question is no. One way to meet your after-dark power needs is to use electricity from your local utility company. However, many alternative energy customers install a battery backup system that will store the electricity your panels generate during the day. Efficient backup technology is a fairly new development and only recently become more readily available – and more affordable – in the consumer market. Once you purchase this type of battery storage, you are free to sign off the grid completely. Ultimately, this type of energy independence is the goal of many PV system users.
At high noon on a sunny day, approximately 9 billion kwh of solar energy strike the United States. If you can’t imagine that amount, it’s OK. All you need to know is that so much energy reaches this planet that the amount of sunlight we get in an hour and a half could power the whole country for one year. That’s the incredible power of sunlight. Now you can see why solar energy is so sought after by people looking for a more affordable way to power their homes and businesses.
The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Desert Center (in California’s Mojave Desert, just east of Palm Springs) is the largest plant in the world. The sun shines more than 300 days per year in this area, allowing the 8 million photovoltaic panels to generate a capacity of about 550 megawatts. The world’s second-largest solar energy plant is also in California — the Topaz solar project in San Luis Obispo County boasts a 550-megawatt capacity.
The amount you stand to save depends primarily on your current electric bills and what state you live in. Studies show that people who live in sunny states, like Utah or Nevada, can save $64,000 or more over the course of 20 years. As a resident of the Intermountain West, you can expect to save about $25,000 to $50,000 on average, and even more if your location is ideal for collecting the sun’s energy. For commercial customers with high electricity demands, the potential savings can be staggering.
Hopefully this little Solar IQ quiz helped you learn something new about solar energy. If you would like to learn even more about solar energy, saving money on your electric bills and gaining your own energy independence, contact Intermountain Wind and Solar today.
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