About Solar Energy
Frequently Asked Questions:
What types of solar technology exist?
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV): The use of panels composed of photovoltaic cells that can convert solar radiation into direct current (DC) electricity
- Solar Hot Water: The use of a collector that transfers heat from solar radiation to an anti-freeze-like solution that is used to heat a contained source of water.
- Concentrated Solar Power: The use of reflective devises to concentrate solar thermal energy into a small area of panels that direct heat energy to a power generating device, which will then produce electricity.
Which types of solar technology will the Northwest Indiana Rooftop Solar Challenge be focusing on?
- The initiative will focus exclusively on Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology.
How do you measure solar energy production?
- Kilowatt/Hours (kWh), the same way one would measure conventional electricity production.
Why should you invest in solar?
- Solar is a very abundant and free energy resource that hits your home and business every day.
- In many parts of the country, by taking advantage of available incentives, the cost to generate electricity from a solar installation can be cheaper than buying electricity from the utility.
- Unlike your utility rates, which heavily dependent on volatile fossil fuel price swings, solar costs are predictable and consistent.
- Solar is growing at nearly 10x faster than the overall economy and its one of the fastest growing job creation industries in America.
- Solar can decrease the amount of energy dollars outsourced to other countries as both solar energy and solar related jobs cannot be outsourced.
- In certain U.S. markets, solar increases the resale value of your home or commercial building.
Who is already investing in solar?
- The U.S. military is one of the largest buyers of solar energy systems and it has installed enough solar to power 22,000 homes.
- For-profit businesses including Walmart, Costco, and Apple are investing in solar as a cheaper alternative to electricity from the utility. Over 3.3 GW of solar has been installed on across 32,800 commercial facilities, enough to power 550,000 homes. Walmart alone has installed enough solar to power almost 15,000 homes. Learn more.
- State Solar Jobs
Why promote solar in your community?
- Solar creates economic value – it is a $12 billion industry in the U.S.
- Solar creates jobs – As of November 2013, there were more than 142,000 solar jobs in the US. This is nearly a 20% increase since the 2012 census. During this time period, solar created jobs at a rate that was ten times faster than the overall economy’s employment growth. (Solar Foundation)
- Solar is flexible, it can add economic value to currently underutilized rooftops, brownfields, and landfills.
Busting Solar Myths:
- Reliability: Photovoltaic (PV) technologies have been around for over 40 years. In 2012, the solar market grew 76%. There currently is enough solar in the US to power over 1.2 million homes.
- Available Sun: Solar can be successful in all 50 states, including areas with high precipitation, cloudy days, and extreme weather. Germany receives roughly the same amount of sunlight as Alaska and is the world leader in solar.
- Cost: The price of solar has plummeted over the past decade. Solar modules cost just 1% of what they did in 1970.