Photovoltaic or PV panels
There are two types of solar applications: thermal and solar electric (photovoltaic or PV). Thermal harnesses the sun's heat directly into the water (or other heat transfer fluid). Solar electric, known as photovoltaic (PV), uses the sun's ultra violet rays rather than it's heat to create electricity. PV panels work by using positively and negatively charged semi-conductor plates to cause electrons to flow along a given path when exposed to light, thus generating electricity from sunlight.
In order to evaluate your electrical needs, you need to fill out a "load evaluation" form on which you list all the appliances and light bulbs you use, what their wattage is, how many you have, and how often you use it everyday. When evaluating your electricity usage, the best utilization of a PV system is to plan the running of normal everyday items as televisions, computers, lights rather than your seasonal items like air conditioning. The evaluations provide a good idea of your electricity needs, and allow your solar contractor to design a PV system that will fit your needs.
PV can be retrofitted to any structure. A good time to think about incorporating PV is in the planning and design stage of your project: building your home, doing your landscaping or applying it to whatever structure you will be building. It may be that you only want and/or can afford to run part of your house on PV such as the patio or front yard, the corral or barn or even a separate garage or work area. Filling out a load evaluation form of your appliances and their energy consumption is a key step in planning for solar electric. Energy efficient appliances designed to work with solar applications are available and considerably decrease total electricity consumption. Most appliances used in the home run on AC (alternating current). So an inverter is used to convert the direct current (DC) produced by the PV panels into alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home.
There are many applications of PV from grid tie to remote stand alone home systems to advertising signs, gates, bus stops, landscape lighting, and fountains, et cetera. PV allows you the freedom to enjoy the comforts you want, when and where you want them, while being environmentally friendly.
See details on AZ State and Federal Solar Tax Credits
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