How Solar Works
Long, sunny summer days and a cool climate make for first-class solar performance.
Eastern Washington’s and North Idaho’s long summer days were made for solar. Solar panels operate more efficiently in our northern climate than in the hot desert Southwest. In Washington, utilities will even credit all that summer sunshine against your winter electricity bills.
Yes, solar works during our cloudy days as well. After all, Germany is cloudier and farther north than we are, yet is a world leader in solar energy.
It’s with good reason that “Spokane” is Salish for “Children of The Sun”. The Inland Northwest is prime solar country.
Solar panels convert sunlight to electricity, using silicon-based photovoltaic cells to turn light energy into electric energy. Whenever sunlight hits your panels, they make electricity—even on cloudy days.
Your solar panels create direct-current (DC) electricity, while our country’s power grid and appliances use alternating current (AC), so you’ll need an inverter to change your panels’ DC power into AC. It’s a box we usually mount on an exterior wall, or in the garage.
Add-Ons To Make Your System Better
Batter storage systems add immense value two ways:
- They save money, gathering solar power early in the day, then feeding power to your home in evening when utilities charge more.
- They offer peace of mind, keeping the lights on during power outages. Without batteries, a grid-tied solar system will automatically shut down during storm outages in order to protect utility workers. However, a battery-equipped solar system can keep working independently, delivering power and recharging itself every day.
The net meter measures the amount of electricity flowing to and from your home. When you use less electricity than you make, you get credit from the utility company. Jackpot!