May 2018 | Shine Solar

Month: May 2018


The Definition of Solar Energy Terms You Should Know

With global warming remaining a hot-button issue in the news, it’s likely that you’ve heard information about the definition of solar energy thrown around. At first glance, it seems like a pretty simple concept. The sun shines on panels that turn that power into electricity that we can use to power coffee pots, phone chargers, and the computer you’re reading this on right now. But if you’ve ever delved further into solar power terms, you likely discovered a whole lexicon of jargon that can be difficult to parse. If you’re looking into getting a solar power system installed, you’ll need to know some of the basics. Below are a few solar terms and their definitions.

Balance of System

The balance of system refers to all of the physical pieces that make up your solar power system. This can include wiring, nuts, bolts, inverters, mounting software, the monitoring system, and more. The balance of system does not, however, include the solar panels.

Charge Controller

The charge controller regulates the energy going into the battery in your solar power system. Your system may not necessarily have a battery, so be sure to check on that when having your system installed. You need a charge controller because fluctuating charge flowing directly into a battery can damage the battery.


Solar panel efficiency refers to the percentage of sunlight that solar panels can convert into electricity. Initially, solar panels had about a 6% efficiency rate. Now, solar panels are in development that have up to 24% efficiency.

Energy Audit

An energy audit as a process in which you assess how much power your home or business uses. This can also include a list of ways to make your building more energy-efficient. Over time, having an energy audit performed can save you a lot of money and wasted energy.

Grid-Connected System

A grid-connected system is a solar power system that works with an existing electrical grid. If you live somewhere where you may not get enough sunlight to independently power your home, having a grid-connected system can help you make up the balance and ensure that you always keep power. You’ll want to talk to your local utility company about setting up a grid-connected solar power system.

Ground-Mounted Solar

As the name might suggest, ground-mounted solar is a solar panel system that that is mounted on the ground. This is as opposed to solar panel systems that are mounted on roofs, which are more common for private solar power systems. Ground-mounted solar power systems are more typically used for mass power generation, such as you would see in a power farm.


When solar panels generate energy, they generate it as direct current, or DC, energy. But most homes and businesses use alternating current, or AC, energy to power electronics. An inverter converts DC energy to AC energy suitable for private use.

National Electric Code

The National Electric Code is a set of guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association. They control installation codes for electric systems to prevent dangerous malfunctions. You or your solar panel consultant will need to review the National Electric Code guidelines before installing your system.

Net Metering

Net metering is a method of handling any excess power your solar power system may produce. If your electric company will allow it, you may be able to send your excess power back into the grid to be used by other consumers, lowering the amount of fossil fuel usage needed. In some cases, you may even be able to earn a credit for this excess power.

Peak Sun Hours

Although the name may be confusing, peak sun hours do not refer to how long a solar panel is in daylight. Rather, it refers to the quality of daylight being absorbed, and can come up to only three or four hours a day. Peak sun hours are influenced by weather, time of year, proximity to the equator, and a number of other factors.


Photovoltaic effectively refers to the definition of solar energy. Photovoltaic technology uses semiconductors to absorb electrons knocked loose from their atoms by photons from sunlight. Those electrons are then able to be used as electric power, thus allowing us to harness solar power.

Smart Grid

Smart grids are electrical grids that are monitored and controlled by digital technology. They regulate flow of energy between the utility service and end-users. Using smart grids can help increase efficiency and better manage electric flow.

Solar Batteries

Solar batteries are an optional part of a solar power system that allow you to store excess solar energy produced to be used at a later time. If you are planning to establish an independent solar power system, you will absolutely want to have solar batteries. These will allow you to still have power at night or during times when your peak sun hours are lower.

Thin-Film Solar

Thin-film solar is a different way to construct a solar power system. Rather than the traditional, bulky solar panels, thin-film solar uses thin, flexible sheets of material that can harness solar power. These are more versatile and cheaper than traditional solar panels, but they also break down more quickly.

Tracking Mount

A tracking mount is a system that enables solar panels to move, following the sun as it moves across the sky. This helps to increase peak sun hours and can improve solar power system efficiency. These are generally seen on ground-mounted solar power systems.

Zero Net Energy

Zero net energy refers to buildings that produce as much power as they consume. Although solar power systems are certainly integral to earning this designation, maximizing energy efficiency through green building techniques is also key. This is an important designation in many green initiatives.

More Questions About the Definition of Solar Energy?

There are a lot of terms that are important to know if you plan to install a solar power system. The definition of solar energy is complex, and it changes by the day as technologies develop. This list is only the tip of the iceberg in when it comes to solar power terms. If you’d like to learn more about how solar works, visit the rest of our website. Shine Solar offers testimonials, informative articles, and a free solar analysis that will help you determine the right solar solution for you. Contact us today to get started on your own solar system.

The Reason Why Solar Energy is Good for Fayetteville, AR Homes

Solar energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world. More and more people are switching to solar energy to power their homes.

It’s not hard to see why solar energy is good. There are so many benefits of solar for households in Fayetteville, AR.

Solar energy is powered by the sun through a technology known as photovoltaic (PV) cells. This technology works to convert the sunlight into electricity to keep the lights on in your home.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of solar energy!

1. Protect the Environment

Solar power is renewable. The sun provides an endless supply of power for us to enjoy.

Compared to other types of energy, such as coal, oil, and gas, solar doesn’t result in carbon emissions. Nor does it produce a range of harmful emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter (PM).

This makes it an important energy source in the transition to a sustainable economy and the fight against global warming.

However, it’s true that there are emissions involved in the production of the PV solar cells. But this eventually pays for itself in terms of emissions.

In fact, the Energy Pay-Back Time (EPBT) for PV solar panels is between half-a-year and one-and-a-half years. Thereafter, all of the energy you generate is totally renewable.

If you want to do your bit for the environment, this is one of the top reasons to go solar.

2. A Wise Investment

Solar energy could help you save money on your monthly energy bill. But it’s a wise long-term investment too.

Plus, by investing in solar energy, you’re adding value to your property. There are many home improvements that don’t impact the overall value of a property, but this is definitely a reason to go solar.

According to a study, solar panels could add an additional $15,000 to the value of your home. Therefore, it’s a great way to make your property stand out from the crowd when you’re trying to sell.

3. Solar Panels Are Durable

Solar panels on the roof of your property are very durable. Because there aren’t any moving parts of the panels, this makes them resilient against any weather condition, including extremely high winds and heavy snowfall.

Furthermore, in the unlikelihood outcome that your solar panels are damaged, most models have a warranty of up to 30 years. This covers you for any damage they may incur.

4. Make Money with Solar

Any energy that you generate through the solar panels that you don’t actually use can be pushed back on to the grid for money. This is a way of selling energy back to the provider.

In most cases, your energy provider is legally required to buy the excess energy you generate. However, this could be at a reduced rate.

5. Save up for Other Home Improvements

By installing solar panels on the roof of your home, it could make you think differently about your current energy use. There might be home improvements that you’ve been considering for a while, which solar energy could enable you to realize.

For example, if you want to build a hot tub or swimming pool, solar energy is a great way to counter the additional energy use.

Owning your own swimming pool could set you back $500 every year in additional energy bills. Think about how much money you’ll save over the years!

By carrying out both home improvements at the same time, you could solve your energy problem in one go.

6. There Is a Fixed Cost

Are you frustrated about your fluctuating energy bills?

Without a fixed price for your energy costs, it’s difficult to budget for each month. With conventional energy sources, you simply have to pay the current price.

However, solar energy has a fixed cost. Even if you finance your solar system, there will still be a monthly payment that stays the same.

Moreover, if you pay for your solar panels outright, this energy costs you nothing.

7. Use Solar throughout the Day

Many people have mistaken beliefs about the capacity of solar energy to power their homes. One of the most common misconceptions is that you can generate energy from solar panels when the sun is blazing hot.

This certainly helps boost the energy generating capacity of solar panels. That’s why solar panels are particularly attractive for many residents of Arkansas.

But you can produce energy in any daylight, even if it’s cloudy and rainy. You’ll still find the solar panels powering your home.

In the evenings and during the night, you’ll be able to use the energy you generated throughout the day, or push the energy back onto the national grid.

8. Be a Trendsetter

The future is clean energies like solar.

When corporations like Goldman Sachs are declaring that clean energy is the future, you can be sure that solar is no longer a pipe dream.

Since 2016, the United States has remained the fourth biggest user of solar power. But it’s still behind world leaders like China, Germany, and Japan in the race to transition to renewables.

Every household that switches to solar is another step toward a cleaner future for our energy system. You can be a trendsetter by adopting solar energy before your neighbors, friends, and family.

Why Solar Energy Is Good for Your Home

Now you know the many reasons why you should switch to this technology and why solar energy is good. There is no doubt that solar energy is an excellent investment decision for anyone living in Fayetteville, AR.

If you’re interested in finding out more about solar panel installation, get in touch with us today for a free Solar Analysis. We provide everything you need to get started!