Coming to Terms with Solar Energy

If you are new to solar energy, or just tired of pretending to understand the terminology and acronyms used to describe it, welcome to your first lesson on solar speak. The following are some of the more basic terms. Plus, we’ve tossed in some fun facts sure to impress your friends and co-workers. It’s time to study up, and yes…there will be a test at the end!

A new language in energy efficiency

Solar System: The sun with the celestial bodies that revolve around it.
Fun fact: The sun is massive – accounting for 99.8% of the solar system’s total mass. (Source: ThePlanets.org)

Solar Power: Energy from the sun which is converted into thermal or electrical energy.
Fun fact: The sun’s rays produce enough energy in one hour’s time to power the Earth for an entire year. (Source: National Geographic)

Photosphere: A star’s outer shell from which light is radiated.
Fun fact: During a total eclipse, the sun’s photosphere is not visible. (Source: eHow.com)

Solar Thermal Collectors: These devices absorb the sun’s energy to heat water or air in homes, offices, apartment buildings, and more.
Fun fact: While the sun is 90 million miles from Earth, it takes only about 10 minutes for light to travel from there to here. (Source: Conserve-energy-future.com)

Photovoltaic (PV) Cell: A cell that converts solar energy into electrical energy. PV cells work on both sunny and cloudy days.
Fun fact: The Photovoltaic effect (the theory behind PV cells) was explained by Albert Einstein. He won his only Nobel prize for that. (Source: Green-the-world.net)

Renewable energy: A source of energy that can be replaced…and not run out.
Fun fact: Solar power may account for the world’s main source of energy by 2050. (Source: Fortune.com)

Kilowatt (KW): This is a globally recognized standard for measuring electricity. One kilowatt is equal to 1,000 watts. Your electricity bill is based on how many kilowatts of energy you use per hour (kWh).
Fun fact: Running an electric dryer twice per week uses approximately 208.8 kWh over the course of a year. In New Jersey, the average cost of one kWh is 17.7 cents. How many loads of laundry do you dry each week? You do the math! (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Carbon Footprint: We each have one. It stands for the total of all carbon dioxide emissions that result from our daily activities such as driving a car and using electricity to heat and cool our homes. The use of solar energy can considerably reduce the size of our carbon footprints – and help protect our planet.
Fun fact: If every home in the U.S. switched to compact fluorescent bulbs, we could reduce the amount of electricity spent on lighting by one half and significantly reduce our country’s carbon footprint. Give it a try. (Source: Mashable.com)

Energy Star – This is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) formed to help families and businesses reduce energy costs and help protect the environment.
Fun fact: Use a laptop instead of a desktop, as Energy Star estimates that it is 80 percent more energy efficient. (Source: Mashable.com)

Solar Incentive Tax Credit (ITC): The ITC is a government-sponsored, 30 percent tax credit for solar systems.
Fun fact: The ITC was recently extended. This is expected to drive solar prices down and installation rates up. At the same time, technological advances will continue. (Source: SEIA)

The test
Okay, so it’s not the paper and pencil kind. Instead, it’s a challenge to improve your company’s bottom line – and do your part to protect our planet. Start by learning more about the many benefits of solar energy by contacting us today.

TerraSol Energies is a family-run business that has served the Tri-State area (PA, NJ, DE) since 2009. We have one of the area’s most knowledgeable teams of solar specialists. When you work with us you can count on making a smooth transition to clean energy. We provide a turnkey approach, quality products and services, professional advice and expertise, and financial flexibility. Ace the test by getting started today.