The business of generating solar power is growing fast around the world for its renewability, low environmental impact, and cost effectiveness. The industry has been growing by leaps and bounds with the last few years showing annual growth rates over 100%! 2012 is expected to continue with this strong progress. As more people move to solar energy, people around them are twice as likely to make the switch, too. With countries such as Germany already making enormous national use of solar and other renewable energy resources, it is clear that the solar industry in the US still has much potential for growth.

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels capture the sun’s energy in photovoltaic (pv) cells. Panels don’t run on sunshine but on the intensity of the light, so they will produce energy even on cloudy days. The pv system generates direct current power, which is converted into alternating current by an inverter. Electricity not consumed by the home may be directed back into the grid. Before a pv system installation, your home will have to be assessed by a professional to ensure that having a solar panel installed is feasible for your area. If your home is not exposed to sufficient light, the expense of setting up a pv system may ultimately not be worth the cost.

Incentives to Switch to Solar Power

Feed-in tariffs and net metering policies will allow you to sell any surplus electricity you make back to the state. Rebates may also be available to help pay for a portion of the initial solar installation costs. However, restrictions and regulations regarding these policies vary by region. Keeping an eye on the generation meter will also help you monitor your energy consumption, promoting the natural development of more energy efficient habits. Ultimately, installing a solar system will help you lower your carbon footprint. A typical pv system can save over a ton of CO2 emissions every year.

Economic Impact of Solar

With more people participating in solar energy, more jobs are created for installation, maintenance, design, etc. In fact, green jobs for work with pv systems, wind turbines, HVAC systems and appliances, architecture, etc. are growing as more home and business owners want to establish themselves in clean-running, energy efficient environments. These have created many opportunities for those pursuing mechanically-oriented solar careers.


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