The process of converting the sun's energy


Sunlight is converted to electricity using solar cells that are assembled in what is commonly referred to as solar panels. Every day of the year, sunlight bombards your solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (DC) electricity. The DC power then flows out of the solar panel and into an inverter where it is converted into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is what we use in our homes to power everything that runs on electricity including televisions, computers, appliances, lights and anything else that we plug into a wall outlet.

Solar Panels & Inverters

All solar panels convert the suns energy… However, not all panels are created equal! (See Equipment). SEC uses the most efficient and reliable inverters in the industry (See Equipment ) they all convert DC power to AC power, allowing full integration with the grid. You will continue to use electricity the way you always have.

Emergency Shut-Off

An emergency shutoff switch is installed next to your electrical panel. The switch is primarily used to perform repairs if needed. The switch will automatically shut the system down if an emergency occurs or the utility power lines shut down during a power outage. They will automatically reconnect when the power comes back on.

Electrical Panel

The electrical panel is where the utility company power line connects to your home before being divided up into individual breakers that power your plugs and lights. The electrical panel will be inspected as part of your system design and upgraded or repaired as needed.


All SEC solar systems come with an automated monitoring (See Solar Monitoring ) system that allows the owner of the system to see and run production reports at any time and will issue alerts if any production issues arise.

Net Metering:

During the daylight hours, your solar system is producing ALL the power output that it was designed for. During this time, your solar system is producing more power than you are using. This over production literally spins your meter backward. The extra power is accurately tracked and recorded before being passed on to the utility electric grid, (power lines) where the utility company uses the extra electricity to power neighboring homes and businesses. Your utility company will credit your account for the full daytime retail value of the electricity and it will be credited back to your bank account. Then, during nightfall and cloudy days you draw on these credits for the electricity you use. This process is called “Net Energy Metering” (NEM).

At SEC, we can estimate the value of the NEM when designing your solar system so you can eliminate your electric bill and at the end of the year you should be at a net $0 for the electric portion of your bill.

It is also helpful to know that the process of switching between solar system’s power and the utility grid power is instantaneous and seamless with NO interruption in the flow of power.

The Utility Bill

Once your solar system is in operation you will receive a monthly statement from the utility company indicating the net amount of electricity you used or over produced during that billing period.

Your monthly statement will show you where you are for the year, monthly: SHOW IMAGES HERE

You will have the option of paying the utility for your net consumption monthly or settling your account every 12 months with what is referred to as a “true-up bill.

At SEC we will design your system to produce all of your power needs for the year so your true-up bill should be a net zero or credit. The utility company will pay you for any credits at the end of the year but at a rate of $.04 – $.05 per watt. It isn’t a lot, however, it is part of the benefits of claiming your independence from the utility company!

You are still responsible for paying the gas portion of your bill monthly. Now that you’ve decided to go green and install solar, your SEC Consultant can help you find ways to consume less gas by converting some appliances to electric.

There are 3,752 K-12 schools in the United States with solar installations, meaning nearly 2.7 million students attend schools with solar energy systems. The solar energy systems have a combined capacity of 490 megawatts (MW) and generate roughly 642,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, which represents a combined $77.8 million per year in utility bills ‒ an average of almost $21,000 per year per school.


Solar Energy Consultants LLC, Business Consultant, San Jose, CA

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