As with any decision you make, it's important to understand the language and terms that you're dealing with. Before we got solar for our home, we didn't know the difference between mono or poly, or what an inverter was. Browse our FREE Solar Installation Dictionary below and get the lingo down before you put the panels up!
A panel exposed to radiation from the sun, used to heat water or, when mounted with solar cells, to produce electricity direct. [Dictionary.com]
Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells by scientists, convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV gets its name from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect. [www.nrel.gov]
The kilowatt hour (symbol kWh) is a derived unit of energy equal to 3.6 megajoules. If the energy is being transmitted or used at a constant rate (power) over a period of time, the total energy in kilowatt-hours is the power in kilowatts multiplied by the time in hours. [Wikipedia]
A solar inverter, or converter or PV inverter, converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a local, off-grid electrical network. [Wikipedia]
Monocrystalline silicon (or "single-crystal silicon", "single-crystal Si", "mono c-Si", or just mono-Si) is the base material for silicon chips used in virtually all electronic equipment today. Mono-Si also serves as photovoltaic, light-absorbing material in the manufacture of solar cells.. [Wikipedia]
Polycrystalline silicon, also called polysilicon or poly-Si, is a high purity, polycrystalline form of silicon, used as a raw material by the solar photovoltaic and electronics industry. [Wikipedia]
This is where you as a homeowner receive credit from your utility company for electricity that your panels produce but you don’t use (e.g create excess power in the summer and sell it back to the grid). Net metering is currently available in every state with the exception of Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota. Check with your utility company regarding their net metering policies.