What Is Solar Power?

Solar Energy Goes Mainstream

Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant renewable resource available. Solar power systems capture energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the amount of sunlight that hits the earth in just 90 minutes is enough to handle the world’s energy consumption for an entire year!

Solar has also typically become the lowest-cost source of electricity, and it has become mainstream in the world’s energy mix.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that in 2022, photovoltaics represented around 46% of new electrical generation in the United States.  Despite this, the U.S. still lags behind much of the world in total percentage of electricity produced with PV – around 5%.

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Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar opportunities for businesses, nonprofits and communities now include resilience through an energy mix, lower utility bills, and even economic development.  Grants and incentives favor businesses and other organizations who want to make energy-saving and energy-modernizing moves.

Cost Savings

Using solar power helps significantly reduce or eliminate your utility expenses through energy independence. Because solar power isn’t dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels, you’ll be protected against electricity price spikes for more predictable costs and greater savings over time.  Generous federal incentives for businesses and equivalent direct pay for nonprofits, plus grant programs for small businesses, all create ways for you to see a shorter return on investment with solar now.

solar panels on a sheep farm

Environmental Sustainability

Solar panels provide significant environmental benefits. They are a green alternative to traditional energy production, which burns non-renewable fossil fuels to generate electricity. This process is extremely harmful to the environment and people’s health, as it creates the country’s second-largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. By making the switch to solar, you can help reduce those emissions to create a healthier environment.


As solar technology evolves, it has become increasingly durable and reliable.  Expect a typical new installation of solar modules to have at least a 25-year product warranty.  PV installations in the U.S. are done to meet electrical building codes and with Underwriters Laboratories approved components.

two men installing solar panels on a roof

Minimal Maintenance

Solar panels need very little maintenance to work effectively. They have many durable properties that resist the damaging effects of the elements and wear and tear, helping to minimize maintenance and repair work over time.  For larger commercial installations, long-term maintenance and cleaning plans are available.

Increased Property Value

Installing a modern PV system can be a way for your business to build equity while curbing utility expenses.  It’s a win-win for your bottom line and the environment.

solar panels on the roof of a residential home

How Does Solar Work?

Solar systems absorb sunlight and turn it into electrical energy. Solar panels are typically installed on the roof, which has a large, unused surface area to accommodate numerous panels. Solar panels can absorb sunlight anywhere at any time. Even when it’s cloudy, solar panels can still collect the sun’s energy. That energy is then converted to meet the demands of your energy consumption.

In some cases, your solar panels may generate more power than you use. This excess energy is typically stored in solar batteries for later use or can return to the main power grid.

Solar devices like electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and solar carports can also be integrated with your solar system to power your electric vehicles.

How Does Solar Generate Electricity?

Solar panels generate electricity by converting sunlight into a usable power supply. They are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which capture sunlight. The cells are surrounded by a sturdy metal frame and special glass casing, forming a panel. Solar panels are typically grouped in an ordered series known as an array and placed on roofs or other large outdoor spaces.

There are several steps to power generation with a solar PV system.

1. PV Cells Produce an Electrical Current

Each PV cell contains a thin semiconductor wafer with two silicon layers. One layer is negatively charged while the other is positively charged, forming an electric field. When sunlight hits the PV cells, they knock electrons loose from the atoms within the semiconductor. As these electrons move through the electric field, they produce an electric current.

2. The Electrical Current Is Converted

The electric current generated by the interaction between sunlight and PV cells is known as direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity travels out of the panel and into an inverter, a device that converts DC to alternating current (AC), the type of electricity necessary to power most buildings. Typically, inverters are configured as one unit for all the solar panels or as individual microinverters behind each panel.

3. The Converted Electricity Powers Your Building

Once the solar energy has been converted, it runs to your electrical panel, which provides the power for your business.

Why Choose Solar Alliance for Your Solar Energy Needs?

At Solar Alliance, we specialize in the design, construction and installation of solar systems for businesses and communities in Kentucky, Tennessee and throughout the southeastern United States. Our engineers and technicians are accredited by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and have the expertise to create the perfect, customized solar solution for your unique needs.

When you work with us, you’ll get competitive, transparent costs without any hidden fees or upcharges. We make our pricing straightforward and easy to understand so you know you’re getting the best value on your solar system.

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Contact Solar Alliance Today

By switching to solar, you’ll be making a sustainable choice for the future that can also save you a significant amount of money over time. Contact us today to learn more about how business can benefit from our solar solutions.

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