All Solar Is Not Created Equal

About California Solar Power Systems

California solar power systems produce clean reliable electricity directly from sunlight without consuming fossil fuels. On the largest scale, many utilities around the world are providing customers with electricity generated from large solar power systems. Today over 1 million homes and businesses worldwide are provided electricity generated solely through solar power systems.

Solar energy is regarded as the future in energy production and is expected to double in use before 2011as many weigh the pros and cons of solar energy and find many pros and few cons. In addition, the cons are easily overcome when utilizing products manufactured by the largest and most reliable manufacturers of solar energy equipment, SolarWorld and Enphase Energy.

Many clients ask us “How Does Solar Energy Work?” and “How Do Solar Panels Work?” We strive to educate the public on the benefits of solar electricity. Please scroll down for answers to these questions and visit our Facts about Solar Energy page for more information.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

We are often asked “How Do Solar Panels Work?” Solar panels consist of many individual solar cell photons. Sunlight causes electrons to move from one side of a cell to the other. This movement of electrons results in the generation of direct current electricity. The direct current electricity needs to be converted to alternating current electricity which can be used by appliances in your home. To do this, the DC electricity is fed into an solar inverter which then converts the direct current electricity to alternating current electricity for use in your home.

Efficiency refers to how much of the energy is lost in the process of generating DC electricity and converting it to AC electricity. The efficiency of a panel depends in part on the type of material it is comprised of. Read about the three types of California solar panels available to consumersmonocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film solar panels.

Thin Film Solar Panel - Gratzel Cell

How Does Solar Energy Work?

In Southern California we commonly utilize a grid tied, net metered system which negates the need for a battery backup system or an alternative generation system such as wind. The electric grid itself is the reserve. Solar energy generated during the day is converted by the solar inverter from DC electricity generated by the solar modules to AC electricity to be utilized in the home. Excess energy that is not used in the home is fed back onto the grid. If the need arises for more electricity than the PV array is generating, electricity may be drawn from the grid. This is a seamless process that happens automatically. Your utility company will charge you only for the net electricity drawn from the grid in excess of what you have generated and fed onto the grid, a process known as net metering.

How Solar Panels Work

A typical solar power system consists of solar modules mounted on a roof. These solar roof panels generate DC electricity that is wired through a DC shutoff to your solar inverter, which converts DC electricity to AC electricity. You then have wires that run through an AC shutoff to your electrical panel that feeds your home the energy it needs and any excess energy generated back onto the electric grid.

a typical residential system

Pros and Cons of Solar Energy

The decision to go solar involves weighing your options as well as the pros and cons of solar energy. When weighing the pros and cons of solar energy, you will see that the pros significantly outweigh the cons, which are relatively minor and easily overcome when you utilize products produced by the largest and most reliable solar companies worldwide, SolarWorld and Enphase Energy. Applied Solar Energy Solutions is Southern California’s premier retailer and installer of SolarWorld and Enphase Energy solar power systems.


Even in the harshest conditions, solar energy equipment has proven its reliability. Manufacturers are so confident in the technology, that they offer a 25 year warranty on the solar panels and 25 years on the solar inverter. In addition, solar power monitoring allows you the assurance your system is performing as designed.


The solar panels and components of a PV array are provided with manufacturer warranties for up to 25 years. They have no moving parts and are extremely durable even in the harshest of conditions. There is really very little that can go wrong. You are also assured by Applied Solar Energy Solutions’ ten year California solar installation warranty.

Low Maintenance Requirements

Solar power systems simply require periodic inspection with minimal occasional maintenance (hosing off).


Solar power systems are module based. If your energy needs change in the future, your system can easily be enlarged.

Energy Independence

Solar power systems insulate you against rising energy costs, which have historically increased at the average annual rate of 6.7% per year. Local energy resources are becoming less and less available and as our population grows, so does our demand for energy. Increased demand coupled with a reduction in energy resources will continue to drive up the cost of electricity for the foreseeable future.

Southern California Is an Ideal Location for Solar Power

One of the biggest consumers of energy generated by solar power systems is Germany, a country renowned for its cold and cloudy weather. Not necessarily a location you would consider ideal for solar, however the country has a significant reliance on solar power. Southern California is an ideal location for solar power generation due to its close proximity to the equator, availability of unobstructed sunlight and the pitch of most roofs. The popularity of solar in Southern California is rapidly increasing due its abundance of solar radiation.

Initial Cost

Millions of business owners and homeowners worldwide have found solar roofing to be a worthwhile investment. Now with up to 20% California rebate, uncapped 30% federal tax credit, expedited depreciation options for businesses, property tax exemption and various incentives from local municipalities, the return on your investment is now greater and the payback faster!

Energy Storage

If you generate electricity it must either be consumed or stored. Net metering in California allows you to feed back excess electricity generated by your system to the electric grid. Your meter will literally spin backwards. If you need more electricity than your system generates you will use electricity from the grid resulting in your meter spinning forwards. The result is the grid acting as the energy storage reserve.

Example of Net Metering Using a Residential Photovoltaic System

electric meter spins backward

The electric meter spins backwards as it registers excess energy flowing from a solar-electric generator into the O&R electric grid.

electric meter spins forward

The electric meter spins forward as it registers the normal flow of energy from the O&R electric grid into the customer's home.

Energy Efficiency Review

Utilizing an extremely efficient photovoltaic array to produce energy while ignoring the efficiency of the other components of the solar power project, is a common mistake in system design, which increases project costs, ignores potential savings, increases payback time and wastes resources. A comprehensive energy efficiency audit provides ways to decrease energy use and reduce actual costs that need to be offset with solar electricity. An energy efficiency audit will be carried out as part of the design process to insure accurate system sizing and maximum return on your investment.

Professional Service

For over 20 years we have maintained an impeccable record of service and professionalism which you will experience from completion of your initial site survey, through the commissioning of your new solar power system, and continuing right on after sale service. We will be available to assist you through every step of the solar power project.


The lack of understanding of the opportunities that solar energy and energy efficiency provides has hindered the growth of a truly unique technology. Applied Solar Energy Solutions is committed to expanding the knowledge of this technology which will benefit our clients, community and the world.

Contact us today for more information on California solar power systems.

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