The technology behind successfully harnessing the energy from the sun has been improved dramatically over the last decade. For an in-depth technical explanation of how it works, we recommend our favorite expert in all things solar, NASA.
For the vast majority of us, an in-depth study isn’t needed. We all understand how the bright sun can warm our face, even in winter. We’ve all had a sunburn. We understand that plants take in light energy during photosynthesis.
Let’s take a simpler look at how light energy from the sun becomes electricity for our homes.
The most critical element of a solar panel is the photovoltaic cell. These cells are aligned within the solar panel for maximum exposure to the sun.
When sunlight strikes the surface of a photovoltaic cell, this electrical field provides momentum and direction to light-stimulated electrons, resulting in a flow of current when the solar cell is connected to an electrical load.
Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors, like silicon. When sunlight strikes the solar cell, a percentage of their solar energy is absorbed into the semiconductor material.
This energy is now inside the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. PV cells also have one or more electric fields that force electrons, freed by light absorption, to flow in a certain direction.
This flow of electrons is an electrical current. Metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell draw current off which is used to power external electrical loads by way of a power inverter. Battery storage systems can also be interfaced to store excess power.
Contact DFW Solar Electric today to find out more details and how a residential or commercial solar electric system can provide an environmentally-friendly source of electricity for years to come!
The folks at DFW Solar Electric aren’t tax advisers, we’re your friends. And friends don’t let their friends end the year without one last reminder that some key federal tax laws are changing.
Businesses have a lot to think about at the end of the year. Capital investment decisions among the most important. Solar electric PV systems, purchased and installed before the end of the year may be eligible for a first-year 50% Bonus Depreciation. This accelerated 50% bonus expires December 31, 2013.
Companies which invest in solar energy systems may be eligible for federal income tax deductions through the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS).
The Internal Revenue Service allows commercial solar PV system owners to deduct up to 85 percent of their tax basis. This type of depreciation can be claimed over a five year period.
The State of Texas has a few ongoing tax incentives of its own. Texas entities which are subject to the state franchise tax may deduct 10% of the amortized cost of a solar energy device from their apportioned margin.
For the purposes of this deduction, a solar energy device means a system or series of mechanisms designed primarily to provide heating or cooling or to produce electrical or mechanical power by collecting and transferring solar-generated energy.
It also includes mechanical or chemical devices, such as batteries, which have the ability to store solar-generated energy.
Texas property tax code allows for an exemption of the amount of the appraised property value arising from the installation or construction of a solar energy device. The primary use must be for the production and distribution of thermal, mechanical, or electrical energy for on-site use. It may also include devices used to store that energy.
This exemption defines “Solar energy device” as an apparatus designed or adapted to convert the radiant energy from the sun into thermal, mechanical, or electrical energy. It also includes storage and distribution equipment.