A Beginner's Guide

 To Solar Energy

Have you ever heard of solar energy? Do you know where it comes from, or how it is created? We’re here to help. We’ll start simple, get the basics down and then, in our upcoming blogs in this series, get down to the nitty-gritty where we will discuss PV systems and the cost to build and maintain them.

What is Solar Energy?

What is solar energy? Solar energy is the energy that is generated from the sun’s rays and is what we like to call a type of renewable energy. This all becomes possible thanks to an effect called the photovoltaic effect. In order to create this solar energy, we do need an energy generator; a solar panel. These solar panels can be mounted on your roofs or ground mounted in an empty space of land. By using renewable energy, you ultimately will lower your operational costs, thus reducing your cost of electricity and having a fixed cost for all of your energy consumption.

Solar power is a type of renewable energy that utilizes modules to create electricity that we measure in kWh. Unique to solar power, their efficiency is monitored by their exposure to sunlight. When looking to install the modules, a solar installer will be in charge of setting up your panels either on the ground or your roof, depending on your choice of mounting. After being setup, the array will start to generate power that can be stored in solar batteries. By using solar power, you ultimately may be able to have zero net energy.

Solar Energy: The Global and Canadian Industry

Canada ranks 7th on the world production of renewable energy, contributing only 3%. We only contribute 1% to the world solar photovoltaic production. Most of the solar energy in Canada is generated in Ontario, therefore there is plenty of space for expansion. Solar photovoltaic energy only comprises 0.6% of Canada’s energy production, even though this is an extremely viable and sustainable method of electricity generation.

Solar generation only makes sense to be Canada’s primary source of renewable energy generation as in its populated areas, the solar average exceeds the two countries that are leaders in solar energy use. On a larger scale, this means that if we converted to solar energy, we have more potential to generate large amounts of renewable energy.

Wait… How Can You Help?

In this generation, it is easy to make a difference. Reach out to different solar power companies, and see about the costs of getting a solar panel installed. You can cut your electricity bill and have your own power generation in your backyard. If you are building a house, you can even get roof-mounted solar panels that will function throughout the entire day, regardless of if it’s cloudy or not!

​Some questions to keep in mind are: How much electricity does your building use? Does my location allow me to have roof-mounted solar panels? How much money can I save in the long run? How will I impact the planet?

Don’t forget to check out our next blog, where we will talk about what a PV system is and exactly how it works. Everything from the components of the PV system to their efficiency will be covered!

Key Terms

  • Renewable Energy: Any energy that’s source is naturally and continually renewed. Some examples of this are geothermal heat, wind, sunlight or tidal movement.
  • Module: Another name for a solar panel.
  • Kilowatt-Hour (kWh): The unit of measurement when being billed for electricity.
  • Efficiency: When talking about solar panels, efficiency refers to the amount of sunlight able to be captured by the solar panels to be able to be converted into electricity.
  • Solar Installer: A solar installer is someone who specializes in the setup of solar systems for commercial or personal use.
  • Zero Net Energy - Off the Grid: This refers to any building or home able to produce as much energy as they consume. Most of the time, this is achieved by combining a solar system with strategies to cut back on energy consumption.

  • Ground/Roof Mount: This is the equipment used to mount the solar panels. Ground-Mounted solar arrays are usually used for commercial use and produce large quantities of electricity able to power thousands of homes.
  • Array: A solar panel comprises many solar cells, but when you place the panels together in a similar manner, you get what we call a solar array.
  • Solar Batteries/Storage: A solar storage system is made up of many high-capacity rechargeable batteries that are used to store electricity generated during the day to continue operations when the solar panels are unable to produce electricity. This system is most commonly used for the continuing of operations through the night.

About the Author

Oriana Cordido has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in International Relations and Economics. She is currently responsible for providing knowledge and awareness about solar energy, and creating solar proposals for customers wanting to reduce their energy bills. You might be reading this blog if you're curious about how your business can save money. If this is something you've ever thought about, she's your go-to girl!

She has considerable experience in the field of social entrepreneurship as she was the Team President and Co-Founder of Enactus UNB which is an international non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action. ​ ​

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