The worlds first Solar Panel (Photovoltaic Cell, Photo = light and Voltaic = Electricity) was invented in 1839, but came into major practical use in the 50's by the space program, You probably used them first in the 70's on your new solar power calculator.
When sunlight shines on most surfaces, such as your skin, it causes the molecules to jiggle creating heat. That's the warmth we feel as we stand in the sunlight. When light strikes certain materials like the silicone surface on Solar Panels, it causes the molecules to move up and down, creating an electrical current.
*Youtube video courtesy of Golden Gate Power.
Drastically reduce or even eliminate your electric bills
Electricity costs can make up a large portion of your monthly expenses. With a solar panel system, you’ll generate free power for your system’s entire 25+ year lifecycle. Even if you don’t produce 100 percent of the energy you consume, solar will reduce your utility bills and you’ll still save a lot of money.
Earn a great return on your investment
Solar panels aren’t an expense – they’re one of the best ways to invest, with returns rivaling those of more traditional investments like stocks and bonds. Thanks to substantial electricity bill savings, the average American homeowner pays off their solar panel system in seven to eight years and sees an ROI of 20 percent or more.
Protect against rising energy costs
One of the most clear cut benefits of solar panels is the ability to hedge utility prices. In the past ten years, residential electricity prices have gone up by 5-7% or more, in 2016 alone PGE raised rates by 21%. By investing in a solar energy system now, you can fix your electricity rate and protect against unpredictable increases in electricity costs.
Increase your property value
Multiple studies have found that homes equipped with solar energy systems have higher property values and sell more quickly than non-solar homes, in many cases up 7% or more.
Boost U.S. energy independence
The sun is a near-infinite source of energy and a key component of achieving energy independence in the United States. By increasing our capacity to generate electricity from the sun, we can also insulate our country from price fluctuations in global energy markets.
Protect the environment
Solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Buildings are responsible for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., and going solar can significantly decrease that number. A typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year—the equivalent of planting over 100 trees annually.