Leading the Solar
Revolution Since 2003

Solar Energy 101

If you’re looking for a beginner’s guide to solar power, you’ve come to the right place. These are the most common questions SEM Power hears as we design and sell systems on a daily basis.

What is solar power?

The sun doesn’t just provide warmth and light – it’s also a source of energy.

Solar energy (or solar power) is the energy we generate from sunlight. Through a process known as the photovoltaic effect, we can convert energy from the sun’s rays into electricity that can power our homes or entire commercial and industrial business.

 

 

What are solar panels made of and how do they work?

Solar cells are made primarily from silicon, a chemical element with conductive properties. Exposure to light changes silicon’s electrical characteristics, which generates an electric current. It takes multiple panels to provide power to a typical home or business. A collection of panels in your system is called an array. Panels wired into the same inverter are known collectively as a string of panels. (Inverters have a maximum string size – an upper limit to the number of panels they can support.)

What are the parts of a solar energy system?

There are other key components to a solar system aside from the panels themselves.

To generate your own energy, you need a complete solar power system. The essential components are:

  • Solar Panel, to capture energy from the sun
  • An inverter, to convert that energy to a format that can power our power demand
  • Racking, the foundation on which you mount your system

You also need a method to store the energy generated by the panels. If you have access to power grid, this doesn’t require additional equipment. It can simply be fed into the utility grid and used later.

SEM Power includes monitoring equipment for our customers to be able to actively view system performance and energy demand offset.

We strongly encourage our customers to add a battery system with any new solar installation to offset financial burden and to keep power available even when the grid is not in service.

How long do solar panels last?

Most manufacturers guarantee under warranty that their panels will be at least 80% efficient for 25 years.

When the warranty is up, the panels don’t break down. They simply keep working at a reduced output. A panel that is rated at 300 watts, for example, would still produce 240 watts of output at the 25-year mark! Panels tend to be extremely reliable. A study by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) showed that over 75% of panels outperformed their warranty.

SEM Power offers “turn key” Solar and Battery power solutions. Let our expert team help you find the best solution for your energy needs.

 


Customer Reviews

SEM POWER

Customer Reviews

Ed Schifman

Facebook
I rarely write reviews, and to be frank, a company needs to be very bad or they need to be extraordinary to get me to post anything. In the case of SEM Power, the word EXTRAORDINARY is the right word. Although I installed approximately 112 solar panels about five years ago, Hurricane Irma required a new roof, and in doing so, those 112 solar panels had to come down and then reinstalled back in place. Because I was able to reconfigure my solar pool heater in a different location, it allowed me the ability to add another 12 or so panels. In doing so, my billing from FPL has gone from $650 per month five years ago to $8 today. Yes, $8!!! Hard to believe, but solar is incredible. In addition to a reinstall, the software needed to be able to see and control the daily use of power has been challenging, only because an outside vendor supplies the equipment and software. That said, SEM Power has been by my side to get this resolved multiple times due to no fault of their own. This is a tribute to a great organization that I feel was a great decision on my part. If you choose solar, give them a call. I was 110% satisfied!!!

Steven Gardner

Facebook
Awesome Company, great customer service, installation, and a wonderful experience overall. I am now saving a lot of money on my electric bill. Thanks

Brian TR.

Google
I have been researching solar companies for a year or more and recently went with SEM Power. Today is install day. The crew showed up on time and were ready to work. I am impressed with the respect and work ethic the three gentlemen have doing the install. They are quick with the "Yes sir, no sir" and took the time to show me the workings of the power inverter panel installed on the side of my house. The lead worker explained the process to me of what would be taking place during the install. Michael Barger, the salesman kept me apprised of the items to follow, the inspections, Fpl meter swap and final testing. I am glad I went with SEM Solar and reccomend them to all.

Jacqui McCurdy

Fantastic company fantastic experience! I have had solar for 2 years now and save at minimum half of my old Duke power bill every month. This company has excellent follow up and very responsive to calls! I love looking at the app they have hooked up to the system to monitor my savings! Thank you SEM!!

Jim Latchford

I have had the opportunity to interact with the personnel of SEM Power regarding some equipment issues with my solar panel system and found their response to be professional on a personal and technical level. They went the extra mile to assure me that I understood the nature of the issues and their satisfactory resolution of same. I am quite satisfied with their continue willingness and efforts to make sure that their system is performing as advertised to my satisfaction.