Types of Solar Energy Systems

If you decide to invest in renewable energy, you’ve got options. Solar, the most popular, is available in different types of systems. Make sure you’ve maximized efficiency first, so you don’t overspend on a system larger than you need.

Solar is by far the most popular home and business renewable energy source.

  • Photovoltaic (PV): Converts the sun’s light particles into electricity
  • Solar Thermal Energy (STE): Converts the sun’s heat into electricity

  • Concentrated Solar Power (CSP): Generated through large-scale solar farms

  • Solar Water Heaters: Provide and circulate solar-heated water. Great for pool owners

As technology improves, advanced batteries are available to help you store solar energy as a source of clean backup or supplemental power. Although battery systems can be expensive, energy storage may make sense for your home or business energy needs and goals.

A battery can provide power when your system isn’t generating as much as you need, or after the sun goes down, when electricity can be priced higher.   

Like other NEM customers, your bill will reflect generation credits you can earn for excess energy exported to the grid; however, for storage battery-enabled customers, a monthly credit cap is calculated according to your system’s size and generation capacity, in order to ensure that credits are applied for energy exported from renewable sources only. Learn More

If you’re interested in wind energy technology, a small-wind turbine is an option for your home or business. Additional options that may be more suitable for commercial properties include:

  • Biofuel
  • Biomass
  • Geothermal
  • Hydropower

Want alternatives to installing renewables? Enroll in EcoChoice

If you decide to install a renewable energy system in your home or small business, you become a Net Energy Metering (NEM) customer. NEM tracks energy flow in both directions: out to the grid from your renewable system, and in to your home or business from the grid. That way, you’ll only be billed for what you use. In some cases you may even earn generation credit if your system generates more than you use.
How NEM Works