Sunshine is one of the most welcomed things to see in Central New York, especially this time of year! We know the sun is very powerful and sustains life, but now it is increasingly being used as an energy source.

So, how’s the sun’s energy converted to electricity that we can use on a daily basis? I interviewed Chad Farrell, the founder and CEO of encore energy, and asked him to explain the process.

“The sun’s rays hit the solar modules, the panels themselves, which have hundreds of solar cells within each panel. We need to convert the direct current electricity that solar panels generate from the sun into alternating current. It’s just a different form of electricity that is consistent with how electricity is delivered to our homes and businesses, schools.”

Chad says an updating of the grid is necessary over the next several years which will be critical in order to penetrate the energy sector with renewable energy that we know we need to reach to decarbonize our energy demands with clean, electrical resources rather than fossil fuels generation resources which has been the case the last hundred years.

And how about the efficiency of solar or renewable energy?

According to Chad, “it will be much more efficient. There are a lot of losses that are associated with the generation of energy via fossil fuel resources. So just by electrifying everything we are by definition going to be more efficient.” Also, the quality of the solar panels has increased in efficiency with regards to the amount of electricity produced, plus the costs of solar energy has dropped 70 to 80% compared to what it was in 2010! In addition, solar panels only lose 0.5% per year in production of electricity, or just 10% loss of productivity in 20 years!! That’s good longevity!   

Chad also adds that the increase of cleaner generation of energy will reduce pollution and make for less asthma and various cancers and lead to an overall healthier environment for all. Chad thinks by the end of this decade the national average of solar energy use will go from the current 4% up to about 30%!

This may leave you wondering how can solar energy work in CNY during the darker, cloudier winter months we are in now?? Chad explains…

“We are going to build more capacity than we need on any given day, and then we are going to move towards a system that’s known as curtailment. So, we can get as much energy as we can out of these solar generation assets during the cloudier, shorter days. While in the summertime we might produce too much electricity, so we’ll have to curtail some of that production.”

So yes, solar energy can work in CNY if it’s set up properly, which hopefully sheds some light on how can help power your home via the sun!