Though solar energy might seem like a better fit for states that we perceive as “sunny,” Pennsylvania is actually very well-suited for Photovoltaic (PV) systems (or solar electric systems) that use solar panels with PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity.
What makes Pennsylvania a prime place for PV Systems?
PA is sunnier than you think it is
Pennsylvania gets 90 percent as much sunshine as Florida (a.k.a. “The Sunshine State”). And the sun in PA shines nearly twice as much as in Germany, the country that’s the current world leader in PV system installations. Besides, solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to generate electricity. They can make 50 – 70 percent of their energy on cloudy days.
PA doesn’t go to extremes
Pennsylvania’s moderate climate also makes it more conducive to solar energy. Solar panels work more efficiently in lower temperatures than they do in high heat. Solar cells generate electricity from light, not heat. And the components of PV systems don’t function as well when the mercury rises above their optimal operating temperatures. When installed in cooler climates like PA as opposed to Arizona or Texas, solar panels and other parts of solar electric systems tend to last longer.
PA offers incentives to go solar
Besides Pennsylvania’s accessibility to sunlight and its mild temperatures, there’s another plus to installing a solar electric system in PA. The state and local utilities offer attractive incentives to homeowners who choose to install PV systems. With that help to maximize the return on investment on solar energy, more and more property owners in PA are installing solar panels on their homes. According to research data by SEIA/GTM, PA ranked 6th nationally in the number of PV system installations by major market in 2011. *
Of course, the basic reasons for installing a solar electric system in Pennsylvania are comparable to why you would invest in one in any other state:
- Reduce your electric utility costs – Energy produced by the sun is energy you don’t have to buy from your utility company.
- Help the environment – Using a clean, renewable energy source conserves other earth resources nearing depletion and will help preserve the environment for future generations.
- Provide a back-up in emergency situations – If connected with battery banks, your solar energy system will supply you with much-needed electricity in the case of a power outage.
The cost savings and environmental impact of PV systems combined with the state’s climate and economic conditions make Pennsylvania an ideal place for solar panel installations. If misconceptions have prevented you from installing solar panels on your Lancaster, PA area home, we recommend that you reconsider. Pennsylvania is prime for solar energy. It will be well worth your time to take the time to talk with a solar energy system installation expert who can determine if a Photovoltaic system is right for your property.
*SEIA Slideshare: Photovoltaic Solar Technology. January 26, 2012