Solar 101

Learning the basics of solar electric technology is the best way to confidently move forward with choosing a contractor and installing a PV system appropriate for your needs.

How solar works

Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert light directly into electricity using semiconductor technology.

  1. Individual PV cells are connected to panels. Solar panels covert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
  2. An inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) for electricity in the home.
  3. The utility meter records the net amount of energy generated through the PV system. When you are creating more electricity than you are using, your meter will spin backward and the excess electricity is sent to the electric grid. This helps to offset the cost of your electricity usage at night or on cloudy days when your system is not producing electricity.

Basic Terminology

Reduce before you produce

Making sure your home is energy efficient prior to installing solar is an essential first step. By reducing your overall energy use, you can reduce the size of the system you need, potentially saving thousands of dollars in up-front costs.

Estimating your system size
The average residential system is about 5 kW but there are several factors that impact the optimal system size for you, including your 12-month prior electricity usage and desired bill and energy offset as well as the space your home has available. If you do not have access to the last 12 months of energy bills, you can retrieve this information SCE.

Solar Rates with Southern California Edison

Setting up your home with solar technology can reduce your energy bill and your carbon footprint. Before you choose a contractor and look at solar for your home it is always best practices to look at other efficiency measures first. You can save money in upfront costs by taking simple efficiency measures - like swapping old incandescent lighting for CFL or LED bulbs - to reduce your overall use.

Generating your own power

Learn about your home's solar potential

Learn about solar potential in Huntington Beach

Solar Permit Process

Please visit the Planning and Building Department to learn more about the permitting process and associated fees.

Helpful Links

State Policies & Solar Rights

Top Rated Solar Companies in Orange County!


Did you know?

Solar power is noise pollution free. It has no moving parts, and does not require any additional fuel, other than sunlight, to produce power.  Learn more about solar.

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