When you use solar power, you're actually getting your electricity from stored battery power. The solar panels are used to charge your batteries, then a power inverter converts the battery (DC current) into usable AC, or household current, that you then simply "plug in" to.
Basically, it takes about a half dozen solar panels several hours to charge a 200 amp, 12V battery. However, you can "trickle-charge" a battery with a single solar panel over a longer period of time. The number of panels and batteries you need depends on how many watts of power you use. (The formula is watts = volts x amps)
Depending on your individual electrical needs, you can set up a solar power system just for lighting (usually a self-contained unit) or a multi-panel system to run a specific appliance like an air conditioning unit (number of panels based on wattage); or, to provide power to an office, warehouse or even an entire building.
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Most installations can be completed in a day or two. Prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the amount of power you need. However, with tax rebates and incentives, those prices can be cut dramatically. And with most systems lasting up to 20 years, it's never been easier (or more affordable) to cut your energy costs by adding solar into your electric mix.
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