How residential solar energy works

Author profile picture

Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

solar energy hero


Thanks in part to major technological improvements in recent years, solar energy has become increasingly affordable and efficient. In fact, solar is the world’s fastest-growing energy source, with some estimates stating solar energy will cut our reliance on coal power in half by 2022. Soon we'll all be able to enjoy the benefits of solar-generated electricity.

Since the cost of solar energy has decreased drastically, homeowners across the U.S. are considering incorporating solar power into their homes. Currently, about 10 percent of all single-family homes in the U.S. utilize solar panels, and states like California are requiring new homes to be built with solar panels already incorporated.

As residential solar energy becomes an increasingly mainstream option, you may wonder “how does residential solar energy work?” To answer this and other common questions like “‘how much power does a residential solar system produce” and “benefits of solar power,” we created the animated visual below.



how residential solar energy works infographic




Incorporating a residential solar system in your home

Now that you’ve seen how you can harness solar energy to power your home, you’re probably wondering what it takes to establish a residential solar system. There are a few simple steps you’ll want to follow when doing so. Those steps are:

  1. Estimate your solar energy needs by reviewing your monthly electric bills. Your monthly energy use will be shown as kilowatt-hours (kWh), use these numbers as reference when consulting an installer.
  2. Contact your city manager for ordinances relating to solar panel installation. Your city may have restrictions on exterior wiring, solar panel placements or other building ordinances.
  3. Find and compare residential solar energy installers who are familiar with your local ordinances. Make sure that your installer is licensed through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
  4. Research financing and tax incentives for residential solar systems. There are many tax incentives for installing solar energy to your home, as well as financing options. Be sure to visit the Clean Energy States Alliance solar financing guide for information on all financing and tax options available to those with residential solar energy.
  5. Collaborate with your chosen installer to set up the right residential solar system for you. The installer you choose should be able to assess what the most appropriate solar energy options are for you.

Once you’ve installed a residential solar system in your home, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of harnessing solar energy. After you’ve cut the cost of your energy expenses, look into cutting the costs of your home insurance, as well.



Solar Power Authority | Energy Sage | Sun Run | Energy Matters | Go Solar California


Ready to start saving?

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.