What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy produced from sources that do not run out or can be replenished within a human's lifetime. Renewable energy sources include the sun and wind; both do not run out, so we don’t have to worry about using them up. Traditional energy sources come from fossil fuels that are extracted from the Earth, such as natural gas or coal. When we burn these materials to generate energy at power plants, they release toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases. By switching to renewable energy, we can lower the amount of pollution in our environment and decrease the use of fossil fuels.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is the light and heat from the sun that we can capture and convert to electricity. It is a renewable energy resource. Solar energy systems do not produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide, and they have minimal effects on the environment.

How does solar energy work?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) devices, or solar cells, change sunlight directly into electricity. Small PV cells can power calculators, watches, and other small electronic devices. Arrangements of many solar cells in PV panels and arrangements of multiple PV panels in PV arrays can produce electricity for an entire building.

Here’s how it works: sunlight hits the panels, producing electricity. A meter measures the amount of electricity your building’s solar panels produce. Then, the electricity is sent to the power grid. The meter measures how much energy you use and determines how much saving will be allocated to your utility bill.

SOMAH multifamily solar illustration