Clean, renewable energy from the sun’s rays.
Exelon Generation’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch in Los Angeles County, is one of the largest solar photovoltaic projects in the U.S. Its 3.8 million solar panels generate 242 megawatts, enough clean, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 75,000 average homes. This project displaces approximately 140,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year — the equivalent of taking about 30,000 cars off the road.
Solar cells, or “PV cells,” are the building blocks of solar energy.
The equipment that starts the process of generating solar power is placed on rooftops or sometimes on the ground. The sun’s rays reach Earth, strike the PV panel, and are absorbed by the semiconductor material. This knocks electrons loose. They begin to flow along wires within the PV cells, and the flow of electrons creates electricity. More solar panels means more energy can be captured.
Some solar projects serve individual homes or businesses, and some provide power directly to the grid. For example, if the panels are on a home or business rooftop, they power that location. On the other hand, the 3.8 million solar panels at Exelon Power’s Antelope Valley Solar Ranch project feed into the electric grid and serve everyone in the region.
Some environments are solar panel-friendly, others aren’t.
Anyone working with solar energy has to plan very carefully where to put arrays of panels. The sun shines more in some places than others. Flat areas with direct sunlight and few shadows are the best. When it’s cloudy or dark, a PV panel can still produce power, but not much.