Photovoltaic vs. Solar Thermal Energy

Kashong Energy Partners offers two solar energy products to our clients:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight to electricity that can be used to supplement or replace the electricity supplied by the utility grid. PV panels are most commonly installed on rooftops, and are most effective with a southerly exposure that provides full sun. Other possible installations include a ground mount, a pole mount, and atop a porch, carport, or other shaded area. PV energy systems are eligible for federal tax credits and state incentives.
  2. Solar thermal energy, or solar hot water, uses flat collector plates to harness the sunís energy to heat water for use in businesses, homes, and pools. The installation and appearance are much like those of the PV panel, and the collectors are best installed facing south, under unobstructed sunlight. Unlike PV panels, solar thermal collectors do not convert sunlight to electricity, but transfer the energy directly to the water. Solar thermal systems displace the electricity or natural gas that would otherwise be required to heat water. Federal tax credits are available for most solar hot water systems, but cannot be used for systems that heat swimming pools or hot tubs. State-funded solar thermal incentives are not yet available outside of a pilot program in San Diego.