The solar panels above the dock at Guthrie Green can produce 49,334 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which is equal to powering almost five households for an entire year and $5,428 in annual energy costs. Because fossil fuels are not being burned to produce Guthrie Green’s energy needs, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1,641 tons during the next 25 years, which is equal to not driving 4,102,500 miles or planting 18.49 acres of trees.
How Solar Power Works: Sunlight contains tiny particles of energy called photons. When the sun’s rays hit a solar panel, material inside the panel – usually silicon – absorbs the photons. The photons excite the electrons inside the silicon’s atoms until they begin to dart around and break away, forming electrical current. Copper wiring inside the panel serves as a highway for the current. This direct current travels out of the panel through a control device called and inverter, which changes it to alternating current that is used in the United States. The electricity passes from the inverter through breaker boxes to power outlets to be uses as a pollution-free energy.