Solar electric systems (PV) are an excellent way to use the power of the sun to work for you by ceating electricity for use in your home or business. It is an environmentally friendly investment and will save money on your power bill as well as increasing your property value, without an inrease in poperty value as most home improvements do.
The most common use of PV technology is used with a grid tied system. This type of system produces a given amount of power on a daily basis. The home is still connected to the utility grid for electrical usage during overnight hours and periods of low solar irradiance.
We are able to convert sunlight into electricity using solar cells. Every day the sunlight strikes your roofs solar panels, bombarding them with Photons (particles of sunlight). The Solar modules convert these photons into DC electric current. The electrons flow through the solar array to a solar power inverter which change the DC current into usable AC power which is fed into your homes service panel to be used by your home
A bi-directional meter, supplied by your power company keeps track of what is produced. When your power demand is low, say when you are at work and the kids are at school, the unused power is fed back to the utility giving you a kilowatt hour credit. During night time hours or inclement weather you are using excess kilowatt credit that you gained during the day, in essence the utility becomes your backup power source.At the end of each billing cycle you will be charged for the power used and credited with the excess power that was generated. Similar to "roll over minutes" on a cell phone. At the end of a yearly cycle if you have produced more than you have used the utility pays you what they refer to as "avoided cost" or a wholesale rate for your excess production.
Q. Does a Grid Tied PV system have batteries?
A. No, we like to think of your power company as your battery back up system.
Q. What about maintenance?
A. Aside from removing seasonal pollen from the solar modules, there is no maintenance.
Q. What size system do I need for a 4,000 square foot house?
A. What we need to look at is how much power is used in the home in terms of monthly average kilowatt hour usage.
Q. If I produce more than I use will my power company pay me?
A. Yes, but we suggest a system sized to eliminate 70-80% of your average use. The utility pays "avoided cost" or a wholesale rate for excess production.
Q. Are there any incentives available?
A. Yes! The Government recently approved the 30% investment Tax Credit (ITC). well into the next decade. The credit either comes off of the amount of taxes you owe, or comes back to you when you file your Tax Return. For example with a system cost of $15,000 you would recieve a $4,500.00 credit for a total investment of $11,500. So you are actually eliminating a portion of your total electric bill that as rates increase, you have prepaid your bill and have been given a 30% discount for doing so. It is a hedge against inflation that is also good for our environment!
Q. If I lose power does it still provide power?
A. Unfortunately no, all PV inverters have an "anti Islanding" feature to keep utility workers safe when restoring power.
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