SOLAR BASICS, WHAT TO EXPECT

September 20, 2016

PV Solar Panels are a very simple solution to meet the average homeowner’s energy needs. The electrical energy produced from a rooftop or ground mounted system on your property is completely compatible with the power supplied by your electrical utility company and will be connected in a seamless fashion to your existing electrical system. You will not notice any difference in the quality of the service, and the only distinguishable difference will be lower electric bills as a result of your decision to produce your own electricity.

 

The most popular solar PV system currently being installed is the grid tied system without batteries. In this system the solar panels are connected through an inverter directly to the homeowner’s utility power source, without any batteries involved. Anytime the system is instantaneously producing more power than what is being consumed by the customer, the excess is sent to the grid, running the customer’s meter backwards and allowing the utility to use that power elsewhere. You receive full retail credit for this excess power production in terms of a negative meter reading. The utility will continue to read your meter on a month basis (same as before), except that once solar has been installed, you will receive credit for all those times your meter has run backwards. The customer remains connected to the grid, so that at night or when your demand rises beyond your production, the customer can still rely on their connection to the utility grid to meet their required consumption.

 

The only drawback to this arrangement is that since no batteries are installed, this solar system will not be available to supply backup power when grid power is lost. Most customers in PA are not too concerned because the outages are infrequent and don’t last too long. Recently one manufacturer has developed a grid tied inverter which will supply partial backup power on loss of grid power, as long as sunlight exists to support it. Still no batteries are required for this system.

 

 

If we know your average annual electric bill, we are able to size a system that will meet your average annual consumption, so that at the end of the year, you are left with a zero balance. Your PV Solar Panel system will produce more in the summer, than it does in the winter, so in the summer months, you will end up with a balance in your favor- a negative electric bill (imagine that!). The utility will not pay you for that excess on a monthly basis, but will simply roll over the excess to subsequent months till you begin to use up the excess credit you have accumulated.

 

In addition to the “avoided cost” of not having to pay your electric bill, you will also generate additional revenue from your system through what are known as SRECs. The SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) is an incentive that the state has set up to encourage the utilities to distribute more solar energy. We install a separate meter (free of charge) in the outlet of your system which will indicate exactly how many kwh your system produces. Every time your system produces 1000 kwh of electricity (approximately once per month for a 10 kw system), you will have generated 1 SREC, which can be sold to the utility so they can demonstrate that they are meeting their solar distribution requirements. The actual sale of your SRECs between you and the utility is handled through a third part company, so you will not deal with the utility directly for this transaction. It is over and above your relationship with the utility for the normal billing process described above.

 

The factors outlined above, together with federal tax incentives and state and local rebate and grant programs will ultimately determine how quickly a solar energy system will begin to give you a return on your investment. Call WIND AND SOLAR today for your free, no hassle consultation, and see if solar is right for you!

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