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Getting Started With Solar

Solar Information

DSIRE - National searchable database to find Incentives, Rebates and Federal Tax Credits.
PGE - Solar Information Database

On-Grid / Off-Grid

On-Grid Solar System
• The sun's energy is gathered by solar panels.
• Cables transfer the energy to the inverter. 
• The inverter changes electricity from DC to AC. 
• AC Electricity is used in the home equipment.

Solar System Size
• You can create any size system, but size is determined by your needs. 
• More panels means more solar power produced. 
• You can choose to produce enough solar power to reduce your energy bill 25%, or 50% 
• You can choose to produce enough solar power to keep your energy use through the utility below the highest priced rate tiers. 
• You can choose to produce enough solar power to stop using energy from the utility grid. That is to say that you can net out to zero electricity supplied by the utility grid.  
Credits: When your solar system is producing more electricity than you are using in the home, the extra electricity is fed back on to the grid and is credited on your meter. On spinning disk meters the disk spins backwards, and on smart meters the extra electricity is subtracted from the digital counter.

Off-Grid Solar System

 (For educational purposes only. We do not sell or install off-grid systems )

Off-Grid means there are no utility service (power lines) to the site. Off -grid set-ups require storage batteries, and a different set-up. Backup generators, and wind power can, and often are added to off-grid solar set-ups.

Stand-alone systems contain a solar array and a bank of batteries directly wired to an application or load circuit. A battery system is essential to compensate for the absence of any electrical output from the cells at night or in overcast conditions. Each battery stores direct current (DC) electricity at a fixed voltage determined by the panel specifications, although load requirements may differ. DC-to-DC converters are used to provide the voltage levels demanded by DC loads, and DC-to-AC inverters supply power to alternating current (AC) loads. 

Stand-alone systems are ideally suited for remote installations where linking to a central power station is prohibitively expensive. Examples include pumping water for feedstock and providing electric power to lighthouses, telecommunications repeater stations, and mountain lodges.