A Know-It-All’s Lexicon To Solar Energy – Know What The Pro’s Do!

By : Next Level Energy | April 26, 2019

Some terms that will guide you while using solar energy

Going solar can be made very easy by using tools to calculate your solar saving and comparing quotes of pre-screened solar installers. With all the terminology used in solar energy, shopping for solar can be very confusing. Below is an index of solar energy terminology to help you understand solar terms and comprehend all the available options.

Terms related to Solar Panel.

  • Azimuth: The position your roof faces. We measure azimuth in degrees, the angle between the roof of the house, and the true north is azimuth.
  • Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV): This is also known as a solar shingle. These kinds of solar panels are usually integrated with housing roof tiles instead of placing it on the top of the housing roof.
  • Inverter: This is the part of a solar panel system that changes the electric current into a form which is usable in the home.
  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh): This is the unit for measuring electric current. In 2014, the use of electricity in the average U.S. home was at about 911kWh per month.
  • Off-grid: This is a total disconnection from the electric grid, with no means to connect to utility-generated electricity. Houses that go off grid need to produce most of the electric current on-site.
  • Photovoltaic (PV): A kind of equipment that produces an electric current from sun-lights. Solar panels are photovoltaic equipment.
  • Power rating: This is the theoretical power output that the solar panel produces in its normal conditions. The quality of the solar panel can be rated by the power rating. A lot of solar panels do not have the best possible conditions for more than a few minutes.
  • Solar panel efficiency: It shows how efficiently a solar panel converts sunlight to electric current. The efficiency of most solar panels is about 14-16 percent; the highly rated solar panels are well above 20 percent.
  • Solar-plus-storage: An industrial term used for a solar energy system that involves a battery for storing excess solar energy, unofficially known as solar batteries.
  • Temperature coefficient: This shows how well the solar panel does in high-heat states. High heat does not have a positive effect on the performance of the solar panel just like other electronics.

The Concepts of Solar Pricing and Policy

community solar
  • Community solar: This solar power plant is usually distributed to more than one household, mostly framed as another option to rooftop solar. Also called a solar garden alternatively shared renewable energy plant.
  • Federal investment tax credit (ITC): Normally known as the solar tax credit, the ITC effectively cuts the full price of your solar energy system by 30 percent with a deduction to your federal taxes. It is known as the ultimate monetary incentive for solar in the U.S.
  • Grid Parity: The level at which power produced by solar panels cost less or the same as power from common resources like natural gas. Solar is already a pattern parity in 20 states.
  • Levelized cost of energy (LCOE): This is the cost of each unit of a solar energy system. LCOE is gotten when we divide the out of pocket cost for the system by the calculated total amount of energy the system will create during its lifetime.
  • Net metering: The excess electric current generated by a solar panel is credited to you, then whenever the solar panels do not generate sufficient electricity to meet up the rate of your use. With the net metering, you can efficiently use the electric grid to “save” excess electric current for future use.
  • Property-Accessed Clean Energy (PACE): A unique kind of loan that is paid back through a yearly assessment on your tax belongings bill. PACE financing could be used to connect a solar PV system, alongside other pure energy improvements.
  • Payback period: This is the period of time it takes to pay for the solar energy investment. Seven years is the average time most homeowners are given to pay for the solar investment in the U.S.
  • Performance-based incentive (PBI): This is a monetary reward for solar that pays the homeowner based on the rate of energy generated by the solar system. It is paid based on the rate of electric current produced per kilowatt per hour. A type of PBI is known as the feed-in tariffs.
  • Power purchase agreement (PPA): A binding agreement with the solar company to connect the solar energy to the rooftop of your house, with this solar contract (PPA) you will be paying the solar company per kilowatt-hour amount for the electricity generated by the solar panels.
  • Solar lease: A signed contract by you and the solar company to install the solar panel on the roof. Using a solar lease, when you agree to the contract, you agree to pay a monthly fee to rent the system in exchange for the electric current the solar system gives out.
  • Solar lease escalator: A part of a contract of most leases and PPAs that result in increment or raise in payment rates by a fixed amount per year. A common escalator is 2.9 percent.
  • Solar loan: A credit given by the bank, credit union, or special providers of finance to cover the expenses of buying a solar PV system.
  • Solar renewable energy credit (SREC): SREC is generated alongside every element (unit) of electric current that the solar panel system produces. SREC is sold for more income in some states.
  • Third-party owner (TPO): This lease or PPA, a solar company which is the owner of the solar system. By signing the solar lease or PPA, you agree with the third party owner.
  • Helpful tips to learn more about solar energy terminology and help you understand solar terms and comprehend all the available options.

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