Photovoltaic Home System
by Rik DeGunther
Installing a full-scale intertie photovoltaic (PV) system on a home is the king of solar investments. To allow good time for decision-making, expect the entire process to take 90 days or more. With a really serious focus on conserving and altering energy consumption patterns, expect the process to take six months.
Here's a list of the things that need to be done:
1) Perform an energy audit and take conservation steps. Before you even get started on a solar system, you need to figure out exactly how much energy is being used and where it's going. This is particularly important when you're signing up for a time-of-use (TOU) rate structure because you'll be able to glean a lot of little insights on how to use power differently at different times of the day.
Some states require an energy audit before you can buy a solar system. California is making this a requirement if you want to collect their sizable rebate.
2) Decide how much to invest and how to finance it. During the course of the energy audit you collect a lot of financial information regarding energy costs and how they accrue in your household. You must also collect cost and performance estimates for PV systems, including the following:
The "bio-solar" house in Bangkok, Thailand, by Soontorn Boonyatikarm, employs an on-grid photovoltaic (PV) system.
Photo: Soontorn Boonyatikarm
Rooftop photovoltaic arrays can be added to virtually any home.
Photo: Kyocera Solar, Inc.
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