Photovoltaics (PV), meaning, “light electricity”, is a technology
that converts the sun’s light into electricity.
are manufactured from one of the most abundant materials on the face of
the earth, silicon, which is made from sand.
individual cells are arranged
together to form a sealed, weatherproof module, these are the building
blocks of solar electric systems.
Modules can be grouped
together into PV arrays,
and wired through an inverter that changes the direct current produced
by PV modules into alternating current, making the
electricity suitable for
homes and business, and compatible with the electric grid.
PV modules operate best when oriented on a south-facing roof or slope, and
given a clear, unobstructed access to the sun for most of the day.
determining the electricity needs of the site, a good rule of thumb for
determining the most suitable system size is 100 square
feet of PV area produces 1 kilowatt
Based on the average house hold, a 2-4 kilowatt (kW) system
would meet most of your electrical needs. This would translate into a
collector area of 200-400 sq. ft.
Sizing Your System
There are 2 options for calulating your energy needs.
The EPBB Calculator
is a tool featured at the California Energy Commission
Follow these four easy steps in sizing your Solar Electric
First to help you determine your
Average Daily kilowatt (kWh) usage, please complete one
of the System Sizing Forms below. You must determine your average daily electrical
needs as measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). This will
appear on your electric bill. To find additional information
on your kWh usage you can log on to your local utility
company web site, for example:
www.sce.com or www.pge.com