should I consider buying a photovoltaic (PV) system?
PV system reduces or eliminates the amount of electricity
you purchase from your utility (electric service)
PV system can save you money on your electric bill and act
as a hedge against future prices increases.
electricity generated by a PV system is clean, renewable,
can reduce the load on your community's utility grid.
can provide additional electricity for the grid when you
generate more than you use during the day, when
electricity demand is highest.
is a solar electric (photovoltaic) grid-tied PV system, and
how does it work?
(PV) technology produces direct current (DC) electricity
by collecting electrons freed by the interaction between
sunlight and the semiconductor materials in a PV cell.
DC power from the PV modules (panels) is converted to AC
power by the inverter, which is then back-fed to the AC
on the PV output and household load, the power is either
used by the house and/or back-fed to the utility grid (for
TV News Video Coverage (Click on Play-> Local
Homes, Businesses Use Solar Energy To Cut Costs)
is required for installation? That is, do I have a good site
unshaded area with clear, unobstructed access to the sky
trees, or other vegetation should not shade your site.
roof exposure is best, but roofs facing east and west may
can be mounted on the roof (8/12, 34o pitch is
optimal for grid-tie), wall, pole, or ground rack.
a rooftop is not available, your PV system could be
mounted on the ground.
to electrical load (breaker) panel
agreement with utility company
can I expect photovoltaic startup costs to be?
tie system (roof mount) costs about $9/watt, installed, or
$18.000 to $20,000 for a 2 kW system.
tie with battery backup costs about $13/watt, installed.
grid with battery backup costs about $13/watt, installed.
efficient and effective is solar (photovoltaic) power?
modules vary in efficiency from approximately 8 to 18%.
much energy will a PV system produce?
most areas of northern Illinois, a roof-mounted PV system
on an 8/12 pitch (34o) will produce approximately 1300
kilowatt-hours per kilowatt of installed PV.
production estimates can be found using PV
Watts Estimation Tool
on the NREL website.
should the size of my PV system be?
can match the size of your system to your electricity
needs and budget.
produce approximately 12 to 15 watts/sq. ft.
much of my electrical usage will a PV system offset?
up your total kilowatt-hours used per year from your
monthly electric bills.
this amount either by 1300 kWh/yr for northern Illinois or
by using the PV
Watts Estimation Tool
on the NREL website to determine the amount of PV watts
... or 3 kW installed PV for approximately 100% of your
do I need to know about connecting my PV system to my local
community's electric grid (utility company)?
will need to enter into an Interconnection Agreement with
your local utility, which will address the terms and
conditions under which your system will be safely
connected to the grid.
agreement will specify the metering arrangements (called
Net Metering), which will allow you to "bank"
any surplus electricity your system generates on the
electricity might be generated during the day when your
system produces more electricity than you need, in which
case your meter will run backwards to record the
amount of electricity banked on the grid. You can also use
an equal amount of electricity later without incurring any
you use more electricity from the grid than you have
banked, your utility will charge you annually for the
long can I expect it to take for me to get a return on my
rate of return varies upon system cost, incentives applied
and green tag credits, and range from approximately 15 to
state and federal grants, rebates, or other incentives are available
that encourage the use of renewable energy?
Is it possible to finance a PV
system for my home?
best way to finance a PV system for your home is through a
mortgage loan that includes a primary mortgage, second
mortgage, or home equity loan secured by your property.
mortgage financing is not available, look for other
sources such as conventional bank loans.