The January 2012 storm caught us a little off-guard. I was in New Orleans on business and Deanne was stuck in our home in Kirkland. We could not get to our home in Olympia. The power was out according to Puget Sound Energy at our Olympia home for about 3 days….a little more or less after talking with the neighbors. The temperature was at or below freezing. Several years ago we went through a burst pipe situation that ended up with us gutting the entire house and starting over. We vowed to never deal with that again. We had our solar system installed with battery backup to solve for this scenario. We met with Bruce and Kirk and laid out our requirements. The house needed to run on solar/batteries for a minimum of 4 days without our intervention….or sunlight. Kirk and Bruce designed a system for us that has exceeded our expectations. The sunlight was enough to keep recharging the batteries…our house could have gone longer than 4 days without power. When the power is out our furnace runs, the refrigerator keeps humming, and our home remains secure. Secondarily, our system produces clean renewable energy and what we do not use we sell back to PSE.
We are very pleased with our solar power system and battery backup.
A measure of power. In solar, electric panels are rated to produce so many watts.
Measure of power over time. A 195 watt panel, producing for one hour, produces 195 watt hours.
One thousand watts. 500 watts is the same as .5 kilowatts.
Measure of power over time. A 2 kilowatt solar array, producing for 10 hours, produces 20 kWh. In Western Washington, 1kW of solar will produce about 1000kWh per year.
Production of electricity from light.
Solar panels used to produce electricity. The sizes of panels are measured in wattage.
When the solar panels produce more than the building uses, the extra power goes back to the grid, rewinding your meter backwards. This is for grid tied, PV solar only.
Before net metering or the building uses the power, the utility pays you for all the energy your grid tied solar system produces. The payback comes to you in the form of a check once a year. The utility pays 15 to 54 cents per kWh.
Solar Thermal is solar that produces heat, like solar hot water.