Solar Electric


SOLAR ELECTRIC SYSTEM (PHOTOVOLTAIC or PV for short): direct production of electricity using the sun
Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into direct current electricity. The energy produced can be used to charge storage batteries or be converted to standard household electricity. Remote locations and stand-by power systems would typically use batteries to store power produced by solar panels. Battery storage systems can also be tied into the utility system to provide back-up power. Photovoltaic panels can be directly connected to the public utilities through the use of synchronous inverters. This type of inverter converts the direct current produced by the solar panels into alternating current, providing usable power for all standard appliances. Direct utility intertie systems are the simplest and most efficient; however, they can not provide power when the utility is down.
Solar panels come in three basic types, single crystal, multi or polycrystalline, and amorphous thin film. Single and polycrystalline panels can provide the most output from the smallest area, and come with 20 to 25 year warranties. Thin film panels require more area than single crystal panels for the same amount of power production.
Solar panels are very reliable and durable. They have no moving parts and are essentially maintenance free. Periodic washing in some areas is recommended.

Solar panels can be roof mounted or pole mounted, and can be made to blend in quite aesthetically with their surroundings.
Mounting solar panels on trackers, which orient themselves to the sun’s location, can increase output from 20 to 40%. The output will depend on location and type of tracker. Passive Trackers track the sun using a refrigerant charged framework. There are no motor drives, thus fewer mechanical parts.Active Trackers use a motor drive that runs off of the solar panels. Trackers are available as either single axis or dual axis tracking devices.
For any utility intertie system the property owner must have permission from, and a contract with, his/her local utility. Rules and regulations vary dramatically. There is a federal law that requires all utilities to buy excess power generated from renewable energy. It does not dictate the price or terms of sale. Often utilities will pay "avoided cost" which is either their cost to produce power or the price they pay their supplier for electricity. In Wisconsin it is required by law that public utilities pay owners of renewable energy systems up to 20 kW in size, the same price the owners pay the utility for conventionally generated power. Utility kilowatt hour meters are usually allowed to run both forward and backward resulting in net billing. This is the ideal situation. Property owners need to contact their local utilities for more information on their specific requirements.

Email us at info@windandsun.comfor a budget price sheet.



See Galleries for a few example systems.