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Glossary

Solar Panels

Also known as Photovoltaic (PV) panels, solar panels take sunlight (photons) and, through the use of specially designed material (commonly, silicon), create electricity (voltage) that can be used or stored.

Inverters

Inverters are equipment that converts the type of electricity generated by the solar panels (direct current) into electricity that can be used in your home (alternating current).  Modern inverters also prevent electricity from flowing within the solar power system should the local grid go down. This is a required feature designed to protect workers repairing the power grid.

Meter

Ross Solar provides a special meter designed to measure the electricity you use, but it can also measure the power you produce and supply to the electricity grid.  This special, digital meter that tracks both inward and outward flows allows your local utility to provide you with the credit for the electricity you supplied to the power grid.

Power Outage Protection

State code requires additional protection from a physical disconnect, or power shut-off.  It is installed between the AC Breaker Panel in your home and the electricity grid.  This equipment is provided by Ross Solar as part of your system installation.

The Electricity Grid

The electricity grid is the system which delivers electricity from power generators to power users.  For the owner of a solar power system, the grid can, in effect, be an energy storage device, since you are sending excess power into it when your solar power system is producing electricity, and you can draw electricity from the grid when your solar power system is not producing.

Net Metering

Net metering is a program available in some states that provides credits to you for supplying excess electricity from your solar power system into the grid.

Renewable Energy Certificates

Also known as RECs, Renewable Energy Credits, Green Tags, green energy certificates or tradable renewable certificates are tradable commodities that prove one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source.  One megawatt-hour equals 1,000 kilowatt-hours, and the average residential customer consumes about 800 kilowatt-hours a month.*

Solar ITC

As a homeowner, you can apply for a credit when filing your income taxes under the Solar Investment Tax Credit.  This Federal tax credit is used when a solar system is purchased outright and installed in your home.  You may want to consult your tax advisor for more details on how it may apply to you.

Batteries/Energy Storage

A device to enable the storage of energy, in a chemical form, which can later be drawn on to supply power.

Lithium Ion battery

A battery technology that uses one of a number of possible compositions of lithium ion chemical to store energy.  Currently, this technology is the most popular for use in solar applications because lithium ion batteries are compact and offer the longest lifespan at a reasonable cost.

Monitoring Systems

Devices or applications provide details about a solar power system and energy storage system.  Data may include energy usage, a display of the amount of stored energy remaining stored, as well as details on the cost for electricity supply at different times of the day.

Watt and Kilowatt (kW)

A watt is a unit of power.  A kilowatt is 1000 watts.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh)

A measure of electrical energy equivalent to power consumption of 1,000 watts for one hour.

Capacity

The amount of energy a battery can store measured in kilowatt-hours.

Power Rating

This is a measure of how much electricity a battery can deliver at one time.

Depth of Discharge (DoD)

The DoD refers to the amount of battery capacity that has been used.

Battery Life

The number of charging and discharging cycles a battery is expected to have.

 

 

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