Commercial – Appendix – What does all this mean?
What is a Watt?
The power capacity of a PV panel is rated in watts.
A typical PV panel has a power capacity between 130 and 230 watts and has varying size options.
When many panels are linked together to form an array, the power capacity is often referred to in units of kilowatts (kW) or 1,000 watts.
In PA and NJ, 1 kW of optimally oriented PV will generate an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year.
For reference, a 1 kW system under good sunlight has enough instantaneous power to run ten 100-watt light bulbs, or forty 25-watt compact florescent (CFL) bulbs.

What Makes a PV System?

A PV system includes panels, racking, inverters, wiring, and conduit. Batteries and charge controllers are required only if back up power is needed.  Many people rely on the grid for this.
Typical panel efficiency for converting sunlight to usable power for your business is 13%–18%.
Panels are warranted for 20 to 25 years, inverters for 10 to 15 years.
Panels are designed to withstand hail, snow, and wind without incurring damage.
System racking is designed to meet the wind zone ratings of specific neighborhoods.

Grid-Tied Solar Electric System:

Grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) systems have no batteries.
Your system automatically shuts down when the grid goes down (electrical outage) so your system does not back-feed the grid and possibly electrocute a line worker.
PV systems can be sized to cover 100% of your annual electric needs.
Being “grid-tied” means that you are interconnected with the grid, so you will always have power, even at night or on overcast days.
Grid-tied systems allow you to spin your meter backwards. You will be credited at the retail rate for any power your system feeds onto the grid. At the end of the year, the utility will pay you for any excess kW hours at the wholesale rate.

A Typical 10 kW System:

Although designing a PV system is entirely custom, a 10 kW system, often seen on a business, will be a good frame of reference for small commercial systems.
Impact of a 10 kW Array:
Reduces CO2 emission by 28,950 Lbs. per year.
Will save you $1,750 on utilities in the first year and over $77,500 during the 25 year lifetime of the system (assuming we continue to see a 5% annual escalation in utility rates).
Takes up about 1,000 ft2  of roof space, depending on panel capacity.

Did You Know?
There are financial factors that can dramatically affect your commercial solar system’s return on investment.