We have seen an explosion in questions that refer to grid tied systems.
Specifically how do you select a system that is right for you.
I have been so busy completing calculations for others that I have not
had time to do the same for my house. So let me use my house as an example.
Let me first correct one misunderstanding that happens often. I have
a 1800 square foot home. The size of the home has nothing to do with how much solar you need. It's all about power.
If you are serious about using solar you need to walk around your house
and look at ways to conserve.
From the first day I moved in I have keep this in mind. This doesn't mean
that you have to live like a
hermit in the dark. If you drove by my house on any given night you would
think I had a party going on.
If I am awake almost every light is on with something going on in each
Look at your lights. I use all compact fluorescent lights (CP light),
which are still bright but save
substantial power. For example, a CP light that equals a 75 watt bulb
uses only 20 watts. I saved 55
watts of power, per bulb.
Look at your appliances. Every appliance I have bought from the refrigerator,
to the washer, to the oil
burner (heat) are all Energy Star rated products. This simply means that
they are design to conserve power
and natural resources. The government sets a standard and all Energy Star
products have to
exceed this standard to carry the Energy Star label.
Once you have conserved. Dig out your utility bill. You want to find out
the average amount of power
you use each month. I average 575 kWh per month. kWh stands for kilo-watt-hours.
Go to this page
You will find a US map showing sun patterns. Simply compare the color
of the region you live in
to the colors of the charts below. This is how much a solar system will
produce on average.
Compare this information to your power generation goal, your roof size
and your budget.
I live in Baltimore, MD. Based on my garage roof size and my budget. A
CP24120 best fits my needs.
According to the chart this system will produce 296.5kWh per month on
average. This is 51% of my
Step #4 Optional
If you are wondering how much power it would take to power 100% of your
home, you can build a larger
systems by using the small systems as building blocks.
(1) CP36120 444.8 kWh
(1) CP 12120 148.3 kWh
Total = 593.1 kWh
This is just over my usage of 575 kWh. This means at the end of the year.
I would pay nothing for my