Tag Archives: solar energy information resources

If you want to go solar, check out your utility company’s online resources

The following solar energy resources are available on the websites of LES, OPPD, and NPPD.

To find solar energy information on LES’s website:
1.  Log onto www.les.com
2.  On the menu bar at the top of the Home page, click “Savings & energy” and scroll down to “Solar & Net Metering.” Here you will find information on Community solar: LES SunShares and Net Metering. Under Net Metering, the following resources are available:
* Customer-owned Renewable Generation, a two-page PDF that includes an overview of the program and incentives, how you will be compensated, what information LES needs to begin the application process, checklist, definitions of terms, links to the required forms, contact information, and where to send your application form and proposed project specifications:
* Policy & Guidelines for Customer-owned Generation (60-page PDF)
LES’s Website Search Service
A website search using the words, “solar energy” results in links to approximately 131 additional resources on a variety of energy topics. Entering the words, “installing solar energy” provides, among others, a link to LES’s Resource Library .

To find solar energy information on OPPD’s website:
1. Log onto www.oppd.com
2. On the menu bar at the top, hold your mouse over Residential. Scroll down and click on Residential Rates.
3. From the menu on the left-hand side, select Customer Generation.
On this page you will find links to:
How to Read Your Bill
OPPD’s Distributed Generation (DG) Manual, Revised 2002
Application For Distributed Generation (DG) Interconnection
(10kW or smaller). For larger solar arrays, contact OPPD.
OPPD’s Search Service
A website search for “solar” provides several links, including one to Customer Generation. Searches using the terms, “solar energy” and “installing solar energy” results in links to numerous resources, primarily energy-related.

To find solar energy information on NPPD’s website:
1. Log onto www.nppd.com
2. Scroll to the bottom of the Home page and click on “Site map.” Next, click on “Renewable Energy.” This link takes you to information on: C-Bed Statement, Generation Connection Application, Net Metering, Small Scale Renewable Resources, Landowner Resources, and Small Wind Electric Systems.
NPPD’s Search Service
Website searches using the words, “solar energy” or “installing solar energy,” result in links to documents on a diversity of topics.

Glossary of Terms – U.S. Department of Energy & Other Sources

alternating current (AC) – A type of electrical current, the direction of which is reversed at regular intervals or cycles. In the United States, the standard is 120 reversals or 60 cycles per second. Electricity transmission networks use AC because voltage can be controlled with relative ease. See direct current (DC)

azimuth – The angle between true south and the point on the horizon directly below the sun.

base load – The average amount of electric power that a utility must supply in any period.

building-integrated photovoltaics — A term for the design and integration of photovoltaic (PV) technology into the building envelope, typically replacing conventional building materials. This integration may be in vertical facades, replacing view glass, spandrel glass, or other facade material; into semitransparent skylight systems; into roofing systems, replacing traditional roofing materials; into shading “eyebrows” over windows; or other building envelope systems.

capacity factor – The ratio of the average load on (or power output of) an electricity generating unit or system to the capacity rating of the unit or system over a specified period of time.

capacity payments – Solar installation incentives offered by Lincoln Electric System (LES). LES will make a one-time capacity payment to the owner of the renewable generation based on the contribution of peak reduction by the renewable resource. Incentive amounts: Southern-facing fixed solar: $375/kW-DC of nameplate capacity. Western-facing fixed solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity. Single or dual tracking solar: $475/kW-DC of nameplate capacity. Source: “Customer-owned Renewable Generation” (PDF)

direct current (DC) A type of electricity transmission and distribution by which electricity flows in one direction through the conductor, usually relatively low voltage and high current. To be used for typical 120 volt or 220 volt household appliances, DC must be converted to alternating current, its opposite. See alternating current (AC).

distributed generation A popular term for localized or on-site power generation.

distributed systems — Systems that are installed at or near the location where the electricity is used, as opposed to central systems that supply electricity to grids. A residential photovoltaic system is a distributed system.

electrical grid An integrated system of electricity distribution, usually covering a large area.

gigawatt (GW) — A unit of power equal to 1 billion Watts; 1 million kilowatts, or 1,000 megawatts.

grid-interactive — An energy producing system in which the output is synchronized with and connected into utility/grid power distribution, such that the connected system’s energy seamlessly and naturally supports local loads first, with excess generation supporting the closest grid loads next. A net-metered system is grid-interactive, but grid-interactive systems aren’t always net metered (if excess generation within a defined period is not credited at customers retail rate).

hybrid system — A solar electric or photovoltaic system that includes other sources of electricity generation, such as wind or diesel generators-

inverter – A device that converts direct current electricity to alternating current either for stand-alone systems or to supply power to an electricity grid.

kilowatt – A standard unit of electrical power equal to 1000 watts.

kilowatt-hour (kWh) – A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of !,000 watts for 1 hour. (The average household uses 1000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. Check your monthly electric bill to find out how much your household uses).

levelized cost of energy (LCOE) — The cost of energy of a solar system that is based on the system’s installed price, its total lifetime cost, and its lifetime electricity production.

life-cycle cost — The estimated cost of owning and operating a photovoltaic system for the period of its useful life.

load — The demand on an energy producing system; the energy consumption or requirement of a piece or group of equipment. Usually expressed in terms of amperes or watts in reference to electricity.

megawatt (MW) — 1,000 kilowatt, or 1 million watts; standard measure of electric power plant generating capacity.

net metering – Net metering is a billing arrangement where residential and business customers who produce their own energy from renewable sources can get a credit on their electric bills for extra energy that flows back into our distribution system. . . Energy produced in excess of your need (or net kilowatt-hours) is credited to your bill at a renewable rate similar to our residential retail energy rate. Lincoln Electric System will net meter generators up to 25 kilowatts.- Source: Lincoln Electric System (LES) www.les.com

one-axis tracking — A system capable of rotating about one axis.

orientation — Placement with respect to the cardinal directions, N, S, E, W; azimuth is the measure of orientation from north.

peak demand/load — The maximum energy demand or load in a specified time period.

photovoltaic (PV) panel — often used interchangeably with PV module.

photovoltaic (PV) system — A complete set of components for converting sunlight into electricity by the photovoltaic process, including the array and balance of system components.

plug-and-play PV system — A commercial, off-the-shelf photovoltaic system that is fully inclusive with little need for individual customization. The system can be installed without special training and using few tools. The homeowner plugs the system into a PV-ready circuit and an automatic PV discovery process initiates communication between the system and the utility. The system and grid are automatically configured for optimal operation.

smart grid — An intelligent electric power system that regulates the two-way flow of electricity and information between power plants and consumers to control grid activity.

soft costs — Non-hardware costs related to PV systems, such as financing, permitting, installation, interconnection, and inspection.

solar energy — Electromagnetic energy transmitted from the sun (solar radiation). The amount that reaches the earth is equal to one billionth of total solar energy generated, or the equivalent of about 420 trillion kilowatt-hours.

solar panelSee photovoltaic (PV) panel.

stand-alone system — An autonomous or hybrid photovoltaic system not connected to a grid. May or may not have storage, but most stand-alone systems require batteries or some other form of storage.

subsystem — Any one of several components in a photovoltaic system (i.e., array, controller, batteries, inverter, load).

thin-film photovoltaic module — A photovoltaic module constructed with sequential layers of thin film semiconductor materials.

tracking array — A photovoltaic (PV) array that follows the path of the sun to maximize the solar radiation incident on the PV surface. The two most common orientations are (1) one axis where the array tracks the sun east to west and (2) two-axis tracking where the array points directly at the sun at all times. Tracking arrays use both the direct and diffuse sunlight. Two-axis tracking arrays capture the maximum possible daily energy.

two-axis tracking — A photovoltaic tracking system capable of rotating independently about two axes (e.g., vertical and horizontal).