Easy Explanations for Solar Energy Terms You Need to Know

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

You likely already know that a solar energy system captures sunlight and turns it into electricity. But if you’re thinking about switching your home or business over to photovoltaic power, you’ll need a bit more information.

Some industry jargon takes just a quick Google search to decipher. Other solar energy terms, however, aren’t quite as easy to understand. Below are clear and simple explanations for a few commonly used key phrases that fall into the latter group.

Price Per Watt (PPW)

To compare price quotes among photovoltaic contractors, you’ll use the price per watt. This amount is basically the gross price of the solar energy installation – or the total cost before any federal, state or local financial incentives are applied -- divided by the number of watts of power the system will produce.

For example, consider a 5 kW photovoltaic array with a gross price of $18,000. To calculate the price per watt, first convert the kilowatts to watts. One kilowatt is equal to 1000 watts, so the array produces 5000 watts of power. Take the total cost, divide by 5000, and you see that the price per watt for the system is $3.60.

Net Energy Metering (NEM)

Also known as net metering, NEM is an arrangement between you and the utility company that provides you with compensation for excess solar energy your system sends to the grid.

Utah law requires Rocky Mountain Power and most electric co-ops to offer net energy metering, and some municipal utilities have voluntarily created NEM policies as well. As a result, homeowners and businesses who install photovoltaic power systems are able to see significant savings on their energy bills.

Solar Interconnection

One of the final steps for most photovoltaic power installations is to connect the system to the utility grid. This part of the process – which is essential to take advantage of net energy metering -- is referred to as solar interconnection.

Getting connected to the grid involves filling out an application and scheduling an inspection with a representative from the utility company. Many professional contractors – including PRVL Energy – take on these tasks to make adopting solar energy easier for homeowners and businesses.

When it comes to photovoltaic industry terminology, this guide is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like more information about solar energy and how it can work for you, talk to the professional contractors at PRVL Energy.

As SunPower Elite Dealer – one of the few in Utah -- PRVL Energy has advanced training in photovoltaic power installation. Our friendly team can answer all of your questions and point you toward a solution that meets your home or business needs. To schedule a complimentary solar energy consultation, contact us today.

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