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How it Works

A residential solar energy system is a great way to power your home with clean, renewable, cost-stable electricity.

Solar Panels: Powering your home with the sun starts here! Typically mounted onto your roof, solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (or PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Solar panels can also be integrated into other structures such as carports, ramadas, fixed ground mounts, and trackers.

Inverter: Solar panels create DC electricity, which the inverter then converts to AC electricity, which is used in homes.

Solar Meter: The solar meter measures how much electricity your PV system produces.

AC Disconnect: This enables electricians to disconnect the building’s electrical system from the solar electricity system. By switching the AC disconnect off, workers can safely perform system maintenance.

Electric Panel: AC electricity from your inverter is passed onto the electric service panel where it is routed to power your home’s various electric loads.

NET Meter: Through a process called NET Metering, when your solar system produces more power than you use, a NET meter (provided by the utility company) records the amount of electricity being sent back to the grid (for which you receive credit) and how much electricity you are receiving from the utility. As you use more electricity, you will first use up any credits that you have before paying for additional electricity. Learn more.

Utility Grid: Grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems interface seamlessly with the utility grid, which allows the utility to serve as the back-up power for your building, rather than storing excess electricity in batteries. During the day, your PV system will first power any electric loads in your building, before sending any excess generation back to the utility grid. At night you’ll draw from the utility grid, essentially using the electrical grid as a giant storage battery.

Example Utility Bill

Wondering what a utility bill looks like, after a PV system has been installed? For an example of a TEP bill from a customer who has installed a PV system, click the following link: solar TEP Bill.

PERFORMANCE

Performance monitoring allows both you and TFS to monitor your solar electric (PV) system remotely via the Internet. TFS regularly assesses your system’s electricity production to be certain that your system is continuously operating at peak performance.

With performance monitoring, you can see exactly how much electricity your system is producing, and track your environmental benefits and financial savings since the solar system installation. In real time, monitoring records, stores, and presents your system’s daily, monthly, and annual performance using easy-to-understand diagrams and graphs.

Offered with SunPower Data Monitoring, Consumption Monitoring clearly shows your household’s electrical consumption, side by side with your system’s electricity production.  This can be used as a tool to monitor and potentially reduce your electrical usage.

SunPower monitoring

The yellow bars represent the electrical production of the solar panels, while the blue bars represent household consumption.

How does Performance Monitoring Benefit You?

Assure Optimal Performance - Monitoring your system enables us to quickly assess if your system is down or under-performing due to solar panel shading, excessive accumulation of dust, or a possible component glitch.

Monitor Solar Savings – Easily understand the financial benefits of your solar electric system by tracking how much you have saved over the lifetime of your system. Leverage your savings by assessing your household’s energy use and optimizing net metering.

Quantify Environmental Impact – Using clear dynamic graphs and charts, performance makes it easy for you, your family, and friends to understand the environmental benefits of your system.

Measure History & Trends – Easily view long-term trends in energy production and usage patterns under various times of day and year. You can even compare daily, monthly, or annual information.

VIEW SYSTEMS LIVE

Click the links below to see the some solar systems in action.

Brooklyn Pizza Company
Pima Community College – East
Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
Canyon Ranch
The Body Sculpting Center

Getting StartedWhy Go Solar?How It WorksWhat Size System?