Solar System Overview
#1 PV Array
These are your solar panels, typically mounted to a rooftop. They consist of multiple, interconnected cells from which wires collect the solar-generated electrons and convert them to electric current. Individual solar panels are connected together, forming the “strings” that comprise a photovoltaic (PV) array.
#2 Solar Inverters
Once generated, the solar DC electricity first needs to be converted to AC (alternating current) and adjusted to 120V before it can be used in US households. This is the role of your solar inverters, which adjust your solar energy into a voltage and current compatible with your house and utility grid. We use locally-produced “micro-inverters”, which are much safer and more efficient than the older, “string” type inverters.
#3 Production Meter
From the inverter, AC electricity travels through additional wiring and conduit to a production meter before it is fed to your home. This meter measures all the power your system produces before it is used in your home or fed back into the grid. Oregon State’s Production Incentive is paid based on the data collected by this meter.
#4 Main Service Panel
From your production meter, the AC electricity then travels to the main service panel, which connects your solar energy with your home. The electricity flows first to any loads running in the house, such as appliances, lights, and WiFi routers. When your energy production exceeds consumption, it then travels on to your solar net meter which sends this excess electricity back to the grid.
#5 Solar Net Meter
Your solar net meter records the net input and output of energy with your home. At times when your solar panels produce more energy than you are using, this excess is sent back out to your local power grid, thereby spinning your meter backwards. When your panels don’t meet your energy needs, then your meter will spin forward as you pull in additional energy from the grid. OR’s net metering program allows you to build credits towards energy you’ll use when your panels don’t meet your needs in darker winter months.
#6 System Monitoring
National Solar also offers an online production monitoring service for your solar system. This service collects and displays data in real time from your solar system, showing you how well your system performs and allowing users to track their overall household energy usage. With our system monitoring software, you can easily check your system performance status and history anywhere you have an Internet connection. This service can be a great tool for motivating your office or household to conserve energy and increase mindfulness of daily energy consumption habits.
Lower Your Electricity Bills
Solar allows you to control your energy costs. Electricity rates are continually increasing, but with solar you can insulate yourself from rising prices. Depending on the system size you choose and your local utility’s incentives, you can significantly reduce your energy costs.
Take Advantage Of Incentives
It’s never been more affordable to go solar! Oregon has some of the most progressive and beneficial solar reward systems in the country and its many incentives and cost-reducing programs make solar an increasingly affordable and viable option for everyone. But these programs won’t last forever- Federal and State programs are currently slated to extend for only 2-4 more years at their current rates.
Solar doesn’t just make financial sense- it makes a significant impact on the environment. A solar system produces 100% clean energy, meaning less air pollution, less fossil fuel consumption, and another milestone towards a future of renewable energy. And unlike other renewable sources such as hydroelectric, solar panels have almost zero disruptive impact on the environment and the ubiquity of sunlight means that it’s a solution that can work effectively almost anywhere on the globe. Fossil fuels still comprise about 25% of energy used in OR state, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of pounds of greenhouse gases and acid rain produced annually in the US. These man-made toxins are a detriment to human health and create long-term consequences for the environment.
Simply put, switching to solar is an investment in a cleaner, healthier future for you, your community, and the world at large. If you want to make a statement about the importance of sustainable energy practices and responsible stewardship of our natural resources, there is no better way than going solar.
26% Federal Tax Credit
The Federal Investment Tax Credit offered by the Federal government is a tax credit towards solar electric systems, meaning solar purchasers are entitled to claim a 26% tax credit from the total cost of their solar system on their next tax filing.
Oregon offers net-metering for customer-owned renewable energy generation. This means that all solar electricity produced that is not used at time of generation will be fed back to the utility grid, so that your excess power can be used by others. Solar owners don’t have to pay for the power they use and the excess power builds up credits that can be used toward darker winter months. Credits and programs vary based on your local utility.
5-Year Accelerated Depreciation for Home Based Businesses
Some home-based businesses can qualify for a full 5-year MACRS accelerated depreciation tax deduction on the entire cost of their solar electric.
Increased Appraised Value of Your Property
Solar can be a smart investment for your property. If you install a home solar power system in Oregon the added value to your home from the installation of solar power system will not be included in the assessment of the property’s value for property tax purposes. A 2011 study by the US Department of Energy found that the value of homes with PV solar systems is about $4 higher per watt of PV installed, meaning the average PV system can add almost $15,000 to your property’s value.