Parts & Equipment
A green power systems is more than just solar panels as there are many other components that are required, to include:
Racking, Clamps, Footings
DC and AC Disconnect Boxes
PV Production Meter/Socket
Conduit and Wiring
Fuses, Breakers, Disconnects
Solar Panels (or modules) are made from silicon and convert energy from the sun into electricity. They are mounted on the roof of your house in an array. The number of panels will depend on the electricity generating capacity required.
An Inverter box is usually installed at ground level either in your garage or on the side of your house. The inverter converts the electricity generated by the solar panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) so that it can be used in the home.
Racking and Mounts are designed to be exposed to the elements for the expected lifetime of solar electric array. There are several ways of mounting panels on the ground or on your roof which take into account the sites material, the condition and pitch.
Nearly 90 percent of our electricity still comes from polluting sources of energy like coal. Coal-burning power plants are the nation’s largest source of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping pollutant that causes global warming. Coal-fired power plants are also responsible for pollution that increases asthma attacks and worsens environmental problems like acid rain, haze, smog, and other air and water pollution.
Harvesting the Benefits of Clean Energy
We have the technology and the know-how to move beyond our dependence on polluting power plants by using clean, safe, and affordable renewable energy. By harnessing renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geo-thermal, wave, biomass and others we can transform how we produce electricity. For instance, modern wind farms are leading the drive away from polluting sources of energy by capturing the massive wind power potential of the Midwest. Today’s solar panels efficiently transform sunlight into electricity while blending into the design of homes and office buildings. In addition, concentrating solar plants (CSP) are large enough to replace coal fired power plants.
In order to harness this potential we need a renewable energy standard. For example one that requires us to get 20 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 would create:
- 820,000 new jobs from renewable energy development
- $66.7 billion in new capital investment
- $25.6 billion in income to farmers, ranchers, and rural landowners
- $2 billion in new local tax revenues
- $10.5 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020 (growing to $31.8 billion by 2030)
- Reductions in global warming pollution equal to taking 36.4 million cars off the road
However, our clean energy future does not stop there. We can also rely on smarter use of the energy we currently produce through energy efficiency measures. By increasing energy efficiency through simple measures such as weatherizing homes to reduce electricity consumption, we can avoid the need for new polluting power plants. This is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to combat global warming by using available technologies that do the same amount of work but use less energy.
In sum, we can face the challenge posed by global warming by taking steps today towards unleashing a clean energy future.
Renewable energy installations in the United States nearly tripled between 2000 and 2008. All of this comes with little to no help or direction from the federal government. Imagine what we could do with the millions of dollars in subsidies that coal, oil, and gas companies receive each year? The time is now to reverse this skewed logic and demand a clean energy revolution.
Producing 20 percent of our nation’s electricity with renewable energy by 2020 is not only possible, it will create jobs, improve our economy, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. When combined with strong energy efficiency programs, we have the beginnings of a much needed clean energy revolution.
The United States, despite falling behind other nations in pursuing clean energy solutions, is beginning to create the proper incentives and structures for renewable energy investment. By reinvigorating our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency, we can develop the technologies of tomorrow and find solutions for today’s most pressing problems.
Curb Global Warming
Our nation’s fossil fuel power plants are the primary source of carbon dioxide, the principal global warming pollutant. Boosting our use of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency can eliminate the need for nearly a thousand new power plants over the next 20 years.
Improve Public Health
Pollution from existing power plants contributes to over 600,000 asthma attacks each year. Increasing energy efficiency and our use of renewable energy can take dangerous pollutants out of the air and let us all breathe a little easier.
Cut Energy Bills
Clean energy choices translate into good financial choices. Strong renewable energy policies can save us $10.5 billion in lower electricity and natural gas bills by 2020. In addition, more renewable energy means more insulation from price spikes resulting from uncertain supplies of dirty fuels. Similar to good investors diversifying their stock portfolio, using more renewable energy will diversify our electricity mix and make us less dependent on the performance of a small number of fuels.
Enhance Energy Security
Renewable energy is a reliable source of “home-grown” energy, allowing communities and homes to generate their own power. While current power plants and transmission lines place our energy infrastructure at risk of attack, decentralized renewable energy sources make it more difficult to disrupt large portions of the electrical grid.
Bring Jobs, Income, and Revenue to Rural America
Renewable energy development can be a powerful economic support for rural areas. Farmers and ranchers have received $2,000 per year in lease payments for each wind turbine operating on their land. Renewable energy projects also infuse local communities with increased tax revenues and generate local jobs.
Energy Efficiency is Easy and Saves you Money
The cleanest way to meet our electricity needs is by using less of it in the first place. By planning intelligently and using existing technology, we can cut our electricity consumption and slow down the meter. Improving energy efficiency lowers energy bills, eliminates the need for new power plants, increases our energy security, and keeps our environment clean.
We have already seen that energy efficiency works. We have the potential to reduce electricity consumption 25 percent by 2030 through energy efficiency measures alone. For instance, 30 percent of energy in buildings today is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. If we improved this by only 10 percent we could save $20 billion while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 30 million vehicles off the road.
In order to harness this potential we need a strong Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). For example an EERS that generates savings equivalent to 15% of electricity consumption and 10% of natural gas consumption by 2020 could:
- Save $26 billion in consumer costs
- Eliminate 300 million tons of carbon emissions
- Reduce the need for 443 new 300 MW power plants
- Power 40 million homes
In addition to government action, we the people can take personal responsibility to make sure our homes, businesses, and appliances are as efficient as possible. For example, if every household in the United States switched to Energy Star light fixtures, we could prevent 50 million tons of global warming pollution per year, which would be equivalent to taking another 10 million cars off the road.