Learning from Photovoltaics

Solar panels

Sunlight hits our solar panels at a different angle in the fall and winter.

To:  Robert Dix, Brad Duggan, and Lisa Henderson  (all helped us with photovolotaic)

What we’ve learned from our PV System

 This week our photovoltaic system has given us a great learning opportunity.   We’ve now had several crystal clear days and the envision monitoring system clearly shows the electric production hour per hour.   It’s fascinating to me to learn that our peak power comes at 12:30 p.m. and when I go out and look at where the sun is this is when it is precisely pointing at the PV system.
The PV system and the monitor have encouraged me to observe how the sun moves throughout the day and over the seasons.   This education is a strong positive side benefit of PV.

Photovoltaics Power Winding Pathways

Workers begin on the roof installing the framework. They watch the weather for at least two consecutive days of low wind and no storms to complete this part of the job.

An excellent company to work with.

Just before the summer solstice Winding Pathway’s new photovoltaic system began producing electricity.

A few months ago Paulson Electric Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, did an analysis of our home and provided us with an airtight proposal. Thanks to tax credits from both the US and Iowa governments we could install a system that will produce about half our electricity without combustion, moving parts, or noise. We’ll receive at least a seven percent return on our invested money, better than we can do at any bank or the stock market.

Our system is net metered.  Sun hitting the solar panels produces DC electricity that inverters convert to AC. It flows through our electric meter. When we are producing more electricity than we’re using, typically on sunny summer days, our meter runs backward. When we’re using more than it’s producing – at night and during winter’s short days – the meter runs forward.  Each month we pay Alliant Energy, our utility, the net.

We love solar electricity. It takes some natural resources to construct and move the system but once in place it will last at least 25 years and continue producing electricity without burning fossil fuel or causing air pollution. And it saves us money.

Iowa is a national renewable energy leader with over 31% of  the state’s electricity being produced by wind or solar. Within four years it will be around 40%.  Our state isn’t alone. Solar and wind power are growing everywhere.  They are a way for people to enjoy the benefits of electricity without worsening climate change.

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