Sleek and clean, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, fit atop roofs or ground mounted posts. The sun’s energy creates an electrical charge in the silicon-based solar cells of the PV panel, creating electricity that powers homes, businesses, or whole communities. Net metering enables rooftop and community-scaled solar customers to “roll back” their utility bill and share any extra solar power with neighbors.
Vermonter's Guide to Residential Solar
How do I know if I have enough sunlight for solar?
Solar systems need unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for the majority of the day. Climate is not a substantial concern, as PV systems are relatively unaffected by severe weather. In fact, some PV modules actually work better in colder weather. Most PV modules are angled to catch the sun’s rays, so any snow that collects on them usually melts quickly.
How big a solar energy system do I need?
The size of the solar system you need depends on several factors. These include how much electricity, hot water or space heat you use, if you have or plan on an electric vehicle, and how much sunshine is available where you’re located. Contact a REV member solar system designer/installer to determine what type of system best suits your needs.
How much energy savings can I expect?
Federal and state tax incentives reduce the cost of your solar system. System costs depend on a number of factors, such as whether it is a stand-alone system or integrated into the building design, the size of the system, and the particular system manufacturer, retailer, and installer. Your monthly savings depend on how much you pay your utility for electricity. Ask a REV member solar provider how much your new system will produce on an annual basis and compare that number to your annual electricity demand. This will give you an idea of how much you will save.
What is the average time before my system pays for itself, and begins to save me money?
It depends. The break-even point for a system depends on financing, solar resources and what you would pay your electric utility considering inflation over time. A system designer who has information about your location, the amount of energy you typically use, how much land or roof area you have for the system, etc., can give you a more accurate answer. You can obtain a very good estimate by contacting a reputable REV member system designer or installer.
How does net metering work?
Net metering is a policy that enables you to receive the full retail value for the electricity that your solar system produces. The term net metering refers to the method of accounting for the photovoltaic (PV) system’s electricity production and gives you credits on your electric bill. As the PV system produces electricity, the kilowatts are first used for any electric appliances in the home. If the PV system produces more electricity than the homeowner needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid for use by neighbors.