b solar power faqs

FAQs


What types of renewable generation are supported by AMP?

AMP's Solar and Renewables program supports all small-scale renewable electricity generation systems. While solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most common in Alameda, wind turbines and other renewable generation are eligible for the same programs as solar. These pages are focused on providing support seeking to install solar systems. Please call AMP if you are interested in installing another type of renewable electricity generation system and need more information.

What are the benefits of installing a solar PV generating system?

You can generate some of your own electricity with energy that is from clean, renewable sources. This is good for the environment, and can save you money on your electric bill!

Is my property a good fit for solar?

In order to have an effective solar generation system, your roof must receive enough sunlight. Your property should have  clear, unobstructed access to the sun for most of the day and throughout the year. Because shading will reduce the amount of electricity your system will produce, PV panels should be installed in a location that is not shaded by trees, chimneys or nearby structures. In California the sun is in the southern half of the sky. The best orientation for a PV system therefore is on a south- or southwest-facing roof. Flat roofs can also work because the PV array can be mounted on frames tilting south or southwest. APV array can also be mounted on the ground.

Will my solar system generate all the power I need?

Renewable generation is variable because of the resources it relies on. In California, a PV system will produce the most electricity in spring through fall when sunlight hours are the longest and the sun is positioned higher in the sky. It will produce less in the winter months or when the sun is obstructed by poor weather. It will stop generating all together at night. Because of this, you need backup generation to provide power when your system is under-generating, or to absorb power when your system is over-generating. If sized correctly, your system can generate all the energy your property needs over the course of a year.

How big should my system be?

In order to get the maximum benefit for your installation, your system should be sized to generate approximately the same amount of energy that your property uses in a year. Compensation for excess energy you generate that you do not use in a year will not justify the cost of installing a larger system that generates more energy than you need.

How much space will my system need?

The amount of space needed is based on the size, or generating capacity, of the solar energy system. Residential solar energy systems can vary in size from 50 square feet to 1,000 square feet. A rule of thumb is that a square foot of PV module area produces 10 watts (W) of power in bright sunlight. For example, a 2,000 W system would require about 200 square feet of roof area.

How much will it cost?

The cost varies depending on many factors, including the solar energy system’s size, equipment options and labor costs. Typically, the installed costs are determined based on the size of the system’s output. The “cost per watt” ($/W) is often used for comparing systems of different sizes.

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