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How Electric Power is Measured in Watts

Talking to many solar power consumers everyday, I’ve noticed one of the common issues people have a difficult time understanding how watts are measured. This post is dedicated to help you understand how watts are measured as kilowatt hours (kWh). We buy electricity in kWh from our utility company, which typically displayed on our monthly electric bill. To understand how much energy a solar power system will produce, you need to understand the following metrics. Kilowatt (kW) = 1,000 Watts Megawatt (MW) = 1,000,000 Watts So what is a kWh? Lets say you have a 100 watt light bulb and you run it for one hour, at that point you have consumed 100 watt hours and if you run that light bulb for 10 hours you would have used 1 kWh. 1,000 watt hours = Kilowatt Hour (kWh) 1,000,000 watt hours = Megawatt Hour (MWh) For example, If you purchased a Sanyo 1.0 kW solar power system and lived in Los Angeles which has average sun hours of 5.5 per day, the system would produce 5.5 kWh per day depending on the pitch, orientation, possible shading issues and other...

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Do you think your electric rate is too high?

I was looking at this interesting chart of the average utility electric rates here in the USA published by the Department of Energy. It’s really interesting to see what people are paying on average per kWh (kilowatt hour), especially if you are considering solar power to offset or eliminate your electric usage. Solar Power without rebates and tax credits typically produces electricity for a solar power system owner at about 15 cents per kWh, therefore states with rates in the range of 10.26 to 24.13 cents per kWh will see a quicker financial payback period with solar panels since the cost of electricity is higher. Take a look at Hawaii, they have the highest electric rate in the USA! Does your electric bill match with the average for your state? Why do you think the electric rate in your state is what it is? Do you think solar panels will make a good investment in your neck of the woods, why or why...

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Two most important factors that determine your clean energy system payback

Every consumers that call in to inquire about a solar panel or wind power system ask, “when will the system break even?” Obviously this is a very important question in the decision making process for a clean energy system, but often the consumers are not prepared to calculate their return on investment because most consumers don’t understand their costs. Your electric bill is the first place to start, most people just pay their electric bill every month without really understanding their rate or how they are being charged, since customers previously did not have a choice in producing their own energy, most people just pay the dollar amount on the bill without thinking about it. When you decide to install a grid tied solar panel or wind power system a more in-depth analysis needs to be conducted to figure out the break even point of a proposed system. The two most important factors to determine the return on investment are the following: how many kilowatt hours (kWh) are you using per month? what is your daily usage? what is your electric company charging you per kilowatt hour (kWh)? Every customer is different in terms of how much they use and the electric rate they are paying the utility company. So the moral of this story, before you even dream about what type of solar panels your going to buy or think how awesome it would be to have a wind turbine on your farm, get real and start by understanding your electric bill before you make the call to inquire about a clean energy...

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Kilowatt hour (kWh), huh? It’s on your electric bill.

When purchasing a grid connected solar or wind power systems its important to start by looking at your electric bill to see how many kilowatt hours you consume each month. After you figure out how many kilowatt hours you are using per month, figure out how many kilowatt hours a solar panel or wind power system produce to determine out how much energy you can offset. Many people who are considering a clean energy system, never even consider looking at their electric bill to analyze their usage. It all starts from how much you are using and what rate your paying per kwh to estimate if solar or wind power is right for you. Below I have included a sample electric bill to help you locate how many kilowatt hours you use. Feel free to post your usage here, we can brainstorm ways we can reduce your kilowatt hour usage even without a clean energy...

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The first thing you should do before you think about going solar

Thinking about going solar? Start off by looking and trying to understand your electric bill. Yes, we know no one understands how to read a bill, we don’t blame you its so complicated! Most people just pay the bill at the end of the month without really looking at the bill. When going solar its important to do an analysis of your usage. You should look for the following when looking at your bill: What are you paying per kWh (kilowatt hour)? Is there a time of use charge? Are you paying a higher rate during peak hour times? Winter usage compared to summer usage…..does your electric bill spike up in the summer? What service period does the bill cover? How many total kWh are you using during your service period? What rate tier are you in? To conduct a proper analysis its best to have the last 12 months of your bills hand to come up with the most accurate number of your usage. Starting with your bills is a good place to start in figuring how much solar you need to reduce or eliminate your bill. Sometimes it much more cost effective to just use solar to reduce your peak hour usage to drop you into a lower paying tier….so use your bill as a roadmap for your solar power...

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