Solar Photovoltaic

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Achieve Renewable Energy, LLC (Achieve) is a full-service dealer-installer of solar photovoltaic systems. Achieve provides the highest quality photovoltaic (PV) systems, including many quality products manufactured in the United States.

We provide the following services for our Solar PV clients:

  • Solar PV system planning and design.
  • System installation and monitoring.
  • System maintenance.
  • Administrative support and application for federal, state and utility incentives.
PV works by converting sunlight into a clean form of electricity that can be used to power our homes, businesses and schools. As the protons of the sunlight hit the PV cell, the electrons on the silicon become active. Small wires on the silicon catch these electrons and when connected to a circuit, an electric current in the form of DC power (like you would get from a battery) is generated. A device called an Inverter converts this DC power to AC power (like you use in your home or workplace) to provide electricity to the home or business or supplied back to the grid for use.
There are three major components of a solar system. They are:

  • PV Modules (Solar Panels) – Panels comprised of a semi-conducting material (generally crystalline silica) that convert light into direct current (DC) electrical power
  • Inverter – Device that coverts DC power from solar array to alternating current (AC) power for use in the building. The inverter also performs safety functions matching the voltage, phase and frequency of the electricity to what is on the Grid.
  • Racking – The structural components used to mount and secure arrays of PV modules to the roof or ground
There are three ways to design your solar system with respect to the electric Grid:

Grid Interactive (Grid-Tied) – Account for the vast majority of systems being installed. These systems are the most economical and most ‘green’. Power generated by the system is utilized by the residence. When the power supplied by the system exceeds the consumption of the residence, the excess power is transferred into the grid. The surplus of power is supplied to the electric grid through the residential meter which runs backward creating a credit. The customer pays the net result of periods when the electric meter turns forward and backward. This is known as ‘Net Metering’. These systems do not provide power during a grid power outage. Grid-tied systems are required to have a disconnect circuit so that power is not sent to the grid during outages. The disconnect is a safety device used to avoid sending stray electric power to lines that may be down or under repair.

Off-Grid – These systems are typically used where grid power is not available. Power from the solar array is stored in batteries for use by the residence. Larger system sizes are required to supply the full electrical consumption of the residence and the cost and maintenance are often prohibitive when grid power is available.

Grid-tied with Battery Backup – These systems allow for net metering and for storage of surplus power in batteries. A battery backup system is more complex and is more expensive than a non-battery grid-tied system, but provides the benefit of a power supply during period of grid power outage.

The more properly placed solar panels you install, the more power you generate. Sizing of a PV system is based on three factors:

  • Usable Roof Space (or ground space)
  • Target Wattage Production of System
  • Price of System For a vast majority of residential PV installation scenarios in the northeast, roof space is the limiting factor for the sizing of a PV system.

What is ‘usable’ roof space for PV?

  • SHADE FREE – Shade is a primary factor adversely effecting PV system performance
  • South, southeast or southwest exposure
  • Structural soundness
  • Good roof condition
  • Available mounting options

The primary factors affecting system performance are:

  • Amount of usable sunlight
  • The type and number of solar panels installed
  • Inverter sizing (properly matching the inverter to the system)
  • Line loss (inherent in all electrical systems)
  • Temperature (colder temperatures result in more efficient PV module operation) Typical residential PV system sizes for installations in the northeast range from 2,000 Watts to 8,000 Watts (2 kW to 8kW). Commercial installations can exceed 1,000 kW.