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Solar Energy

Featured Commercial & Municipal Projects Built by AES

Frequently Asked Questions

How Solar Electric Systems Work

(from the Go Solar California Website)

We can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits your roof's solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current ("DC") electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that "DC" power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or "AC" power. AC power is the kind of electrical that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.

net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter. At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your building needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the "net" consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess during a given period. You can carry your bill credit forward for up to a year.

Solar Energy System Monitoring

Solar Energy Systems may be monitored by internet-based monitoring systems. Solar monitoring systems log historical data and display various charts and graphs according to what information the system owner would like to see. This information may be displayed on any internet-enabled device, such as a computer, smart phone, touch-screen kiosk, or tablet. The system owner can set up parameters to trigger alarms via email to notify the owner in case of unexpected system performance. Here are some examples of monitoring systems, click and scroll around inside each display to see the energy production in a variety of views!

SMA "Sunny Portal"
AES Test Facility
Enphase Energy "Enlighten"
Eugene Residential PV System Example


DECK Monitoring
The AES Test Facility