System SizeSolar power systems are measured in kilowatts (kW). Your electric usage is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWH). In New York and surrounding areas, 1 kilowatt of solar array produces approximately 95 kilowatt-hours per month. To determine the size system that you will need, Alternative Power Solutions will need to look at your electric usage. Current kilowatt-hour usage can be found on your utility bill, along with a summary of your last 12 months usage. An advantage of utility-interactive (net metered) systems is the option of selecting a system that provides only a portion of your energy from the sun if project size is limited by roof space or budget.
Placement of Solar panels (and shade)
Each 1 kilowatt of solar panels needs 60-100 square feet of space, depending on brand of solar module. Solar panels are usually roof mounted, and this is the most economical. They may also be standalone on the ground, or mounted to other yard structures such as gazebos or barns. For your system to perform at its maximum potential, avoiding shade is very important, mostly between 10-4, and less important in the (less productive) winter months. Optimally, your solar panels should have unobstructed southern exposure. Orientation to the east or west is possible, but will reduce performance (our computer analysis can give you a good prediction of this, as well as the effects of any shading). Even a slight amount of shade from trees, buildings, pipes, chimneys or obstructions can have an impact on production.