Generate Your Own Power

When considering installing a renewable energy system at your home or business, there are different options available to meet your energy needs. Determining which option will be best for you depends on a variety of considerations such as costs, feasibility and your ultimate goal for pursuing renewable energy. To learn more about each of the options and how they work, please click below:

Photovoltaic (PV) refers to the process of turning sunlight into electricity. Individual PV cells are connected to panels. Solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity where an inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) for electricity in the home.

The utility meter records the net amount of energy you use when you are enrolled in PG&E's net energy metering program. When you're generating more electricity with your PV system than you're using, your meter will "spin backwards" and the excess electricity is sent to the electric grid. This provides you with a surplus to help offset the cost of your electricity usage at night or on cloudy days when your system is not producing.

Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home or business. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free.

Although there are different types of solar water heating systems, most have four components: solar collectors, circulating pumps, controls and a storage tank. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. Depending upon your needs, your solar water heating contractor can help determine which type of system is right for you.

These will include four basic components:

Solar Collector
The sun heats a fluid on the roof

Sensors, Controller
The controller turns on the pumps when it detects the solar-heated fluid

Pump (Active Systems)
The solar-heated fluid is pumped into a storage tank

Solar Storage Tank
The conventional water heater draws the hot water out of the solar storage tank when there is a demand for hot water. If needed, the conventional water heater may boost the temperature of the solar heated water before sending it through the home.

Wind turbines use the motion of the wind to turn a shaft attached to a generator, which makes electricity. The size of the turbine and the speed of the wind determine how much electricity it will make.

Small wind systems can be the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy system, if sufficient land and wind are available. They can potentially decrease energy costs and provide a supplemental power supply.

While residential customers are not excluded from wind generation, the system size for this technology generally limits most applications to non-residential energy consumers.

Based on the conversion of sewer gas, landfill gas, or other renewable sources of hydrogen or hydrogen-rich gases into electricity by a direct chemical process.

A fuel cell is a device that uses natural gas to combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy (electricity and heat) by chemical reaction.
For more information on this technology and to determine if it is right for your customer, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy's website.


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