A Bright Idea

The power of the sun is easy to understand even on the coldest of Connecticut days. On a bright and clear day find a place facing south, out of the wind, and soak up the warmth. Farmers and architects have harnessed the sun for millennia. Now more than ever, there is a greater incentive and urgency to effectively capture extraordinary amounts of energy delivered with each day's sunshine. By conservative estimates, enough energy arrives from the Sun in 24 hours to supply all humankind's needs for 12 years!

Today's most advanced Solar Photovoltaic systems can convert up to a third of the power of the sunlight they receive. More typical home solar systems can convert around 15% of the energy they receive into electricity. Here in Connecticut, where solar energy is affected by latitude, cloud cover, and air pollution, a 5-kilowatt, ideally-designed home solar system can be expected to generate approximately 6,560 kilowatt hours per year, or about three-quarters of the average Connecticut household consumption of 8,400 kilowatt hours per year.

At the Whole Foods Market Distribution Center in Cheshire, a large, 121-kilowatt PV system provides 137,500 kilowatt hours, or a 10% reduction in electricity purchased from the grid. Summertime solar production coincides with peak electrical demands for cooling while avoiding the release of 65 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Another notable Connecticut Solar installation: Barrett Outdoor Communications
23.1 kilowatt system, grid power reduced by 60%, 14 tons of CO2 avoided.

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