DIY Solar Energy Glossary Posted on 17 Apr 07:30

As you research DIY solar energy systems, you may come across industry references that are unfamiliar to you. Some of this jargon can be a little confusing.

solar energy glossary

To make designing your own photovoltaic system easier, the experts at Solar GOODs have created a helpful solar energy glossary. This handy guide will help you learn more about the most common terms used in the world of do-it-yourself photovoltaic power.

• Azimuth

Azimuth refers to the angle your roof faces, as measured clockwise from true north. The optimal azimuth for a rooftop DIY solar energy system is 180 degrees, which is due south. If a roof isn’t angled toward the south, installing a west-facing or ground-mounted photovoltaic array can be just as efficient.

• Conversion Efficiency

Conversion efficiency is the ratio of solar energy produced by a photovoltaic panel to the power of the sunlight that hits the module. DIY solar panels have percentages in the high teens, though theoretical and laboratory conversion efficiencies can be higher.

• DC-to-AC Derating Factor

Photovoltaic panels carry DC power ratings that tell you how much solar electricity they produce under standard laboratory conditions. The DC-to-AC derating factor is the amount of power that is unavoidably lost due to real-life environmental and system conditions.

• Peak Sun Hours

Peak sun hours refer to the equivalent number of hours the maximum irradiance (intensity) of the sun strikes a particular location over the course of one day. This figure varies across the country, as it is based upon the sun’s position in the sky, cloud coverage and other local atmospheric conditions.

• Roof Pitch

Roof pitch refers to the tilt of your roof. Also known as slope or slant, this figure is determined by measuring how many inches a roof rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally. DIY solar panels mounted at a tilt of 30 degrees reach optimal electricity production, but roof pitch has less of an impact on output than azimuth.

• Soft Costs

Soft costs are all the nonhardware expenses that contribute to the price of a photovoltaic system. These may include supply chain costs, labor charges, sales tax and permit fees, as well as any other expenses related to financing or installing a photovoltaic array. Homeowners who choose a DIY solar power solution avoid paying many soft costs.

Solar GOODs, your online superstore for energy independence, offers a range of helpful articles, guides and videos. With us, getting started with DIY solar energy is easy. Visit the Solar GOODs website to learn more, or give us a call today.