HGTV Green Home’s 1.35 kilowatt array consists of eight 225-watt collectors connected in series; the unit has the potential to generate 1710 kilowatt hours of energy per year. “That’s quite a bit of power, especially in Georgia where you’ve got a solar-friendly summer and relatively mild winters,” says Mark Stimson, product manager for Bosch Thermotechnology Corporation, the manufacturer of the system. Georgia Power presently buys power from consumers at or above retail cost. “In Georgia Power’s service area, that’s as high as 17 cents per kilowatt hour,” says Mark. A bit of quick math indicates that the owner of HGTV Green Home 2012 could potentially earn almost $300 a year from the home’s solar system.
The German-engineered collectors installed at HGTV Green Home boast a 25-year performance guarantee and “use an innovative cell technology that is in continual process to establish higher performance over the years,” says Mark. To ensure optimum performance, collectors are installed at a fixed tilt angle of 34 degrees, facing true south. “Most roof slopes are anywhere between 25 to 40 degrees, so if you mount them flush on a typical sloped roof, you are pretty much within the optimum tilt angle,” he says.
How does the system work? Solar cells inside collectors generate DC current which passes to an inverter. This grid-tied unit converts DC current to AC power that feeds into Georgia Power’s utility grid. The electric meter spins backward when the system is producing more energy than the homeowner consumes and spins forward when the homeowner draws electricity from Georgia Power. At the end of a billing cycle, the homeowner pays for what energy he or she has drawn from the electric company or is credited for excess energy the solar system has produced.
Bosch’s solar systems are just one leg in the company’s concerted effort to create integrated home systems: Energy Star-rated appliances paired with green technologies, all fed into smart-control systems. “Instead of a homeowner shopping a la carte for different components, the trend is to provide complete solutions,” says Mark.
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