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Renewable Energy Terminology
  • AC-DC power: AC power is alternating current as supplied by the utility and used in your house. DC power is direct current like you would get from a battery. Photovoltaics produce DC power which needs to be sent through an inverter to convert it to AC power.
  • Distributed generation: Generation produced at a residential or commercial business location that is added to the utility grid.
  • Grid connected: An electrical connection to the utility company that enables power to flow to and from your house. It allows you to both produce your own power when possible and use the utility power as needed.
  • Hydro generation: A system that uses the flow of water to generate electricity.
  • Interconnection: The physical connection of electric power facilities allowing for the sale or exchange of electricity.
  • kW/kWh: kW or kilowatt is a measure of electrical power. kWh or kilowatt-hour is a measure of energy (power over time). One kilowatt hour is one kilowatt of energy used over one hour. Your bill reflects energy used each month in kWh.
  • Lockable disconnect: A switching device used to separate a customer's generation from the utility's distribution system for safety purposes. This can be utilized for maintenance (customer and utility) and during outages to ensure the safety of line workers and the public.
  • Net meter: A device that measures the total energy interchange between Avista and a customer with generation resources. The meter sums the total energy delivered by Avista and subtracts the energy the customer has generated. The meter can spin either forward or backwards depending on the power used or produced.
  • Off grid: Not connected to the local utility.
  • One-line diagram: A basic drawing of an electric circuit showing component locations and connections. This diagram is needed for interconnection applications to verify compatibility and compliance with Avista's standards.
  • Production incentive: Money given by a state or federal entity to encourage renewable energy production.
  • Renewable energy: Energy produced using a naturally occurring resource that is virtually inexhaustible such as wind, solar, or hydro.
  • Solar photovoltaic: A method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into DC electricity.
  • Solar water heater: A system in which the sun's energy is gathered by a solar collector and used to increase the temperature of a fluid such as water.

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