Commercial Owner’s Guide: A Solar Glossary
As much as we love the power of solar, it’s easy for the average consumer to get lost in the vocabulary soup. Solar energy is technically defined as “radiant energy emitted by the sun.” However, the associated industry language isn’t that easy to follow. Below is a growing glossary of words typically associated with solar energy. The resource should help you navigate your commercial solar journey.
Behind-the-meter (BTM) solution refers to an energy system's position in relation to your electric meter. These are energy systems that are located on the customer's side of the utility meter. Energy systems can include battery storage, solar panels, or other energy-efficient appliances.
Commercial Battery Energy Storage
Devices that enable energy from renewable sources to be stored and then released when the power is needed most. We wrote about how this is particularly beneficial for businesses.
A FREE subscription-based model that connects hundreds of businesses and residential properties to a single utility-scale solar farm, typically resulting in up to 10% savings on your total monthly utility bill.
Is a behind-the-meter solar solution that uses custom-sized, non-penetrating solar panels to create on-site solar generation for your business. Catalyst Power eliminates the barrier to solar entry by owning, operating, and maintaining our solar arrays, saving you upfront cost and energy expenses over the duration of the agreement.
A Demand Response program is an opportunity for customers to get paid to curb their electricity use in response to economic or reliability signals. We wrote about how this works here.
Distributed Energy Generation (DER)
A variety of technologies that generate electricity at or near where it will be consumed.
Energy Service Provider (ESCO)
An ESCO designs, builds, and implements financing for projects that reduce energy costs, generate power, and decrease maintenance costs for its customers. Catalyst Power is a one-stop shop for your energy needs. Learn more here.
Kilowatt & kilowatt hour (kWh)
Commercial utility bills likely have two usage pricing factors – your peak or the highest amount of power you consumed in a period (kW), and how much power you consumed over time (kWh). A behind-the-meter solar solution can help reduce costs on both!
Is a period where energy use is redistributed from peak times to off-peak times, saving your money. This is typically achieved through commercial battery energy storage or DER.
During certain time intervals, you can avoid high-demand charges (that’s your kW from above) during peak hours of the day by limiting your energy consumption.
Photovoltaic panels are another word for solar panels. They generate power using solar cells that absorb energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. These cells are connected to form larger units known as panels.
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
An arrangement in which a third-party developer installs, owns, and operates an energy system on a customer's property and sells back the energy produced. When Catalyst Power installs a Connected Microgrid Solution at no cost to you, we sell you the energy produced at a low fixed rate, saving you money.
Commercial Retail Electricity
The final sale of electricity from generation to the end-use consumer (that’s you). Check out our blog posts on retail electricity.
Carbon neutrality is achieved by a variety of means, from purchasing Renewable Energy Credits to eliminating fossil fuel energy use, meeting ESG standards, and more. An admirable and increasingly achievable goal for any company.
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