How It Works

This schematic shows the major components of the Weitchpec Tribal Office solar electric system; the arrows show the direction of electricity flow. The Yurok Tribe solar electric system employs silicon cell technology that was originally developed for the space program in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Today the technology is well proven and can be found on the rooftops of homes and businesses throughout the world. The foundation of the system is the photovoltaic (PV) cell, which converts the energy of incoming light directly into electrical energy.

Solar electric cells are combined into modules; the Weitchpec Tribal Office solar electric system employs 76 PV modules. The electricity produced by the modules is direct current (DC) electricity. Before it can be used to power normal electrical devices it must be converted to alternating current (AC) using an inverter. The AC electricity is used to power on-site electrical loads at the Weitchpec Tribal Office. On weekends, when the office is closed and there may be excess solar electricity available, the excess power is fed back into the electric grid. When this happens the electric meter runs backwards and a credit is applied to the electric bill.

Website by Schatz Energy Research Center.