Pete Wilking, President of A1A Solar gave us a great overview of solar power, and what can make for some substantial savings and who can really benefit from solar power. Click "more..." below for additional information.


Pete Wilking, President of A1A Solar gave us a great overview of solar power, and what can make for some substantial savings and who can really benefit from solar power.

Pete started with a personal history, saying that he was always the kid taking bikes, tv’s and anything else he could apart. He has been in the area since the 1990’s and has three kids under 8 years old.

The interest in solar began when he did a financial analysis and observed that over time, he would benefit from a solar power hot water heating system. Now his solar toys are his favorite toys in the house.

The types of solar power are seen in the table below:


Pool Heating

Domestic Hot Water

CSP (Concentrated Solar Power)- Example- Steam to drive Turbine

PV (Photo Voltaic)

Uses semiconductors to convert light to DC

Poly and Monocrystalline silicone

CIGS and Thin Film

Amorphous Silicon

The Polycrystalline silicone in a board format can be seen in the picture below


Photo Voltaic cells take sunlight and convert it into DC or Direct Current. The DC needs to be converted into AC via a converter, seen in the picture below, in order to be used by our household electronics.


The steps to a solar system are as follows:

Step 1: Design System- Heat loading, insulation, radiant barriers, lighting, etc.

Step 2- Practice Conservation – As able, turn up thermostat, turn things off, etc.

Step 3- Calculate total energy load and cost per year- Use energy bills to determine total Kilowatt Hours Used (KWH). Do include such variables as rate hikes and inflation.

Step 4- Based on goals, budget and roof area determine feasibility

Key elements in designing a solar system-

A shade free, South facing roof with 9:00am – 3:00pm direct sunlight works best. Other direction facing roofs can work, but they are not as efficient as a South facing one.


Because the cost of sunshine is zero, solar always pays for itself is what Pete was trying to get us to see as the take away from the presentation.

The payback on a hot water system is typically 4-6 years. A PV system can expect a payback of 8-14 years, but can be greatly reduced depending on the rebates available through the government and private utility companies. One method employed in the Northeast is to practically pay for the units to “Peak Shave” the demand on the grid during the hottest parts of the day.

A typical system has a 25 year warranty on the panels, and can be expected to have a useful life of approximately 30 years. With the 30 % tax credit (Which could be used as a 30% tax grant for businesses) and equipment depreciation, solar could really be used by business and residential applications to not only “Go green”, but to also in the long run “Save some green”.

Interesting facts:

Can I completely do away with my electrical bill?

            The reality is that most users will still have an electrical bill due to the time of the year and other variables. However, Pete stated that in his particular circumstance, his bill is 20% of what it had been before the installation.

What is the Environmental benefit to solar?

            Each KWH that is produced keeps 1 pound of coal from being burned to generate power. Each KWH that is produced also keeps 1.7 pounds of carbon dioxide from being produced. Imagine how much impact that would have on the environment if we could get our consumption up from the current 1 percent of the USA power being generated by solar.

Okay, give me some ballpark figures, what is it going to cost?

            An average Solar hot water system is estimated to cost $5,500-$6,900 before incentives/rebates (The picture below shows the sample hot water heating system that Pete brought with him)

            An average 2.5 KWH PV system costs approximately $18,500, and a 6 KWH system is approximately $39,000. Each application is unique, so please feel free to contact Pete for some figures that would be more applicable to your specific situation.


For More information, Contact Pete at


phone: 904 468-SUN1 (7861)


address:           1417 Sadler Road #115

Fernandina Beach, FL 32034