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Dock Here for Clean Renewable Solar Energy!

This can very well take place in the close future with billboards advertising – bold and strong, beckoning electric vehicles for recharging. Already in Berlin-Adlershof, this is going on. The biggest independently functional solar charging station is providing high-quality, computerized and totally safe kind of solar charging to electrical cars. Electric-power cars’ handicap – finding a place for recharging on the run – is now being captured by this power refill station. Accurate calculated billing, electronic identification for access and automatic safety flaps are extra attractions. And no queues to bug you! At one time, eight vehicles can be recharged!

Components of solar station:

What makes this station so unique? Three great components – a mover to generate electricity, a battery to store the power efficiently and an intelligent and completely computerized connector system -for charging and billing – add to up to make this station come true.

1. Mover:

A biaxial photovoltaic 12-module generator which pursues the sun generating 40% more energy than standard mono-axial systems – from Solon stable.

2. Storage Unit:

A vanadium redox flow battery behaving as storehouse to store 100kWh that is adequate by furnishing 10kW at any time – an ideal storage anyplace for any kind of renewable energy – be it solar, biomass or wind generated.

3. Electrical Connector/charging system – Completely computerized:

A unique system with software to monitor the outlet and handle the charging very optimally and especially intelligently. A GSM modem to operate the flow of communication between the external services. Individually accessible outlet socket modules, with motorized flap and other electronic gadgetry, to do the billing accurately and precisely identifying the user.

Charges all electrically driven vehicles:

This stand-alone charging station supplies clean renewable solar energy charges not just for cars, but for every electric vehicles. Rather a few Vectrix electric scooters are running merrily on the city roads and Solon Campus used by Solon staff.

A combined attempt:

The solar charging station, Younicos turnkey offer, is the fruit of the mixed efforts of Solon’s Photovoltaic power plant, Cellstrom’s Vanadium Redox flow battery, and Younico’s intelligent charging system. All hands to let the fossils stay put in peace and the world operate on cleaner CO2-free energy!

Sunforce 22005 12-Volt MotoMaster Eliminator Folding Solar Panel

This is the same solar pad you see the cute girl charging her ipod with in our news section!

Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use (sunshine) is free.

solar water heating

Solar water heating is water heated by the use of solar energy. Solar heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a water storage tank or another point of usage, interconnecting pipes and a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to the tank. This thermodynamic approach is distinct from semiconductor photovoltaic (PV) cells that generate electricity from light; solar water heating deals with the direct heating of liquids by the sun where no electricity is directly generated. A solar water heating system may use electricity for pumping the fluid, and have a reservoir or tank for heat storage and subsequent use. The water can be heated for a wide variety of uses, including home, business and industrial uses. Heating swimming pools, under floor heating or energy input for space heating or cooling are common examples of solar water heating. A solar water heating system can form part of a solar thermal cooling system, promoting efficient temperature control of buildings or parts thereof. During cool conditions, the same system can provide hot water.

solar water heater

In order to heat water using solar energy, a collector, often fastened to a roof or a wall facing the sun, heats working fluid that is either pumped (active system) or driven by natural convection (passive system) through it. The collector could be made of a simple glass topped insulated box with a flat solar absorber made of sheet metal attached to copper pipes and painted black, or a set of metal tubes surrounded by an evacuated (near vacuum) glass cylinder. In industrial cases a parabolic mirror can concentrate sunlight on the tube. Heat is stored in a hot water storage tank. The volume of this tank needs to be larger with solar heating systems in order to allow for bad weather, and because the optimum final temperature for the solar collector is lower than a typical immersion or combustion heater. The heat transfer fluid (HTF) for the absorber may be the hot water from the tank, but more commonly (at least in active systems) is a separate loop of fluid containing anti-freeze and a corrosion inhibitor, which delivers heat to the tank through a heat exchanger (commonly a coil of copper tubing within the tank).

Residential solar thermal installations fall into two groups: passive (sometimes called “compact”) and active (sometimes called “pumped”) systems. Both typically include an auxiliary energy source (electric heating element or connection to a gas or fuel oil central heating system) that is activated when the water in the tank falls below a minimum temperature setting such as 55°C. Hence, hot water is always available. The combination of solar water heating and using the back-up heat from a wood stove chimney to heat water can enable a hot water system to work all year round in cooler climates, without the supplemental heat requirement of a solar water heating system being met with fossil fuels or electricity.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer.

There are two basic types of passive systems:

Integral collector-storage passive systems

These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot water needs.

Thermosyphon systems

Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

Direct circulation systems

Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.

Indirect circulation systems

Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Other Considerations

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup.

When a solar water heating and hot-water central heating system are used in conjunction, solar heat will either be concentrated in a pre-heating tank that feeds into the tank heated by the central heating, or the solar heat exchanger will replace the lower heating element and the upper element will remain in place to provide for any heating that solar cannot provide. However, the primary need for central heating is at night and in winter when solar gain is lower. Therefore, solar water heating for washing and bathing is often a better application than central heating because supply and demand are better matched. In many climates, a solar hot water system can provide up to 85% of domestic hot water energy. This can include domestic non-electric concentrating solar thermal systems. In many northern European countries, combined hot water and space heating systems are used to provide 15 to 25% of home heating energy.

Selecting a Solar Water Heater

Before you purchase and install a solar water heating system, you want to consider the following:

The Economics of a Solar Water Heater

Solar water heating systems usually cost more to purchase and install than conventional water heating systems. However, a solar water heater can usually save you money in the long run.

How much money you save depends on the following:

  • The amount of hot water you use
  • Your system’s performance
  • Your geographic location and solar resource
  • Available financing and incentives
  • The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
  • The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system, if you have one.

On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you’re protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.

If you’re building a new home or refinancing, the economics are even more attractive. Including the price of a solar water heater in a new 30-year mortgage usually amounts to between $13 and $20 per month. The federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest attributable to the solar system reduces that by about $3–$5 per month. So if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is profitable immediately. On a monthly basis, you’re saving more than you’re paying.

Evaluating Your Site’s Solar Resource for Solar Water Heating

Before you buy and install a solar water heating system, you need to first consider your site’s solar resource. The efficiency and design of a solar water heating system depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your building site.

Solar water heating systems use both direct and diffuse solar radiation. Even if you don’t live in a climate that’s warm and sunny most of the time—like the southwestern United States—your site still might have an adequate solar resource. If your building site has unshaded areas and generally faces south, it’s a good candidate for a solar water heating system.

Your local solar system supplier or installer can perform a solar site analysis.

Sizing a Solar Water Heating System

Sizing your solar water heating system basically involves determining the total collector area and the storage volume you’ll need to meet 90%–100% of your household’s hot water needs during the summer. Solar system contractors use worksheets and computer programs to help determine system requirements and collector sizing.

Collector Area

Contractors usually follow a guideline of around 20 square feet (2 square meters) of collector area for each of the first two family members. For every additional person, add 8 square feet (0.7 square meters) if you live in the U.S. Sun Belt area or 12–14 square feet if you live in the northern United States.

Storage Volume

A small (50- to 60-gallon) storage tank is usually sufficient for one to two three people. A medium (80-gallon) storage tank works well for three to four people. A large tank is appropriate for four to six people.

For active systems, the size of the solar storage tank increases with the size of the collector—typically 1.5 gallons per square foot of collector. This helps prevent the system from overheating when the demand for hot water is low. In very warm, sunny climates, some experts suggest that the ratio should be increased to as much as 2 gallons of storage to 1 square foot of collector area.

Solar Water Heater Energy Efficiency

For a solar water heating system, use the solar energy factor (SEF) and solar fraction (SF) to determine its energy efficiency.

The solar energy factor is defined as the energy delivered by the system divided by the electrical or gas energy put into the system. The higher the number, the more energy efficient. Solar energy factors range from 1.0 to 11. Systems with solar energy factors of 2 or 3 are the most common.

Another solar water heater performance metric is the solar fraction. The solar fraction is the portion of the total conventional hot water heating load (delivered energy and tank standby losses). The higher the solar fraction, the greater the solar contribution to water heating, which reduces the energy required by the backup water heater. The solar fraction varies from 0 to 1.0. Typical solar factors are 0.5–0.75.

Estimating a Solar Water Heater System’s Cost

Before purchasing a solar water heating system, you can estimate its annual operating cost and compare it with other more and/or less efficient systems. This will help you determine the energy savings and payback period of investing in a more energy-efficient system, which will probably have a higher purchase price.

Calculating Annual Operating Cost

To estimate the annual operating cost of a solar water heating system, you need the following:

  • The system’s solar energy factor (SEF)
  • The auxiliary tank fuel type (gas or electric) and costs (your local utility can provide current rates).

Then, use the following calculations.

With a gas auxiliary tank system:

You need to know the unit cost of fuel by Btu (British thermal unit) or therm. (1 therm = 100,000 Btu)

365 × 41,045/SEF × Fuel Cost (Btu) = estimated annual cost of operation

OR

365 × 0.4105/SEF × Fuel Cost (therm) = estimated annual operating cost

Example: Assuming the SEF is 1.1 and the gas costs $1.10/therm

365 × 0.4105/1.1 × $1.10 = $149.83

With an electric auxiliary tank system:

You need to know or convert the unit cost of electricity by kilowatt-hour (kWh).

365 × 12.03/SEF × Electricity Cost (kWh)= estimated annual operating cost

Example: Assuming the SEF is 2.0 and the electricity costs $0.08/kWh

365 X 12.03/2.0 X $0.08 = $175.64

Building Codes, Covenants, and Regulations for Solar Water Heating Systems

Before installing a solar water heating system, you should investigate local building codes, zoning ordinances, and subdivision covenants, as well as any special regulations pertaining to the site. You will probably need a building permit to install a solar energy system onto an existing building.

Not every community or municipality initially welcomes residential renewable energy installations. Although this is often due to ignorance or the comparative novelty of renewable energy systems, you must comply with existing building and permit procedures to install your system.

The matter of building code and zoning compliance for a solar system installation is typically a local issue. Even if a statewide building code is in effect, your city, county, or parish usually enforces it locally. Common problems homeowners have encountered with building codes include the following:

  • Exceeding roof load
  • Unacceptable heat exchangers
  • Improper wiring
  • Unlawful tampering with potable water supplies.

Potential zoning issues include the following:

  • Obstructing side yards
  • Erecting unlawful protrusions on roofs
  • Sitting the system too close to streets or lot boundaries.

Special area regulations—such as local community, subdivision, or homeowner’s association covenants—also demand compliance. These covenants, historic district regulations, and flood-plain provisions can easily be overlooked.

To find out what’s needed for local compliance, contact the following:

  • Your local jurisdiction’s zoning and building enforcement divisions
  • Briefly describe your intended construction, asking for other relevant ordinances/codes that might be in effect.
  • Find out if there are any additional local amendments or modifications to the regulations in effect.
  • Ask how to determine whether you are located in a historic district, flood-plain area, or any other special category regulated by a government body.
  • Ask where you may find pertinent ordinances/codes (local library, government office, etc.).
  • Read pertinent sections of the regulations, making photocopies of information you wish to file for future review and design/installation analysis.
  • Ask if they have any ordinances, provisions, or covenants that may affect the design and installation of the system.
  • Copy and file pertinent sections for reference.
  • Homeowner’s, subdivision, neighborhood, and/or community association(s)

Installing and Maintaining the System

The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.

Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part or two after 10 years.

When screening potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance, ask the following questions:

  • Does your company have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
    Choose a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.
  • How many years of experience does your company have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
    The more experience the better. Request a list of past customers who can provide references.
  • Is your company licensed or certified?
    Having a valid plumber’s and/or solar contractor’s license is required in some states. Contact your city and county for more information. Confirm licensing with your state’s contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you about any complaints against state-licensed contractors.

Searched Solar Info

Solar Energy History

The History of Solar Energy

A History over two thousand years old, solar energy has been a part of human life for a long time. Man has used solar power in its passive form to dry food and clothing and to warm homes for most of our history. The sun is the most potent and plentiful form of physical energy in our immediate existence. Of all the forces in the Universe the star is by far the most captivating and powerful. Our own star the “Sun” may be small by Universal standards but it is a giant star by our standards. So large that it accounts for over 99% of our solar systems mass and it’s power can be felt far past our own Earth orbit.

In just 40 minutes the amount of solar energy the sun emits that strikes the earth has the potential to power every electric outlet on the planet… for a year! Understanding the facts about our sun is a great way to understand solar energy. And understanding the history of solar energy development is a good place to begin. I hope you find the following informative and entertaining!

Humans learned how to harness solar energy in more sophisticated ways around 700 BC. Here’s the Solar Energy History timeline.

7th Century B.C.

Around 700 B.C. it was learned that a beam of sunshine targeted through a piece of glass could create enough heat energy to start a fire if the ray were focused onto something flammable.

3rd Century B.C.

By third century B.C., the Greeks and Romans were reflecting the sun’s rays from mirrors to ignite ceremony torches.

2nd Century B.C.

In the 2nd century BC, Archimedes, using copper shields, reflected a beam of sun onto an enemy wooden warship in the harbor and set it ablaze. Whether the story is true or false it has since been proved that it can indeed be done with the materials of that era.

For the next 1000 years man was contented to employ the power of the sun for the intentions of starting fires, passively heating abodes and drying out food and hides.

Over these early years in Solar Energy History, cultures learned to orient their dwellings and communities to face the sun (south) and exact fullest advantage of it’s heating energy. The low hanging sun would warm up the adobe brick or stone face of the building in winter and radiate it’s heat into the domicile well into the evening.

1st to 4th Century A.D.

1st to 4th Century Romans used passive solar to heat bathhouses. Glass windows facing the south allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate and warm the bathhouse, and then prevented it from escaping.

6th Century A.D.

Passive solar heating was becoming better understood and for the next several hundred years sun-rooms appeared on the south side of many Roman homes. The heat collected in the glass sun-room was allowed in to warm the home when the doors between the sun-room and home were opened.

1050 to 1300 A.D.

Around 1050 AD to 1300 is the period of the Anasazi cliff dwellings. Built in South facing cliffs with natural stone overhangs these communities were warmed in winter by the low hanging sun but the stone overhang provided much needed shade on hot summer days.

1700′s

1767 saw the first major solar discovery since the beginnings of solar energy harnessing.

Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure, in the mid 1700′s, fashioned the world’s first solar cooker.

Using a wooden box with a black cork bottom and placing three separate sheets of glass over it and finally insulating it, he was able to maintain an internal temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot enough to boil water and cook a meal!

Solar cookers of today closely resemble Saussure’s invention.

1800′s

By the 1800′s, discoveries were being made much faster. By the latter part of the century as little as three years would pass between discoveries.

Edmond Becquerel a French Scientist discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839. He was the first to discover that light intensified the amount of electricity generated between two electrodes. His findings were considered interesting, but were not pursued.

From 1860′s to 1880′s

the first solar powered engines were produced and put to use.
Auguste Mouchout was the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. Receiving funds from the French monarch, he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilized to make ice! He was awarded a medal for this.

His groundbreaking research was cut short though. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative was no longer considered a priority and he no longer received any funding from the monarch.

1873

Willoughby Smith experimented with the use of selenium solar cells after discovering it’s sensitivity to light while testing material for underwater telegraph cables.

1876

William Adams wrote the first book about Solar Energy called: A Substitute for Fuel in Tropical Countries. He and his student Richard Day experimented with the use of mirrors and were able to power a 2.5 horsepower steam engine. His design, know as the Power Tower concept, is still in use today.

1883

An American inventor Charles Fritz turned the sun’s rays into electricity. His selenium solar cell had a conversion rate of only 1-2%. But was another huge milestone in solar energy history!

1885

Charles Tellier, a Frenchman who is known as the father of refrigeration, experimented with a non-concentrating/ non-reflecting solar motor. He installed the first solar energy system for heating household water on top of his own roof. However, his desire to pursue his refrigeration interests led to him to abandon all solar energy experiments.

1868

John Ericsson, an American immigrant from Sweden wrote these powerful words: “A couple of thousand years dropped in the ocean of time will completely exhaust the coal fields of Europe, unless, in the meantime, the heat of the sun be employed.” He dismissed Mouchout’s work and also developed a solar powered steam engine, very similar in design to Mouchout’s.

1891

History saw the first commercial solar water heater patented by Clarence Kemp an inventor from Baltimore.

1892

Aubrey Eneas formed the first Solar Energy Company – The Solar Motor Co. They sold the first Solar Energy system to Dr. A.J. Chandler of Mesa, Ariz for $2,160. It was destroyed less than a week later by a windstorm. They sold a second one to John May, but that one too, was destroyed by a hailstorm shortly afterwards. This led to the company’s downfall.

1904

Henry Willsie recognized the need to store generated power and built 2 huge plants in California. He was the first to successfully use power at night after generating it during the day. Even so, he was not able to make a sale and his company too folded.

1906 – 1914

Frank Shuman’s company, Sun Power Co, built the largest and most cost-effective solar energy system covering 10,000 square feet plus. Although it produced a lot of steam it did not produce enough pressure. Together with E.P. Haines he then formed Sun Power Co. Ltd. They built an irrigation plant just outside of Cairo, but unfortunately it was destroyed during the Great War.

1954

Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson and Daryl Chaplin of Bell Laboratories accidentally discovered the use of silicon as a semi-conductor, which led to the construction of a solar panel with an efficiency rate of 6%.

1956

The first commercial solar cell was made available to the public at a very expensive $300 per watt.

1950s – 1960s

Space programs employed solar technologies. In 1958 the Vanguard I was launched. The first satellite to use solar energy.

1970

The Energy Crisis ! (OPEC oil embargo). A bit of solar energy history we are all familiar with. Suddenly it became important to find an alternative form of energy as we realized just how reliant we really are on non-renewable, finite resources like coal, oil and gas for our existence.

Solar energy history was made as the price of solar cells dropped dramatically to about $20 per watt.

1980 – 1991

A Los Angeles based company called Luz Co. produced 95% of the world’s solar-based electricity. They were forced to shut their doors after investors withdrew from the project as the price of non-renewable fossil fuels declined and the future of state and federal incentives was not likely.

The chairman of the board said it best: “The failure of the world’s largest solar electric company was not due to technological or business judgment failures but rather to failures of government regulatory bodies to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of solar thermal generating plants.”

Today

There is a renewed focus as more and more people see the advantages of solar energy and as it becomes more efficient and more affordable.

Governments across the world offer financial assistance and incentives.

Solar electric systems are now used to power many homes, businesses, getaways, and even villages in Africa.

We see solar cells powering anything from household appliances to cars.

Solar power as a movement is gaining popularity among the people as awareness of it’s great benefit to us is being spread.

Solar Power Cost

rooftop

How Much Your Residential Solar Power Will Cost

The cost of solar power for your home will depend on a number of different things. Where you live, how much power your household uses, whether you buy the panels new or used, how much sun your property receives, incentive programs available to you… etc, will all have an impact on the cost of solar power at any given location.

So just how much will it cost? Well a better question we should be asking ourselves is… What will it cost us if we do not invest in Solar Power? With the effects of Global Warming, pollution from fuels, and waste generated from power plants, we are effectively killing our most precious resource. If we do not begin to change the way we generate and use energy, we will no longer have a habitable earth to live on. We will be handing down a dead planet unable to sustain life to our children, where there will be no clean water to drink, no fresh air to breathe, or nutritious food to eat. It is time to join a movement that is for the prosperity of us all. A movement that needs your help, and all you need to do for it is save money while saving the earth.

The cost for residential solar energy generation varies greatly depending on several factors. Lets take a look at a few of them.

1. How much electricity do you need?

This should is the first question you need to ask yourself. Do you want to go 100% solar, or maybe you will want an integrated system that ties into the electrical grid to replace some of your electricity needs. The first step is to figure out how much electricity you use. Looking at your utility bill can do this. KWh or kilowatt-hour represents the usage of electricity. 1 Kilowatt-hour is equal to 1000 watts of electricity used in one hour. Lets use this example bill to show you how it is calculated.

This bill’s total kWh for the month is 460. So lets divide that by 30 to get a daily representation that will equate to 15.3 kWh a day of electrical usage. Now to get the wattage we need per day from our Solar Panels we will multiply our daily kWh by 1000 which gives us 15300 watts of usage a day.

460 kWh x .3 = 15.3 kWh x 1000 watts = 15,000 watts

Now that we have the total watts of electricity we need to generate a day we can work on the next factor.

 

2. How much sunshine do you get at your location?

This is actually easier then it sounds NASA has created the NASA Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy site which will be able to give you all the information you need for this next step.
For the solar panel estimator select the Insolation Average, Min and Max, and the Radiation on Equator-pointed Tilted Surface parameters. Note the yearly average figures you find for your location. Insolation means the number of hours in a day that a solar panel will produce its rated voltage.

3. You will also need to know what size, or wattage of panels you wish to use.

Keep in mind when picking out panels that you’ll want to only use the same type and size. It is fact that panels with different electrical characteristics do not work together very well. There are many types and sizes what you want is really up to you. So just for this example we’ll go with a 175-watt solar panel. Note that a higher wattage does not mean the solar panel is of better quality.

4. Now you will have to adjust for inefficiencies in your system.
What I mean by this is that when we talk about energy coming through a system, we mean that energy courses through different devices in a chain IE: charge controller, inverter, batteries. Every step of the way loses us some energy, so we want to only put things in the chain that are absolutely necessary and are in good working order. There will always be some loss to the output level. It’s just the way it works. The only thing we can really do about it is to make sure our system is as efficient as possible. If you are thinking about buying a manufactured system this information should be available from them, otherwise figure between 50% – 70% efficiency. I’ll average for example and use an efficiency of 60%.

You may have noticed when you looked at the NASA site that insolation values can go up drastically for tilted panels, or positioning panels to face towards the sun. Because of this your annual average of Insolation can almost triple. So lets use a tilt of 45 degrees in our example.

So if we went for horizontal positioned panels we would need 39 panels at 175 watts each.

If we went with the 45-degree angle we would need 34 panels at 175 watts each.

Now you can shop around for better prices but the 175-watt panels we are using for this example are $580.00 each.

Horizontal: 39 x 580 = $22,620 USD.

45 Degree angle: 34 x 580 = $19,720 USD.

I realize this seems like a large up front investment however you are adding value to your house, also making it up with non existent energy bills, selling energy back to the utility company’s, and last but not least getting tax breaks and other incentives from the government. While buying manufactured panels and having them installed may be the easiest way to get solar energy flowing through your home, it is also by far the most expensive Solar power Cost.

Solar Power Information Solar Panel Cost

The solar revolution has been happening for the last 20 years and is now really moving fast. It has taken a long time for the technology to become affordable enough for everyday people to utilize. The best part is the technology is increasing at a rapid speed. Solar panels or photovoltaic cells as they are sometimes called (photo = light, voltaic = electricity) are what’s used to generate solar power from our Sun.

Unfortunately not much energy is created by one single solar cell, which means that lots of them are needed, drastically raising solar power cost. The biggest problem with solar power is in the price you must pay to buy systems and have them installed.

There are so many reasons to install solar power into your home that it makes no sense not to anymore. More and more benefits are being discovered everyday. The solar power cost of a residential home is dramatically reduced due to the fact that after the initial investment of installing solar panels, the energy created is 100% free. Older methods of energy creation that pollute the atmosphere like coal and nuclear technology are rising in price and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. You can even sell the solar energy to the utility company’s making you extra income. And with the benefit of the positive effects on the earth that comes with not needing to use negative forms of generating energy, you can feel good about what you’re doing. Solar panels are 100% environmentally friendly, no pollution at all!

Fortunately we are able to utilize solar power in easier and cheaper ways due to advancements in technology and techniques used to create more energy efficient, cheaper, and better looking solar panels. Luckily there are extremely easy ways to lower Solar Power Cost, and also have some fun by making your own solar panels. Doing it yourself can drastically lower the amount of money you’ll spend on your initial investment. I highly recommend trying it out, but be careful when purchasing a kit, they are not all perfect for any situation. You need to make sure you get what is right for you. If you would like more detailed information please visit Solar Power Cost to check out a kit I have used myself and know first hand that it works perfect in any situation.

The Bottom Line

You can reasonably expect to power your home completely with solar power, for $25,000 US dollars including the cost of new batteries. Once installed the system will save you ALL of your power expense for 35 to 40 years.

It may take a while but after a period of 10 to 15 years, the system will have paid for itself (in energy savings) and then it begins to put money back into your pocket for as long as 20 more years. And this is without any subsidies or tax incentives, or taking into account any parts you built or installed yourself. If you do most of the work yourself and take advantage of all the incentives and breaks you are looking at an investment below $10,000 USD.

So in closing thank you for visiting our Solar Power Cost page. New content and more Solar Energy Facts will be published regularly so please visit often, tell your friends, and bookmark us. Also if you would like to join the RSS feed and receive automatic updates whenever a new post is added click on the RSS icon at the bottom left corner of the page.

Solar Power Pros and Cons

Advantages of Solar Energy

The benefits of switching to solar power.

The environmental and financial advantages of using solar power for your home. Enjoy the benefits of solar energy while enjoying a cleaner planet.

In the long time of solar energy history the benefits of solar power have never been as bountiful as they are today. Now that the cost of solar energy is rapidly dropping as new technologies such as thin film photovoltaics are emerging, solar energy is becoming dominant in the energy industry.

There is no question that a major shift must occur in how we power our lives. Understanding the advantages of solar energy and making sure the industry addresses the disadvantages will ensure solar energy has its place at the top of the renewable energy sector.

Solar Energy Advantages

Saves you money

  • After the initial investment has been recovered, the energy from the sun is totally FREE.
  • The recovery/ payback period for this investment can be quite short depending on how much electricity your household uses.
  • Financial incentives are available form the government that will reduce your cost. (Visit www.dsireusa.org to find out about incentives available in your state!).
  • If your system produces more energy than you use, your utility company can buy it from you, building up a credit on your account! Earning you money by “net-metering”.
  • Solar energy does not require any fuel.
  • It’s not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is therefore not subjected to the ever-increasing price of fossil fuels.
  • The savings are immediate and for many years to come.
  • The use of solar energy indirectly reduces health costs.

Environmentally friendly

  • Solar Energy is clean, renewable and sustainable, helping to protect our environment.
  • It does not pollute the air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like all traditional forms of electrical generation do.
  • Solar Energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
  • Using solar energy contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
  • By not using any fuel, Solar Energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.

Independence

  • Solar Energy can continue to supply your home/ business with electricity even in the event of a power outage.
  • A Solar Energy system can operate entirely independently, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations making it more practical and cost-effective than the supply of utility electricity to a new site.
  • The use of Solar Energy reduces our dependence on conventional sources of energy, influenced by natural disasters or international events and so contributes to a sustainable future.
  • Solar Energy supports local job and business creation, fuelling local economies.

Low/ no maintenance

  • Solar Energy systems are basically maintenance free and will last for decades.
  • Once installed, there are no recurring costs.
  • Solar energy operates silently, has no moving parts, does not release offensive smells and does not require you to add any fuel.
  • More solar panels can easily be added in the future when your household needs grow.

Solar Energy Advantages Detailed

There are currently four methods of utilizing solar energy. They are Passive, Thermal, Photovoltaics and Thin Film.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Passive Solar Power

Passive solar power is energy that is collected by manipulating an environment to make the best use of the solar rays that fall onto the property.

  • Quick Payback

Capital spent on plantings, landscaping and thermal materials have a swift payback.

  • Environment Friendly

Negative impact on the environment is zero.

  • Attractive

Passive energy concepts can beautify a property at the same time as making it more energy efficient.

  • Increase Home Value

Attention to environmental details is a great selling feature on real-estate markets. Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.

  • Free Energy Source

Passive solar is free energy that will save you thousands of dollars over your home’s lifetime while keeping you and your family more comfortable.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Thermal Solar Power

  • Rapid Payback

A solar power water heater will pay for itself within 1 to 6 years then continue heating your water or pool free for 15 years after that.

  • Reduces Carbon Release

Your contribution of carbon dioxide to the environment will be reduced by 50 tons over the next 20 years.

  • Free Fuel

Once you have the system there is no cost for fuel.

  • No Environmental Impact

Eliminates the negative environmental impact of transporting, drilling for and burning fuel.

  • No Fuel Tax

Benefit speaks for itself!

  • Rapidly Renewable

The most abundant renewable fuel source in our solar system.

Advantages of Solar Energy – Photovoltaics and Thin Film Solar Power

  • Fuel Cost

The fuel to power solar devices is free and the source is unlimited.

  • No Fuel Taxes

The world governments have yet to figure out a way to tax sunshine. I’m sure they’re working on it though.

  • Home Equity

Although you can take a solar system with you when you move, one of the advantages of solar energy residential systems ~ of any size ~ is that they will increase the value of the home if you leave them in place.

  • Renewable Fuel Source

The most abundant source of energy available to us, the sun emits enough energy on the Earth in 40 minutes to power every outlet on the planet for 1 year.

  • Environmentally Friendly

The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise making them friendly to the owners of a solar power system and to the global community in general.

  • No Carbon Emissions

Solar eliminates the need to dig for, drill for, transport or burn fossil fuels.

  • Low Maintenance

Little to no maintenance is required to keep a solar powered system functional. Maintaining batteries is the biggest maintenance issue and only if yours is an off grid system.

  • Blackout Protection

An off grid residential solar power system is completely independent of the conventional power grid. Solar energy systems are not affected by grid power outages, blackouts or brownouts.

  • Odor Free

No stinky by-products are produced as a result of solar energy use.

  • No Moving Parts

Panels will quietly collect energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers also back them up with 20 to 25 year warranties. It was believed in the 60′s and 70′s that a solar power system would function for around 20 years. We’re now seeing that most systems established at that time are still functional. It is now believed that solar energy systems will last 40 or more years!

  • Remote locations

Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are places where we really see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power.

  • Independence

It’s quite liberating living without need of the grid or paying a power bill. Using nature’s power to live free and natural is one of the best feelings in the world!

  • Self Sufficiency

In this age of fear and tyranny all kinds of calamities threaten as fuel prices climb at the whim of evil business. Who isn’t wondering about the alternatives? Solar can free us from being dependent on volatile nations and greedy corporations for fuel.

There are Disadvantages of Solar Energy?

There’s more than one Disadvantage of Solar Energy and before jumping into a large investment you must know what you will be facing. Here’s the truth about the disadvantages of solar energy.

Passive and thermal forms of capturing solar energy really have no disadvantages or they are so small as to be negligible.

The disadvantages of solar energy are almost exclusively focused on silicon & thin film photovoltaic collectors, the types that convert solar rays into electricity.

Solar Energy Disadvantages

  • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
  • The location where you live will determine whether or not you can use solar power effectively or at all.
  • Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun, although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components.
  • The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
  • Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem. See www.dsireusa.org for details on how net metering allows you to save electricity and money.

Disadvantages in detail

  • Initial  Cost

The cost of solar energy is always the first subject to come up in a discussion of solar energy disadvantages. It is significant, although there are a lot of things that we can do to drastically reduce that initial cost.

The cost disadvantage is also being addressed by the solar industry and advances are being made toward increasing efficiency and reducing the expense of raw materials, both of which will make solar alternatives more affordable in the near future.

Additionally, rebate incentives, tax initiatives and subsidy programs can reduce the cost of establishing a residential solar system by more than half.

Solar energy prices are steadily declining. As new technologies emerge and manufacturing costs are lowered the cost of solar energy systems will continue to move downward, eliminating this major disadvantage of solar energy.

  • Location

Few places on earth exist where solar energy is not an option in at least some capacity. Areas around earth’s equator have the most favorable sun conditions and more constant daylight hours than extreme north or south locations.

Solar panels will still produce power on hazy days but at a reduced rate. In particularly rainy, clouded and foggy areas more panels may be required to operate your household at normal efficiency.

You may be unable to use solar power if adjacent structures, trees or landscape features restrict your property’s access to sun.

  • Area

Currently, solar panels are rather cumbersome. Powering a household with solar requires a large, open area that is relatively flat or angled in a positive direction where sunlight strikes it for about 5 hours a day (or more).

  • Roof Considerations

Roofing needs to be carefully considered before installing a solar array. Once a home solar system has been installed, repairs and replacement to an existing roof can become expensive and labor intensive. The system must be removed and then reinstalled if major work to the roof is required.

Ensure that your roof is in worthy repair before adding a solar powered system. Ideally your roof should be of sound structure and less than 7 years old before installing a solar system on it.

  • Nighttime

No solar energy can be collected during the nighttime and will require the power to be run from battery backup. Batteries are expensive and must be recycled once every 5 years, but the science of battery technology is a rapid developing science and the efficiency, storage and even recycling ability of new batteries is ever improving. A normal solar setup will store more than enough energy in these batteries to power your home each night.

In Closing

There is always the alternative…

nuclear waste

Searched Solar Info

Solar Energy Facts

solar

General facts

  • Solar Energy production is better for the environment than conventional forms of energy production.
  • Solar energy has many uses other than electricity production. For instance heating of water with solar thermal energy, water treatment through solar distillation and chemical production through solar reaction.
  • Solar energy can be used to heat swimming pools, power cars, power phones, radios and other small appliances.
  • You can cook food with solar energy.
  • Solar Energy is becoming more popular each day. The world demand for Solar Energy is currently greater than the supply.

Facts about Solar Energy usage:

  • Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hour. 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts.
  • 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) = the amount of electricity required to power a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
  • According to the US Department of Energy, an average American household used approximately 888-kilowatt hours per month in 2009 costing them $94.26.
  • About 30% of our total energy consumption is used to heat water.

Facts about Solar Energy systems:

  • A typical home solar system is made up of solar panels, an inverter, a battery, a charge controller, wiring and support structure.
  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system takes about 1-2 days to install and costs around $10,000 USD, but can vary greatly and does not take into account any incentives offered by the government.
  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system consists of about 10-12 solar panels and requires about 100 square feet of installation area.
  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system will generate approximately 1,600 kilowatt hours per year in a sunny climate (receiving 5.5 hours of sunshine per day) and approximately 750 kilowatt hours per year in a cloudy climate (receiving 2.5 hours of sunshine per day).
  • A 1-kilowatt home solar system will prevent approximately 170 lbs. of coal from being burned, 300 lbs of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere and 105 gallons of water from being consumed each month!
  • About 40 solar cells are usually combined into a solar panel and around 10-12 panels mounted in an array facing due North to receive maximum sunlight.
  • An average solar system usually comes with a 5-year warranty, although the solar panels are warranted for 20.
  • Relying on the battery back up, a solar energy system can provide electricity 24×7, even on cloudy days and at night.
  • Solar panels come in various colors.
  • Solar energy can be collected and stored in batteries, reflected, insulated, absorbed and transmitted.

Sun related Facts about Solar Energy:

  • Sunlight travels to the earth in approximately 8 minutes from 93,000,000 miles away, at 671,000,000 miles per hour.
  • Our sun is also the main source of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal, gas and petroleum), their energy was originally converted from sunlight by photosynthesis over millions of years.
  • Solar energy is responsible for weather patterns and ocean currents.
  • Clouds, pollution and wind can prevent the sun’s rays from reaching the earth.
  • The sun accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of our Solar System.
  • Sunlight on the surface of the Earth is attenuated by the Earth’s atmosphere so we receive only 1,000 watts per square meter of its power in clear conditions.

Other Interesting Facts about Solar Energy:

  • In one hour more sunlight falls on the earth than what is used by the entire population in one year.
  • A world record was set in 1990 when a solar powered aircraft flew 2522 miles across the United States, using no fuel.
  • Fierce weather cost the world a record $130 Billion in the first eleven months of 1998- more money than was lost from weather related disasters from 1980 to 1990 ($82 Billion).
  • Researchers from the Worldwatch Institute and Munich Re blame deforestation and climate change from Earth warming for much of the loss. The previous one-year record was $90 Billion in 1996. Source – Associated Press, November 28,1998.
  • About 2 billion people in the world are currently without electricity.
  • Accounting for only 5 percent of the world’s population, Americans consume 26 percent of the world’s energy.
  • Electric ovens consume the most amount of electricity, followed by microwaves and central air conditioning.
  • Third world countries with an abundance of sunlight and a population currently without electricity, represents the fastest growing market for solar energy, with the largest domestic market being the utilities sector.
  • Shell Oil predicts that 50% of the world’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2040.