Solar panels are attractive for primarily two reasons. First, they have a lot of appeal because of their “renewable energy” tagline since renewables are the in-thing now. They’re trendy, and those who find an opportunity to implement them will often do so for that reason alone, regardless of the costs and benefits. The second reason would simply be the opportunity to save money on electric and energy bills.
All green peace aside, solar panels can be an extremely practical energy solution for your home. Depending on how your home is set up, where you’re located and how much sun you get will determine whether or not solar energy is a practical solution for you, in your particular situation.
So how do we tell whether or not our homes and living situations are ripe for a solar panel inclusion? Let’s cover some of the major factors.
Surrounding Topography and Direct Sunlight – If you don’t get a lot of sun to your home because of shade trees, mountains or other topographical factors, then installing a solar panel, or even including one in new construction probably isn’t your best bet.
The amount of energy that those panels will draw depends heavily on how they’re positioned and how much exposure they get to direct sunlight. That means that even if you live in an area where there are typically a lot of thunderstorms and cloud cover, Seattle for example, your return isn’t going to be as good as it would be in other places.
Stage of Homeownership – What I mean by stage, is whether you are in a position as a homeowner where you’re either getting ready to build a new home, move into a new one or if you’re considering solar panels as a solution for a home you’ve lived in for a long time.
Ideally, those who are getting ready to construct a new home are in the best situation to incorporate solar panels for a variety of reasons:
Solar companies will often include the full price in with your mortgage, taking away the sting of the typical five figure price tag.
New construction makes it much easier for you to place the solar panels in the ideal spot, as you’ll be able to work with the solar company and your contractor to install the panels where they’d get the most direct sunlight. This kind of flexibility isn’t available with a home that has already been built.
Installing the panels in a new home also gives you a better opportunity to conceal them, or have them installed as more aesthetically pleasing roof shingle-style panels.
If you’re not building a new home, don’t throw in the towel yet. It’s not a deal breaker. Though if you are, and you’re interested in incorporating solar power, you’ll have a much easier time getting the job done right and getting the most out of your panels.
Risk of Power Outages – The practicality level of solar panels goes up a few notches if you live in a place where you lose electricity often. Solar kits can be set up to act as generators in the event that you lose power.
The downside is that if you live in an area where you lose power often, you probably live in a stormy area, which means less direct sunlight.
Whether or Not you’re Settled In – Solar panels, depending on what size you install can save you a lot on your monthly electric bill, though you’ll typically need to give it around eight years before the panels pay for their original cost.
If you plan on staying in your home for the long term (or at least more than a decade), solar panels are far more practical, simply due to the fact that you will make money off of them.
This is another way that new home construction is a friendly scenario for going solar, since most people who build their home plan on staying there permanently.
Deciding – Solar panels are definitely a trendy option, and while they can save some people a lot of money, they’re not for everyone.
Take these factors into consideration and use them to decide how practical solar energy would be for your home. It’s a big investment, so make sure to take the time to be absolutely sure that they’ll pay off for you in the long term.
Natasha Risinger blogs about energy. Her aricles have appeared on personal finance and eco blogs. Click here www.texaselectricityproviders.com for Texas electricity.
Nowadays you are able to use solar energy for residential homes to supply hot water, lightings and heating. While the initial investment is high, you can pay for itself over a very short period of time. Rather than paying power utilities for use of non-renewable resources, you can save money and help preserve the environs too.
Most solar power systems for residential homes also compliment the conventional utility systems in your home. On extreme cold months, hot water can be heated using conventional sources. During these extreme heat (or cold) period, your solar energy system can be supplemented your power need with conventional systems.
Depending on the type of solar power systems you decided on, the initial investment can range from about $5,000 or more for a do it yourself home owner to a much higher systems that use for heating, cooling, cooking and lighting as well as hot water. For a small home made solar pool heating system can be put together for as little as $1,000 or possibly even less. Use of recycled material in these solar power residential systems can reduce the cost significantly.
Even so, if you are not a do it yourself handy person, you can have a competent, accredited and ascertained contractor to install a complete solar power system for your home. And of course, this is more costly than a do it yourself system but it will still pay off in the end. Your solar energy system will have a warranty and you will be guaranteed of reliable operation. If you choose to build your own system from commercially available components, but there is no such guarantee or warranty.
Many residential homes have large roof top lays out of solar panels called solar photovoltaic panels. This category of solar panel is often used to heat swimming pools and supply some or all of the household’s hot water needs. Oftentimes several solar arrays are needed to meet all the requirements of an average family home.
How modest or complex a solar power system you pick out, you will savor the knowledge that you are able to exercise your part to save the decreasing resources of our planet. You will also enjoy the reality that you will save on your utility bills and, over time, your solar power system will paid for itself in no time.
Get more information on using solar energy to heat and light your home by visiting home made power.
Have you ever noticed and may a little curious on some new homes that have large windows on one side of the building? And how about these panels on the roof? Well, they are using solar energy to heat their homes and the energy they need to power it come from the sun. Any new home can be built to use solar power, even older homes with a few minor alteration can make to use solar energy.
A solar power house can save you a lot of money and will continue to save you money in the future. You can use solar power to heat your home, heat your water and can provide electricity to power your appliances and lights naturally and effectively. How much power can you produce depends on where you live, the more sun you get, the more power you can produce.
Typically when building a solar power home you want to have the most windows on the south side of your home. This will allow the sun to shine through in the winter and warm your home naturally. In summer you can use curtains to reduce the sun shining through. One efficient way to do this is plant deciduous trees to block off the sun shining through in summer while it will allow the sun to shine through in the winter.
A simple passive solar design, that uses strategically placement of windows and thick, heat-absorbing walls on the south to capture the sun’s energy during the day and gradually release it in the evening. A more advance system will included storage for the war air to be use later.
Adding a solar hot water heating and solar electrical system can greatly reduce your dependent on fossil fuel and other non renewable energy source. Most hot water heating panels and solar panels can be mounted on the roof or some where on the property. However, they should be mounted as close as possible to the storage systems, hot water tank and batteries, and so forth.
The nice thing about solar power is an initial investment. Over time it will repay itself many time over the initial cost.
Building a solar power home or upgrading your existing home can means that you will no longer have to worry with the increasing cost of electricity and gas as you are using the best free source of energy on the planet.
The world is slowly but surely moving away from fossil fuels for energy production. Unfortunately, there has been very little agreement about what to replace fossil fuels with. Automobiles are a microcosm of the overall energy picture: hydrogen fuel cells and ethanol gasoline have had their time in the sun, and while electric vehicles seem to be the way of the future right now, how to generate that electricity remains an open question. But one energy source, commonly considered elsewhere, is often overlooked for vehicles: solar power.
Until considerably more efficient solar cells are developed, the current picture of a solar vehicle is an electric car in which solar power is one of the power generation options available, via solar panels installed on the car. The battery could also be charged using standard utility electricity (i.e. plugging the car into the grid) with a more traditional internal combustion engine as a backup. A fixed-location solar setup could be used to generate the utility electricity for charging at home. In the future, a car might be able to rely exclusively on its on-board panels for power generation across limited ranges and thus be dependent only on the weather, but efficiencies of that scale are currently unattainable.
But as these photovoltaic cells improve, the efficiency of a solar-powered vehicle might be unmatched. Consider that essentially 100% of the energy from the sun is wasted as it gets absorbed into the ground; this is not energy that could ever be repurposed for something else, like gasoline that can be shipped elsewhere. Then factor in that an electric vehicle boasts over 90% efficiency in using that power to propel the car, compared to a gasoline engine’s 15% efficiency. Driving an entirely solar-powered car in good weather would essentially be free.
Prototype solar cars are already being built and some are tested through racing around the world. Many of these cars boast price tags in the hundreds of thousands, some even approaching one million, but they do function as a very unique proof of concept. The Tokai Challenger, for example, won the 2009 World Solar Challenge, weaving 1,842 miles through the Australian outback. Built by Tokai University of Japan, the car cruised along the sunny Australian desert at an average speed of 63 mph thanks to its 30% conversion efficiency power cells (the same grade used by NASA; most consumer cells available today peak at about 15% conversion). Some specialized car manufacturers have consumer models available, but with significantly limited top speeds and ranges.
There are two main limitations to solar powered vehicles that only research and development will solve. First, to achieve sufficient power generation from the photovoltaic cells, the cars are often shaped much flatter than a standard automobile (in an effort to gather larger amount of sunlight). The look is not very aesthetically pleasing. Second, PVCs are currently expensive by any measure, though as worldwide demand for solar power increases, costs are falling with greater production. Over time, better PVCs will result in less car real estate being relegated to solar cells, and the cost of a solar car will drop with the cost of the cells.
All that said, the dream of cruising down the road without limit, your every mile powered by the sun using the energy gathered as you drive, is a long way off. Solar cars, like all electric cars, will continue to be range and speed limited by what their batteries can store. This also means that solar powered cars will improve in attractiveness side-by-side with non-solar electric cars, benefiting from research done on multiple fronts. While widespread use of solar powered vehicles remains a vision of the future today, that future is looking pretty bright.
Matt Bonner has worked with cars all his life and has recently embraced the need for an eco-future. He currently works for EasyWheels and is endlessly trying to convince his peers to go green.
Solar power has become a common energy efficient source around the world. It is Eco friendly. People are also eager to make this an investment asset. You should know how fruitful returns will be. You must gauge advantages, disadvantages, and risks involved in this investment
Solar power panels help you save on electricity bills. The Government provides concessions on this kind of bills. You can invest in solar power. It is a good business opportunity.
Advantages of Investing in Solar Power
* Solar power is one of the preferred sources of renewable energy.
* A well maintained solar panel can last for around 20 to 25 years. You will directly save on electricity bills. This means you can gain lots of profits from it.
* Solar cells and panels do not make any noise.
* They are free of any chemicals and any harmful elements.
* These panels are easy to install. They last for many years. The maintenance cost is also less.
* Buying this technology can be expensive at first. But it will give you good returns in the long run.
Investment in Solar Power: Things You Should Know
Feed-In Tariffs: FIT is a financial scheme regarding solar power. This provides subsidies to homes that utilize solar energy. The percentage of concession they provide change from time to time. You should be aware of their current scheme. This will help you to plan your investment better.
Location: You have to decide the place where you want to install solar panels. These panels work on energy drawn from the rays of the sun. It is best to select a location to accommodate solar panels that gets maximum exposure to the sun.
Resource: You should know the efficiency of companies that provide an investment plan of solar power. You can directly seek a deal with the government. Private firms are also active agents of investment. You can know more about market players in the solar energy industry. This will enable you to wisely choose a partnership that will be beneficial.
Fixed Costs: The installation cost of solar panels may vary from one company to the other. You need to plan your budget. Keep a track on the spending you do in installing these panels. The price of energy panels, construction, and labor is necessary. You should know about all these fixed costs. This will help you to calculate profit that you can expect realistically.
Variable Costs: You have to also keep in mind some variable costs. This will involve maintenance charges, membership and registration costs, and other legal payments. These may change over time. You should have knowledge of the current cost of all these processes.
Cost of Electricity: As the cost of electricity increases, subsidies to solar power will also rise. But this can in turn trigger effect of inflation. You can have a virtual idea of the money returns you may get.
Inflation: The rate of inflation every year may vary. This can indirectly affect the cost of electricity and installation charges. This may be beneficial as well as a risk for your investment. You need to assess all opportunities properly before investing in solar power.
Author Bio: – This article is written by Sean Campbell from RugsandBlinds.com. RugsandBlinds.com is an online shopping portal dealing with wide range of contemporary styled rugs for bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and many others.
Solar Lighting – The Economical Option To Illuminate Your Home
Light is an essential element to the everyday life of people since the dawn of history. Its glow and illumination provide a sense of security and safety amidst the darkest times of the day. In pre-historic times, torch is the most common tool used for creating illumination in dark areas in people’s domicile.
Through time light has served different uses and applications. And at the present, a technology called solar-powered LED bulb, which reduces our dependency on electricity by almost 80%. It may sound fictitious but it is true. This new technology gives us a better option for illuminating our residences and establishments in a more environment-friendly way. Although majority of consumers do not yet realize the benefits and advantages of employing this technology but using solar-powered LED bulbs can help you preserve electricity, protect the environment and save money. Apparently, this is an absolute win-win situation for users and manufacturers.
Indoor solar lighting can be employed for providing illumination in your shed, garage gazebo or your living room as well. The good thing about using LED solar light is it only requires you a very little electricity compared to traditional bulbs used at homes and offices. Moreover, you don’t have to change the bulbs from time to time and power outages will no longer cause you trouble since it uses the energy that we get directly from the sun during daytime. Solar light system installation is simple and will not require you a lot of maintenance.
It is necessary that you set up a solar panel so you can gather solar energy from the sun during daytime. When it comes to selection of panel, you have to consider the type of building or structural needs of the intended area to be illuminated. There are a lot of manufacturers present in the manufacturers today who produce solar power lighting systems for small sheds and structures for your homes and business mounted solar panels for bigger applications.
As your solar lighting panels receive a significant amount of energy from the sun, it can now provide your home an amazing illumination. These indoor solar lightings are more advantageous to for different home applications because it is inexpensive and do not have cluttered electrical wires. This is also the reason why it is becoming widely used on farms to provide illumination on sheds and barns. This solar lighting is a guaranteed money saving and environment-friendly technology for your indoor lighting application.
Outdoor lights are also essential for our homes and establishments during night time. At night time, our property is more vulnerable to intruders and burglars. Illuminating our lawn and yard can help us ensure the safety of our home. This will also discourage them to break and enter your home or office. Many security lights are readily available in the market today. Your pool can now be easily lighted with floating and glowing solar powered decorative lights. You will be delighted by different solar light styles that you can use for all your yard and landscape needs.
Solar-powered LED lighting is the new and the most energy-efficient way of illuminating our properties and residences. This technology is another helpful breakthrough in science that helps consumers save energy, preserve the environment and save money.
Remy Santos is an advocate of green living. She encourages consumers to switch to environment-friendly products like LED solar lighting.
Irvine has always been a city on the cutting edge of technology, from its very inception. Not only do major technology corporations find a home in the city, but it can boast the University of California, Irvine, as well, doing its part to educate the next generation and keep California, the United States, and the world moving forward. One way for the everyday citizen to help things move forward is very simple – solar electric panels in Irvine.
Cities in Southern California are known for sun, which makes them particularly suited for using all that great weather to power their homes and businesses. Solar electric panels in Irvine are more popular than ever before – as the price of standard electricity rises, the price of solar power remains low. In the current economy, people are looking for savings wherever they can find them, and solar power is one of the ways to do it.
Homes and businesses are not the only places to benefit from solar electric panels in Irvine. The school district started a program to install solar panels on the canopies of parking lots in their schools – it created a savings of $220,000 in the first year. Of course, the school district is now seeking to expand. They hope to save between $5 million and $11 million over the next two decades.
An individual home owner won’t save nearly that amount of money, of course, but the fact remains – this renewable power is simply cheaper. Don’t look at the cost of installation or the cost of the equipment. Instead consider how the power bill can drop to a tiny fraction of what it once was, even down to nothing, once the solar panels start working.
There are likely those out there still worried about the initial price, but there’s no need to fear. California has many rebates, tax incentives, and outright discounts available for those who want to convert to clean energy easily and cheaply. This does not even include the companies that already sell what they have at a low price, even going so far as to allow payment on installment plans – which will be all the more easy to do once the electricity bill drops.
Net metering is the most common way to save money while helping out the community. A solar-powered building almost always generates more power than it needs, even though so much power is used at night. This excess power can be sent to the local utility, in effect moving the meter of the solar home backward, reducing the utility bill often to zero. There are relatively few days in Southern California that see no sunlight, and even overcast days provide some power, which means saving money is easy.
California has made a considerable effort to go green, and it isn’t only because of the effect on the environment. Solar electric panels in Irvine, or indeed, anywhere in the nation, are a great cost-saving measure, for home, for businesses, or even for public facilities, as the administrators of Irvine Unified School District discovered.
Renewable energy for home owners is growing in popularity, with more and more solar panels especially appearing on the rooftops above residential areas at an increasing rate. There is, however, still a big question for a lot of people thinking about investing in solar power – is it worth it? There are two main advantages to installing solar panels – the savings in your utility bills and the reduction in your carbon footprint. The potential savings for both of these come down to the amount of electricity you use which a solar panel array could replace; the less electricity you need to buy from your utilities provider, the lower your bill and the less CO2 emissions you will be responsible for.
Calculating Potential Electricity Generation
The first step to estimating potential cost savings, therefore, is estimating how much electricity you could generate from a solar power array on your house. To do this we need three pieces of information – the average solar radiation in your area, the typical conversion efficiency of a solar panel and the available surface area for the panels.
There are several types of solar panels available, but the two most commonly used for residential installations are Poly and Monocrystalline solar panels. Monocrystalline are slightly more efficient than polycrystalline panels and are increasingly becoming the work-horse option for residential use. They convert available sunlight at an efficiency of around 10%. That is to say that for every 1kWh of available energy coming from the sunlight the panel is exposed to, the panel will be able to generate about 0.1kWh of electricity.
The available solar radiation varies depending on how close you are to the equator and what the typical weather conditions are like – lots of cloud is going to mean less solar radiation. With a bit of digging around, you can usually find solar radiation data for just about anywhere in the world. For example, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has detailed maps for the US as well as many other countries. In particular, we’re looking for data on the annual average Kilowatt Hour Per Meter Squared Per day (kWh/m2/Day) based on solar photovoltaic resource potential.
The available surface area for your panels is going to dictate how much sunlight you can gather. Typically this is going to be the available surface area of your most southerly facing roof. If you can’t safely climb onto the roof to measure the surface area, you can measure the length of the house and estimate the height based on that.
So, with these numbers we can estimate the total amount of electricity we can generate in a year by multiplying the surface area by the annual average kWh/m2/Day by 365 by 10% or:
Where A is the surface area of the roof and S is the annual average kWh/m2/Day.
Estimating Carbon Footprint Reduction
The amount of carbon dioxide produced from generating electrical power from conventional utility companies varies somewhat depending on how the electricity is generated. In Iceland it’s going to be a lot less than in China where the former uses predominantly geothermal power while the latter is highly dependent on fossil fuels. If you live in a country that has a ‘typical’ mix of power generation sources then 1 pound of carbon dioxide per 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity is generally a good rule of thumb. If you want to get more precise, your utility provider or government energy bodies may publish more specific figures.
In any case, now that we know how much electricity our solar array could potentially produce, working out our carbon footprint reduction is as simple as multiplying the carbon cost of 1kWh of energy by the total amount of electricity we estimate we can produce per year.
Estimating Potential Cost Savings
To estimate cost savings we need to find out how much your utility company charges you per kilowatt-hour. This should be displayed on your bill. Alternatively, they might detail their rates on their website or an independent body may have aggregated data. Again, these rates will vary widely depending on the mix of generation methods used and how costly it is. For example, in the United States, the average cost for Residential consumers last year was 11.8 cents per kWh. However, consumers in New Jersey were paying an average of 16.24 cents whilst those in Washington were only paying 8.33 cents per kWh.
Again, once you have this figure (or a typical average) you can estimate the potential cost savings from your solar array by multiplying the cost per kilowatt hour by the total amount of kWh of electricity you have estimated you will generate in a year.
To finish off, let’s look at some examples to see how this all comes together and to also get an idea of differences in different regions. As we’ve already looked at the differences in costs of electricity between New Jersey and Washington, let’s use Trenton and Seattle as examples along with Los Angeles in California. We’ll assume an area of 20m2 for our solar panels and a CO2 cost of 1lbs/kWh for all cases (note that the solar radiation figures used here are approximates).
Trenton, New Jersey
Potential Energy Per Year = 20×3.5x365x0.1 = 2555 kWh/Year
Potential Carbon Footprint Reduction = 2555 lbs/Year
Potential Cost Savings = 2555×0.0833 = $212.84/Year
Potential Energy Per Year = 20×4.7x365x0.1 = 3431 kWh/Year
Potential Carbon Footprint Reduction = 3431 lbs/Year
Potential Cost Savings = 3431×0.1624 = $557.20/Year
Los Angeles, California
Potential Energy Per Year = 20×6.1x365x0.1 = 4453 kWh/Year
Potential Carbon Footprint Reduction = 4453 lbs/Year
Potential Cost Savings = 4453×0.1524 = $678.64/Year
I think these numbers are enough to get across the point that the actual cost savings will vary depending on where you live and this value needs to be weighed against the cost of installation on an individual basis.
Whilst these calculations give a good ballpark for the potential savings you could make with solar panels there are other considerations to take into account when planning an installation:
* Cost of installation – get multiple estimates!
* Additional shade (eg surrounding buildings, trees etc.) that might affect your potential power output
* Direction your roof faces and it’s angle
* Up-keep costs – although solar panels are very low maintenance and typically have a lifespan of 25+ years this should be taken into consideration when estimating life-time savings
* Selling back to the grid – if you don’t use all of the electricity you generate, you can usually sell it back to the utility companies which may increase or lower the overall value of the power you generate
Oliver is a keen advocate of renewable energy and the benefits it can have for both the environment and the consumer’s pocket. He writes about how to get the most out of solar power for Solar Contact, a US website aimed at helping consumers find solar installers.
When we consider the many advantages of Solar Energy compared to traditional energy sources, the flexibility of setting up a photovoltaic system wherever the sun shines seems to be the biggest benefit. Freed from dependency upon a power grid, the installation will make solar power available to consumers in any location.
The Need For Renewable Energy Sources
With awareness of renewable resources on the increase, both domestic and industrial users have begun to take a fresh look at solar power. Once the initial costs have been met, and the users provided with a system, they can also benefit from government grants for grid-connected solar systems. Setup costs have also fallen over the past few years.
Energy In The Industrial World
In industrialised countries the majority of energy comes from coal, gas and nuclear energy, while solar power still accounts for less than 1% of total production. The costs of gas and coal extraction and their eventual contribution to pollution are of increasing concern, whereas solar energy remains clean, free and unlimited.
Solar Energy Set Up
The technical requirements for setting up a photovoltaic system are firstly a survey to see if your property is suitable for conversion, with a roof orientated towards the sun and strong support for the weight of the panels. Domestic solar systems produce between 2 and 5 kilowatts of energy which will be supplemented by the home’s grid supply if this is not sufficient. On a sunny day the output can exceed the consumption of the home and this excess wattage will be channeled back into the grid. The expense of setting up the system will soon be absorbed by its productive lifespan (typically 25-30 years).
Why You Should Consider Installing Solar Energy?
Owners will receive a Micro Generation Certificate Scheme to permit you to apply for rebates from the government, essentially to pay you back for any extra energy your system feeds back into the system. The disadvantages of solar power include its high initial setup costs, the lack of reliable generation in less sunny climates such as the UK, and the fact that it won’t generate at night. Traditional energy sources may keep the lights burning until the wee small hours, but solar power is the only source that pays its users to consume it.
Increased innovation and development have led to reduced installation costs for the consumer, and this technology also extends to solar water heating (which is also subject to the same limitations on daylight exposure as solar panels). Interested users should approach a reputable solar energy supplier for a survey. The Department of Energy & Climate Change can provide information on the financial incentives for users of solar energy. With solar power now providing a realistic alternative to traditional sources for consumers all over the world there are now greater options for access to solar energy – backed up by governments worldwide.
Solar professionals Solar Contact provide advice on the benefits of turning to green energy, and its advantages and disadvantages compared with more traditional sources