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About Solar Energy
Solar power is energy from the sun that is transformed into thermal or electrical energy.
Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable resource source available, and the United States has some of the richest solar resources worldwide. Modern innovation can harness this energy for a variety of usages, consisting of producing electricity, supplying light or a comfortable interior environment, and heating water for domestic, commercial, or industrial usage.
Solar power makes it possible for home owners to use the sun to power everyday life: running your air conditioning unit, washing clothes, watching TELEVISION, cooking supper. All while decreasing your carbon footprint, and without burning fossil fuels or putting a stress on the electrical grid. And while the environmental benefits of solar power are significant, numerous residents discover that the convenience, special features, and cost savings of owning a solar power system are a lot more attractive.
Top 10 Advantages of Solar Energy
#1 Drastically reduce and even eliminate your electric expenses
Whether you're a property owner, service, or not-for-profit, electrical energy expenses can make up a big part of your monthly costs. With a photovoltaic panel system, you'll produce complimentary power for your system's entire 25+ year lifecycle. Even if you don't produce 100 percent of the energy you consume, solar will minimize your utility expenses and you'll still save a lot of cash.
#2 Earn an excellent return on your investment
Photovoltaic panels aren't a cost-- they are among the finest ways to invest, with returns equaling those of more traditional investments like stocks and bonds. Thanks to substantial electrical power bill cost savings, the average American property owner pays off their solar panel system in 7 to eight years and sees an ROI of 20 percent or more.
#3 Protect versus increasing energy expenses
Among the most clear cut advantages of photovoltaic panels is the capability to hedge energy prices. In the previous 10 years, property electrical energy prices have actually gone up by an average of three percent annually. By buying a solar energy system now, you can fix your electricity rate and secure versus unpredictable boosts in electricity costs. If you're a business or homeowner with fluctuating capital, going solar also assists you better forecast and manage your expenses.
#4 Increase your home value
Several research studies have actually found that homes equipped with solar energy systems have higher property worths and offer faster than non-solar houses. Appraisers are increasingly taking solar setups into factor to consider as they value homes at the time of a sale, and as property buyers end up being more educated about solar, need for homes equipped with solar panel systems will continue to grow.
#5 Boost U.S. energy independence
The sun is a near-infinite source of energy and a crucial component of accomplishing energy self-reliance in the United States. By increasing our capability to create electrical energy from the sun, we can also insulate our country from price fluctuations in worldwide energy markets.
#6 Create jobs and assist your regional economy
According to The Solar Foundation, the solar industry added tasks at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the general U.S. economy in 2015, representing 1.2 percent of all jobs in the country. This growth is expected to continue. Due to the fact that solar-related tasks tend to be higher paying and can not be outsourced, they are a significant factor to the U.S. economy.
#7 Safeguard the environment
Solar is an excellent method to reduce your carbon footprint. Buildings are responsible for 38 percent of all carbon emissions in the U.S., and going solar can substantially reduce that number. A normal residential solar panel system will remove 3 to four lots of carbon emissions each year-- the equivalent of planting over 100 trees every year.
#8 Show your commitment to sustainability
Sustainability and business social obligation are important components of an organization's culture and values. They likewise produce bottom line outcomes. Significantly, consumers and neighborhoods are acknowledging and rewarding organisations that opt to run properly. Companies are finding that "green" qualifications are an effective driver of consumer purchasing choices, developing goodwill and enhancing service results.
#9 Start Conserving from Day 1
Solar purchase power contracts (PPAs) and solar leasing has made it possible for house owners to go solar for little or no loan down.
Lots of homeowners decide to fund their solar panels with among the "pay-as-you-go" financing choices. This suggests that a third-party business-- the solar provider-- owns the planetary system and looks after setup, upkeep, monitoring and repairs. You simply pay the solar provider for electricity-- less than you would've paid the energy business.
Since June 2013, 75% of all American houses have access to pay-as-you-go solar.
#10. Solar is a Secure Financial investment
The energy companies are well-known for their varying and undependable electrical energy prices. There is plainly an upward pattern.
With photovoltaic panels and simple math, we can determine what does it cost? electrical energy will be produced, and most notably, at what rate, for a minimum of the next 20 years (repaired energy expenses).
What are the various payment options?
We have many flexible purchasing agreements for customers who would like to install a new home solar system. There are three different payment options, making them a viable choice for customers of all budgets. The payment options include Lease, PPA, and Purchase.
- Low, fixed payments each month
- System insurance for 20 years, including maintenance
- Flexible end-of-term options, including system upgrade, lease extension, and free panel removal
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
- We own the solar panel system
- $0 down for installation
- Customers only pay for the solar energy that they use
- Customer pays for the system upfront and owns the system
- System monitoring and maintenance for 20 years
- Receive 30% federal tax credit
- See a return on investment within 7-10 years
What happens when the contract for my lease is finished?
We provide our customers with a few different options for when their lease contract is up. Customers can upgrade their equipment to the newest solar technology available, extend the agreement, or have the panels removed at no cost.
What is the warranty?
The Lease and PPA include a 20-year warranty during the lifetime of the system. This warranty exceeds that of most other solar installers’ warranties.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Make A Solar Panel To Power My House?
Or Where Can I Get One Already Made?
Is It Reasonable?
You may want to think about building your own solar panels…
Let me start off by saying we (Agua-Luna) are a non-profit organization that live, promote & teach 100% “off grid” living & complete self sufficiency”. To give you an idea of this, we typically don’t leave the Ranch but once or twice a year.
The following steps were taking directly out of a DIY guide I offer to those who would like to run their homes on solar power, reducing their monthly utility bills or even selling power back the electrical companies. The entire guide is available at http://www.agua-luna.com/diy_guides.html. It’s pretty simple but if you have any problems feel free to email us directly at [email protected] we can walk you threw the process.
Materials you will need…
A sheet of copper flashing from the hardware store. This normally costs about $5.00 per square foot. We will need about half a square foot.
Two alligator clip leads.
A sensitive micro-ammeter that can read currents between 10 & 50 microamperes. Radio Shack sells small LCD multimeters that will do, but I used a small surplus meter with a needle.
An electric stove. My kitchen stove is gas, so I bought a small one-burner electric hotplate for about $25. The little 700 watt burners probably won't work -- mine is 1100 watts, so the burner gets red hot.
A large clear plastic bottle off of which you can cut the top. I used a 2 liter spring water bottle. A large mouth glass jar will also work.
Table salt. We will want a couple tablespoons of salt.
Sand paper or a wire brush on an electric drill.
Sheet metal shears for cutting the copper sheet.
The first step is to cut a piece of the copper sheeting that is about the size of the burner on the stove. Wash your hands so they don't have any grease or oil on them. Then wash the copper sheet with soap or cleanser to get any oil or grease off of it. Use the sandpaper or wire brush to thoroughly clean the copper sheeting, so that any sulphide or other light corrosion is removed.
Next, place the cleaned & dried copper sheet on the burner & turn the burner to its highest setting.
As the copper starts to heat up, you will see beautiful oxidation patterns begin to form. Oranges, purples, & reds will cover the copper.
As the copper gets hotter, the colors are replaced with a black coating of cupric oxide. This is not the oxide we want, but it will flake off later, showing the reds, oranges, pinks, & purples of the cuprous oxide layer underneath.
The last bits of color disappear as the burner starts to glow red.
When the burner is glowing red-hot, the sheet of copper will be coated with a black cupric oxide coat. Let it cook for a half an hour, so the black coating will be thick. This is important, since a thick coating will flake off nicely, while a thin coat will stay stuck to the copper.
After the half hour of cooking, turn off the burner. Leave the hot copper on the burner to cool slowly. If you cool it too quickly, the black oxide will stay stuck to the copper.
As the copper cools, it shrinks. The black cupric oxide also shrinks. But they shrink at different rates, which makes the black cupric oxide flake off.
The little black flakes pop off the copper with enough force to make them fly a few inches. This means a little more cleaning effort around the stove, but it is fun to watch.
When the copper has cooled to room temperature (this takes about 20 minutes), most of the black oxide will be gone. A light scrubbing with your hands under running water will remove most of the small bits. Resist the temptation to remove all of the black spots by hard scrubbing or by flexing the soft copper. This might damage the delicate red cuprous oxide layer we need to make to solar cell work.
Cut another sheet of copper about the same size as the first one. Bend both pieces gently, so they will fit into the plastic bottle or jar without touching one another. The cuprous oxide coating that was facing up on the burner is usually the best side to face outwards in the jar, because it has the smoothest, cleanest surface.
Attach the two alligator clip leads, one to the new copper plate, & one to the cuprous oxide coated plate. Connect the lead from the clean copper plate to the positive terminal of the meter. Connect the lead from the cuprous oxide plate to the negative terminal of the meter.
Now mix a couple tablespoons of salt into some hot tap water. Stir the saltwater until all the salt is dissolved. Then carefully pour the saltwater into the jar, being careful not to get the clip leads wet. The saltwater should not completely cover the plates -- you should leave about an inch of plate above the water, so you can move the solar cell around without getting the clip leads wet.
now place in the sun with the magnified on top.
The solar cell is a battery, even in the dark, & will usually show a few microamps of current.
That’s it it’s that simple. If you’d a more detailed process & some pics (could
South Facing Solar Panels?
So I Reckon It'S Time To Install Some Of These Bad Boys. It'S Come To Point Where Electricity Providers Are Charging Such Extortionate Amounts That I Can Definitely See These Reaping Huge Rewards Before Long. (Okay I Might Be Exaggerating A Little - They Are Pretty Costly Themselves).
The Problem Is I'Ve Read Around That They'Re Only Fitted To South Facing Houses? Why So? Why Can'T They Be Installed On The Rear Side Of The Roof - The Side Facing The Garden? My House Is Facing North, So The Front Door Leads North. Could I Have Solar Panels Installed On The Back? (That'S Basically My Question, With A Bit Of A Rant Too Lol).
You want the panels facing south because that is where they would get the most sunlight throughout the day. If your front door is facing north, then the back of your house would be facing south, right? So put them up in the back where they are facing south...haha wtf..
What Percent Of Your Friends Who Voted For Obama, Installed Solar Panels On Their Roof In The Last Two Years?
none, as far as I know... I don't think they could afford solar panels before the recession, never mind now.
What Solar Energy Projects Are Cost Effective?
Are Photovoltaic Cost Justified?
Are Solar Water Heaters Cost Justified?
Is A Windmill On Windy Property Cost Justified?
From a mico-economic (personal) perspective conservation often holds the most pay back dollars. Photovoltaic systems in the lab are now around 40% efficient with projections up to around 60%. What you can currently buy is around 14% efficient. This does not mean the same thing as a fueled system where operating costs are the primary consideration, but it does have an impact on how much of a system you will have to buy. Photovoltaics are still dependent upon subsidies and tax credits.
Solar water heaters depend upon a different principal. Solar thermal collectors are from 60 to 80% efficient now. The vacuum tube collectors are effective in cloudy weather and in cold environments. There are several reasons for this. Getting heat from the sun goes back thousands of years and there were solar thermal panels and water heaters in California in the early part of the 20th century. So it is a much older technology. Also the inefficient part of the photovoltaic systems are partially because of reflected energy and energy that is transformed to heat. A solar hot water system to get around 80% of required domestic hot water has a pay back period of 2 to 3 years. After this the savings go in the bank. This makes solar hot water systems cost effective.
Other solar thermal applications would include more south facing windows and a solar room (greenhouse.)
Solar thermal is also being used on a large scale to produce electricity. Pilot plants have three main designs:
Power towers where heliostats reflect sunlight onto a target. This system seems to work well as a hybrid with a gas fired power plant to take over when needed.
A hyperbolic dish reflector eliminates the need for much of the moving hardware of the above needed to track the sun.
A trough collector system eliminates even more of the tracking hardware. There are several other options.1
But I haven't seen any numbers that indicate that these facilities are competitive without the subsidies that nuclear, petrochemicals or coal receives There are advocates that propose to strip all subsidies but this would collapse the nuclear industry2 and who knows where the others would fall.
Wind energy is very close to par. I have seen some numbers around 6 cents per kwh with the goal being around 5 cents per kwh. Again not counting the "true cost of coal." But the problem with any renewable source regardless of its efficiency or cost effectiveness is that it will only work with some kind of a back up system To the extent that this is "the grid" and someone can be producing when someone is not the cost of duplication will have to be compared to the cost of overbuilding and the increase in efficiency over the current systems production which is around 30%.
To the extent that we have to build more storage into our grid, be it batteries, flywheels, pumped hydro, CAES or something else, it will become more efficient but will also have a price tag associated with it. This is progress.3
But just where do you want to stop considering the financial issues? Solar would be a "domestic" product where, for the US both nuclear fuel and petrochemicals are imports. Protecting the foreign supplies is our very expensive military. India and China are huge nations that want more industrialization. This will be dependent upon energy. Will we use our military to make sure neither of these countries become industrialized? If competition makes our supplies dwindle our costly military may be of little help to us. The silent subsidy of our military may then be more of a liability than a benefit to our energy policy.
Coal fuels slightly less than 50% of our electrical grid. But there are costs in pollution from this activity that go beyond what we pay for each kwh of electricity. I lost a slate roof to acid rain. If I were to add the cost of replacing that roof to my electric bills it would appear that coal can be quite expensive. This is not to speak of health issues or their cost and associated suffering.4
When Does A Pv Panel Pay For Itself?
Now I Know That Many Would Say We Should Do It Out Of Principle, But I'M Only Going To Do It If It Actually Pays Off. I'M All About Taking Care Of The Earth God Gave Us, But I Have To Be Practical Until I'Ve Got A Few More Bucks To Play With.
So... What Is The Most Cost Effective Solar Energy Source For A Single Family Home, And How Long Before I Can Expect It To Pay For Itself.
I Also Realize, Of Course, That There Are A Lot Of Variables In Here, The Biggest Of Which Is The Efficiency Of The Home Itself. Efficiency Upgrades Are The First Steps We Are Looking To Take, But I Am Interested In Pv Technology As Well.
In general solar thermal applications will pay for themselves faster than solar photovoltaic panels. This is because although photovoltaic panels in the lab have achieved efficiencies of around 40%, the ones you buy only achieve around 14%. Solar thermal panels can be 60 to 80% efficient. The technology is hundreds if not thousands of years old and much cheaper. The solar thermal vacuum tube collectors will work on cloudy and cold days.
But governmental and utility incentives help to bring down the payback period of photovoltaic as well. In general the more use you make of a photovoltaic system the quicker the pay back period. So it may not be cost effective to put in a geothermal heat pump and power it with photovoltaic. Cheaper electric resistance heat seems to work better.
With solar thermal cost will rise as you go from 80% to 100% usage. Depending upon the alternatives an 80% capacity system may pay back better than a 100% system.
Hot water systems can have pay back periods of 3 years or less.
solar heating applications may have a pay back period of 7 years or less.
Solar air conditioning is the latest entry into the solar thermal field and I have not yet seen payback numbers on this.
Payback periods of 10 to 20 years are not uncommon.
Using an electric car helps to lower the cost as does time of use metering with the grid as a "storage device." Below is an interesting article about the payback of a photovoltaic system that helps give the tesla roadster a 72 mile range using solar electricity alone.