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Solar Panel Examples in Czech Republic Europe

Solar Panels in Europe

Europe I think it is safe to say is leading much of the western world in terms of installing solar PV panels.  On a recent trip to the former communist country of the Czech Republic, I came across many examples of solar in use.  Even in some very small towns and villages, solar electricity is making a big impact and will be helping out families and businesses for a very long time.  Of course solar is always a financial obstacle, but even in countries where one might not expect to find solar power, it can still make sense.

The cost of electricity in much of Europe is far more expensive when compared to many parts of the United States.  This for sure makes the solar equation much more palatable and with the economic incentives from local and federal governments, solar panel installations are increasing.

18 solar panels

 18 Solar Panel System

To the left is a great example of a local village home in Tynec, Czech Republic which is making the most out of their 18 panel solar system.  This system is approximately a 3.2 kw photovoltaic system, and in the summer months it can produce nearly 400 kwh of electricity which is over $100 in electricity in USD prices.  The solar panels are expected to last with great electricity output for another 24 years, and probably will be working well even at that future date.  This family never needs to clean them as it rains on and off all year long, and with a fully unobstructed view towards the sun, and with a proper solar angle, this system is set to go for a long time.

solar hot water Czech Republic

Solar Hot Water

To the left is another fine example of solar in use in Europe.  This is a simple 3 panel solar hot water system that provides piping hot water for this family house all throughout the year.  Solar hot water systems still are very economical, and much cheaper to order and install compared to PV solar, and they really help out with reducing the costs of heating water.  For anybody who is even remotely interested in solar, you should definitely figure out if your roof is a good candidate for solar hot water and start the planning phases now instead of later.


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Solar Apartment Complex Financial Equation

Apartment Solar Is Not Complex

Why is it that solar panels are not a more common sight on the average apartment complex in the United States?  Well, one of the biggest reasons is the cost factor, that we all know.  Another reason is that more often then not, the community that often makes up the ownership of the individual apartment units may not always agree or even desire to have solar panels producing electricity.  Especially if some of the apartment owners feel the solar panels are going to be an eye sore to their views.  But at the end of the day, there are lots of longterm financial equation reasons that a community owned solar PV system makes a ton of sense.

Sharing The Cost

If I was interested in moving into a newly built apartment building, and if I was also going to be an owner of a single apartment, solar does make sense.  What would be necessary however, is for some ground rules to be in place.  Some of these would be based on maximizing the financial benefits the solar electricity could offer the owners/apartment dwellers.  So for example, if the local utility is willing to allow for a grid connected solar system, that is obviously a huge first step.  Also, if there are certain maximums in terms of size of the solar system, that must be taken into consideration as well.  If it was possible for the solar system to be built while the building was being constructed, that would allow for installation costs to be as low as possible, which is also great.  And, if there was agreement to put all the electricity that is produced towards covering common costs that the apartment owners would otherwise being paying in HOA fees, well, that to me sounds like a good thing right?

In the event that there was an excess amount of clean solar power produced, and the local utility was offering a cash compensation back to the producers, well, that extra money could be put in the general fund of the apartment owners and use to cover other expenses.  With a program like this, the overall time and effort in deciding what to do with the solar power created would be minimal.  Everyone would be on the same page, and everyone would benefit as well.  And of course the 25 plus years of expected solar energy would most definitely increase in value over time.  And who knows, there might even be other bonuses out there such as selling REC’s (renewable energy credits) and maybe other deductions or incentives that could make the financial model look even more appealing.

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Solar Panels To Generate Power for Electric Cars

All Electric Solar Powered Cars

One of the most exciting inventions that the world came across was that of the automobile.  But as most scientists agree on, the burning of fossil fuels is harming our planet and may eventually lead to our extinction as a human race.  With this as the background for new thinking and discovery into solar power and specifically the way we look and use the great invention of the car, let’s all take a good look at how solar might get us all out of a huge mess.

There are many great thinkers and scientists working nearly 24 hours a day on different ways to control and solve the energy issues that face our planet.  Solar panels just might be able to provide a key to long term success.  Below is an equation that will try to unfold some of the mysteries that exist between automobiles that are powered by electricity, and if they make great financial sense or not.

One of the questions that everyone wants to know is, how much electricity and solar power would really be needed to power up, or rather to charge the batteries of an electric vehicle.  The answer is not too difficult to figure out.  We do need to know just a few variables.

Solar and Electric Powered Car Variables:

Kilo Watt Hours per mile:  .4  kwh needed per mile driven

Average miles driven per Month: 1,000

Solar Sunlight hours per day at home: 5

So, let’s figure out the size of a solar system that would be needed to propel a fully electric car 1,000 miles per month.

Here is the math:

1,000miles * .4kwh/mile = 400 kwh needed

400kwh/30= Solar system must produce 13.33 kwh/day

13.33kwh/5 sunlight hours= 2.66 kw per hour of sunlight need to be produced

2.66 (1.2) = 3.2 kW DC solar system would propel an electric car 1000 miles per month

3.2 kW system at $6/watt = $19,000 Total Cost

Minus a 30% Solar tax credit

= $13,440 Net Solar System Cost after Tax Credit

So, if you look at the alternative situation, lets say you buy a car that runs on gasoline.  And you need to buy $4/gallon gas for the year, and the MPG of the car is 30 MPG.  That would mean you would need to buy: $1,600 of gas per year.  If you had the car for 10 years and the gas prices remained the same(which I doubt will be the case) that would be around $16,000.  Of course there is a benefit from the time value of money, but you can at least get an idea for what the options are.


I personally would rather have an electric car, and pay for the electricity to charge it, which might be around $60/month.

Hopefully, we will see some considerable changes and advances in batteries and solar power over the next few years which will make solar powered electric cars mainstream.

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How To Calculate Electricity from a Big Solar PV System

How To Calculate Electricity from a Big Solar PV System

Today, let’s all try to figure out how much electricity is being produced from a large photovoltaic solar system.  This particular system is located in an area where there are a few different factors taking place.  First, you can see from the picture that the sunlight is not clear, and that there is quite a bit of fog or clouds in-between the sun and the PV.  Also, you can notice that all of the panels are mounted at an angle towards the sun.

tilted solar panels

the solar system used for this equation

In order to figure out how many kilo watt hours of electricity are produced by this system, we need to understand some of the variables.  In other words, we need to know the variables that are part of the electricity output equation.

The information we need to solve the math equation relating to solar output are:

  1. the number of solar panels
  2. the wattage of the solar panels
  3. Angle towards the sun that is ideal for the solar panels to rest (latitude minus 15 degrees)
  4. The amount of average sunlight hours per day for this particular region
  5. The percent of energy loss from this particular system
  6. The amount of shading that occurs each day while the sun is shining

For this equation: The information above is the following:

  1. 396 solar panels
  2. 195 watts per solar panel
  3. The solar panels are mounted at the best angle which is 23 degrees (latitude of 38, minus 15 degrees, equals 23 degrees)
  4. The average sunlight hours per day figure is exactly 5 hours of sun per day and was found on the sunlight hours page
  5. This system loses 14% of it’s energy from both the inverter and other energy loss areas
  6. The shading is roughly 15% according to the Solarpathfinder analysis which calculated shading amounts

Calculating the Electricity from this Solar System:

First: Calculate the total number of watts you have from the solar panels:

396 * 195 = 77,220 watts

Second: Since the solar panels are in-fact mounted at a great angle towards the sun (south to south west) at 23 degrees, which is ideal in this particular location.  As a general rule, your degrees of latitude minus 15 degrees is almost always the ideal angle to mount your solar panels.  (For this particular equation, direction of the panels and angle of the panels is not going to detract from optimal performance.)

Third: OK, now we need to keep the equation moving forward by determining how many kwh (kilo watt hours) this system is going to produce.  We can do that by multiplying the larger watt figure of the system which was 77,220 watts, to make this easier, we will turn that into 77.22 kW for a system size.  So, take the 77.20 kWh * 5 hours per day and that will give: 386.1 kwh/day.

Fourth: We need to determine how much energy is going to be lost, and the first thing that we know is we have shade in this location.  The 15% shading figure will directly impact the energy output in a negative way.  And this is how it’s calculated:

386.1 kwh * 15% shade = 58 kwh each day lost due to shade

Also, we have a 14% energy loss in the conversion from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current). So, add in this next part of the energy loss:

386.1 kwh – 58 kwh= 328.1 kwh produced in DC.

328.1 * 14% = 46 kwh lost in the energy conversion


So after everything is completed, the Solar Energy output of this solar system is going to be:

282.1 kwh each day

solar panel angle

these solar panels have custom made stands to rest on


If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I will respond to you right away.



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How To Calculate Solar Panels For Daily Electricity Use

calculating solar

So often people ask me how to begin figuring out how much money a PV solar panel system is going to cost.  Come on, it is by far the most common question asked on this website and it has been for over two years now which is how long the site has been around.  So, let’s take a moment and talk about how you can figure out your solar system’s expected costs once again.  The math is really quite simple.

Steps for Calculating Solar Costs to Meet Electric Needs:

Step 1:  Figure out how many kilo watt hours or KWH’s of electricity your house uses on an annual basis.

Step 2: Take that annual number and divide it by 365 days to figure out your average daily kwh use for your home.  Hopefully this number will be something that is less than 50kwh per day.  If you are using more than that, you are consuming more electricity than the average household which is fine, but you should also be thinking of ways to conserve energy if possible.

Step 3: Now, we need to calculate the average hours of sunlight you have in your local area per day each year.  You can use the solar sunlight data page to figure this out.

Step 4: Now that you have some of the main math figures, we can begin calculating exactly how many solar panels you can expect to 100% eliminate your electric bill.

Start with your daily kwh usage number.  We will call that “X”

Next, let’s call your daily sunlight figure “Y”

So,  X/Y= Average KWH Use Divided By Sunlight hours.

That new number is going to be “Z”.  Which represents how many kwh the solar system must produce each hour it is working.

Let’s assume for example that Z= 10 kwh.  That means the system must produce 10 kwh each hour that it has sunlight each day.  That would create enough electricity to eliminate your electric bill and allow you to run on solar alone.  But still, we need to figure out how many solar panels that would be.

Step 5:  If we need to produce 10kwh (10,000 watt hours) each hour we still need to know how many watts each solar panel can produce.  If each 200 watt PV solar panel produces 160 watts of electricity after energy loss is factored in, we can do the math of 10,000/160 to figure out how many solar panels we might need.  This would equal 62 solar panels.

NOTE: Your numbers are likely to be different because your home’s sunlight hours and also your homes annual electricity use numbers are different.  But, the formula above is what you need to use to gain an understanding of how many solar panels are required to eliminate your energy bill.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact




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Just Little Solar Energy in Dallas, Texas

Solar Energy has most definitely not hit it off big yet in many parts of Texas.  That is surely the case for one of the largest cities of Dallas.  During a recent visit to Dallas, it became clear after flying over parts of the city that they were not nearly as progressive with putting up solar panels on buildings compared to cities like Austin and even Houston.

Take for example a building which was located very near to the airport.  It appears to have a great flat roof with  absolutely no obstructions to the sunlight, yet there is not a single solar panel installed to produce electricity.  Here is a picture of the Dallas, TX building which needs to have solar panels installed:  building that needs solar panels in Dallas, TX

To the defense of many of the residents and businesses in the Dallas, TX area, there is a very good chance that the lack of solar panels is not because of anything other than economics.  Although the price of labor and solar panels has decreased in Texas over the past five years, the solar investment is still often out of reach for most homeowners and businesses which leads to in-action on solar project ideas.  Another very important factor is the differences that exist even within states in terms of the prices end users pay for electricity.  KWH(kilo watt hour) prices can vary considerably even just a few hundred miles from one spot to another within a large state such as Texas.  When the price of electricity is relatively cheap, it can make the financial case for a solar system even worse.

Hopefully someday in the near future, the price of solar panel will be so perfect, that all of the residents and businesses in Dallas, TX will be utilizing the sunlight in a much more self sustaining way compared to right now.

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Solar Panels Made For Farms

ground standing tilted solar panels

32 solar panels ground mounted at a farm

Farms all over the United States are going green with solar panels these days.  Not only are farmers having to pay through the nose for the high prices of electricity, but overall commodity prices are increasing for most of the other items that farmers need.  But, many of them, like the farmers in these pictures have found some ways to cut corners and reduce their costs on the energy consumption side, while thinking long term too.  The solar industry has been focused on the local farmers for many years, this is nothing new.  With the simple fact that farmers often times are in need of power and electricity that is far away from any electric panel, many farmers developed off grid solar systems to meet their energy needs years ago.

Today, things have become even easier for small and large farmers to cash in on sunlight and the solar electricity it produces, with the invention of grid connected solar panel systems, you don’t even need batteries anymore to make your own power on your farm.  The solar panels from these pictures are actually grid connected PV solar systems.  They simply collect the sunlight all day long, and as you can see there is absolutely no shade to worry about, and they feed the energy back into the electric meter.  When the property is producing more electricity than they are consuming, the meter spins backwards.  The opposite is true when they use more power than they are making.  Overall, the reality of farming is that electricity is needed to run a farming operation in this modern world, and with an abundance of sunlight, farms are an ideal place to have solar panels.


rural solar panels

32 solar panels on the ground


The ground mounted solar system option utilized on this farm works very well for two reasons.  The first reason is the angle these panels have towards the sun is ideal because they are situated at a south-west direction towards the sun.  Also, the angle of these solar panels is setup perfectly and adapted to the ground mounting hardware racks, so the panels can sit at approximately 22 degrees and face the sun at the same time.  This is a 32 panel solar system, and its about 5.4kw in size, so it will be producing a sizable amount of kilo watt hours each month, but not all productive systems need to be this large.




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250 KWH Per Month of Solar

For the common American family who is getting ready for the big energy using months of the year, an extra load of electricity being provided by solar panels would be a much needed boost, and especially if it was a considerable amount of power like 250 KWH every month.

What would the financial benefit be for saving 250 KWH per month on your electric bill from solar power?

The answer is going to depend on the type of electric bill you are set on.  If you have a flat rate plan per kilo watt hour, you can simply multiply the 250 kwh’s by the price you pay for each kwh from your utility.  That generally is going to be equal to about $0.15/kwh for an average.  The number does vary state by state, but that would equal about $37.50 in savings each month on your electric bill.  This may not sound like tons of money, but it can sure start to add up quickly.  For example, if you begin to factor in the reality that electricity prices are expected to continually rise in the coming years and pretty much forever, this savings will also continue to grow.

The 250 kwh solar production numbers are not always going to remain constant throughout the year.  What is most typical is that when the months of June, July, August, and September come around, the energy production numbers tend to increase because there are more sunlight hours.  This is almost always the case with anybody who uses solar power in the United States.

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New Solar Rebates of $2/watt for Progress Energy FL Customers

New FL Solar Rebate

In just a few more weeks, starting March 15th, 2011, Progress Energy’s Florida customers will be able to submit applications for a new solar panel rebate incentive.  This new program is going to make tons of families happy who are interested in having solar panels on their roof in this part of Florida.  With so many of the previous rebate programs ending in Florida due to the overwhelming demand, the expectation is that this program will also be maxed out very quickly.

Rules of the Progress Energy Rebate Program

In order for your new solar panels to be eligible for the rebate, the system must be installed by a licensed solar company.  Also, the system must be connected to the Progress Energy Utility grid, which would mean the system’s all must be grid tied systems.  (Having a grid connected system is actually preferred because it means that any extra electricity you generate, will be pumped back into the grid and not lost.)  The solar electric system size requirements are between 2kw – 10kw in total kilowatt size.  The rebate amount is set at $2/watt and the maximum rebate is $20,000.  There is a budget of $1,000,000 set aside for this program and it will be used on a first come first served basis.

If you have any questions about this program, you may email for more information.

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