Tag Archive | "electric"

Solar Panels to Power an Electric Car

Today I was driving to the grocery store and I noticed a home had 32 PV solar panels on the roof. Also, as the garage door was open, it was easy to see that the home also had a Tesla Electric Car. So this seems to be an example of an American going bigtime Green right!??

So if we take the average sunlight hours per day for this home in Palo Alto, California which is about 5.4 hrs/day. And multiply it by the 32 solar panels (32 X200)= 6400 watt * 5.4 hrs = 34.56 kwh/day DC and then when we take that into AC with the expected energy loss of about 15% that would equal about 29 kwh/day of electricity being produced.

So the big question is, would this be sufficient electricity to run an electric car? Well we would need to know how many miles we wanted to go right? Well, Tesla Motors website talks about roughly 4 miles per kwh. So, that would mean that the 29 kwh from the solar system might be able to get the car to drive about 120 miles/day…

That doesn’t seem to be too bad. Either way, congrats to the man who is going solar and doing an electric vehicle at the same time.

Posted in Saving MoneyComments (0)

Home Solar Electric Systems Energy Production Video

The video has 7 examples of electric producing PV Grid connected solar panel systems.  Also, there are estimates as to how much money each system produces each month.  There are examples for a solar system in California with 5.5 sunlight hours and about $.22 per kwh for the cost factor.  Also, there are numbers used for several other states like New York, Texas, and Nevada and Arizona.  One thing that everyone should realize is that even though you may live in a state where there is tons of sunlight, that does not always mean that you will save more money compared to someone living in a less sunny state.  The reason is it also has to do with the average cost of electricity.

Also, the hope is that with the visuals from the video’s solar system examples, you will be able to see what it might look like to have solar panels on your roof.

Posted in Solar Equipment, VideosComments (0)

Large Municipal Solar Systems

If you are a city and you are thinking longterm, well why not think about solar electric?

That is exactly what the Industrial Waste in Santa Cruz, California is thinking about.  They are so interested in being around on this planet for the longterm, they decided to invest in a MASSIVE solar electric system.  You can even see pictures of the system from Google Maps satellite view.

By my guessing, it’s probably a 300-500 panel solar system.  This means that it could very easily be a 100kw system when its all said and done.  And, if that is the case, they could as well be producing about 400 kwh per day on average, somedays more, somedays less.  But either way, it something that is allowing them to take a bite out of their electric bill, and keeping the planet a bit greener.

If you too are part of a local government, and you are interested in finding out what solar can do for you.  I suggest that you take some time and speak with some of the local solar professionals in your area to understand what your options are.  The fact of the matter is this, right now, the costs of solar have come down quite considerably, and also, there are all kinds of government assistance programs that exist for local governments to get a project like this completed.

Here is a profile picture from about 500 feet away of some of the solar system installed at the Santa Cruz Industrial Waste center:

municipal solar system

Posted in Saving MoneyComments (0)

Pictures of Electric Solar Systems from Central California

There are all kinds of people who are living the solar dream in California.

On a recent trip to Santa Cruz, CA I was on a bike ride for just over two hours, and took all kinds of pictures of the locals and their home solar systems.  These are some of the pictures.

solar panels on roof in california

I really liked the solar system above because it blended in so well with the surrounding houses.  It really isn’t true what some people think about their solar electric systems being so ugly for all of their neighbors.  In fact, if you did not closely, you surely would miss this house’s solar system.  My best guess is that this is a 3kw system.

rooftop solar electric #1

Above is another picture of a nicely blended in solar system.  It looks as though this system doesn’t have any shade problems either.  My guess is that this is probably close to a 4kw solar system.

10 panel solar electric system
The solar system above is located on two seperate portions of the roof.  Sometimes space will force you to do something like this.  However, if this is you, make sure that you don’t have different amounts of shading for the different sections.  Otherwise you may find yourselves with a system that is not performing optimally.  And make sure you have  a solar installer who is very experienced installing this type of configuration.  And better yet, ask the installer if they have put in a solar electric system with this layout before.

solar hot water system on roof

This above is a solar hot water system.  You will notice that for solar hot water, the solar panels are generally much larger than the typical 3 foot by 5 foot solar electric panels.  A hot water solar system of this size is going to be able to produce plenty of water for a small apartment complex, and a swimming pool or two.  This is a pretty large system.

washing solar panels

When it comes time to wash your solar panels, take it easy on them, no need to be scrubbing too hard.  In general, for most parts of the country, there is absolutely no need to clean the solar panels on your system.  I think that since this particular house is located just a block from the Pacific Ocean, maybe they are trying to remove some of the salt that is always flying around in the area, to make sure it doesn’t mess up any of the electric connections on the panels themselves.

roof top solar electric

Above is maybe a 5 kw system as there seems to be two separate planes of solar panels all stacked together nicely in rows.

So there you have it.  Tons of different houses with many different sizes and shapes of solar electric systems.  All told, these systems together probably produce about $30-40 per day of electricity.

Posted in Solar EquipmentComments (0)

Examples of Solar Electric Panel Homes in California

Solar Power has been the most popular over the past ten years in the state of California. There are several reasons for that. Some of the reasons are due to the high cost of electricity in California, other reasons are that CA created several great solar buying incentives a few years ago. And others would argue that there is so much solar in California because that is where the tree huggers come from.

Here are some examples of solar power systems currently working and producing electricity on homes in California.

24 Electric Solar Panels System

24 panel electric solar system

This is a nice little 24 solar panel system on a roof facing south west on a home near Santa Cruz, California.

Posted in California, Solar EquipmentComments (0)

How to Make $100 of Electricity per month with Solar Panels

Solar Electricity is here for the longterm.   But one of the more difficult aspects of understanding solar, is determining the costs of a solar system vs. the benefits a homeowner gains when purchasing a system.

In this article, we will explain how you can produce $100 worth of electricity from your own home solar system.  And we will give details on how much the solar electric system would cost to produce that same amount of electricity.

To start, we need to choose a location in the United States to be working with.  This is important, because nearly every location has a unique amount of sunlight hours per year, and different locations also have different prices for electricity.  Another varialbe that should be taken into consideration are the current solar rebates that may or may not exist as this will affect the systems costs.(For this example, we will not take into consideration any rebates or tax incentives for solar)

Solar Example:

  • Location:  San Francisco, California
  • Average sunlight hours per day per year = 5.2
  • Average cost per kilo watt hour of electricity = $.23

So, first we need to determine how many kilo watt hours equal $100

  • $100/.23= 435 kwh equals $100

Next, we need to figure out what size solar electric system is necessary

  • 435 kwh would equal 435/30= 14.5 kwh per day
  • 14.5 kwh/day  divided by the average sun hours per day of 5.2 (14.5/5.2)=2.79kwh

So, 2.79 kwh AC need to be produced during each of the 5.2 average sunlight hours

Next, all we need to do is bring the 2.79 which is an Alternating Current number to DC and then we are finished. Since there is an energy loss going from DC to AC, the actual DC number will be about 18% larger than the AC number.

  • 2.79DC(1.18)= 3.29 kW solar system

So, in review, it looks like a 3.29 kW DC solar electric system would be able to produce about $100 of electricity per month for someone in San Francisco, CA.

That would be about a 20 panel solar system and would be roughly 300 sq. feet of solar panels.

Posted in Buying SolarComments (0)

Buying and Maintaining a Solar Electric PV System

PV Solar has the ability to make a positive impact on you and your home and your family in many ways.  But, there are some key components to buying and then keeping up your solar system that everyone should understand.

As we have talked about in previous articles, you want to receive several bids from several different solar contractors in your area before deciding on one.  This is going to be an expensive purchase, and one that is a long term investment, so take your time with this phase of the decision making.

You should seek a contractor who details the warranty and maintainence schedule on the proposal prior to making any final decisions.  Specifically, you want to make sure your contractor will be there to fix any problems that arise with the installation of the solar panels or the inverter or any other parts of the solar electric system.  A properly installed solar electric system should have very little maintaining needed, in fact, many owners of solar electric systems can go over ten years without needing to do a single thing to their properly installed system!

As for warranty information, be sure to figure out exactly what the warranty information is going to be on the solar panels and the inverter and any mounting gear that is part of the solar electric system.  Most solar panel makers offer a 20 year warranty, and usually the minimum warranty for solar electric inverters is 10 years, so make sure your contractor explains that to you.  Just so you understand as well, most local solar contractors have partnerships with local or national wholesalers of solar equipment.  They may even call themselves “authorized dealers” of certain types of solar electric equipment.  With this potentially being the case, they will know exactly the warranty information on the solar electric equipment.  If they do not know the warranty information, that might be a GREAT sign that you are dealing with an inexperienced “solar professional” and my advice would be to seek other options for your needs.

How to clean your Solar Electric System:

This is something that is simple. Usually, the rain will take care of all needed cleaning of the solar system, so you don’t need to worry about doing anything yourself.  Actually, in most cases, homeowners who try to get ontop of their roofs to “clean” their solar panels often cause more damage than good to the panels, so it is advised not to do much cleaning other than making it rain.

Another related article is about buying a 3 to 4 kw solar system

Posted in Buying SolarComments (1)

Solar Production for a 5kw System in Chicago

Today we are going to find out how many kilo watt hours of electricity a PV solar system will produce if it was located in the city of Chicago, and of course if there was no shade on the PV system.pv solar in chicago

There are a few different ways to figure this out. This post will explain the simplest way to determine the solar energy production.

-The size of the solar system that we will be measuring is going to be a 5.0 kw PV solar system. That is equal to a 5000 watt solar system because there are 1000 watts in a kw.(1000×5= 5000watts=5kW)

-The location that we will use to come up with an average sunlight hour number is Chicago, IL. The average number of sunlight hours there is about 4.4 hours per day.(Of course there are many more hours where people would consider it to be “light out”, but all “light out” hours are not equal, we need to average number of hours that solar panels would operate at maximum efficiency, othewise the math that would be needed for “its light outside hours” gets very complicated and returns the same answer.

-We will use an energy loss amount of approximately 15% when the current goes from DC to AC(yup, there is always going to be some energy loss in the form of heat mainly, and right now with todays technology(which is really good) the energy loss is unavoidable.)

So, here is the equation:
5000 wattsDC X 4.4 hours/day = 22,000 watt hoursDC/day = 22.2 kwh/day on average in DC

Next, we will factor in the energy loss of 15%:
22.2kwh X .15= 3.3 kwh of lost energy in the conversion to Alternating Current

Next we will figure out how much AC current is left to use:
22.2kwhDC-3.3kwh(lost)= 18.9 kwh AC produced per day

Next, we will figure out how many kilo watt hours are produced each month on average:
18.9 kwhAC/day X 30(days in the average month) = 567 kwh AC produced on average per month

Next, we will figure out how many kilo watt hours are produced on average per year:
567 kwh AC per month X 12(moths in the year) = 6,804 kwh per year

SO, in Las Vegas, Nevada, you could expect a 5.0 kwh solar system to produce approximately 6,804 kilo watt hours of electricity per year.

One of the assumptions is that there would be no shade hitting the solar panels as that would adversely affect the electricity production. Just think of it like this, if there is shade from a tree hitting the solar system for 20% of the day, the electric production of the solar panels is likely to be exactly 20% LESS than the number above, that’s a BIG BIG difference, and something you want to avoid.

When you are buying a solar system in Chicago, be sure to ask the solar professional to explain the expected sunlight hours to you. This is quite possibly the most important bit of data you need to know before writting any checks.

Also, since Chicago is a very progressive city in some respects, you might just luck out and run into a great Chicago solar incentive program when you are speaking with the local solar installers. Make sure to ask them what the current incentives are, it can save you bigtime on the solar purchase.

Posted in Illinois, Saving MoneyComments (0)

Buying a 3.0 to 4.0 Kilowatt Solar System

This is the average electric solar panel system purchased in the United States.

Most people who are interested in having a solar system on their home, want to make an impact in reducing their electric bill, and a 3.0 kilowatt to 4.0 kw PV solar system can do just that.  If you are interested in earning all kinds of extra income

175 watt solar panels

175 watt Solar Panels

from a solar electric system, the chances are you would need quite a bit larger system than one which is only 3 to 4 kilowatts.

The exact amount of electricity that a solar panel system of this size is going to produce is going to depend on the usual factors for any solar system anywhere in the US.  These factors are: 1) Sunlight hours, 2) Shading and 3) Orientation towards the sun.  To a lesser extent, outside temperature will also affect the solar panels production of electrity, but that’s nothing to be too worried about.

Buying a solar panel system of this size is going to be eligible for at least a 30% federal tax credit, and probably other state and local solar incentives.  What you should do is talk with the solar professional prior to agreeing on any prices and make sure the details of the incentives you are eligible for are written down in writing before you pay for the solar system.

Purchasing or Financing the Solar electric system:

Make sure to explore your options when it comes time to buy the system.  For over a year now, there are many great state backed and federally backed financing programs for homeowners to purchase solar power systems.  One of the main reasons is that these solar systems are looked at as a long term investment, and they add value to your home, so banks are more willing to loan money to homeowners because of that.  Also, there is a instant generation of income or return on a solar investment which also make a loan for this more appealing to banks.  There are several Green Banks, which specialize in loans for solar systems which you should investigate as well.  These banks often know the process very well and make it much easier for homeowners to buy solar power systems.  The solar professional you work with will also know about some good financing alternatives for you to help you get started.

Posted in Buying SolarComments (1)