Tag Archive | "panels"

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.

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How Many Solar Panels Fit in 1000 Sq Feet?

In order to calculate the maximum number of solar panels that will fit on your roof, you need to come up with the square feet you have available.  To make this equation simple, lets assume that you have 1000 sq. feet of space that you would like to place solar panels often referred to as solar cells.

Next, you need to do some calculations to determine the size of the solar panels you will be using.  One of the most common solar panels is 15 sq. feet per panel.  They are roughly 5 ft by 3 ft.  So, for this example, we will use this size solar panel, which if you are wondering is usually about a 175 watt solar panel.

If the Dimensions of the roof are totally square, lets say 33ft by 33ft, which would equal 1000 sq. feet, we can figure this out.

First, take one side of the roof which is 33ft long.  And, lets subtract 3 feet from this side, because we need to have some roof for workers to walk on the roof.  So really, if we did this to all sides, the area we have to work with is now 26 ft by 26 feet.  That would mean that all edges of the original surface area are now taken in by 3 ft for safety.  Here is a diagram of a 33x33ft roof taken in 3 feet on each edge:

1000 sq foot solar roofAnd, when the area is re-adjusted for the 26’x26′ usable solar panels space, it is going to look like the diagram below.  And if you want to maximize the space, you can end up fitting 40 panels on the roof like in the picture diagram below:

40 solar cell rooftopPlease note that if you end up using solar panels for your roof which are lets say 200 watt panels, the dimensions could be considerably different, and would skew the diagram and ideas presented above dramatically, so of course it is best to consult with a solar company to get the exact numbers.

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Designing and Installing Your Off Grid Solar System

If you are like a growing number of people in your country, you are thinking about the idea of generating your own power.  It definitely something that more and more people are thinking about over the past few years, and now, people are actually doing it too.  Here are the ideas you need to be thinking to get started and to get off the grid:

First of all, it is not at all true that an off grid solar system needs to be and can only be designed by a professional.  That simply isn’t the case anymore.  There is too much good information that exists these days.  If you on the other hand are looking for a system that will be connected to the utility grid, then yes, you will need some help from a professional.  But off grid is different.

As the solar industry has moved forward over the years, there are many different companies who now manufacturer pre assembled, or easy to install kits. That’s right, these things are nearly put together before they arrive at your home.  So, in reality, there is not much work at all to do once they arrive.  And as you would expect, you usually get a great manual that will talk you through the final steps of putting this system together.

Some of the factors you should consider before you purchase anything is with regards to sunlight.  If you live high up in the forest, where there are many trees all around, you should consider sunlight for sure.  The solar panels need to have as much sunlight each day as possible to do their job the best, so you want to minimize or even eliminate the potential for shade hitting the panels.  Since most people still live under a roof, that is the usual spot to place solar panels, but there might be an even better location where you are at, so just make sure to consider heavily the location before you buy anything.  You need to make sure you have enough space for the actual panels too, so figure all that out before you purchase anything.  You can match up your space available to different solar panel kits to make sure you are “all good”.

So, once you have done just a little bit of homework, it is entirely possible for you to start living a life off the grid, and producing your own power.  More and more people are doing it each day, which is great for many reasons.  Not only does it cut down or eliminate the electric bill, but it is even building a solar industry throughout the world which means more and more experiences people to help you along the way if something strange does occur.

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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

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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.

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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.

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How to Start My Own Solar Energy Home

So let’s say you want to go solar.  And you want to try and get your home totally solar.  Here are some ideas to think about:

Solar for your Electricity:

If you want to use solar for your electric source, you can use photovoltaic solar panels to do that.  Those are the ones that fit on your roof and collect the sunlight.  There are pictures of those solar panels on the top of this site.  These types of panels convert the sunlight into electric current.  And, with today’s technology for solar panels, this type of solar system can plug directly into your house right where the electric company connects to your electric panel.

Solar for your Hot Water:

This is also a great thing to get solar hot water going.  It will also save you alot of money in the long run.  The idea is similar, you will use the sunlight on your roof that will hit another type of panel that will be able to heat up your water tank.  This type of system for solar hot water  is quite a bit cheaper than the system for making solar electricity too.  If you plan on living in your home for a long time, you should get this going soon, it will only benefit you.  And if you talk to some local solar people, they might be able to find you some local rebates on this type of system.

Solar Heating through Windows:

If you want to have some other good heating method, you can use passive solar light to help heat up your house.  This is something that not everyone thinks about, but there are some really good windows you can put in your house that have great insulation, and with the light that comes in, you can also heat up your house.  In the summertime, you can put something up to block some of the light to keep things cool too.

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Average Amount of Sunlight Hours For Solar Panels in Texas Cities

Understanding how many hours of sun your solar panels are going to receive each day is a very important part of a solar systems performance.  Texas is a great location to setup a solar electric system for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is based on the excellent amount of sunlight the state receives.

Here are some statistics for solar sunlight hours per day in Texas:

Houston Texas Average Sunlight Hours is 4.7 hours per day with a fixed plate solar panel

  • with a one axis tracking flate plate solar collector, you can bring the average sunlight hours up to 5.9 hours per day

Austin Texas Average Sunlight Hours is 5.2 hours per day with a fixed plate solar panel

  • with a one axis tracking flate plate solar collector, you can increase the average sun hours per day in Austin to 6.7 hours

Lubbock Texas Average Sunlight Hours is 5.7 hour per day with fixed angle solar panels

  • if you used an axis tracking solar panel you would increase that number to 7.5 hours of sunlight per day in Lubbock

Corpus Christi TX average sunlight hours per day is 4.8 with a standard solar panel

  • if you installed an axis tracking solar system you would get 6.2 average sunlight hours per day

Dallas Ft. Worth Texas average sunlight hours per day is 5.2 hours/day

  • with an axis tracking solar panel you increase your sunlight hours to 6.9 per day

Midland Texas has an average sunlight hours per day of 5.8 hours

  • if you use a tracking solar system you will get 7.7 hours of sunlight per day in Midland Texas

Axis Tracking solar systems are going to have higher performance numbers always in terms of kilowatts of energy produced.  The main reason is they have more direct sunlight hours hitting the axis tracking solar panels.  Solar systems that pivot and follow the sun are great, but at the same time the prices for them are higher.  You want to talk to a solar professional prior to purchasing any type of solar system, and make sure to get a clear estimate on how many hours of sunlight the systems should be expected to receive on average each day.  Every solar electric system installer should be able to provide you with this information.

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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

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