Your Questions About Solar Panel Efficiency

Mandy asks…

Hypothetically speaking, If I had a solar panel that was 15″ by 15″ and it had a 500% efficiency rating?

…how many watts would I get?

I hate having to ask a question again:;_ylt=AkIDQLbrDm6K0kAbwD10nyXty6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20120529095741AAGAn2t
just cause somebody didn't understand me.

ssadmin answers:

15 x 15 would give you about 22.5 watts, at high noon, on a cloudless day, with the sunlight falling at 90 degrees to the surface of the panel………..

You would have to find the “solar hours calculator” for where you live………a typical number is 5……….so you might get as much as 5 x 22.5 watts a day out of such a panel.

And, as was said, there's no such thing by the laws of physics as 500% efficiency…………..50% efficiency would be a marvel…………

Ken asks…

Information Regarding Solar Panels?

Main questions: How can I work out the efficiency of a solar panel and how can I work out if the panel is relatively cost-effective? Also what type of solar panels is considered most effiecient?

Let's assume that all relative values are available.

Secondary question: What type of safety regulations and licenses are required to be fulfiled in order to import solar panels into the EU from non-EU countries?

ssadmin answers:

The manufacturer of any serious panel should be able to provide an efficiency. That will be the STC power rating of the panel, divided by the area of the panel, divided by 1000 w/m^2.

But the more interesting figure is cost effectiveness, as you say, which is nothing more than cost per watt for the same class of panels. Most applications are limited by money, not by area.

Linda asks…

What makes solar panels Inneficient?

I was wondering if they create other forms of energy besides electrical that is unwanted. Like heat due to the friction of something, or sound. Also why is a solar panel not able to collect 100% of the energy that is striking its panels. And how could the efficiency of this be hypothetically improved.

ssadmin answers:

Solar panels produce very little heat or sound compared to electrical energy.

In terms of the sunlight striking the panels, solar panels have an extremely poor efficiency because they can't possibly absorb 100% of the light energy. Solar panel efficiency is usually given is terms of converting the light that IS absorbed into electricity.

Improvements are happening constantly. Mainly, trying to maximize electrical conductivity.

Chris asks…

Would plugging in one of those Solar car chargers into my Escape Hybrid's accessory slot improve efficiency?

I'm having a debate with someone and need help finding the correct answer. I have a 2006 Escape Hybrid.

Their argument is that, because those solar car chargers (the ones you plug into your car's lighter adapter) actually provide some charge to the car, it would help keep the hybrid's batter slightly more charged when it's parked, and also while driving, allowing the battery to be used more then for waiting for it's charge to come from the engine alone. (The person admits this amount of charge from the solar panel would be very small).

I believe that the charge would only charge the battery under the hood, (used for starting) and it wouldn't affect the hybrid battery (the one used for driving the car itself). So it would be like charging a regular car's battery when it's too cold or dead to start, but it would not affect the efficiency of the hybrid battery.

It is understood that the small solar panel is too small to supply a large charge, but we're curious of the truth to the theory.

Who one of us is correct?

ssadmin answers:

You are correct. The lighter outlet is not connected to the hybrid battery in any way. It is fed off the 12 volt battery under the hood.

Another example, The GMC Denali hybrid has a 110 volt outlet in the back for any home item you can plug into it. Even that is not connected to the 300 volt hybrid battery. It's powered by a conventional power invertor connected to the 12 volt battery under the hood.

Sharon asks…

What energy efficiency techniques could be considered or used for a house in a hot climate?

Planning a house involving sustainable living and energy efficiency homes. How can i make my home as energy saving as possible? What things could i do such as solar panels (techniques) to make it more efficient ad energy saving? ReMEMBER MY HOUSE IS SET IN A HOT CLIMATE!!!

ssadmin answers:

White roof, lots of insulation, large overhangs all around and covered porches on south and western sides. Fans in every room and on porches. Plant shade trees as much as possible.

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Your Questions About Solar Powered Fan

Ruth asks…

Looking into solar power (panels and such) but have a few questions..?

I've been interested in this for quite awhile, and have a few questions I've been having trouble finding an answer for..

How many panels would I need to have power for a small house with 1 or 2 people living in it?
The only thing electrical that would really be in use is an average size television, phone charger, radio, laptop, microwave, lights, possibly an air conditioner (if not, fans.) all lights would be high efficiency as well everything else.
I've also been looking into wind power and hydro power as well.

Give me lots of information, I appreciate it!!!

P.S. this would be a SMALL home, 1 bedroom, one bath and very open and lower ceilings. and plenty of windows for light to shine in.
and a cost estimate? (for new or used equipment)

ssadmin answers:

It sounds like a 2 or 3 kW system may be enough to power all of your needs. I wouldn't be able to give you an accurate guess unless I had your electricity information.

Since this is a small solar installation, I think the installed cost would be close to $7.00 per watt or depending on the complexity of the roof/electrical work. For a 2 kW system, that means $14,000, or, for a 3 kW system, that means $21,000.

Depending on where you live, there may be a state or municipal rebate which would pay for some of the upfront cost. You also would likely qualify for the 30% federal tax credit.

Below I linked to a page that shows residential incentives for Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in case that's where you are.

Most installers offer a complimentary evaluation and a free estimate. I would contact someone in your local area to do the analysis for you.

John asks…

how to design an experiment?

For my Physics assignment,i want to design a experiment about either wind or solar power .It's my first time to design an experiment by myself.I have no idea.For wind power,i think i can use a fan as a resource,but i have no idea how to design the next steps.

help me,plz!

ssadmin answers:

OK.For Wind power…you need a vacuum ‘blower'- most cylindrical vac cleaners allow you to connect them in reverse. You also need a variac- a mains device to control the current (power output) of your wind source. To measure the power generated by the blower you need a small dc motor connected to a micro/milli ammeter or sophisticated data logging device connected via say a usb interface to your PC with suitable data capture/handling software. Connect a ‘propellor' to the spindle of your motor. (this can be cut from thin plastic to a variety of desired profiles). Now the difficult have to calibrate the pressure of the air from the blower against known variac this by connecting the blower to a mercury manometer (or bourdon gauge) and measure the overpressure in mmHg/kN/m^2 (this is nearly proportional to the air speed)..nearly done!..Now expt1..vary the wind pressure and measure your current on the ammeter or computer..plot a graph of wind pressure (velocity) against power(current output from motor). Expt2 (qualitative!)..keeping wind pressure constant.. Try different shapes of plastic propellors or turbines to find the most efficient shape. Use a bar graph for these results. Finally(!) write a conclusion based on the mathematical relationship between wind velocity and power output, mentioning that in a scaled up prototype, variation in wind speed and direction would cause the results to deviate from optimum and also state which propellor/turbine/vane is the most efficient design. Good luck!

Sandy asks…

how to design an experiment?

For my Physics assignment,i want to design a experiment about either wind or solar power .It's my first time to design an experiment by myself.I have no idea.For wind power,i think i can use a fan as a resource,but i have no idea how to design the next steps.

help me,plz!

ssadmin answers:

Do wind power

Use the fan you have to make a wind and then make a fan to spin in the wind, attach it via a rubber band to a dynamo and see what voltage it produces.

You can then experiment with different numbers of blades, blade angles and even direction of wind flow to see the result on voltage.

Have fun !

Helen asks…

Can you use a generator indoors?

I have just bought a small 850watt generator and I wanted to use it inside my solar powered shed to produce power for when my battery banks are low.

I have a small cupboard in my shed which I store my battery bank in and I have a 4inch hole in the wall to vent the gases given off by the battery.the fan for the 4inch hole vents 23litres of air per Second,so could I put my generator in the cupboard and the fumes would be vented would this work

ssadmin answers:

Any internal combustion engine inside a building needs three things. 1. A source of fresh air for combustion. 2, The exhaust vented to the outside by way of a pipe, not just dumped into the shed and pushed out by the vent fan. And 3. Enough airspace or insulation to protect the building and it contents, including a cupboard, from the heat of that engine. Those battery gasses you talk about are also flammable/explosive. Your plan will likely result in asphyxiation, a fire, or both.

Chris asks…

Can you use a generator indoors?

I have just bought a small 850watt generator and I wanted to use it inside my solar powered shed to produce power for when my battery banks are low.

I have a small cupboard in my shed which I store my battery bank in and I have a 4inch hole in the wall to vent the gases given off by the battery.the fan for the 4inch hole vents 23litres of air per Second,so could I put my generator in the cupboard and the fumes would be vented would this work

ssadmin answers:

It is not worth the risk.

Most gereators appear to work outdoors, e.g. Street markets, so why not have the running generator otsid and bring the power cable through the hole in the shed. Obviously you can move the generator inside when it is not working.

Exhaust fumes used to be ‘favourite' way of committing suicide.

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Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

David asks…

Why do I get cut off from answering an important ? It is always when It is about oil or solar not used ?

I was in the middle of giving important answers to ?'s about McCain
saying we should use solar etc. I Got almost done and it went off screen; I cannot backpage it is like the ? is't even in the political section where I do most of my studying.

I think some one is viewing certain areas and when you begin hitting on too much “KNOWN” truth it clicks out of your vision.

I will continue to look for the question on McCain looking into solar energy. That is a farse. I was giving an example of a business that tried to go all solar in our area and LAWS have changed on using it totally, and also you do not get paid by selling xcess back to electric company. Look at the new houses in your area, how many have even a single panel of solar for say water heater, and a few of the things in your home. And look at all of the electronic stuff on the Market. I will find that ? some how, maybe by one of you answerers. Thanks!!
And why has our avitars not been coming up when we answer???
Someone is playing with something

ssadmin answers:

Ask a computer usage instructor!
Your are not properly trained or knowledgeable on the usage functions etc.

Susan asks…

SOLAR PANELS (sun enerjy)?

I have a question about solar panels. What are the benefits of this system if I installed in my home. for example i know it produces electricity but does it do anything else? How many panel would you guys think I would need for 2000 sq ft. do you know if it produces hot water?
Thanks for your help

ssadmin answers:

First, solar panels come in two basic types – photovoltaics, which produce electricity (the black cells you normally think of), and solar thermal, which heats water (or some other fluid). It's one or the other, you could install both if you want that. Solar thermal is cost effective today, depending on how you currently heat your water. (The hot water could also be used to create electricity, like in a steam turbine, generally done in larger power plants).

Photovoltaics are more expensive, but coming down in price every day. To know how many panels you need, you first have to determine how many kWH your house uses, and do you want to be completely off the grid (which would also require large batteries), or just reduce your electric bill.

Mary asks…

solar power?

does anyone live in places like arizona, texas, california.
and installed solar panels?
how much did it cost?
how much electricity does it produce?
for example, arizona has around 350 days of sun. something like that. is there enough electricity produced to AC your home?

state and federal incentives for energy efficiency

ssadmin answers:

Expect to pay between 8K to 13K. It should pay for itself in about 4 to 8 years depending on what size of a system you use.

Laura asks…


hi all, I want to know what it mean by “QUALIFIED SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPERTY”
from Form 5695, it said “Qualified solar electric property costs. Qualified
solar electric property costs are costs for property that
uses solar energy to generate electricity for use in a
home located in the United States and used as your
home. This includes costs relating to a solar panel or
other property installed as a roof or a portion of a roof.
The home does not have to be your main home.”

what I am not sure is by “installed as a roof or a portion of a roof” If I buy a solar panel and installed in on top of my roof, would that be consider “installed a portion of a roof”
“`(2) QUALIFIED SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPERTY- The term `qualified solar electric property' means solar electric property (as defined in section 179F(c)(2)(B)) installed on or in connection with a dwelling unit located in the US”
what is “179F(c)(2)(B)”,where can I find more on it?

ssadmin answers:

If you look in the link you posted, and scroll down, IRC Title 26, Section 179F(c)(2)(B):
~~~(B) SOLAR ELECTRIC PROPERTY- The term `solar electric property' means property which uses solar energy to generate electricity.~~~

Qualified solar electric property includes a solar panel installed on the roof, but it also includes other equipment not installed on the roof, also any wiring, piping, etc. Associated with installation. It must be properly installed with all necessary permits, and according to local fire and building codes.

Solar electric property is “qualified” if it is for use in a home located in the US that you own and live in at least part of the year.

Form 5695 is filed to claim the Non Business Energy Credit. In 2006, you were allowed a credit of 30% of your solar electric property costs, up to $2000 for qualified solar electric property, and up to $2000 for costs related to solar electric water heating, and a credit towards a fuel cell if you have one.

If the solar panel is permanently installed on your roof, it becomes a fixture, and part of your basis for the house. You must reduce the basis of your house by the amount of the credit claimed. When you sell your property, since your basis is higher, any taxable gain will be less.

See page 3 & 4, IRS Pub 553 for more information:

If your home is used for business, or you have a home office, then you are allowed to deduct depreciation on that percentage of business use. The solar panels and equipment increase the basis of your home and can be included in your depreciation calculations.

There are also other credits and deductions related to using solar electricity in business property.

Legislation is in place to extend energy efficient credits to renters, and others who don't own the property where they live.

You should also check your state income tax code for solar energy credits and deductions allowed on your state return.

Mandy asks…

Portable Power: Using Deep Cycle Battery, Inverter and Solar Panels?

Please tell me your expertise in your field if any with responding to this question.

Just got to thinking on this one. I've done several projects previously with deep cycle battery, 400 to 1000 watt inverter with a 12volt DC 70 watt solar panel for portable power.

If I were to put ten car batteries in a series to equal 120 volts and just add a regular old Home Depot outlet, I technically wouldn't even need an inverter, would I? Would I probably have almost unlimited wattage surge power equalling to the 10 batteries' max?

How about continuous wattage among the 10 batteries?

How would I go about regenerating all ten batteries, if I do not necessarily have 10 solar panels for each of the 10 batteries?

Some type of converter?

I appreciate your answers in advance.

ssadmin answers:

NO it won't work, the inverter is to convert DC into AC similar to household supply, The waveform tends to be squarish, wheras the house current has a proper sine wave. Household appliances ONLY work on AC
Don't experiment with high voltage DC from your batteries.

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Your Questions About Solar Powered Generator

Donald asks…

Long range wireless router?

We live on a property with two houses approx 2.5km apart. A relative has just moved into the other property, which has no external services (power etc) connected (has solar power, generator etc though just nothing from a company) whereas our house has all services. Is it possible to share our broadband connection (we have cable broadband) to their house without installing cables underground, like a long disrance router? The ones we found have a range of 25m or so.

ssadmin answers:

The power required for this distance from a router would be extremely dangerous to health, with very high risk of Cancers or Leukemia. Therefore it is illegal to make such. The only way to do this would be to have absolutely clear line of site between both properties, with no obstructions. Then you would need 2 wireless bridges with suitable external directional antenna mounted at roof height and very accurately pointing at each other. Anything getting between them would stop the signal, even a large bird flying through. And if they are not rigidly mounted the wind will stop service by moving them. You will also be breaking the terms of service of the provider, who only supply service to one actual household. They would consider the second building a second household making your provision a theft of service. The courts uphold this view. Alternatively they can get satellite connection, or cellular.

Joseph asks…

solar power question?

so solar panals are only about 4% efficient..

has anybody built a solar steam generator? and if so how efficient/feasable is it?

ssadmin answers:


The article above describes a solar power test facility to generate power by focusing sunlight to produce heat.

Chris asks…

Hi Everyone! How about a solar charged generator?

I want a small generator, that will be able to be used to power a light, a 1 burner stove for 3-4 days (not consistently, just for cooking on a camping stove), and a small air conditioner (we do live in FLORIDA!).

This is to keep our family semi-comfortable if we have a power outage during a hurricane. I am looking for suggestions on both a generator and an air conditioner (or other room cooling unit!). We are looking for a reasonable (the cheaper the better if it works!) generator, and an a/c unit or similar for cooling 1 room in our home. I am looking for the cheapest (that works!) solution as we hope to never have to use it. 🙂 Any ideas, let me know! We have not had to put together a hurricane kit because we are from IL. This is all totally new, but we are in the second evacuation zone (after the islands and mobile homes).

ssadmin answers:

>How about a solar charged generator?
>..cheapest (that works!) solution….

Air conditioners use a lot of power. Any system that that will run the AC will require a large array of solar panels and an large bank of batteries with their own storage shed.

If you really want the AC and don't want a large expensive solar system, look for fuel based generator. Which raises the issue of how to safely store the fuel.

>a 1 burner stove for 3-4 days

A camp stove with a few extra propane cylinders is a lot more practical. However a single burner hot plate uses about the same amount of power as a small AC, so if you were running a generator for the AC you could just turn the AC off when using the hot plate.

>power a light

LED bulbs don't use much power, so a couple of solar panels charging a smallish deep cycle battery is feasible, also good for recharging cell phones and similar small electronics. However batteries degrade in storage, so it's not like you can store one for a decade and expect it to work or even hold a charge.

Or maybe just a small panel to keep your car battery topped off when you use it to charge your cell phone.

Even with the LED bulbs it's a good idea to stock up on some candles/oil lamps/ that are good for long term storage. Batteries tend to go bad when you need them the most.

And don't forget about water & food. How reliable is your water supply in a power outage? A stock pile of canned food can be mighty good when all the refrigerators have assumed room temperature, you can even eat the food cold, just make sure you have a manual can opener!

A battery powered radio can be mighty entertaining when you don't have anything else to do..

Laura asks…

how i con produce free electricity?

there is a lake of electricity in my country. i want to produce electricity without any coast. solar and wind generator does not work in my village, because solar power plant needs a heavy cost and wind power generator need speed of wind.
and i have not any flow of water near my house.
please give me suggestions that how i can produce energy without any regular cost.

ssadmin answers:

Depends on your definition of “free”.
TANSTAAFL always applies. You will need to build or buy SOMETHING to generate the electricity, if nothing but a car alternator driven by a paddle wheel (as an example). Then there is the wires and the labor to construct the spillway. All of that infrastructure must be taken into account somehow.

An even better idea, try moving to a civilized country that is fully electrified.

Mary asks…

Hypothetically if there were no atmosphere, how much more solar power would be generated?

For example if we made generators that extended above our atmosphere.

ssadmin answers:

The answer is not as much as you might think.
When solar energy strikes the earth, about 1/3 is reflected back into space; one third is absorbed in the atmosphere, and one third reaches us on the ground.

If there were no atmosphere; more solar energy would reach the ground; but more would be reflected back into space (because there would be no atmosphere to prevent infrared radiation going back out into space).

Certainly, we would fry because of the increased solar radiation (leaving aside the lack of an atmosphere); but the earth would actually be cooler; because incoming radiation would be matched by radiated infrared.

But, to answer the question more directly; IF there were no atmosphere; there would be about three times the amount of solar energy available for conversion in a solar energy; before it was radiated back out into space.

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