Your Questions About Solar Panels

Sandy asks…

How much do solar panels for your house turn back your meter during the day?

I was thinking on buying some solar panels but I wanted some real life first hand knowledge.

ssadmin answers:

It really depends on your usage habits, and the size of the system installed. For instance, if I got a modest-sized solar array, then said, “Woo-hoo, now I can run the A/C all summer and electric heaters all winter!” then I might never turn the meter back.

Now for the data points. In August 2008, we had a net consumption of -214 kWh for our house (that is, the meter was turned back 214 kWh). That's the summer, of course. In January 2008, the dead of winter, we used a net 331 kWh. Other months are between these two extremes. Over the course of a year, it balances out to about zero kWh used. But again, if we changed the size of the system only slightly, or altered our usage patterns only slightly (say, it was a very cold winter), the answers would be different.

If you want to see our bill in detail, send me an email.

Sharon asks…

How to write a contract to share the purchase of solar panels?

My mother would like to install solar panels on her roof but I and my two sisters would like to equally share the purchase with my mother. We would like to share the income produced from the solar panels. How do we correctly write up a legally binding contract to make this happen?

ssadmin answers:

This might be more complicated than you want to handle. Depending on state and incentive structure, you might need to set up a business or partnership between you so that you can share the money flow and the tax credits.

To find out the incentives and tax credits, check out the DSIRE homepage:

Donna asks…

I wan to install solar panels in all my windows. Any help and can I get enough energy?

I am living in a high rise apartment. I have heard of solar panels use for all sorts of things but I have not heard of solar panels being install in any window. Windows are normally inserted vertically. If it can be done, I would save a lot of money on my electrical bills on all electrical ancillary items. It is so scary to have electrical bills going up everyday with the increase onwards of fuel prices.

ssadmin answers:

Solar power windows can save you a lot of money on your energy bill. This type of window actually doubles as a solar panel for the home. The are generally designed to keep cold air out of the home. If you're looking to improve your home and to make it a green home, then purchasing solar panel windows and installing them is a project you will want to do. Follow this guide to install your new solar power windows.

Step 1 – Understand What the Window Is

Before you install the new windows, you should understand what they do. Solar power windows are made with solar panels. The solar panels allow the passage of light through the window into the home. In addition, it also produces energy for the home. In 2008, scientists created a much more powerful solar paneled window for home use. Some research shows that these newer panels are 10 times more effective in drawing out energy for the home. If the home has a generator that can connect the solar power to produce energy, it will become much more efficient in energy production and less dependent upon traditional energy resources.

Step 2 – Remove Old Windows

Remove the old windows from the home. Tape up the hole that you just created, especially if you don't plan on installing the new windows just yet. You can usually pull out the old window by removing the window framing and the window sill. The window should just pop out.

Step 3 – Add the New Solar Window

Installing solar powered windows is similar to installing a regular window. It comes with a frame and a sash, a sill and any necessary hardware. Install the window from the outside of the home to the inside. It will usually pop into place. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the window, as the solar properties will reduce if the window is damaged. Add the sash, the sill and the frame. Nail into place.

Step 4 – Connect to the Generator

Follow the directions on your solar powered window. There will be instructions on how to appropriately connect the window to the solar generator. If you don't have a solar generator, you can skip this step. Understand that in order to harness the solar effects the windows create, you will need to have a generator or power pack that can change this energy from solar into usable energy for your home.

Step 5 – Clean the Window

Using a non-abrasive solution, clean your window. Usually water and newspaper works the best. Don't use razors or any other types of sharp objects on your window, because you will ruin the solar properties.

Good luck!

Lisa asks…

What is the best option for installing solar panels on the roof of my London home?

Should I use the solar panels to heat water or to store electricity, or both? How much will it cost for a 2 bedroom flat? Can I get a grant – if so how much?

ssadmin answers:

Solar panels for electricity are a bit of a waste of time in this part of the country, allowing for the initial expense of the installation, the cost of maintenance and replacment of the batteries between three to five years will cost more than paying a standard supplier.

As for water, some useful gains can be had, i.e. It will take the chill off the incoming water and so reduce your base energy supply costs, but not to any great extent.

Roll on global warming when these systems will become far more viable at these lattitudes.

James asks…

If there are solar energy panels, is there anything to save water?

I know there are solar energy panels and wind turbines but is there anything for water? Also, how much money would you save a year if you installed a solar panel and wind turbine? No rude comments.

ssadmin answers:

To save water .here r some methods
Water-saving technology for the home includes:
Low-flow shower heads sometimes called energy-efficient shower heads as they also use less energy,
Low-flush toilets and composting toilets. These have a dramatic impact in the developed world, as conventional Western toilets use large volumes of water.
Dual flush toilets created by Caroma includes two buttons or handles to flush different levels of water. Dual flush toilets use up to 67% less water than conventional toilets.
Saline water (sea water) or rain water can be used for flushing toilets.
Faucet aerators, which break water flow into fine droplets to maintain “wetting effectiveness” while using less water. An additional benefit is that they reduce splashing while washing hands and dishes.
Wastewater reuse or recycling systems, allowing: Reuse of graywater for flushing toilets or watering gardens
Recycling of wastewater through purification at a water treatment plant. See also Wastewater – Reuse

Rainwater harvesting
High-efficiency clothes washers
Weather-based irrigation controllers
Garden hose nozzles that shut off water when it is not being used, instead of letting a hose run.
Using low flow taps in wash basins
Automatic faucet is a water conservation faucet that eliminates water waste at the faucet. It automates the use of faucets without the use of hands.
A valve which reduces water, gas, time, money and CO2 known as a Combisave

Water can also be conserved by landscaping with native plants and by changing behavior, such as shortening showers and not running the faucet while brushing teeth.

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