Your Questions About Solar Panels

Jenny asks…

Are solar panels more effective than using the heat energy of the sun to power a turbine?

Practically all you ever hear about is solar panels… are they really so much more effective then other methods, such as using energy from the sun to power a steam-powered turbine enclosed in a system with a vacuum so that the water evaporates at a much lower temperature to power a turbine?

ssadmin answers:

It's a good idea to explore, especially if you combine it with a desalinization plant for added efficiency.

Michael asks…

Do solar panels on above ground pools really heat the pool water in Iowa?

We are thinking about purchasing solar panels, but are concerned that because of our weather in the upper midwest, they won't heat the water enough. How many degree rise can we expect?

ssadmin answers:

Hmm, well we have solar panels on our pool, but he have an olympic sized pool. Pro-tip, if you have a smaller pool its a gigantic waste of money. You won't get that much out of it anyway, I would stick to the old solar canvas cover.

Maria asks…

How much would one approximately pay for solar panels for a house?

I may consider purchasing solar panels for my house, but I would like some answers or ideas from Yahoo! Contributors.

How much would one approximately pay for solar panels for a house?

ssadmin answers:

There are some websites out there that give you good calculators to approximate the costs. I have referenced them below.

From what I have read it sounds like $9/kW.
Remember you are not just having to install solar panels but inverters and batteries too.

Ruth asks…

What is the probability that none of the houses have solar panels to generate electricty?

Using a survey conducted in Winter 2009, it was estimated that only 1% of New Zealanders have solar panels on their houses to generate electricity. Consider a random sample of 20 New Zealand households.

a) What is the probability that at least one of them has solar panels to generate electricity?
b) What is the probability that none of them have solar panels to generate electricity?

ssadmin answers:

Binomial Sampling Distribution:

P(n) = C(N,n) * p^n * (1-p)^(N-n)

where N = 20 and n = 0:

P(0) = C(20,0) * (1/100)^0 * (99/100)^(20-0) =

1 * 1 * 99^20 / 100^20 =

note: divided numerator and denominator by a common multiple of 10/
8179069375972306130 / 10000000000000000 =

P(0)= 0.8179

a) At least one has solar panels: P(n>0) = 1.0 – P(0) = 1.0 – 0.8179 = 0.1821

b) None of the 20 have solar panels: P(n=0) = P(0) = 0.8179

James asks…

Should I have solar panels installed on my house now, or should I wait for the technology to improve?

I live in Southern California, and I have been considering solar panels for some time. I'd love to air condition my house, but I'm not willing to do so until and unless we come up with an alternative energy source. I'm somewhat anxious to go ahead with the solar idea. It seems, though, that the technology is changing rapidly. I wonder if it would be smarter to wait.

ssadmin answers:

If you can afford about $50000 for an average house, go ahead.

You might want to calculate how much power cost this saves per year to see how many years it will take to get payback. Look at your old utility bill to see what you paid for the last year. Also see what your average power consumption was for that period.

Check with your utility company to see if you can sell power back to them from your array. Then get an array 2-4 times bigger than your average power consumption is. This allows you surplus to sell to them to make up for periods with no sun.

Remember that you need a roof facing the sun with nothing to block direct sun, not even a small bare tree branch. The way the arrays work, if any small portion is blocked, the array puts out nothing. The array should be at the optimal angle, which varies with location.

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