Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

George asks…

Do you, or anyone you know, have a ‘renewable technology' installed in your home?

By renewable technology, I mean the following:-

Solar panels to provide hot water heating;

• Biomass, or wood-burning boilers;

• ‘Ground Source' heating – coils in the ground that draw on temperatures of the ground to provide heating;

• Wind turbines.

I ask this because I am curious how many people have embraced these forms of sustainable technology. The main barrier to this is expense, but funding (up to 50% of total cost) is available in all cases. Getting this funding however is a very laborious process.

I design these systems for commercial buildings like offices, or churches and places of education, and as someone experienced I find fund applications are very tough – let alone being a homeowner without any expertise.

So, does anyone have solar panels on their roof, or another type of system?

Also, if you don't, is it mainly cost that stops you investing in these technologies?
dave g:- You know you can buy filtration equipment so that you could ‘re-invest' the water…. 😉
ConwayVallety:- Wind poer is useless – FACT.

Soalr water heating and ground source heating are however very efficient – but with a sizeable capital outlay. The grants are necessary to reduce costs to comparable, standard technologies like boilers.

ssadmin answers:

Was interested some years ago but lived in a conservation area in Surrey
I fitted solar panels to heat a swimming pool quite successfully.Fitted them as a screen round 2 sides
When I tried to fit them on the roof all hell broke loose from the planners Appears that I virtually had to go to them to put a damned dog kennel in my garden
They allowed the pool panels for leisure but as for the roof , that was sacrilege
Sold house 2 1/2 yrs ago just before recession & the panels were a feature of the sale & I didn`t lose out on the sale
Now live near Scottish border but with our weather up here it would not be an economical proposition with or without govt subsidy

Paul asks…

should home electronics and appliances start being offered to work with DC source?

background: the battle of AC and DC goes back to the days of Edison and Tesla. Edison was a fan of DC (direct current) and Tesla proposed AC (alternating current). DC was mostly safer than AC, BUT AC could be transmitted much longer distances allowing fewer sub stations and getting electricity to more people. In the United States we receive AC to our homes and MOST electronic equipment takes that AC and converts it to DC power for use within its circuitry.

thought: People are moving to solar panels on their homes, the power from these solar panels are stored in batteries that create a DC power supply. The power is not having to be transmitted large distances within your own home. so why convert from DC to AC only to have it go back to DC? If you have a home running on solar panels/ other “green” form that creates DC, wouldn't it be more efficient to have your electronic equipment operate straight off of that DC power?

ssadmin answers:

I think we are ready for some pilot programs to test your idea. In USA 3 pins is standard, so up to 13 volts could be supplied between the low and the round ground pin. A few appliances short those pins together, so that would need to be corrected and ground fault protection would need to be modified to ignore the 13 volts dc. 13 volts dc is the wrong voltage for some things, but several percent of our electricity could be 13 volts dc instead of the present ac. Your utility could also provide 12 volts dc at low wattage which you could supplement with your batteries, solar panels, wind turbines etc When you had a surplus, your neighbors could use your surplus with a 12 volt grid super imposed on the regular 120 volts ac. Typical house wiring can tolerate about 10 amps of dc in addition to about 20 amps of ac at only slightly increased fire risk, so the total 13 volt maximum load on each circuit would be about 130 watts dc. That would provide about 1/2 of the wattage for typical computers, printers and other auxiliaries, plus low level LED lighting throughout the house and yard. 4 LEDs is series light properly from 13 volts dc, except some older LEDs would need to be connected 5, 6 or 7 in series.
Edit: I suggested 13 volts in house instead of the 12 volts dc of the utility so each house can supply some of their extra power to the neighborhood 12 volt dc grid. Also regulated and filtered 12 volts is readily obtained from 13 volts dc which will have a few millivolts of 60 hertz ac riding on it. Neil

Mary asks…

Solar panels with snow?

Hi there. I live in Colorado, and we obviously get a ton of snow there. I im looking into a solar power system for my home, and I am wondering if the snow will accumulate on the panels, or if, because of the energy passing through, it will melt on contact? By the way we get about 20′ of snow each year, and it comes on often. I will also be putting them on my roof.

Thanks for your help.

ssadmin answers:

Good news and not so good news. You need to be able to access the panels to clean the snow off. There is not any heat generated other than the heat of the sun hitting the black colour – which would amount to some melting ability during a sunny day – but it isn't sunny when it snows! Apparently, solar panels work better in the cold and where snow can reflect light so to increase the amount of light – photons – hitting the panel. You can read more here: http://www.solar-systems.ca/solarpanels.php

Laura asks…

Solar Power. Does it store energy? I don't really understand..?

so we have a bunch of garden accessories outside, and they only light up at night time. They have solar panels on them, so obviously they absorb light during the day right? But that also means that it must be stored for it to turn on at night.

So what if your house was solar powered? Wouldn't the solar energy be stored also? Meaning it would only power your home at night and not the day?

I'm not sure if I understand how that works. The photovaltaic cells convert light into electricity, so wouldn't that mean the garden fixtures would be on all day also?

ssadmin answers:

Those solar gadgets store electricity because they contain batteries, not because they have solar panels. The panels are merely a device that converts light into electricity, the panels themselves don't store anything at all. Most solar-powered lights have a sensor (shielded so their own light can't be seen by the sensor) in them, that only switches them on when it's dark.

Nancy asks…

When will solar and wind power be affordable to the average home owner?

I have been doing some research on solar panel and wind turbine systems. The pricing is crazy. For a 10Kw solar grid tie kit system is between $35,000 and $40,000. If you install batteries add $3,000-$5,000. 10Kw will only power a small to medium home without electric heat. Using my electric usage and info from my local electric company payback is 60 years for solar and 361 years for wind. This is unexceptionable. The manufactures of the solar and wind are gouging the consumers. They are using the excuse of supply and demand for the high cost. When demand goes up so will mass production and the price will go down. This is true, but they are making a huge profit on what they are making now. Some items are in the 3000% markup range. Are the power companies keeping the price up so their profits don't suffer? My local electric supplier has an “ENERGY PARK” that you can go see solar and wind power in action and check out real time data online. They have a 4Kw solar array installed and claim it cost $30,378 installed and a 2.5Kw wind turbine that cost about $20,000 installed. I think they are giving false numbers to consumers so you won't go green. I was able to find a 3.5Kw kit online for $9,000. This doesn't include any type of mounting materials. You can add $800-$1,200 for these materials. An installer will will charge you $2,000-$4,000 to install it. For the sake of argument lets say this will cost you $15,000 to install but still way out of line for you and me to install. That is a far cry from the $30,000 the power company claims. The power companies don't want you to make your own electric. They are keeping the cost high so they will still make money off you. A 210w panel sells for around $600. They probably manufacture it for under $50. The cost needs to be $100-$150 to the consumer to make it affordable to the average home owner. 50 210w panels make a 10Kw system. That would be $5,000 not $40,000. The manufactures are raping us and the power companies are helping them to keep prices high. When will we get the technology at a proper cost? Let me know what you think.
In response to the first 5 answers, Yes, if demand increases so will mass production and thus supply will increase and this will drive the price down. I looked into panels from China. From what I was able to find panels sell for $0.17-$0.45 per watt. In the U.S. they sell for $3.00-$5.00 per watt. Manufactures in the U.S. have lobbied for a higher tariff on solar products that makes them impractical to import on mass. These companies want to keep the price high so their profits stay high, and the power companies do not want you to produce all your own power. That would put them out of business.
In response to Steve R, You need to do more research before you post another retarded comment like that. Air “DOES” have mass (just not very dense). When air is in motion it is called “WIND”. This motion creates energy. Have you ever heard of a “tornado”? Get your facts together next time.

ssadmin answers:

Cut the incentives, import tarriffs, and special grind tie rates. That will make prices truly competitive for those that want to participate in home green energy, and not put any cost on those that do not want to.

The important thing is the incentives, which artificially raise the prices of equipment.

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