Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

Thomas asks…

Would you invest in solar electric for your home or business?

I am considering starting a solar/wind energy business. I would like to know how many people would really consider installing solar panels and/or a wind generator on their home or business.

If a complete system is too costly, would you consider a battery back-up system to run essential items in you home or business for when the power drops out? This would consist of 4-12 batteries, a couple of solar panels and/or a wind generator. This would operate items such as lights, well pump, refrigerator, radio or TV, telephones, and computers.

Would you consider starting a small solar array (4-6 panels) and adding panels to it when you have extra money to spend on them?

Please give me your feedback on what you think of “GREEN” energy and if you think it is the future or just a fad.
Good answers so far. In response to f100_supersabre, A 4 battery system is not much. It all depends on what you will operate and how long. The more batteries the better. About the telephone, yes they are powered by the telephone line but businesses usually have multiple lines with a switching station that needs electricity to operate. Most homes now only have cordless phones which require electricity. If you keep a corded phone in your home this would be a non factor. When it comes to the size panels and wind generator that is relevant to your power consumption. What might be good for your house may be too big or too small for your neighbor.

Keep the answers coming.

ssadmin answers:

I will go for it provided the economics is atleast the same as present. Some incovenience I can take it up like some interruptions etc for the sake of environment protection.
But if the cost is going to be higher then I am not interested. There are several things which I can forego like using an air con etc to help the environment at the present. So it boils down to dollars.

Robert asks…

Are Solar Panels worth it at this point? And how much power do they produce for your home?

http://cgi.ebay.com/SOLAR-PANEL-120-WATT-120W-12-VOLT-PV-Solar-Module-/310306871619?_trksid=p5197.m263&_trkparms=algo%3DRPSI%252BSIC%26itu%3DUCP%252BUA%252BMAGEXP%252BUCI%252BIA%252BFICS%252BUFI%26otn%3D10%26pmod%3D270733194145%26po%3DLPV%252BLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8497966210962221812

thats an example of a Solar Panel… say I were to buy.. 3 of them, which would be a little over $1k. How much power would that generate through my home? Enough to power a TV? A microwave? Maybe the kitchen lights?

And how long would that take for it to pay for myself and start saving me money.

ssadmin answers:

A friend lives on an island where they pay 50c/kWh for electricity. Solar panels are very cost effective for him. Another friend lives in WA state where her power is 5c/kWh. Not such a good deal there unless the grid fails and she really needed electricity enough to buy backup batteries. I live over a mile from the nearest power line- it would cost me hundreds of thousands to run a line to my house so solar is not just an option but a necessity for me.

Mandy asks…

Going solar for my home, I have ?s, and only want answers from people that have it in your home.?

I know the Monocrystalline solar panels cost more then the Polycrystalline solar panels, but which one of the two will last longer?, and will they leak over time? and will they fade over time?
what I mean by leaking is, moisture underneath the glass.

ssadmin answers:

I don't have them in my home, if no-one else on here can answer then I might be the best you'll get :/ I've done a little research on solar panels (we developed CdTe rather than Silicon but we worked with other lab groups that do use silicon).

Most solar panels will degrade slightly with time (a common cause is because solar cells rely on a junction, and thermal energy jiggles about the atoms and can mix up your dopants so that the junction quality goes down a bit over time). Generally speaking, more grain boundaries between crystals speeds up the rate of degradation so polycrystalline panels should degrade more quickly than monocrystalline ones (although if other decay mechanisms are dominant, or the system is generally stable, then the difference will be tiny).

Generally panels are well sealed against the elements so it shouldn't notably fade. Keeping the glass reasonably clean is good for output.

What do you mean ‘leak'? Silicon panels are solid state devices, unless you're planning on heating them to hundreds of degrees C they will remain solid and shouldn't ‘leak'!

When I say polycrystalline cells should degrade more quickly than monocrystalline, it's all relative. Most solar panels will be guaranteed for somewhere between 20-30 years and over that period they should not fall below 80% of their rated output (many should degrade even less).

EDIT: Moisture underneath the glass isn't a problem I've heard much about (but my experience is with lab tech devices we've grown specially rather than full scale real world ones!). In principle it shouldn't be much of a problem; typically your cells will be ‘sandwiched' between two glass layers which are then hermetically sealed. There's a chance of leakage, in the same way double glazing might leak occasionally. This effect shouldn't be that different between mono- and poly- crystalline cells and it should be accounted for when they give you their 20-30yr guarantees!

Richard asks…

How much would it cost upfront to install solar panels in my home and what could I save?

I'm curious what the average household spends to install solar panels in California. Also for those of you that have installed them, how much would you say you saved in the first year? The second?

Thank you for your time answering this.

ssadmin answers:

Solar systems can be a “Hefty” investment. But there's a great return. If you were to install a system the federal government will give you 30% of what you spent. Many utility companies will often give you an incentive/rebate.

And last of all, your electricity bill will be much less then you are spending now. You could even receive a credit on your bill each month if you produce more energy with your panels then you use. You can read more about it on the Sungate Energy Solutions website and blog:
http://thesungate.com/blog/?p=49
http://thesungate.com/sungate_products/howsolarworks.cfm

Maria asks…

Are you interested in wind and solar energy for your home and what do you think of loan companies for?

homeowners who want to install small wind turbines and solar panels on their home?

Before the Conservatives go rambling on about government subsidies, this is something that's happening in the private sector. The deals being offered allow homeowners (who can show that they are in good standing with their payments and not in an underwater mortgage) to take out loans (interest rates are similar to what you'd get for a car loan) for the installation of wind and solar panels on their homes. In order to qualify the homeowners have to purchase units that are pre-approved (durability issues – the loan issuers don't want people purchasing equipment that's cheaply made and likely to break) so there's a preferred list of equipment providers whose items you can get the loans for. The reason this is happening is that with energy companies trying to bleed the country dry and continuously raising rates, and with the cost of components for residential wind and solar installations falling rapidly, we are reaching the point where a home wind turbine or solar panel installation can pay for itself in less than 7 years-which is the maximum term available for one of these loans.

Do you have a personal interest in alternative energy and if you could get a $7000 loan at 5.5% interest on a 7 year term to install a wind turbine or solar panels on your property would you consider that deal?
@ Vanessa – explain to me how you think a residential wind turbine is “terrible for the environment”. They're popping up all over where I live – the ones that are on 30 to 40 foot towers with a blade-span of six to eight feet. People put those plastic owls on them just like they do with large picture windows to prevent bird strikes.

Small wind turbines do not damage the environment.
@ Barry – wind in the North, Solar in the South.

ssadmin answers:

Sounds like a good idea

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