Your Questions About Solar Panels

Richard asks…

Solar Panels?

I am purchasing a home that includes 2 solar panels measuring 8 foot by 4 foot located on the roof. Neither myself or the home inspector located a box that the solar energy would transfered to. should there be a box? also what can i expect from the solar panels? Thanks for the help…

ssadmin answers:

Go up to the attic and see if there are wires or pipes coming from the panels. Could be you have a solar water heater. They are more common. Your hot water system will have a circulating pump controlled by a thermostat.

Electric solar panels will generate DC which will not be usable in a standard house unless it is converted. Solars usually are used in conjunction with batteries.

Lizzie asks…

solar panels?

im looking to get solar panels. what type should i get? who is the best company to buy from? do i need to have someone come to my house and evaluate it? and if it make any difference i live in southern california in tulare county

ssadmin answers:

This may help. I dont want to tell you where to go so I have provided you with enough info to make the decision on your own.
Types of technologies
Many technologies have been developed to make use of solar radiation. Some of these technologies make direct use of the solar energy (e.g. To provide light, heat, etc.), while others produce electricity.

Solar design in architecture
Main article: Passive solar building design
Solar design in architecture involves the use of appropriate solar technologies to maintain a building’s environment at a comfortable temperature through the sun's daily and annual cycles. It may do this by storing solar energy as heat in the walls of a building, which then acts to heat the building at night. Another approach is to keep the interior cool during a hot day by designing in natural convection through the building’s interior.

Solar heating systems
Main articles: Solar hot water and Solar combisystem
Solar hot water systems use sunlight to heat water. They may be used to heat domestic hot water, for space heating or to heat swimming pools. These systems are composed of solar thermal collectors, a storage tank and a circulation loop.[8] The three basic classifications of solar water heaters are:

Batch systems which consist of a tank that is directly heated by sunlight. These are the oldest and simplest solar water heater designs, however; the exposed tank can be vulnerable to cooldown.[9]
Active systems which use pumps to circulate water or a heat transfer fluid.
Passive systems which circulate water or a heat transfer fluid by natural circulation. These are also called thermosiphon systems.

A Trombe wall is a passive solar heating and ventilation system consisting of an air channel sandwiched between a window and a sun-facing wall. Sunlight heats the air space during the day causing natural circulation through vents at the top and bottom of the wall and storing heat in the thermal mass. During the evening the Trombe wall radiates stored heat.[10]

A transpired collector is an active solar heating and ventilation system consisting of a perforated sun-facing wall which acts as a solar thermal collector. The collector pre-heats air as it is drawn into the building's ventilation system through the perforations. These systems are inexpensive and commercial models have achieved efficiencies above 70%. Most systems pay for themselves within 4-8 years.[11]

Solar lighting
Main articles: Daylighting and Light tube
Solar lighting or daylighting is the use of natural light to provide illumination. Daylighting directly offsets energy use in electric lighting systems and indirectly offsets energy use through a reduction in cooling load.[14] Although difficult to quantify, the use of natural light also offers physiological and psychological benefits.

Daylighting features include building orientation, window orientation, exterior shading, sawtooth roofs, clerestory windows, light shelves, skylights and light tubes.[15] These features may be incorporated in existing structures but are most effective when integrated in a solar design package which accounts for factors such as glare, heat gain, heat loss and time-of-use. Architectural trends increasingly recognize daylighting as a cornerstone of sustainable design.

Daylight saving time (DST) can be seen as a method of utilising solar energy by matching available sunlight to the hours of the day in which it is most useful. DST energy savings have been estimated to reduce total electricity use in California by 0.5% (3400 MWh) and peak electricity use by 3% (1000 MW).[16] However, there is some question whether these estimates are valid. In 2000 when parts of Australia began DST in late winter, overall electricity consumption did not decrease, but the peak load increased.[17]

Solar pond
A solar pond is simply a pool of water which collects and stores solar energy. It contains layers of salt solutions with increasing concentration (and therefore density) to a certain depth, below which the solution has a uniform high salt concentration. It is a relatively low-tech, low-cost approach to harvesting solar energy. The principle is to fill a pond with 3 layers of water:

A top layer with a low salt content.
An intermediate insulating layer with a salt gradient, which sets up a density gradient that prevents heat exchange by natural convection in the water.
A bottom layer with a high salt content which reaches a temperature approaching 90 degrees Celsius.
The layers have different densities due to their different salt content, and this prevents the development of convection currents which would otherwise transfer the heat to the surface and then to the air above. The heat trapped in the salty bottom layer can be used for heating of buildings, industrial processes, generating electricity or other purposes. One such system is in use at Bhuj, Gujarat, India[26] and another at the University of Texas El Paso.[27]

Solar chemical
Solar chemical is any process that harnesses solar energy by absorbing sunlight in a chemical reaction in a way similar to photosynthesis in plants but without using living organisms. No large-scale systems have as yet been constructed.

Another chemical (but not photochemical) approach has been to use conventional solar thermal collectors to drive chemical dissociation reactions. Ammonia can be separated into nitrogen and hydrogen at high temperature and with the aid of a catalyst, stored indefinitely, then recombined later to release the heat stored. A prototype system was constructed at the Australian National University[28].

A promising approach is to use focused sunlight to provide the energy needed to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of a metallic catalyst such as zinc.[29]

While metals, such as zinc, have been shown to drive photoelectrolysis of water, more research has focused on semiconductors. Further research has examined transition metal compounds, in particular titanium, niobium and tantalum oxides.[30]

Unfortunately, these materials exhibit very low efficiencies, because they require ultraviolet light to drive the photoelectrolysis of water. Current materials also require an electrical voltage bias for the hydrogen and oxygen gas to evolve from the surface, another disadvantage. Current research is focusing on the development of materials capable of the same water splitting reaction using lower energy visible light.

It is also possible to use solar energy to drive industrial chemical processes without a requirement for fossil fuel.

Helen asks…

Solar panels?

Following the anvil on a cable in space question. why not attach a couple of wires to a load of solar panels floating in orbit? solving all our energy problem needs. or cover the sahara with solar panels. aparts from a few scorpions and nomads who's it gonna hurt?

ssadmin answers:

1. Solar panels are extremely inefficient, on the order of only 1-2% efficient.

2. The cost is so high, it is not worth it. The panels cost far more than any “free” electricity.

3. The cable from space would be too heavy, and air resistance would bring the solar panels down.

Instead, use mirrors to concentrate the sunlight, and use it to drive a steam turbine. The efficiency can easily be over 90% if done properly, yielding about 1,000 watts per square meter at high noon at the equator. A mere 20 square kilometers would provide about 360 megawatts. And 2/3 of the energy can be stored for evenings and cloudy days.

Ken asks…

SOLAR Panels?

Hello from SO TX.. I would like to know if anyone out there has SOLAR PANELS on their home?
I have a 850 sq ft. house. I called Austin to a company that offers panels and installation. The cost $18,000.00, for 10 panels . The rep said we would save about 21 to 25% on our electric bill /mo. We use approximately 980 kw/mo. Our bill is around $140.00 / mo…I really don't think that's a good enough savings. We figure it would take 25 years to recoup our investment.
And where we live in TX it does not offer any incentives. The gov. allows you a $2000.00 tx break.

ssadmin answers:

You are wasteful in your power usage. To use 980 kWh per month in such a small home is just unbelivable. Chage your lights to CFL (a 28 watt cfl is = to a 100 watt bulb) and use space heating and window A/C units. Unplug that tv set when not in use and same for other items. I found that our tv set alone uses amost 12 watts when turned off. You may say that is not much.. Well add in 4 tv sets and a couple of stereos and other items and do it for a years time. Lots of waste. Our home is twice the size of yours and we only use on a heavy month about 500 kWh. With 1860 watts in solar power my last months electric bill was 19 dollars and most of that was meter fees.

18K is really about right and not bad. You will get back 2000 dollars if installed before the end of 2008 but it looks like we may be Bushed and they may not extend the tax credits.
Just have to wait for John McCain to get in office and hope he will do something about it. But McCain is running for a 3rd bush term. Hillary is not going to make it in to office an every time Obama gets under pressure he gets so scared he starts stuttering. So he will just get walked on by big oil and big money. So better do it now while you can get something back.

Just to clear something up about the cost.. If you rent power you have nothing in 30 years but if you buy a system you have a system in 30 years.

As far as new lower priced solar modules.. BS!!! Big time
BS!!!

If they can make a 3000 watt solar module for 1 cent they can sell it for the current market price. So it would take a FOOL to drop the prices. So don't waste your time setting on your thumb waiting for this great lower price.

Ask Evergreen Solar if they lowered prices when the used OUR TAX DOLLARS to find a new way to make their panels. Well they found a cheaper way and did it and charge the same as anyone else. But that don't stop them from braging. If they can get your money and don't take it they woudl be fools.. Would you drop your price if people would pay the higher price? Plus someone would by them out and bring the prices back up anyway..

Michael asks…

How does Solar Panels works and what is the cost of getting a solar panel installed.?

I have heard a lot about solar panels and I want to know how these solar panels works and is it really possible to generate electricity using solar panels. And what is the cost of getting a solar panel installed?

ssadmin answers:

Solar panel is made up of a collection of special cells known as photovoltaic cells. These cells are joined together with copper wire and each of them can to generate 5 volts of electricity. You can install as many cells as per your requirement. These solar panel generate AC power which is converted in DC by using an inverter.

Normal installation cost of a solar panel at home is around $5000 but it is true that if you have zeal to learn you can build a solar panel of your own within $200. Making a solar panel is not much difficult but you need to follow a good DIY guide to do that.

For more information visit: http://www.howtobuildasolarpanel.info

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