Your Questions About Solar Power

Donald asks…

How long before all homes in America have solar panels enabling us to sell power back to the providers?

It would be great to have an electric meter that ran both ways. Thereby only allowing the electric companies to charge us for the power we did not compensate for by solar power.

ssadmin answers:

That will never happen , not for everyone the cost is too great and now there is a shortage of the bigger panels

Thomas asks…

How to connect or use Solar Power Panels?

My family moved into a house that came with solar power panels but they are not connected and don't really understand how to even begin.

ssadmin answers:

You will need help with this. Panels may or may not be 24 volt. If you can find a name tag, you can find out from the manufacturer's web site. Some folks hook them all in parallel. Mine are in series, to create 480 volts. The reason for going to higher voltage is to reduce power loss in the wiring. Even then, I used a wire size larger than recommended.

The frames want to be interconnected, and wired to ground. The live conductors connect through disconnect switches to an inverter. The inverter is sized to the output of the panels. Where the utility allows net metering, the inverters are connected through a disconnect switch to the grid, which of course also feeds the house. Assuming you are on the grid, you will not need batteries. If outages severely impact you, you can have batteries. Counting against them is that they are costly, and use part of the power you generate, just to keep them charged. If you have batteries, it is usually best to rewire circuits so noncritical circuits are disconnected during outages. Leaving perhaps minimal lighting, fridge, freezer and critical medical circuits.

Learn all you can from the Internet (try solar panels), and from the green search box above.

Be sure to see if your state has a rebate program, and the conditions which it requires.

Sharon asks…

How long to charge my solar power water feature?

I have just purchased a 3 tier solar power water feature from Littlewoods catalogue. I have put it all together but nothing is happening. How long do these things usually take to charge?
I have finally got it working. It stays on for as long as the sun is shining bright but as soon as he sun goes behind a cloud it goes off again! Is this normal?? I thought it would charge up and stay on all day and night? Should I send it back?

ssadmin answers:

I would say to give it at least two full days of good sunshine before getting concerned.

Charles asks…

What type of energy do Solar power plants use?

What type of energy do Solar power plants use to convert to Electrical Energy? Do they use Potential, Mechanical, or Kinetic energy? I need an answer TODAY. Thanks(:

ssadmin answers:


Joseph asks…

How much does it cost to produce solar power in contrast to oil or power, per watt?

A citation would be great if you have it. Thanks. (And please don't just say that you like solar power or something like that, I only want to know about the cost–it's for a paper.)

ssadmin answers:

Solar power costs from $0.20 to $0.40 per kWH–the low end is for large commercial systems, the high end for residential ones. (first link)

A large solar power system costs about $9.00 per watt of capacity–roughly half of that is the solar cells, and the other half is land, support systems, grid connection, etc. (second link)

In contrast, fossil fuel generated power costs about $0.03-$0.06/kWh, and a fossil fuel plant costs about $1.30 per watt. Oil power would be the more expensive of this (coal is usually the cheapest), which is why…

Not sure if you know this already, but relatively little electricity is generated from oil. Only about 1.5% of electricy in the U.S. Comes from oil powered plants. About 50% comes from coal, 20% each from natural gas and nuclear, 7% from hydro. See the last link for that.

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