Your Questions About Solar Power

Lisa asks…

What can anyone tell me about good portable solar power equipment?

I'm doing research on portable solar equipment, and there are a lot of companies out there that I've found. Anyone have any ideas as to what brands will hold up for long periods of hiking and driving? It would need to be able to power batteries for laptops, camcorders, and probably some smaller equipment like cell phones, iPods, etc.

ssadmin answers:


Lots of good ideas here — note the ratings too:

Lots of neat things — I want one of each! For example:
hybrid solar chargers for blackberry, iphone, nokia
foldable solar array
foldable solar chargers
solar power portable panels
eton solarlink radio
solar calculators
briefcase portable solar
solar shower

Good luck!

Robert asks…

Can solar power be stored as kinetic energy?

For instance, if a solar powered winch lifted a weight, could the subsequent downward motion of that weight drive an electric generator that operated after dark?
Or is there some other efficient way to store solar power that is not about a battery, or about just storing heat?

ssadmin answers:

Absolutely. One way would be to power a pump to store water at elevation and then have it turn a turbine when you needed electricity

Richard asks…

when it come to home solar power why do some choose 24v and others 12 v systems?

i want a solar power system, but dont know if i choose 12v or 24v and why.

ssadmin answers:

It all depends, since you're going to be spending top dollar for the panels anyways you should just go with the best. 24v would essentially be better in the long run because it can carry a heavier load, but if you're trying to save a few bucks get the 12v which isn't bad, but expect more limitations.

Helen asks…

How much would it cost to power my home using solar power?

What would be the approximate cost to power a 3500 squ. ft. home and a water well through solar power?

ssadmin answers:

For a large property I recommend to use 4kW system which is maximum what you can install on domestic residence. That kind of system should be enough to run your water and electricity.
Before any assumptions. You have to know…that not every house get same return from the same system.
If your position [South facing], roof direction and angle are acceptable you should be just fine. It is also important what is temperature and how many sun days you can get per year to build a custom system for your specific needs.

It is crucial to set inverter with right panel right. Same panels might be less or more beneficial for properties in different areas in the country. Always ask fro advice before any purchases.
Make sure the company you are using is well accredited avoid high pressure sells-man.

Donald asks…

I want to power my new home I am building on solar power alone what will the cost be roughly?

I also want to stay off the electric grid . It would cost an additional ten thousand dollars to be hooked into it and I want to be independant from utilities. Would solar panels and batteries power lights and T.V , computer , washer dryer ect.

ssadmin answers:

TV, lights and small appliances, yes. Washer, maybe. Dryer, not likely unless it's gas – consider a clothesline. Electric range or oven, no. Hot tub, no unless it's converted to a gas heater.

The raw panels are about $3-8 per watt. So for 6Kw figure about $18k for the panels. The charger/inverter and batteries, figure $2-3k more. Figure about $30k including the installation.

You might also consider a generator. The off-grid houses I've seen tend to have them, even if they have batteries too. Add $3k for that.

Do you have a creek? Consider small-scale hydro too.

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