Your Questions About Solar Power System

Donna asks…

Should I get a solar power system or wind turbine to reduce my electrical bill?

I live in west Texas where wind turbines are huge so I am considering either a personal wind turbine or solar system to reduce my electricity bill. The power company says we use 4000kw per month. Which system is best and what model should I consider

ssadmin answers:

It depends on which natural energy you get more of. If you live in a windy zone (average 12mph or better winds and long duration)that has consistent winds and you don't have a lot of trees around ( big open hilly rolling fields are some of the best sites for windmills) , wind power is much better at being able to generate more power with less cost.

But if your area is low wind and hampered by lots of buildings houses and trees around, the cost you would have to spend on getting a tower high enough to access the stabler higher winds would make it prohibitive. Windpower is better from a grid standpoint as you can run a AC generator that synchronizes with the electric companies power so you don't need batteries or inverters and if you generate more power than you consume, you can sell the power back to the utilities (wholesale rates)

Solar power is best used for heat production rather than electricity . If you are using 4000 kwh a month it sounds like you are an all electric house. Thats a lot of electricity. So if your dryer, hot water heater are electric then solar is the cheapest option for making hot water for your hot water heater and also solar hot air can store its heat in large underground rocks tanks and then the hot air can be piped to either heat your house in the winter or to be piped thru your dryer for clothes.

With 4000 kwh of use , you need some major solar or wind systems. First thing to do is figure out how to conserve some power so you don't need such big systems. Use ALL compact fluorescent lights or LED lights. They save power two ways, use about 1/6 of the power of regular bulbs , and by producing less heat, saves a lot on your A/C bill. Your air conditioner removes 12,000 BTU's of heat per ton of air conditioning. There is about 3400 BTU of heat in a Kwh of electricity. So if you are running TV's , lights, computers, rechargers etc, all those items can produce several thousand BTU's of heat each day which your A/C has to remove in addition to outside heat.

It is probably most economical to study your use pattern and use a combo of both. Wind for electrical needs and solar heaters for hot air or hot water. But first, lower your consumption, it is the cheapest option.

I don't own a single incandescent bulb in my house, inside or out. All lights are LED's and CFL's. No TV's larger than 25 inch and power consumption is less than 100 watts.High efficiency refrigerator with extra thick foam andfreezer on bottom. I dry my clothes on a close line, which saves a lot of power, and never breaks down and makes clothes last longer. I put timers on all power strips. I had a timer on my water heater (before I went solar) that only came on 2 hours a day ( I warned family what time to take showers if they wanted hot water.)

I even mounted my refrigerator to an outside wall with louvers in the wall that open in winter to allow cold outside air to cool the refrigerator and in the summer all the heat from compression is blown outside instead of in the house…again.. I don't want to fight the air conditioner. And I use a geothermal heatpump with woodburner backup.

I generally get 350 kwh in the summer and maybe 700 kwh in the winter.

Lizzie asks…

I want to buy Solar power system for my home, What are the recommendation? If somebody has used it?

I want to buy Solar power system or Wind Energy System for my home, What are the recommendations? If somebody has used it , please tell me about it.

ssadmin answers:

Well it all depends on where you live, if you're out in the country, wind power may make more sense for you, if you're in the city solar is the way to go. With a solar electric system there are no moving parts so it lasts a long time, it pays for itself depending on where you live i have heard of getting money back in three years. If you finance it very often the payments are less than your electric bill. The only maintenance is hosing it down once in a while. I also recommend looking into geothermal, especially if you have a decent sized backyard, its actually the cheapest option, and if you have plenty of space out back its even cheaper. Depending on where you live the payback differs, in the US, we happily now all receive a 30% tax credit, that helps cut the price. There are also other programs pretty much in every state by now. Out here in California, its state mandated for the utility companies to offer a rebate.

Linda asks…

WHY DOES A SOLAR POWER SYSTEM COST SO MUCh?

I am shopping for a solar system and am tired of reading through the b/s. Everyone has the same spin of saving energy to get credit on the utility bill but the systems are 30-50k! with the rebates already applied. I smell huge mark up here. Does anyone have any tips on shopping for a solar system for a home?

ssadmin answers:

There is a huge mark up. However, if you do the math in the end you wind up winning. It is this way because the market is still in it's infancy. It was a huge thing a while ago but lost momentum. It is coming back now, improved and costly. Till more people invest in it and prove it's worth by driving the cost of PG&E back where it belongs and take control of their environment it will remain costly.
For shopping for a system. All you can do is keep looking till you find what you want at the price you want to pay. The internet is your best tool for that search.
Good luck. Thanks for thinking of the environment.

Michael asks…

What features should I look for when purchasing a home solar power system?

Just wondering if some experts out there could give some advice on what to features to look for and to “look out” for when purchasing and having installed a home solar power system. Of course I know sizing it properly is a big issue. However, are there certain brands of the various components that should or should not be used, etc.

ssadmin answers:

The biggest things to look out for is making sure the installer is qualified, and the equipment is UL Listed. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there now claiming to be installers, but have never done it before, or have no training and are doing it wrong. It's not the same as regular house electrical work, not just any electrician can do it.

NABCEP is an organization that certifies solar installers. They have to have years of experience and lots of training to even be able to sit for the exam. Just because an installer isn't certified, doesn't mean they aren't good, but having the certification is a great way to be sure they know what they are doing. If you don't have a certified installer in your area, try to find an installer who has done a number of installs and talk to their references.

As far as equipment, any reputable installer will use quality equipment. It has to be UL Listed to pass inspection, so unless this is their first, they'll know the good stuff.

Robert asks…

what is the best solar power system to power a large family home?

I want to know what is the best solar system that you can retrofit onto a house, that is powerful enough to provide all the electricity needs for a large family home without using the electricity from the grid. i live in a warm climate.

ssadmin answers:

There is a bunch of systems out there. Take a look at this. Http://bit.ly/afxqXNsolar

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