Going Solar – What’s it Going to Cost Me?
And the quick answer is, “Probably not as much as you’d think”. The reasons for this are many, so let’s take a look at the main ones.
Reduce Your Electricity Usage
Whether you’re planning on going solar or not, this is something everybody can and should do. And it’s something that can be done relatively easily, since it involves mainly being aware of what appliances and devices you’re using and when and making sure to unplug them when not in use, whenever possible.
For instance, if you have a fancy new 46″ LCD television and you leave it plugged in while you’re out at work during the day, the TV will still be drawing power if it’s left plugged in, since it will be in what’s known as standby mode, i.e. it will continue to draw 10 to 20 watts of power so that your screen is kept warm and the picture shows immediately when it’s turned on.
Computers, DVD players, etc., operate in a similar way and continually draw power if left plugged in. So, either unplug them when not in use or plug them into a power strip or switched circuit and turn them all off at once.
Reducing your electricity usage in this way can save you a substantial amount on your bill and makes sense for everybody, but is essential to keep the cost of a solar electric system down if you intend to go solar.
What Size System Do I Need?
An average household of 3 or 4 people in a house of about 2500 square feet would need something in the range of a 3 kilowatt system. The size of the system depends on the amount of energy used daily, and how much you’d like to reduce the amount of electricity you buy from your utility, so you may need a larger or smaller system, but 3 kilowatts should be more than enough for most average households.
That size system would cost between $24-30,000, if you were to have to pay for it all yourself, but, fortunately, there are some fantastic rebates and tax incentives available at both the Federal and State level that can reduce the final cost to you substantially.
Take Advantage Of Rebates And Tax Incentives
There are many opportunities available right now to avail yourself of substantial rebates and tax incentives at both the Federal and State levels (check with your State to find out what rebates and/or incentives they are offering, if any). These are not insignificant and can result in the cost of a new solar energy system being reduced by up to a third of the original cost.
So, a 3kW system like the one we’ve been discussing could end up costing $16-20,000 after rebates and incentives.
The cost of a solar electric system can be lessened by reducing your electricity usage and by taking advantage of rebates and incentives. The balance of the total cost will be recouped in the savings realized from reduced electricity bills within 5-10 years generally, after which you’ll be able to enjoy free electricity for another 15-20 years, since most solar panels carry a 25-30 year warranty.
The result is a win-win-win situation – you win thanks to the savings you’ll realize from reduced electricity bills; the planet wins thanks to reduced greenhouse gases; and the economy wins thanks to the jobs created in the solar energy sector.…
Investing in Energy – Solar Energy Investments Explored
Solar energy investments are one of the hottest investments of the year, and for good reason. In 2009, the many companies that produce solar products were able to find ways to lower the cost of their goods so that more people could utilize solar products in their own homes. Because of this reduced price tag, more people are buying solar products. More buyers mean more demand, which means increased profits for solar energy corporations. For investors, that means that investing in energy with these companies is a great way to make a profit and there has never been a better time to make that investment than now.
Companies like First Solar are leading the markets with their stock prices, but there are many options for investing in this type of energy when you’re considering it for yourself. Almost every major energy corporation in the industry is experiencing huge surges in sales and profits because of the ‘go green’ initiative that everyone is trying to become a part of. As the demand continues to grow and prices continue to drop for consumer products, this energy industry is only going to get bigger and better.
In the United States, primarily, solar energy investments are practically a sure bet for investors. Investing in energy usually has some ups and downs to be expected, but everything looks stable from the standpoint of most of this energy companies right now. Worldwide, these investments are growing, as well, reporting increases in shares, revenues, and shareholder profits across the board. Every country has their own clean and solar energy initiatives in place and that likely affects the popularity of these companies quite drastically. With all of this being said, there is something that all investors need to keep in mind.
Investing in energy like oil or other products might be a quick risk worth taking. Investing in solar energy, however, is more of a long-term stable investment that will gain significant profits over time. This companies aren’t exploding and they don’t have as many ups and downs as other energy products. This is what makes them great for people who are just starting out or those who are more conservative with their investments. Take the time to look at this type of energy corporations, stocks, and other investment options for yourself to determine the right move for your investment portfolio. If you’re playing it safe and looking for something that you can depend on, this just might be more information on investing in investment opportunities usually or normally not found in the marketplace, click here!…
Homemade Solar Panel
Having to pay someone to come in and set up the power system on your roof can be very expensive and will cost thousands of dollars easily. It is much cheaper to do it yourself and the results can be just as effective. If you are interested in taking advantage of free and clean energy that comes from sun, then you really may want to think hard about adding those panels to your home. You’ll notice a difference in your electricity bill and you will also be doing your part to protect the environment.
I was always very curious about solar energy but I never came across the thought of building my own solar power systems but in this time of crisis where cost of living is rising, building your own solar power systems can go a long way providing not just financial solutions, but solutions to the problems of the world as well.
My question was, how do I create my own solar systems without knowing anything about it.
I found out that there are a ton of guides out there which can give you the detailed schematics. You will need some plywood, flexi glass, silicone, a soldering iron and some tabbing wires in order to complete your simple yet effective solution to electric bill problems.
It is true that PV cells, which are responsible for harnessing the sun’s energy, can be quite expensive and you can not build your own out of junk. But there is a way to acquire it with little cash. There are those who are selling chipped or used PV cells all over the internet and in other buy and sell ads around the country.
A quick search in the internet, a stop at your local bookstore or even a chat with your local hardware salesman can teach you how to complete this project on your own. I have done a long research, because my skills with tools aren’t as good as others but after trying couple of videos on YouTube and metacafe I finally came across DIY solar panel Home Kit. My home power system was complete for less than $180 after a week of work!
DIY easy to follow, fully illustrated manuals and step by step instructional videos and if you’re interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your energy bill, then this is the solution for you.…
Solar Energy is the Way of the Future
Mankind’s use of solar energy has a history that dates back centuries. Archimedes, renowned Greek mathematician and scientist, used the concentrated reflections of soldiers’ brass shields to set fire to enemy ships during the 2nd century B.C.E. By the 6th century A.D., the Roman emperor Justinian placed so much value on the sun’s warming energy that he established “sun rights,” laws guaranteeing every individual’s right to enjoy sunshine.
For centuries thereafter, scientists courted the sun and its potent heat and energy. In 1767, Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure constructed the world’s first solar collector. In 1883, American scientist Charles Fritts published a description of the first solar cells made from thin sheets of selenium, and in 1908, Carnegie Steel employee William Bailey invented a solar collector composed of copper coils contained in an insulated box, a design which is still in use today.
Through 1953, solar energy use was of the passive kind. But in 1954, solar energy took a new turn, as Bell Labs developed the first solar cell that was able to produce enough electrical current to run common electrical appliances and equipment. Twenty years later, University of Delaware researchers introduced the world to the power of solar panels, with the construction of Solar One, one of the world’s first solar-powered homes.
Today, solar panels are used in all types of construction, from residential to commercial to government buildings. Tax credits and a shift toward more sustainable fuel resources have helped increase the panels’ popularity. But the price of the panels and their installation can still be prohibitive to many individuals attracted by their “green,” earth-friendly footprint. Most homes require a substantial investment to install a system powerful enough to replace electricity and fossil fuels, and some experts have estimated it can take several decades for a solar panel system to pay for itself.
But despite its high cost and long “payback” time, solar is still attractive to many homeowners. Thousands of homeowners take the plunge every year and convert their homes to solar power. In addition to eschewing fossil fuels and creating a more earth-friendly profile, solar energy can allow homeowners to live “off the grid,” disconnecting from the stranglehold of major utilities like electric, oil, and natural gas. What’s more, when a home’s system makes more electricity than it needs, the homeowner can sell that extra electricity back to the local electrical utility. Don’t get too excited: even with that benefit, solar systems can still take decades to pay for themselves.
But just as the solar energy industry has evolved over the past millennia, homeowners interested in incorporating these shiny panels into their home’s design should keep their eyes open: tax breaks, advances in solar technology and increased competition among solar panel manufacturers have caused considerable price drops in recent years. If your home is situated in a position to soak up the rays, and you’re planning on staying put for awhile, solar panel installation might be a wise investment for you.…
Solar Energy Predictions for 2011
2009 and 2010 were great years for the solar energy industry. This is rather odd when you think about it. Why? Well, nearly everything else was a complete disaster. So, will the good times continue in 2011 or will the solar energy industry start to reflect what is happening in the real economy? Let’s get to our predictions for 2011.
2011 is going to be a bumpy year for solar energy. There is no other way to view it and manufacturers are already more than a bit nervous. Is solar going out of favor with consumer? Are we going back to oil and coal? Has President Obama turned his back on alternative energy? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know they are not at the heart of the problems for solar in 2011.
The problem is simple – oversupply. Solar energy has had so much momentum the last few years that every Tom, Dick and Harry has moved into the field. We now are looking at a supply rate that is forecast to be twice the demand level in 2011. This is a classic formula for price drops and the contraction of the industry.
As if things weren’t going to be rough enough, additional developments are pointing to an even slacker demand. Much of the solar panel sales explosion has occurred because state and federal government provides financial incentives to help people deal with the initial cost of panel systems. The economic collapse has slashed tax revenues, so governments are now slashing these incentives. That will weaken demand even further, a real shock to the system.
What about consumers? Solar will be a mixed bag in 2011 for us as well. There will not be nearly as many incentives to help us with purchases. That being said, the good news is a glut of panel systems should lead to some incredibly low prices on home systems. This will be particularly true as manufacturers fail, merge and try to get rid of inventory.
The solar energy industry got off lightly through the years of the Great Recession. That is about to change in 2011.…
A Green Thinkers List of Solar Energy Benefits
There are usually two types of people when it comes to green products. There are the people who know little to nothing about it, and there are the people who are extremely passionate about them. This list of solar energy benefits is an attempt to bring a happy medium of awareness to those who know little to nothing about solar energy.
The first benefit is that solar power is a renewable resource. As long as the sun is in the sky we will be able to make use of its energy. You can’t say that about other traditional methods which might run out. Even trees which may be re-planted are being consumed faster than we can renew them.
Fossil fuels have an unfortunate side effect of releasing things like carbon dioxide, carcinogens or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Solar power does not have this negative environmental effect. Noise pollution is also caused by other renewable energy resources, but this is not the case with solar energy cells.
More solar power benefits occur because the fact solar panels are very dependable. They do not frequently move so replacing parts is generally minimal. When it comes down to numbers, a few thousand hours of energy generation can occur with very little or even no maintenance.
Solar energy power also include those that involve money. You don’t have just one single company producing one type of solar energy panel. You can get ones that cost in the ten thousands and others in the hundreds. This means your budget doesn’t restrict you, you can start off going solar with any type of budget.
The original outlay of solar panels isn’t the only financial concern when taking advantage of solar panels, the long run shows that solar electricity is less expensive than getting it from the power company. Once your equipment is installed, it starts paying itself off. After you break even, you then see money back in your pocket!
You don’t necessarily stop there either. Most power companies want to buy your excess power also. You need to get in touch with your local power company for full details, but it would be exciting to have them pay you for energy they use! If you don’t want to contact them, you don’t have to: your solar energy benefits include the luxury of living off the grid.
Solar energy methods and equipment is constantly being researched and improving. With the increasing interest in solar energy alternatives costs are decreasing; solar products are becoming more mainstream and a variety of different solar energy products means that consumers have the option of going as green as they want to.
While there are a number of activists out there who want everything to be as ecologically friendly as possible, we live in a society where we are accustomed to some comforts, but by realizing the advantages, and know that solar energy benefits aren’t an all or nothing scenario, everyone can start going a little more green.…
What Is Solar Photovoltaic Technology?
Understanding Photovoltaic Cells
Photovoltaic cells, also referred to as solar cells, have a basic process that takes sunlight and convert it into electricity. Discovered in 1954, scientists found that silicon could be used to make an electric charge, if it was exposed to direct sunlight. Technology advanced, and with it solar cells were soon powering satellites, and even our most basic commodity; a watch or calculator. In today’s high tech world people now use these cells to power their homes, businesses, and utilities companies are now taking PV technology even further, by using this technology for power stations.
First generation solar panels that are used in businesses and homes, will normally use modules that hold as many as 40 cells. In order to provide electrical needs for an average home, one would need to use 10 – 20 panels, that are fixed at an angle; usually south. Some will use a mount design, that allows for a tracking device, that then moves with the sun, allowing for optimum sunlight to hit the panels. When you combine panels together you’ll hear them referred to as a solar array. Large solar arrays are most often used to power electric utility companies, or large industrial complexes. When interconnected, these solar arrays enable large PV systems to power thousands of homes and buildings combined.
As stated earlier, these cells are made from silicon, often found in sand, and are considered to be one of the most efficient types of solar panels. Cells that are second generation are comprised of amorphous silicon and nonsilicon materials. These cells are thin film cells, use semiconductor materials, and their thickness is measured in micrometers. Their flexibility and thinness gives them the appearance of house tiles or shingles, thereby making them a perfect choice for roofs, tiles, glazing on skylights and building facades.
Third generation cells are made from a variety of materials. Inks used in printing press technology, conductive plastics, and solar dyes are the main ones currently being produced. As technology continues to advance in this field, we’re seeing solar cells using lenses made of plastic or mirrors, as a way to concentrate and enhance rays from the sun, into smaller than ever and more efficient PV materials. Although more expensive to purchase, less panels need to be used, thus making them a cost effective option for industrial uses, and for whole utility company usage. Concentrating collectors that use lenses have the drawback, that they are only suitable for some areas where there is a higher concentration of sun yearlong.
As we head into the future, it’s expected that solar technology will accelerate at an amazing pace, due to solar technology advancing and becoming smaller every year. Currently many homes are using this technology, as are businesses, but as solar become smaller and more affordable, prices will continue to drop, thus enabling the average homeowner to afford this new technology and go off-grid or sell power back to the grid.
The National Center for Photovoltaic offers information on all the latest research in solar cell PV technology, and currently supports the DOE SunShot Initiative, that plans to have large scale solar systems, that are cost effective by 2020. Everblue Courses are designed to teach about home energy efficiency and create knowledgeable technicians for the coming expansion of sustainable energy.…
More Solar Projects Are Sprouting Up In The Agriculture-Rich San Joaquin Valley
Agriculture is a $20 billion per year industry in the San Joaquin Valley, and farmers there are the most efficient in the world. But that kind of production comes with a power price tag.
Water pumps, refrigeration and other farm-related uses accounted for 13% and 11% of the total electricity consumed in Fresno and Kern counties respectively in 2009, according to the California Energy Commission. So, it makes sense that growers would be interested in reducing their power bills.
In Delano, grape grower Castle Rock Vineyards recently installed a solar-energy system to power its 280,000-square-foot cold-storage facility – shaving at least $233,000 from its power bills annually.
The system was installed by REC Solar, which featured a profile of the project from Renewable Energy World on its Web site. Castle Rock Vineyards received a federal tax credit, state rebate and bank financing to pay for the 1.1 megawatt system – and is additional proof that clean energy has a place down on the farm.
The system is projected to offset more than 63 million pounds of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing 6,112 cars from the road, over the next 20 years.
Castle Rock has vineyards in central and southern San Joaquin Valley and in Coachella, near Palm Springs.
With abundant sun, ample land and easy access to the grid, the San Joaquin Valley is considered ripe for solar projects. In fact, Southern California Edison announced today that it inked power-purchase contracts for more than 800 megawatts of power with SunPower Corp. of San Jose and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures of San Francisco that will be created, in part, from projects in Los Banos in Merced County and Arvin and Lamont, both in Kern County.
That is enough power for more than 460,000 average-sized California homes.
A Southern California Edison spokesman said solar is coming of age, making it more economical for utilities committed to increasing their clean-energy portfolio. “This is an important turning point…,” said utility vice president Marc Ulrich in a statement. “The advances in photovoltaic technology, couple with economies of scale, enable SCE to provide Californians with a large-scale power plant’s worth of emission-free energy at a competitive price.”
The contracts include 110 megawatts in Los Banos, scheduled to be operational by year-end 2014; 60 megawatts in Lamont, scheduled to go on-line by Dec. 31, 2013; and 20 megawatts in Arvin, slated to be operational by Sept. 30, 2013.…