Solar panels are no longer just for hippies. If you’re just as interested in saving money as you are in saving the planet, solar panels can help you do that. Their price has come down, their effectiveness has gone up, and Congress extended a 30 percent federal tax credit for installing them until the end of 2019. All of this means solar panels can now pay for themselves in as little as five years, depending where you live. But are they right for your particular home? That’s a question that raises more questions. Ask yourself these things before making a decision.

There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.


Wind is created by the unequal heating of the Earth's surface by the sun. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical power that runs a generator to produce clean electricity. Today's turbines are versatile modular sources of electricity.[3] Their blades are aerodynamically designed to capture the maximum energy from the wind.[4] The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator or the generator's rotor, which makes electricity.
Home wind energy systems generally comprise a rotor, a generator or alternator mounted on a frame, a tail (usually), a tower, wiring, and the "balance of system" components: controllers, inverters, and/or batteries. Through the spinning blades, the rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator, which produces either AC or wild AC (variable frequency, variable voltage), which is typically converted to grid-compatible AC electricity.
A few years ago, some state governments started developing new standardized interconnection requirements for small renewable energy generating facilities (including wind turbines). In most cases, the new requirements are based on consensus-based standards and testing procedures developed by independent third-party authorities, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Underwriters Laboratories. Utility companies will typically require compliance with IEEE 1547, which addresses electrical safety requirements for wind turbine systems. Some utilities may require appropriate electrical listing before allowing interconnection of the wind system.

So you got your cells in the mail. Let’s say you received solar cells totaling 194 watts for $105+shipping (an actual example from ebay) that you carefully unpack, taking care not to break them, as they’re very thin. Now find yourself some tools like a soldering iron, solder, solder paste or flux (for removing the grease off the wires), a saw, some wooden board and protective glasses, a multimeter to measure voltage and amperage. And, of couse, a pencil and a ruler.
Although solar battery backups are outside of the scope of this article, I find it necessary to at least mention them and why they are useful. First, battery backups are good in the event of a blackout. Unfortunately, your solar panels will not power your home if the lights shut off. This is to prevent your system from frying a lineman who's repairing the grid. A battery blackout will let you keep your refrigerator running while the power's out. Second, if you are running an off-grid system, you'll need the batteries when the sun's not shining.
Nominal voltage [17]refers to the voltage of the battery that the module is best suited to charge; this is a leftover term from the days when solar modules were only used to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of the module changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage at which the module operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the module is compatible with a given system.
Square wave inverter is cheaper among the all but not suitable for all appliances.Modified Sine Wave output is also not suitable for certain appliances, particularly those with capacitive and electromagnetic devices such as: a fridge, microwave oven and most kinds of motors.Typically modified sine wave inverters work at lower efficiency than pure sine wave inverters.

Home wind energy systems generally comprise a rotor, a generator or alternator mounted on a frame, a tail (usually), a tower, wiring, and the "balance of system" components: controllers, inverters, and/or batteries. Through the spinning blades, the rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator, which produces either AC or wild AC (variable frequency, variable voltage), which is typically converted to grid-compatible AC electricity.
Does anyone know about a way to create a little “solar garden” that could supplement our electricity, but without installing some of the permanent infrastructure needed on a house or garage? Anything that we could put out on a deck or hang out a window? I hope that isn’t too simplistic of a description, but I figured if anyone had good ideas, it would be you guys.
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.

The solution, of course, is to promote time-of-use: when there is surplus production during the day, lower the price. That will encourage day-time electric car charging, especially at workplaces. It’s crazy that the electric industry is complaining about both having too much solar during the daytime, and not being able to handle the load for charging all the future electric cars (to be fair, I think it is the auto industry that is trying to find ways to tarnish electric vehicles).
The distance between the combiner box, which is usually located near the solar panels, and the charge controller will be a factor in choosing the best string voltage for the charge controller and battery system. The higher the input voltage the smaller the wire can be for any given amount of power. For example, a system with a 12 volt battery and solar panels consisting of four 6.75 amp 12 volt DC nominal modules located at a distance of 40’ from the batteries could have the modules wired in series, parallel or series and parallel. Input design possibilities in this example are 12, 24, and 48 volts DC. If the panels was configured with the panels wired in parallel the input voltage would be 12 volts DC with an input current of 26 amps. The same panels wired in series would have an input voltage of 48 volts DC and an input current of 6.5 amps. In this example #1, the 26 amp 12 volts DC panels #1/0 wire, which is prohibitively expensive, would be required to limit voltage drop to 2% which is recommended for 12 volt DC systems. The same panels wired for 48 volts dc would only require a #8 wire. With the #8 AWG wire the 12 volt dc panels would have to be within 7’ of the batteries. The distance that #8 wire can be used is over 5 times greater at 48 volts DC than 12 volts DC.

The price of commercially made solar panels on eBay is around $1 per watt and have been for a few years, but the price of individual solar cells are likewise at a low price per watt, around $0.48.  Looking at those prices, it’s tempting to say that it’d be cheaper to just buy the solar cells and put together your own panels. But is it? Simply adding up all the costs might seem like a good way to tell, but you’d need to make a panel to really see what works and what doesn’t.

Look at that product name again. How much time will you have to spend just to understand what all those terms mean? Because you need to know what you’re buying before you buy it, right? How do you know if you want or need all those things? Is 300 Watts a lot? How much power will that give me? How much will it save me on my bills? What’s polycrystalline? Is that good?
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CSE’s plug and play PV innovation would enable consumers to purchase a preconfigured array from a home-improvement store or distributor and then attach the panels to their roofs using an adhesive roof mounting system, eliminating the need for conventional racking. Once the lightweight solar panels are in place, the system then self-tests for proper installation and communicates with the local utility to request permission to connect and operate. The system won’t energize until the utility company remotely grants permission to connect to the electric grid, increasing the safety of self-installation. If all goes well, a weekend warrior might be able to complete installation in a little over an hour — at least, that’s the goal. 
“I don’t live in Colorado. How much juice will I get out of it where I live?” This part is fun: The National Renewable Energy Lab runs a great, free calculator called PVWatts that does it all for you: factoring in average weather and solar angles in your area, even allowing you to specify solar panels placed at any crazy angle you like. (In other words, your house doesn’t have to have a perfect South-facing roof).
FACT 2: This year, the tax credit has been improved, getting additional installation costs of the systems eligible in the IRS tax credits for small wind turbines. Also, new this year, ending Dec 31st is the removal of “cost caps” in the tax credit. So, this year, there is not a limit on how large a system you can buy, install, and claim in THIS TAX YEAR.
I did receive the product I ordered from GoGreenSolar.com, but it took a bit longer than I expected, about two weeks. I only just put it in so I have yet to get a sense for how well it works. I installed the panels myself. They didn't provide instructions, so I did an online search and found a video, but I'm not sure if all customers would be able to find that. I found the pieces were quite tight to slide onto the aluminum, so I had to work at bending them a bit, which is difficult when you are sitting on the roof. The price was fine. My one question is that I'm still not sure how to buy additional pieces. I didn't receive enough pieces for the configuration I was trying to work with.
So how does a seemingly simple looking panel harness sunlight and transform it into electricity? Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells. These cells are where the conversion from light to electricity takes place. The cells must be made of a material like silicon or a similar single cell semi-conducting material. As light enters the cells, the semi-conductor pulls the energy in the form of electrons from it and allows them to flow through the material. In essence, this flow is actually a current. While the absorption of the light into the cell is enough to free electrons, the cells also contain an electric field that can steer the electrons where they need to go. The current is then steered to the bottom of the panel where it can then be collected and drawn for use externally.
The term solar panels is often used for a few different types of products that produce energy by collecting sunlight. We most commonly use the phrase to refer to the type that converts sunlight directly into DC electricity. Less frequently, people will use the term in reference to solar thermal collectors, which typically heats a liquid such as water, or solar air heaters, which heats air directly.

As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
I found that the best way to connect between two cells was to use hot glue and some conductive mesh. The mesh is good since it allows light to come through it, and we all love glue guns. So all you need to do is glue the mesh onto the solar cell surface. Its always better to have a longer strip of mesh on the surface, with a big enough shared surface space between the two. Always check with a multimeter that there is connectivity, and that there is voltage coming through. Its a bummer later to try and figure out where the problem is.
If you’re hunting for a tiptop, ergonomic wind turbine that won’t sting your wallet, we recommend Mophorn 400W Wind Turbine. Though it comes with a nominal price-tag compared with our most expensive model, its multifaceted use will make your jaw drop. Locate it anywhere you please. Be it your resident, factory or office zone, you’ll be satisfied witnessing its unparalleled service everywhere.
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
I was researching this recently, seems like such a good idea. From what I understand – still in test and a year or two out. They are trying to make out it will cost not much more than a regular (well a tile) roof. They have two types of identical looking tiles, one that produces electricity and one that doesnt (thinking being that entire roof (particularly the N facing) will not be photo-voltaic). Cost per square depends on the mixture of the 2 tiles but it looked to me to be in the $50 –
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A Darrieus type vertical axis wind turbine (the egg-beater type) can in theory work almost as good as a horizontal axis turbine. Actual measurement of one of the better designs out there, the UGE VisionAir5, does not bear that out though: It measures in at a pitiful 11% efficiency at 11 m/s wind speed, while a Bergey Excel-6 HAWT clocks in at 22% efficiency for that same wind speed, twice as much. You can read about it in Paul Gipe’s article.  Besides efficiency issues, a Darrieus VAWT unfortunately has a number of inherent issues that put them at a disadvantage: Since they are usually tall and relatively narrow structures the bending forces on their main bearing (at the bottom) are very large. There are similar issues with the forces on the blades. This means that to make a reliable vertical axis turbine takes more material, and more expensive materials, in comparison to a horizontal type turbine. For comparison, that same UGE VisionAir5 weighs 756 kg vs. the Bergey Excel-6 at 350 kg. Keep in mind that the UGE turbine only sweeps about half the area of the Bergey, the latter is a much larger turbine! This makes VAWTs inherently more expensive, or less reliable, or both.
Expertise: Before committing to buy a solar kit there is a certain amount of design and analysis work that you need to do to make sure that the kit you buy will work. It needs to fit on your roof and the output needs to be in the acceptable range for the utility to grant you a net metering agreement. Although rules vary from state to state most utilities only allow net metering of a system that will produce around 110% of your consumption. You also need to understand what type of solar package you are buying. Off-grid and grid-tie packages are completely different and you need to be clear about what you want. These issues may be hard to consider on your own, and many contracted solar installers will only work with systems they’re familiar with.
Manufacturers often claim that their vertical axis turbine is better at extracting power from low speed winds. Unfortunately the laws of physics get in the way here: There is very little power in low speed winds. The blade of a vertical or horizontal type turbine is equally good at extracting that power, though with the vertical type the blades move at an angle to the wind where they do not extract energy for part of every rotation, adding drag and making a vertical type turbine just a little less efficient than a similar sized horizontal one. There is no advantage when it comes to low winds.
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Local utilities and regional power authorities are investing increasing resources to solar power generation. Both private and government-owned utility companies can leverage the recently-extended federal tax credits to encourage additional investments in renewable energy by their individual customers. As solar power generation increases on the large scale, prices for equipment will be driven down further, making it more feasible for a homeowner to invest in solar installations on their homes.


I had a very good experience ordering online with GoGreenSolar.com. After thorough online research, I found GoGreenSolar offered the components I was looking for, available for delivery at the most affordable prices, including shipping and handling. I basically ordered the parts to put together my own energy saving solar panel system. They were not only delivered in a very timely manner, but all of the parts were quality built, nothing broken or damaged. I would definitely recommend going to their site when considering solar panels.
That’s the case for Cam and Michelle Mather, who live on 150 forested acres in rural Ontario. The Mathers live in an off-grid home powered by solar panels and their micro wind turbine, a 1-kilowatt (kw) Bergey Excel 1. On such a large property, they’re nowhere near their closest neighbors, so there’s no one who might be upset about the noticeable — but not unpleasant — wind turbine noise or the very visible 100-foot tower in the couple’s yard.
According to the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, the Rated Annual Energy of a wind turbine is the calculated total energy that would be produced during a 1-year period with an average wind speed of 5 meters/second (m/s, or 11.2 mph).[22] The following formula illustrates factors that are important to the performance of a wind turbine. Notice that the wind speed (V) has an exponent of 3 applied to it. This means that even a small increase in wind speed results in a large increase in power. That is why a taller tower will increase the productivity of any wind turbine by giving it access to higher wind speeds.

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Scientists from Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing, have reported development of multi-junction solar cells with an efficiency of more than 40%, a new world record for solar photovoltaic cells.[11] The Spectrolab scientists also predict that concentrator solar cells could achieve efficiencies of more than 45% or even 50% in the future, with theoretical efficiencies being about 58% in cells with more than three junctions.
For simple installations such as solar garden lighting or heating your swimming pool with the power of the sun, there are viable, effective, and affordable DIY options on the market. However, with larger projects, such as whole-house solar, the process requires quite a bit of knowledge of electrical systems. Here are a few things to consider before going forward with your DIY solar project.
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