Great article. We just signed a contract to have panels installed but I had done a little research on a DIY setup. In the end, I felt the personal risk – shutting off the breaker panel, connect new 2-way electric meter, climbing around 2-story roof with lots of heavy materials – wasn’t worth the potential savings compared to hiring a professional contractor. What prompted you to decide that you could complete this hi-voltage, rooftop project without professional help?
In addition to geologic formations, you need to consider existing obstacles such as trees, houses, and sheds, and you need to plan for future obstructions such as new buildings or trees that have not reached their full height.[31] Your turbine needs to be sited upwind of buildings and trees[32], and it needs to be 30 feet above anything within a 500-foot horizontal radius.[33] You also need enough room to raise and lower the tower for maintenance, and if your tower is guyed, you must allow room for the guy wires.

Keep in the mind the costs associated with mounting your solar energy systems. You’ll need racking equipment to attach the solar panels to your roof and you’ll need the correct mounting system for your yard as well. And also keep in mind you need to really research the best positioning of the system to maximize the amount of sunlight you capture, taking into account the location of the sun during peak sunlight hours in addition to the location of any shade inhibiting objects (e.g., trees, buildings). Even one panel that is blocked from the sun due to a shade tree can inhibit the efficiency of the entire solar energy system.

Thanks for the write up. Very interesting. Being concerned about the carbon output as well, has there been any research into the CO2 produced in the production of the material being installed? I was really convicted about this concern when I started considering the CO2 given off by things like spray foam on building projects I have done in the past. 

The majority of solar equipment is produced in China, with only 14 American manufacturers producing solar cell modules, according to a study published by the Brookings Institute in February of this year. However, as the price of solar equipment has been dropping at a rapid rate, the offset of the passed-along trade tax in the form of increased cost to the consumer is predicted to level out by the end of the year. By 2016, the number of solar installations had increased in the United States by 14 times what it was just six years prior, according to the study, lowering the cost of individual solar panels significantly, and that pattern continues through the current time.
Our company takes on the challenge of helping independent minded people, create their own energy. With each package or kit, you get assigned a System Integrator. Your personal Solar Consultant will be a phone call away ready to provide you with after the sale polished technical advice on the design and execution of your installation. One person to call who intimately knows your system and coordinates all the activities related to your purchase. This personalized advice is one of the services that receives the most recognition from our customers.
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.
For those interested in Solar in Vancouver or for condo buildings a guy in Victoria blogged all steps from system design to getting approval, install and various post completion updates stating from 2015. He posted a great PDF summary which I’ll link if allowed below. Of special note is how net metering works in ones area and teh cost to this guys much larger system was something like $3 CDN to MMM $1 USD. I would absolutely love to copy this project in my 18 unit Vancouver building. Alas being so old it will be developed sooner than later i suspect. Not sure why new buildings do not do this as mandatory if only for all the shared electricity of the building and not the actual apartments themselves.
Purchase This Brand New Wind Generator Turbine System For Vessels and Sailboats Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Purchase This Brand New 550 Watt Wind Turbine Generator System Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Introducting the Electric Saver Super Nitro PLUS! Cut your electric bill in half! Times are rough and we want  you to live with ease!
I just installed 2.55kw system. This is a bunch of boloney. The key is finding a Chinese distributor and buying good inverters the solar warehouse is trying to move for new inventory. Theres a lot of good stuff out there installers buy up and you can too if you know where to go. The cost of the panels, racking, 5kw inverter with one mppt, and wire was ~4700 dollars. I have to buy emt conduit and bender. The permit costs almost 500 here in cali. So all in all spent less than 6 grand and plan to claim the tax credit next year. There was no incentive from PG&E. Oh I put up a new meter, subpanel, riser too with ground rods.. But that had to be done anyhow- 1950s home with zinsco panel and no disconnect- I dunno how the place didnt burn down.. Bonded to the plumbing.. You can diy and save, just a lot of people in diy are more crazy than anything and do things that could burnt thier house down! If you dont understand electricity dont do it. DC is a little different and having a positively grounded inverter is nice too. You wont lose much efficiency. Getting well over 2.3kw on a good day. Code is another thing. Theyll have you put redundant things in the system for fiiefighters. DC Disconnect on the roof or outside

People (like me) go with grid tie because net metering makes it economically a win (unless you end up in a bad lease, PPA or simply over-pay). I installed my 4 kW system myself for $8000, the IRS gave me back 30% of that and my $1200 annual power bills are now slightly negative :-) I've paid no power bill for two years now, and it's a pretty good feeling, and slightly weird to have the power company owe me money.

After the photons are transformed into electricity, the panels direct this energy to power the home. Some homes, those independent of the utility grid, must rely on battery storage to store energy, yet they may also have to rely on backup generators when there is too much demand on the size of the system. Many people use solar in tandem with the utility companies so that they have a convenient back-up during fluctuating periods of energy. This net metering partnership is a bit involved, but it has also been evolving to become more effective as more and more people choose solar to provide the bulk of electricity to power their homes.


Our panels produce the most electricity between 9 AM and 5 PM (Spring/Summer) when we are not home. Durham/Raleigh area of NC has net metering…..So any surplus is delivered to the grid. In the evening when the solar system is producing the least or not at all, we are using electricity from the grid. At the end of the month, if we use more from the grid than the solar system, we are charged for that usage. If we deliver more to the grid, we carry surplus balance of kWh that carries over to the next month.
Combiner / circuit breaker box is a key piece of equipment that begins to bring the pieces of equipment together that allows you to generate electricity. We use almost exclusively Midnite Solar and OutBack combiners and breakers because they are safe, durable and easy to wire. NEC (National Electrical Code) says that each series of strings of panels are to be wired to it's own circuit breaker. Midnite Solar and OutBack combiner boxes make this task easy providing a breaker to turn off and on each string for any purpose. The combiner box is usually located directly under a ground mount array.
The best way to do a green energy project for the home is to get a kit of perfectly matched components engineered to work as planned. First options in choosing your kit are, wind only, or wind AND solar. Having a hybrid wind AND solar system is really going to make it a more consistant green energy system. We can't all afford a giant windmill or solar system, these WindEnergy7 kits are affordable. Below is a graph showing the weather cycles of wind/solar and why wind/solar hybrid is so much better than solar only, or wind only systems. .... [wind turbine guide]
9 Feb 2013 at 8:03am --> . . We Deliver Solar Panels in Arizona with FREE Delivery. Solar Panels in Arizona are just a call away, visit our website and fill out the contact form. If you are looking for residential solar panels Arizona, solar panel manufacturers Arizona, solar shingles Arizona, solar power Arizona, solar panel installation Arizona, solar water heater […]
By the way, built with quality polypropylene and glass fiber, it gets by rough climate conditions out in the wild. Certainly, it is friendly for marine use as it endures saltwater corrosion. Moreover, the Windmill wind turbine features an automatic braking system to make it survive high winds. You can easily charge a 50Ah battery with the turbine that has a rotor diameter of 4-feet and weight of around 17 lbs.
The NPower 400 Watt wind turbine is the ideal choice for off-grid power requirements. Charging begins at wind speeds as low as 5.6 MPH, providing clean, green battery charging. High quality marine-grade coating and construction is ideal for both land and sea environments. Includes MPPT (maximum power point tracking) charge controller, which optimizes power production. Aluminum alloy construction with low-noise 47.2in. dia. carbon fiber composite blades. Optional tower mounting kit (Item# 121072) is sold separately.
If you've been thinking about going solar, there's no better time than now to do it. Government financial incentives are still ripe for the picking, the cost of photovoltaic (PV) cells is falling every day, and you'll probably be the first person on your block to make the jump. Adding solar energy to your house is an excellent project for several reasons: You'll save loads on electricity, and may even be able to sell some of yours back to the utility company; you'll reduce your carbon footprint; and if you're installing in a remote location (such as a cabin), you'll have much less to worry about than you would with a gasoline generator. You'll also support a growing industry, and in doing so, help contribute to the worldwide adoption of this wonderful new energy source.
Each time it’s accompanied by some type of announcement about how great solar is, and how they are building or have a solar farm, and they love solar. The next paragraph though, talks about how if you have solar panels, they are charging you more, or somehow increasing the costs. When I started getting quotes, payback was calculated at 6.3 years. Now, 4 years later, I’m looking at about 10.5 years . . . from today. Functionally, they have more than doubled my costs.
This can get a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, can be done fast enough. First, some technical notes: In order to get higher voltage, you need to connect two cells in series. This means that the negative part of the first connects to the positive part of the second. As you continue to add more cells in series, you will get a higher voltage from side to side on your solar strip. This is all good, but if your cells are small-ish, they won't generate much amperage. So even if you have a high voltage, you probably won't be able to give it any load (probably will hardly light an LED). In order to get higher amperage through the circuit, you need to connect cells in parallel (positive side to positive side, negative side to negative side). When you do this, make sure the positive and negative leads (copper mesh in this case) don't short themselves out.
Once you figure out where to put the long “lines” shown above, you measure them out and snap chalk lines right over top of your existing roof material. Then, use some sturdy 2.5″ lag bolts and washers to hold down the L-shaped brackets that come with the solar racking kit. Pre-drill each hole, and inject in some “Through the Roof” sealant with a normal caulk gun before driving in those bolts – this creates a permanent watertight seal. (There are also special brackets to accommodate different roof styles like tile and metal).
Great post, thank you. I have been on the fence on this one for the same reasons. I will get it done this year, though the ridiculous tariffs really chap my hide. I haven’t found a good green clothes drying strategy for Western Washington, so this will help cover electric dryer costs. Your post did not discuss the ‘harm’ identified by some utilities in having ‘too much’ daytime production. My assumption is that the grid tying incentives will phase out as more homes adopt solar and that a shift to a battery system may be required. At any rate, this is good stuff!

The newness of mainstream consumer solar power poses a challenge. If you want to buy a car, for instance, there are plenty of people who’ve done it and can tell you how the process works. Putting solar panels on your roof costs as much as a car, but the cohort of experienced buyers is far, far smaller. The number of customers who have owned a solar system through its full lifecycle is even more limited.


Great points Angela. The efficiency side of the equation is often overlooked. The best ROI comes from efficiency efforts: they are the low-hanging fruit. LED bulbs are as easy at it gets. High-efficiency appliances should be the only consideration when making a new purchase. Tightening up the house by sealing cracks (especially in exterior drywall and around the rim joist of the house, two common offenders) can be surprisingly effective as well.
We decided to go with a grid-tied system, which is much more cost effective than an off-grid system. One advantage is that you don’t have to buy batteries, which are expensive and have to be replaced from time to time. You can also choose to install a smaller, less expensive system that generates just a portion of your electricity. On the downside, grid-tied systems provide no electricity when the power grid is down.

In 2008, the New Hampshire legislature passed HB310, creating a framework for municipalities to regulate the construction of small-scale wind turbines. In compliance with HB310, the Office of Energy and Planning developed a technical bulletin on Small Wind Energy Systems, which includes a model ordinance to aid communities in drafting regulations that conform with state laws. Although some of these materials are specific to New Hampshire, they should assist anyone planning to install a small wind turbine.
Solar panels are built to work in all climates, but in some cases, rooftops may not be suitable for solar systems due to age or tree cover. If there are trees near your home that create excessive shade on your roof, rooftop panels may not be the most ideal option. The size, shape, and slope of your roof are also important factors to consider. Typically, solar panels perform best on south-facing roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees, though other roofs may be suitable too. You should also consider the age of your roof and how long until it will need replacement.
Note: This wind turbine kit works best indoors using a fan to simulate the power of wind. Use a standing or box fan with multiple power settings. The pictured wind turbine was built from the components in this kit.  Purchase extra Styrofoam trays to experiment with even more blade patterns. The Wind Turbine Science Kit includes easy-to-follow instructions and supplies for seven experiments.

Welcome to the solar world, Pete! We put our panels on in 2015 and have been very pleased with how they have performed in the almost 3 years they’ve been up there! I really think this is the future, but we need to keep advocating for them in some areas because power companies are sometimes actively hostile towards residential solar and laws should change and open up to make it an even smarter investment for people and the environment.
The tables above are for HAWTs, the regular horizontal “wind mill” type we are all familiar with. For VAWTs the tables can be used as well, but you have to convert their dimensions. Calculate the frontal area (swept area) of the VAWT by multiplying height and width, or for a curved egg-beater approximate the area. Now convert the surface area to a diameter, as if it were a circle: Diameter = √(4 • Area / Pi). That will give you a diameter for the table. Look up the energy production for that diameter and your average annual wind speed and do the following:
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.
If people really wanted to help the planet they would divorce themselves from the local power company by installing their own one. Get rid of all those power poles, etc. People don't though, most of them can only think short term about saving a few bucks. If the grid ever goes down and stays down, they will wish they chose to do a full off grid, and they will have no power panels are not, because they are not set up for it. They have no batteries or anything to store the power, and those gen sets will soon be out of fuel.

For those that require much bigger installations between 1000W and 5000W, there are high quality kits that include the same equipment brands you would get from a professional installer. These retailers also have helpful resources for permitting and financing. If you have the DIY skills, two people can probably complete the installation over a weekend. If you decide that DIY was not right for you, read our guide on how to choose a solar installer.

One of the mistakes which is often made by the newbie who is trying to size a generator is that they buy specifically by a voltage classification. Remember as we discussed before windmill generator builder tend to rate their voltages at direct drive rpm 150-250 at a given voltage. This does not mean that if the permanent magnet alternator is turned at a higher RPM that the generator will not exceed 24 or even 48 volts. This is to say that in the case that you may have a hydro machine is cable of higher gearing and higher RPM that it may be better to in fact us a 24 or even a 12 volt rated permanent magnet alternator.
Of course, the optimal situation is when you consume your own electricity during the day, for example charging an electric car, plus enough to zero your bill. Then, the cost to you of the electricity is whatever your PV installation costs were over the lifetime of the system, for example $10K for 5kW of panels generating 20 kWh per day on average makes 146 GWh (over 20 expected years) = 6.85 cents/kWh (and 0 cents for every kWh after 20 years). For this reason, electric cars and PV solar go very well together, each amplifying the savings from the other.
A solar installation is a mini-power plant on your roof. It requires knowledge about how to work with DC electricity, wiring, inverters and battery banks. Home solar installations are optimal on rooftops, so there's the danger inherent in working at heights. In many cases, DIY projects are not permitted to be tied into the grid by the local utility, which means if your system is not producing enough electricity, there's no back-up. Many states do not allow DIY electrical systems to begin with. While there may be an initial cost-savings, the disadvantages of DIY solar installations include many factors.
Just like the solar energy industry, shortage of commodity has contributed to rising prices for the wind energy industry. The silver lining in the story is that an incredible increase in demand for turbines has contributed to rising costs. There are not enough manufacturers to make enough turbines or make them fast enough. Wind energy has finally been discovered by the masses as well as investors. It is clear that the wind industry will become a very profitable venture in the not-so-far future, and companies are plunging into the opportunity of being there as it happens.

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.
A solar charge controller is a device which is placed between a solar panel and a battery. It regulates the voltage and current coming from your solar panels. It is used to maintain the proper charging voltage on the batteries. As the input voltage from the solar panel rises, the charge controller regulates the charge to the batteries preventing any over charging.
For those interested in Solar in Vancouver or for condo buildings a guy in Victoria blogged all steps from system design to getting approval, install and various post completion updates stating from 2015. He posted a great PDF summary which I’ll link if allowed below. Of special note is how net metering works in ones area and teh cost to this guys much larger system was something like $3 CDN to MMM $1 USD. I would absolutely love to copy this project in my 18 unit Vancouver building. Alas being so old it will be developed sooner than later i suspect. Not sure why new buildings do not do this as mandatory if only for all the shared electricity of the building and not the actual apartments themselves.
Because of your solar installer’s experience, they’ll also have a strong understanding of the financial incentives for solar available in your area, and might even be able to help you save more money by finding an incentive that you may have missed. Lastly, it is important to note that many equipment manufacturers will only honor their warranties if a qualified installer installed their equipment. Many installers will also offer an additional warranty on their own work too.
Another good solar kit is the 100W WindyNation. It features one of the best controllers of the products that we reviewed, with an LCD display that shows statistical data such as voltage and the solar state based on the panel output of this kit. Whether you are installing it on your roof, your motorhome or even an outhouse or barn, you will find that this unit produces good results with its high-quality panel.
Purchase This WM600 Wind Turbine Generator 24V With Controller Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Purchase This  Brand New Heavy Duty Dual-Axis Solar Tracker Parts Kit Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Purchase This Brand New RV Wind Generator Turbine Kit Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991.

"Purchased a 6kW off grid system from Wil. I had no previous solar experience, some previous homeowner type electrical work: installing a new circuit, adding a sub panel, etc... Bolted everything together following the manuals, closed the breakers and all worked. Had a few questions/calls on tuning and maximizing performance and all were answered promptly."


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.
In 2008, the New Hampshire legislature passed HB310, creating a framework for municipalities to regulate the construction of small-scale wind turbines. In compliance with HB310, the Office of Energy and Planning developed a technical bulletin on Small Wind Energy Systems, which includes a model ordinance to aid communities in drafting regulations that conform with state laws. Although some of these materials are specific to New Hampshire, they should assist anyone planning to install a small wind turbine.
We’re in Colorado and we’ve had our solar system for maybe eight years or so. While the snow will definitely melt on its own, my husband makes a hobby of clearing it off with a ladder and a very long window-washing apparatus. I imagine his snow-removal activities get the panels back into action 24-48 hours earlier than Mother Nature would have done. Our panels have held up perfectly in even the most extreme hail. In fact, our roof was damaged to the point of needing replacement by a hail storm just a couple of years after the panels were installed. Our homeowner’s insurance paid for the cost of the panels to be removed and then put back in place for the roof replacement. We took that opportunity to have another seven panels added when they went back up, since we had just gotten our electric car and needed more power.

I’ve had solar for a couple of years. They don’t really become outdated. New panels will of course be more efficient and you would have a smaller array to produce the same amount of power. The panels do lose 1-2% of efficiency per year but in 10 years they should essentially still be doing the same thing. No maintenance, no moving parts. They are beautiful in their simplicity.
If your wind turbine is connected to the local utility grid so that any of the power produced by your wind turbine is delivered to the grid, then your utility also has legitimate concerns about safety and power quality that need to be addressed. The utility's principal concern is that your wind turbine automatically stops delivering any electricity to its power lines during a power outage. Otherwise line workers and the public, thinking that the line is "dead," might not take normal precautions and might be hurt or even killed by the power from your turbine. Another concern among utilities is whether the power from your facility synchronizes properly with the utility grid and it matches the utility's power in terms of voltage, frequency, and power quality.
To properly design a battery bank, you need to account for the storage capacity required, the maximum discharge rate (the sum of all the loads which might be run simultaneously), the maximum charge rate (the current output from the solar array or wind turbine though the charge controller), and the minimum ambient temperature at which the batteries will be used. Whichever of these factors requires the largest capacity will dictate the size of the battery bank. The storage capacity of a battery the amount of electrical energy it can hold is usually expressed in amp-hours (Ah). Using one amp for 100 hours means 100 Ah have been used. A battery bank in a off-grid solar power system should have sufficient capacity to supply needed power during the longest expected period of cloudy weather. A lead-acid (vented or sealed AGM) battery should be sized 20% to 50% larger than this amount.
It is hard to beat the advantages of solar: No moving parts. Warranties of 25 years are common for PV modules. No maintenance, other than the occasional hosing-off if you live in a dusty place. The installed price of a 6 kW wind turbine on a good height tower is about $50,000 (and we are not even counting the money you are going to sink into maintenance of that wind turbine). At the time of this writing, half that money will buy you about 7 kW of installed solar panels. In our not-so-sunny Ottawa location those solar modules will produce around 8,000 kWh of electrical energy per average year, and they will do that for 30 years or more.

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.
There are two primary technologies that can harness the sun’s power and turn it into electricity. The first is the one you’re likely most familiar with – photovoltaics, or PV. These are the panels you’ve seen on rooftops or in fields. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the cells in the panel, which creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow. Learn more about how PV works.
Just like the solar energy industry, shortage of commodity has contributed to rising prices for the wind energy industry. The silver lining in the story is that an incredible increase in demand for turbines has contributed to rising costs. There are not enough manufacturers to make enough turbines or make them fast enough. Wind energy has finally been discovered by the masses as well as investors. It is clear that the wind industry will become a very profitable venture in the not-so-far future, and companies are plunging into the opportunity of being there as it happens.
Also I hate to nitpick but since you asked, I noticed a couple minor details in the article. You mentioned rigid metal conduit but I think you meant EMT conduit (“electric metal tube”) which is bendable. Rigid conduit is more like gas pipe and uses threaded fittings. Also 10/3 cable and a 40A breaker? That might be a local code difference but up here in Ontario 10AWG is normally only good for 30A. Thanks!
The newness of mainstream consumer solar power poses a challenge. If you want to buy a car, for instance, there are plenty of people who’ve done it and can tell you how the process works. Putting solar panels on your roof costs as much as a car, but the cohort of experienced buyers is far, far smaller. The number of customers who have owned a solar system through its full lifecycle is even more limited.
2Kw Wind Turbine that can be tied right to your electrical panel. This is a great system with high technology to save you thousands yearly! Purchase This Aero Brand New 2kw Wind Turbine Generator - Complete System Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Purchase This WG1.5KW 48V Wind Turbine Generator Complete Power System (Controller and Inverter Included)  Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991.
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.
Because of your solar installer’s experience, they’ll also have a strong understanding of the financial incentives for solar available in your area, and might even be able to help you save more money by finding an incentive that you may have missed. Lastly, it is important to note that many equipment manufacturers will only honor their warranties if a qualified installer installed their equipment. Many installers will also offer an additional warranty on their own work too.
×