Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of solar panels have popped up across the country as an increasing number of Americans choose to power their daily lives with the sun’s energy. Thanks in part to the Solar Energy Technologies Office's investments, the cost of going solar goes down every year. You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your home’s roof or finding another way to harness the sun’s energy. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solar solution, here are some resources that can help you figure out what’s best for you. Consider these questions before you go solar.

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!


Good points to make as i just recently designed my own mounts, but mine will be heavier duty than anything I’ve even seen in the USA since I’m mostly concerned about theft. I’m glad I’m outside the USA and don’t have to worry about all the paperwork, and since I’m a fabricator with a background in wiring, the only issue that I needed assistance with was the correct angle. Good reading and if I were in the US I would definitely hire someone to deal with all the headaches you mentioned.
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.
Silicon based modules: aluminum frames and junction boxes are dismantled manually at the beginning of the process. The module is then crushed in a mill and the different fractions are separated - glass, plastics and metals.[31] It is possible to recover more than 80% of the incoming weight.[32] This process can be performed by flat glass recyclers since morphology and composition of a PV module is similar to those flat glasses used in the building and automotive industry. The recovered glass for example is readily accepted by the glass foam and glass insulation industry.
When it is sunny, regardless of outdoor temperature, pop cans (painted black) heat up very quickly. The fan drives cold air from inside of the home, through heated pop-cans and then back into the room. During this journey air collects the heat from can wall and brings it into the room. Read the following post if you are looking for more details about how solar thermal system actually works.
Buying a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value. A recent study found that solar panels are viewed as upgrades, just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement, and home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array. Additionally, there is evidence homes with solar panels sell faster than those without. In 2008, California homes with energy efficient features and PV were found to sell faster than homes that consume more energy. Keep in mind, these studies focused on homeowner-owned solar arrays.

But alas, the inverter is what it is. It cannot be connected to another inverter to provide more power (though more expensive models can be), nor can it be configured to operate at a higher input voltage, should you ever get ambitious and change the system voltage to 24 or 48 volts. On the other hand, at $65, does it really matter? A slightly-used 800-watt AC power source that can draw power right off the battery is a handy accessory any vehicle would be proud to have tucked away next to the spare tire.
Mind you, in the upper Midwest, it won't produce near the power it did in the southern desert. It produces 5-6 Amps in "full sunlight" which means no clouds, no trees, no buildings. Low angle sun in the north doesn't deliver near the illumination that high angle southern desert sun does. This is why solar doesn't pay back in Detroit, Chicago or Minneapolis. Not enough sun.
Battery bank sizing is the capacity to store electrons and is expressed in amp hours (AH) and at the rate the battery will charge or discharge not the physical size of the battery. Be careful when you are considering the Ah capacity of a battery and compare batteries that are advertising a 20 Ah discharge and not more (An apples to apple thing). Choose the 20-hour rate when sizing and selecting batteries.
Excellent product; high quality easy to assemble with a ratcheting crimp tool. Assembly and disassembly of Male to Female connectors is a snap with the Sunway Solar tools provided in the order. I highly recommend Sunway Solar as you definitely want the provided tools which come with the connectors. (The ratcheting crimping tool must be purchased separately).
Save money and the planet with Solar Powered Generator 135 Amp 7000 Watt Solar Generator Just Plug and Play - NOT A KIT! Dial 866-606-3991 or Order Online Now! Purchase This WG3KW 48V Wind Turbine Wind Energy Generator  Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991. Purchase This WG1500W 24V Wind Turbine Generator Wind Power System Today! Limited Quantities Available! Call 1-866-606-3991.
Research small wind turbine companies to be sure they offer certified turbines and that parts and service will be available when you need them. Ask for references from past customers with installations similar to the one you are considering. Ask the system owners about performance, reliability, and maintenance and repair requirements, and whether the system is meeting their expectations. Also, find out how long the warranty lasts and what it includes.

Electricity runs through your net meter, makes itself comfortable in your home, and powers your appliances. It works just like your electricity does now—you don’t have to change a thing. If your solar panels don’t produce enough energy to cover all of your needs, don’t worry. You’re still connected to traditional power companies via the grid, so you can automatically draw more energy from your utility when you need. What happens if you produce more power than you use? Let’s find out.


We installed solar on our 45-degree metal roof last year. We previously had problems with ice sheets that would shoot off and put bystanders in danger. The panels do not melt the snow, but seem to be advantageously working as snow and ice-guards. Interestingly we have noticed that the light passes right through the snow and we still get power. On a bright day it still seems to run just about full generation.


Many municipalities must get kick backs from the electricians they are protecting with these mazes of codes.. Most solar/wind retailes have resorces and calculators to help you calculate fusing and wire size.. Changing out things in your own home even as simple as installing a GFI outlet require a permit and a certified electrician making them outragously expensive.. In my example you could be looking at $400 and the inconvience of having people nosing around your home several times.. If that inspector finds somthing he does not like you could be looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars more in costs or having them slap a condemned sticker on your home.. I have a 4kw system planned and am praying that the County Inspector is not a pain.. Could put in an isolated system with no inspection using my amateur radio license but I want interconnect with the power company.. Local power company has a very simple application system for interconnecting and all they require is an external labeled disconnect and a status light they install on the pole at the transformer cost $50..

Prior to conducting an on-site measurement campaign, some small wind project developers use state wind maps to conservatively estimate the wind resource at turbine hub height. While these maps can provide a general indication of good or poor wind resources, they do not provide a resolution high enough to identify local site features. State wind maps cannot include information on complex terrain, ground cover, wind speed distribution, direction distribution, turbulence intensity, and other local effects. Purchased maps or services can often provide higher resolution and more flexibility with zooming, orientation, and additional features. Pay attention to a map's height above ground as it relates to the potential project's tower height. Adjusting the wind speed for the height difference between the map and the turbine height adds a potential source of error depending on the wind shear exponent that is selected, and the greater the height difference the greater the potential error. Therefore, for small wind generator applications, 30- to 40-m wind maps are far more useful than 10-, 60-, 80-, or 100-m wind maps. It is also important to understand the resolution of the wind map or model-generated data set. If the resolution is lower than the terrain features, adjustments will be needed to account for local terrain effects.[26]

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. 


Our recommendation is the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit. It features a highly efficient monocrystalline panel, is built in the USA and offers good value as a starter kit.  Because it uses monocrystalline panels, it is lighter (19.8 lbs) and smaller dimensions that kits that use polycrystalline panels, which makes a difference for RV or boating applications. It can also be expanded up to 400Ws.

While we cannot defy the laws of physics as the current advertised power output values of many companies selling these type of products do. Hurricane products have a proven track record of producing more power over time than any of the other leading brands we have tested. Our buck boost mppt controllers and larger blade swept area and generator rotor and stators coupled with our buck boost MPPT controllers just make more power over time period.

The Renogy 400 Watt Kit is a set of 4 x 100w panels, coupled with a wiring and fuse kit, and all of the mounting brackets that are required to install them. They are a highly efficient monocrystalline cell type. There are bypass diodes built into the unit as well, which helps to maximize the power output of the device, even in low light conditions. The charger itself features a 4 stage charging method that allows your batteries to charge up evenly and at a set rate, which should prolong the life of your battery pack.


The included charge controller is a PWM unit and it features overload and short circuit protection. By the way, the wind turbine doesn’t come with a pole that you should buy separately. Well, you never need a technician to set up this off-grid power kit. You can easily put the parts together to bring into life a cool off-grid power system. Eco-Worthy also sells 500W, 600W, and 1400W variants of the wind-solar kit.
The energy number that is left over should be a good approximation of what you can expect from that VAWT. Compare the resulting numbers with those mentioned in just about all sales brochures of VAWT type turbines and it should be immediately clear that their marketing people are smoking The Good Stuff. There is no relation to physical reality in their numbers, they are consistently much too high. Keep in mind that the energy production numbers calculated here are ‘best case’; for a turbine in nice, smooth air. Most VAWTs are placed very close to the ground, or on buildings, where there is little wind and lots of turbulence. Under those conditions they will do much, much worse than predicted.
This step is better with two people, especially on a steep roof. Starting at the furthest corner from the location of your inverter, connect each the panel’s wires to the matching ones on its host inverter. Set the panels down straight, and use the click-in clamps that come with the racking system to clamp down the panel using your cordless drill/driver.
The kit includes an integrated automatic braking system and also a manual braking switch. It is rated for 600W power and 31mph wind speed. It has both 12V and 24V systems and features an auto-detection mode. The suggested battery capacity for this turbine is 100A or larger. The digital MPPT charge controller is specially designed to always generate the maximum power output, and operates the safety features like auto breaking and battery over-charge protection.

Smaller panels are available for RVs, boats, and remote off-grid power systems. 12-volt panels are available in sizes from 5-160 watts. There are also small 24-volt panels available in a few sizes up to 190 watts. These solar panels have a nominal output of either 12 volts or 24 volts, which means they are designed for off-grid use and can’t be used in grid-tied PV systems. A few manufacturers offer flexible solar panels for RV, Marine and camping which are exceptionally lightweight and easy to install.
Owners of projects located near complex terrain should take care in selecting the installation site. Landforms (or orography) can influence wind speed, which affects the amount of electricity that a wind turbine can generate. Elevated areas not only experience increased wind speeds because of their increased height in the wind profile but also may cause local acceleration of the wind speed, depending on the size and shape of the landform. If you site your wind turbine on the top of or on the windy side of a hill, for example, you will have more access to prevailing winds than in a gully or on the leeward (sheltered) side of a hill on the same property. Other elevated landforms (bluffs, cliffs) can create turbulence, including back eddies, as the wind passes up and over them. Siting the tower to avoid the zones of turbulence created by the landform is critical.

Non-silicon based modules: they require specific recycling technologies such as the use of chemical baths in order to separate the different semiconductor materials.[33] For cadmium telluride modules, the recycling process begins by crushing the module and subsequently separating the different fractions. This recycling process is designed to recover up to 90% of the glass and 95% of the semiconductor materials contained.[34] Some commercial-scale recycling facilities have been created in recent years by private companies.[35] For aluminium flat plate reflector: the trendiness of the reflectors has been brought up by fabricating them using a thin layer (around 0.016 mm to 0.024 mm) of Aluminum coating present inside the non-recycled plastic food packages.[36]
You should know that we at Solacity love wind turbines! Can’t get enough of ’em. Where the neighbours see life-threatening, blade-shedding, bat-and-bird killing, noise-making contraptions, we see poetry in motion. Kinetic art at its finest; combining form, movement, and function all in one. We could stare at them for hours, while contemplating the meaning of life, the universe, and everything… and have… until the beer ran out. Despite all the information presented here, we are big fans of small wind turbines. This page is about informing you, so you can make a decision based on fact and not marketing hype.
By now you are probably thinking “why would these guys tell me the truth? They sell small wind turbines!”. Yup, guilty as charged. We also want happy customers, and the two are not reconcilable unless we are upfront with you, our customer. Truth is, wind turbine sales are a tiny part of our revenue, and while we would regret losing you, we will still be able to put food on our kids’ plates.
Permitting—The process of obtaining legal permission to build a project, potentially from a number of government agencies, but primarily from the local building department (i.e., the city, county, or state). During this process, a set of project plans is submitted for review to assure that the project meets local requirements for safety, sound, aesthetics, setbacks, engineering, and completeness. The permitting agency typically inspects the project at various milestones for adherence to the plans and building safety standards.
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