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Of course, this doesn’t take into account the fact that whoever built a power plant is now selling less kWh when the sun is shining, but that is the risk of that investment. The risk of installing rooftop solar is that the industry prevails over homeowner interests (some would say rights) and curtails your PV output instead of the power plant output.
Wind turbines need wind. Not just any wind, but the nicely flowing, smooth, laminar kind. That cannot be found at 30 feet height. It can usually not be found at 60 feet. Sometimes you find it at 80 feet. More often than not it takes 100 feet of tower to get there. Those towers cost as much or more, installed, as the turbine itself. How much tower you need for a wind turbine to live up to its potential depends on your particular site; on the trees and structures around it etc. Close to the ground the wind is turbulent, and makes a poor fuel for a small wind turbine.
Depending on the size and type of residential solar system to decide to purchase, the location of installation can vary. In most cases, homeowners choose to install solar panels on the roof of their home. It’s a great space saver, if you don’t have a lot of land, and can receive great contact with the sun’s rays. But, what if you the majority of your roof is under shade from large trees? Maybe it’s better to mount your solar panels in the yard instead. This is also a good option when you need a larger amount of solar panels, that your roof might not be able to accommodate.
Do it yourself (DIY) Solar; You Are Not Alone Yes, this AZ homeowner installed this large Outback Radian off-grid solar panel kit, 2 wind turbines and built his own homemade ground rack. Well done! The idea of a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) solar install makes some homeowners hesitate for one simple reason: they're nervous to go it alone. From permits to the install itself, people fear the thought of getting it wrong. Consequently, Blue Pacific Solar® decided to take this fear right off the table and address what customers need: a dedicated energy consultant assigned to you after your purchase to provide a single contact point. Your technical adviser will answer any questions and guide you throughout the entire process offering their expertise as part of the package. Moreover, the DIY kits' benefits include access our nationwide permit service so buyers have their entire install process streamlined and a backup professional in the wings to steer them through any questions that arise during the install. Whether the install is performed entirely by the homeowner or in conjunction with a local electrician, the cost savings is too compelling to ignore and too practical with the support by us, to do it any other way if the homeowner is remotely inclined to take on the job.

If you prefer to buy your solar energy system, solar loans can lower the up-front costs of the system. In most cases, monthly loan payments are smaller than a typical energy bill, which will help you save money from the start. Solar loans function the same way as home improvement loans, and some jurisdictions will offer subsidized solar energy loans with below-market interest rates, making solar even more affordable. New homeowners can add solar as part of their mortgage with loans available through the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae, which allow borrowers to include financing for home improvements in the home’s purchase price. Buying a solar energy system makes you eligible for the Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, which is a 30 percent federal tax credit on your system that is available through 2022. Learn more about the ITC.
This is great. With all the things going on around us about solar energy we forget that fundamentally solar energy is the natural evolution of the electricity, power and energy industry. If the consumer also becomes the generator and all are electricity self sufficient where solar solutions seem to be going then imagine what fantastic future we can build for ourselves.

Great post! I’m new to MMM and came across this quite by accident, but I loved this post and felt compelled to give you some addtional information. I work in the energy services industry and know a lot about this at scale. I have wondered how it would work in a DIY situation and this was very helpful. Something that could be helpful for you would be a power monitoring system to show you how it is all working in a comprehensive system. I came across this company (based in Boulder, CO), http://www.egauge.net/, through work and am very interested in getting this technology into my projects. It may be a little higher priced for a residential/small commercial DIY, but very user friendly and informative. It will allow you to monitor the energy use (in/out) of every circuit in your panel so you know track how much you are producing, consuming and selling to your electric car chargers.


Before you go searching for websites that sell solar kits the first thing you should do is get at least one quote from a full-service solar company. You can do that online through our solar panels estimator. The advantages of this are that you find out what the cost of the competing option to a DIY solar project (a full-service installation) costs. You need to know this to know whether all the individual costs you face when doing a DIY installation (panels, inverters, racking, electrical sundries, service board upgrades, installation labor, permitting and inspections) are actually worth it. Click here to learn how much a solar installation for your home will cost.
However, I am curious as to why you are fighting the fixed charge? You stated yourself that you are essentially using the grid as a battery. At night, you are still using the full infrastructure of the grid (wires / poles / power plants / etc.), which costs money to maintain. So it only seems to make sense that you have to pay for that, no? Yes, you are saving the utility some fuel costs during the middle of the day when your solar is exporting, but there are still a lot of other fixed costs that need to be covered. If you don’t pay your fair share of fixed costs, other customers will essentially be subsidizing you. In CA, where I live, this indirect subsidy from net metering could grow to over 2 billion dollars in the next decade. Ironically, it will be mainly richer people who own homes and buy solar that will be profiting from this.
Hurricane Wind Power has some of the best pv modules on the market in the Synthesis solar panel line we sell on hurricanewindpower.com which have become a favorite among those living the off grid lifestyle.At Hurricane we do not view wind , solar and hydro power in competition but rather parts of a comprehensive strategy for making power at home. Solar, wind and hydro all have their own distinct advantages depending on many factors such as location, season land topography and many other factors. If you have question if small wind power is right for you do not hesitate and call hurricane today.
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?
Equipped with an OutBack Power's Radian inverter, this hybrid wind and sun grid-tie systems will power 120-volt and 240-volt circuits. Designed with true off-grid capability, you can charge your battery bank with solar panels and a wind generator. More versatile than the systems above, these systems also have a "grid-assist mode" for folks mainly interested in being off the grid, but would like to have access to grid power.
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.
Solar trackers increase the amount of energy produced per module at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt or rotate the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the light.[54][55] Alternatively, fixed racks hold modules stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the module is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude are common. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground.[56] Panels that face West or East may provide slightly lower energy, but evens out the supply, and may provide more power during peak demand.[57]
Connecting the leads in itself to an electrical load, while closing the current path, does not allow to the electrons to flow, despite the positive and negative imbalance. It takes sunlight hitting the silicon in the solar cells to loosen up electrons. And as soon as they a freed up, they immediately start flowing through the wires to power your electrical loads. The more sunlight shines on the cells, the more electrons loosen up, the more electrical current flows and the more power it produces.
“The vision of the project is to make PV systems similar to an appliance, something that can be installed quickly, easily and safely, even by someone with no prior PV installation experience,” says Jacquie Ashmore, CSE engineering program manager. “If you buy a washing machine, you don’t buy 18 different components and assemble it yourself. You buy one big appliance and have it installed by a contractor or hook it up yourself.” 

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.


Step 3: Estimate your battery capacity. We need to factor in bad weather, so we will multiply your daily electricity usage by 2 days as a safety measure in case we don’t have enough sun to charge our batteries. Because we don’t ever want our batteries to discharge below 50%, we will then multiply this number by 2. So your daily electricity usage is 1,475 x 2 days x 2 (50% capacity) =  5,900Whs.
You need to make sure that all the tiny little lines in the negative side of the cells are interconnected (a way to gather all the electrons from the surface). This step is not necessary for all cells, only for the ones like in this picture, which don't have any connection between the lines on the surface. you can use the conductive pen to draw a thin line which connects all of them. Once you do that, you will immediately see the voltage rising for that specific cell.
With that in mind it makes a great deal of sense to use a tilt-up tower for your turbine. It makes maintenance and repairs much safer (on the ground) and cheaper. Crane fees, or having turbine installers hang off the top of a tower for long periods of time, tend to get very expensive. You should also budget for repairs, they will happen. Parts may be free under warranty, your installer’s time is not.

It is important to note that we are dealing with the DC current. So the positive (+) is to be connected to positive (+) and negative (-) with negative (-) from Solar Panel to Charge Controller. If it gets mixed up, the equipment can go burst and may catch fire. So you need to be extremely careful when connecting these wires. It is recommended to use 2 color wires i.e. red and black color for positive (+) and negative (-).If you don't have red and black wire you may wrap red and black tap at the terminals.
Designed carefully, this sleek looking model not only gives an overwhelming view to your dwelling but also complements the solar power. Plus, you can think of using it for a variety of locations- both urban and rural areas. In fact, the maker encourages you to use this device for charging batteries on your vessel, cabins, pavilion or recreational vehicle. Small nuts and screws are included with other essential segments.

The amount of current (amps) traveling through any electrical circuit depends on the size of the wire (AWG), the voltage of the array or battery bank, and the one way distance of the wire run. Lower AWG gauge wire has less resistance than larger gauge wire. The longer the distance of your wire run while using lower voltage the larger gauge wire you are going to need. If your solar array consists of 4 or more 90 watt panels and is more than 50' from your battery bank, you should consider using 24V as a minimum with 48V being a better choice.
For places where net metering is not available, a small battery backup may be worthwhile. The batteries can be used to harvest energy during the day and then use it at night, so you don’t have to sell power back to the grid. The size of the battery bank will be driven by economics and homeowner preference (s0me will like the idea of a solar-powered “whole-house generator,” in the form of batteries and the inverter, more than others). Conscientious owners can also design strategies to use solar as it is produced, such as by using delay timers for dryers, washers and cookers to take advantage of power production at midday.
Your diy solar panels need a container to hold the cells. You can build a box to hold the cells out of many different kinds of material like wood or aluminum.  The easiest for most people to work with is wood.  Use your substrate as a guide for how big you need the container to be.  Plywood works fine for the back and ¾” square wood for the sides, but you can use whatever you happen to have.
The trouble with rated power is that it does not tell you anything about energy production. Your utility company charges you for the energy you consume, not power. Likewise, for a small wind  turbine you should be interested in the energy it will produce, for your particular site, with your particular annual average wind speed. Rated power of the turbine does not do that. To find out about energy production take a look at the tables presented earlier.
You have written hundreds of meaningful, powerful articles and even a speech or two, and can have every confidence in your ability to string together words and ideas comprehensibly at this point. You have built a movement through your words, and I congratulate you. No doubt about it, and no “hope” needed: keep playing bass and drums and you will improve and may someday consider yourself badass at those as well.
CONS: This solar thermal system does not have battery bank and is not able to accumulate thermal energy after producing it. When it’s sunny, solar collector produces heat, but it is necessary to use it instantly for space heating. If the sun does not shine, it is necessary to block the air supply to the solar collector, otherwise the room will begin to slowly cool off. This can be solved by installing shut-off valve, which should reduce unnecessary heat loss.

While there have been instances of wind turbines mounted on rooftops, it should be noted that all wind turbines vibrate and transmit the vibration to the structure on which they are mounted. This can lead to noise problems within the building. Also, the wind resource on the rooftop is in an area of increased turbulence, which can shorten the life of the turbine and reduce energy production. Additional costs related to mitigating these concerns, combined with the fact that they produce less power, make rooftop-mounted wind turbines less cost-effective than small wind systems that are installed on a tower connected to the ground. For more information, see Deployment of Wind Turbines in the Built Environment: Risks, Lessons, and Recommended Practices.
How, you ask?? As it happens, our garage roof is by far the sunniest part of our property, so that’s where we put the panels. You can look for “holes” in the canopy too – a tool called the Solar Pathfinder is good for this purpose. Or you can go hardcore Mustachian: take pictures of the south-facing part of your house at different times of day, at different times of year, and then chart the pictures out to see where the sun shines reliably :)
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).
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These small items are minor but essential for making your solar panel kit work. You will need, among other items a solar combiner box, AC breaker panel, DC Breaker box, DC breakers, battery cables, remote temperature sensor, AC and DC wire and solar power cables. Cables and connectors on the solar panels we carry above 80 watts are generally manufactured with PV wire into the panel junction box that are listed to UL 1703. This can save time during installation. The modules with MC4 cable connectors are fully waterproof when connected, touch protected and designed for up to 600 volts DC and 30 Amps. It is important to keep in mind that PV cables cannot be safely disconnected under load. All of our grid tied and off-grid output cables are made with UV resistant wire that is Listed to UL 854. You may also wish to add other solar accessories. Blue Pacific Solar® also carries a variety of cable adapters that enable use of optimizers or microinverters that may not be available with the same connector type as the module chosen for the job.
It adds up. And the cost differences between solar panel kits and a professional installer aren’t that much. They get narrower as the system gets larger. After tax incentives, we’re only talking a few thousand dollars in most cases. Over 30 years, it won’t take much for the DIY solar panel kit to catch up in cost to the pro-installed home solar energy system.
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.
For a 6 kW wind turbine to produce that much energy per average year, you need an annual average wind speed of close to 5 m/s (11 mph) blowing at turbine hub height. It may not sound like much, but that is a reasonably windy place. Much of North America does not have that much wind at 100′ or below. Keep in mind, you need that much wind just to break even in energy production vs. solar. To outweigh the disadvantages of small turbines you better have more!
Most locations getting a permit is a relatively easy task – it doesn’t require being a master electrician. In the vast majority of places you don’t need to be a licensed electrician in order to do electrical work on your own home. Anyone who’s done electrical work on their house (like adding an outlet, or rewiring a bathroom) will likely have gotten a permit for it (or should have.) So should be familiar with most of the permitting process. If they haven’t done any electrical work like that previously, then probably installing solar isn’t a good time for them to learn electrical skills.
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.
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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. 

Where can I compare solar panel prices online? How much do solar panels cost in Denver Colorado and what is the payback period? How much do solar panels cost for homes in Orlando and Miami, Florida in 2018? Wiring solar panels: Do you wire solar panels in series or parallel? What is the cost of solar panels in Las Vegas, 2018? A new website suggests Americans may be overpaying for electricity by a whopping 27.6 billion per year


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In rigid thin-film modules, the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line. The cell is created on a glass substrate or superstrate, and the electrical connections are created in situ, a so-called "monolithic integration". The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front or back sheet, usually another sheet of glass. The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe, or a-Si, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS (or variant). Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6–12%

I love the idea of DIY solar and being self sufficient, but I think it needs to be done in a fair way. Hopefully when batteries get cheap enough we can get people to buy solar + storage, have essentially no electricity bill, and still don’t cost other people money. Even then though you will be relying on the grid during some winter weeks (buying 10+ powerwalls to ride through a week of bad solar does not seem like a healthy financial decision), so I am not sure this would work.
Don't try to save money by buying cheap panels - the financial benefits of your system is inherent on the quality of your panels. Instead of going out to purchase the cheapest thing on the market, compare several local contractor's prices. Average pricing state-by-state varies, too. Do your research, ask questions, and get multiple quotes. This research alone can save you 10-20% and may present you with more options than you are able to get on your own.
It might seem counterintuitive to be on the traditional power grid when you have a solar energy system, but being on the power grid has an advantages. It allows you to use as much electricity as you need before sending any excess power back to your utility company to use. Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is up, but we use electricity at night too, when we’re not producing solar power. That’s why it’s important to stay connected to your utilities.

Matched this PMA up with a Six-Pack of Air-X Blades after buying it on Ebay. The BladeSpeed was mindboggling and the Volt meter went to 110+ during one gust. Saturday, July 11th 2009 about 3:30 p.m. Mohawk Highlands N.Y. Average for the day was about 40-50v in 12-16mph winds. 11ft. Tower. I highly recommend this product. The mount is very sturdy and pivots perfectly on the (Teflon) washer. Excellent customer service, shipping, and packaging. I've been building these for about six months. I've experimented with many kinds of motor and blades.
Product options: Your solar product needs to be your first consideration. Not every solar kit comes with the same products! Indeed one of the biggest problems with solar panel kits is that because they are targeting very price sensitive customers, many offer very low-quality solar brands. As well as a variance in equipment quality there is also a variance from website to website in what actually comes in a kit. Some solar kits come only with panels and inverters. Some kits include racking devices, while others include all the above along with minor electrical items (like circuit breakers) to offer a comprehensive solar solution. You will need to know what you require before ordering a kit and you will probably need to ask the installer you are going to get to install the system what he or she will need you to provide in terms of equipment.
Tilting : To get the most from solar panels, you need to point them in the direction that captures the maximum sun light, i.e. south if you’re in the northern hemisphere or north if you’re in the southern hemisphere. You also have to optimize the angle relative to the ground. Use one of these formulas to find the best angle from the horizontal at which the panel should be tilted:

You start by monitoring your energy consumption. You need to have a good idea of how much energy you consume on the average day to determine how big of a solar energy system you’ll need. On top of that, you’ll also need to know how much money you have to spend – keeping in mind that the most expensive solar panels might not be the most cost effective for your needs.
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.
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CONS: This solar thermal system does not have battery bank and is not able to accumulate thermal energy after producing it. When it’s sunny, solar collector produces heat, but it is necessary to use it instantly for space heating. If the sun does not shine, it is necessary to block the air supply to the solar collector, otherwise the room will begin to slowly cool off. This can be solved by installing shut-off valve, which should reduce unnecessary heat loss.
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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.
Another situation where a small wind turbine can make good sense is in case your province, state, or country has rebates or other incentives that make it cheap to install one (just keep ongoing maintenance and repair cost in mind as well). While we would like to advocate responsible spending of government money, the small wind industry needs many more customers to mature. It takes time and installation numbers for manufacturers to work out the bugs, make better turbines, and make them cheaper.

Batteries are an important part of your solar kit installation if you plan on using your stored solar power when the sun goes down. Most solar kits don’t come with batteries, so you will have to choose the best battery for your needs. Luckily you can use the above formula to work out exactly what you need to keep your system powered up when you need it the most, at night.

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.
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