Great questions….Offsite is not too bad, the inverter doesn’t have to be adjacent to the panels and depending on your climate can easily be outside. Heat is the biggest degrading factor on the inverter’s efficiency so a shaded location is perfect. To calculate the size of wire from the panels to the inverter I used the company (Alt E) that I bought the panels from. They also provided a basic wiring diagram for the permitting process. You can also do the math yourself and they (Alt E) have some very detailed videos to help. Basically, you need the percent loss your are willing to accept (I used 1%), max average temp (+10 degrees) of the site, the distance and the amperage of the array and the max voltage…..For example my Vmax was 450 at 9amps running 200′ in Florida (I think I used 31 degrees C ) and ended up with 8 AWG copper. Not cheap but easy enough.
The energy it calculates is in kWh per year, the diameter of the wind turbine rotor is in meters, the wind speed is annual average for the turbine hub height in m/s. The equation uses a Weibull wind distribution with a factor of K=2, which is about right for inland sites. An overall efficiency of the turbine, from wind to electrical grid, of 30% is used. That is a reasonable, real-world efficiency number. Here is a table that shows how average annual wind speed, turbine size, and annual energy production relate:
Harnessing the power of the sun is a wonderful option to help combat pollution and lower your energy costs. When considering a do-it-yourself solution, the options can be limited - and quite complicated. A short list of the pros and cons of DIY solar can be found here, but this article will explore some of the lesser-known pros and cons of a DIY solar project in 2018.
Good information and BAD information in this post, some “misleading” information also. Looking at solar systems, I have had contactors come in and give me estimates. typical system for my house is about 24,000 dollars from each company. Great, not to bad since I am wanting a 20K system. but then i look at the actual cost: cost of the system 12,000, cost of installation, 12,000. Hmm, Now, to get government incentives I need to have a professional install it, my incentives come out to about 9,000 in my area, so by having a professional install it, I get incentives, oh wait, no, they get money, I still owe them 3,000 + 12,000 for the system. Seems that I can do it myself and save 3,000 even though I don’t get the incentives. This article makes a big deal of incentives from tax rebates as a good reason to get a professional installer, when in reality, the only one who gets paid on that incentive is the installer using it to promote their services. this article was probably written by an installer. check you incentives and check labor for the system. finally “the optimal angle” for setting up solar panels, Hmm, go to the solar calculator and enter your location, optimal angle now known. not hard. Linking the solar panels, hmm, built in connectors on most of them make that easy. permits, if you need them for your location, go to county and get them, pay 50 – 500 (depending on how much your county rips you off) note they will charge you for permits from contractors and charge a fee to get them. Roof, if your roof is in that bad of condition, or you think it may be, ground mount the panels. No reason to call a professional unless you want to.
Excellent article as always MM, we’ve been anxiously waiting for you to post it! This is something my wife and I have been researching for a while as well, especially since we got an electric vehicle. I would really appreciate more information on your financial numbers, especially how you calculate the returns and payback period. I did some math on this recently and found payback times on a 10KW DIY install were closer to 40 years before breaking even. This contrasted harshly with the numbers (8-10 years) that a local solar company was advertising. Not sure if they’re being misleading or if I missed something.
For our review we have focused on 100W and 400W panel kits, which are most applicable to the RV/boating or small outbuilding applications that have smaller loads, but have also included advice on the best resources and options for large systems (3kWh – 5 kWh – Skip to section on larger systems). Most of the solar kits are also easily configurable to add additional panels as needed. If you are interested in solar panels for a boat, read our review of options as there are several flexible solar panels to consider.
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:
As you know, your power meter measures the amount of electricity you take from the grid. It is very likely, however, that you'll need to get a special meter that is able to spin backwards - without it, you can't accurately measure the amount of energy you're giving back to the grid. In most cases, you can call your utility company and they will provide one of these meters for free. As I said before, having a power station in the middle of the grid - even a tiny one - takes a lot of load off of the system, and the utility company will gladly assist you with your solar home.
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.
Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer and other necessary layers on a flexible substrate. If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used. If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used. The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side.
Installing DIY solar panels is potentially dangerous from a number of perspectives depending on whether you are physically installing them yourself or hiring a contractor to do it. The installation itself can potentially be dangerous if you are not used to working at heights or with DC electricity and there can be ongoing risks of fire if the electrical work is not done by an experienced and qualified solar electrician.
The article says it “may” cost you more. Meanwhile ive seen articles describing how installer have shortened previous install times from days to hours. Costs continue to decrease, probably from healthy competition. Your best DIY time is spent understanding the available technology, financing options, incentives, tax breaks, and where vendors will willingly compete for your business. The combined incentives are substantial, in some cases 60% of total cost, not including the reduced power bills. My advice is to Learn the costs and technology and ask for itemized quotes that include; panels, mounts, inverter(s), cables, meter, misc hardware, and most of all, labor. Incentives and discounts should also be separately itemized. Major components should include suppliers and model/part numbers. Car repair vendors are required to do this by law. I can think of no reason why this should be any different. If they wont quote component prices at least insist on supplier/part numbers so you can cost them yourself. If they wont commit to part numbers then cross them off your list. There are plenty of vendors out there. Base all figures assuming you will buy and own the system. You can quote financing, leasing, and service options separately. Get several contractor quotes and compare. You can readily price the same parts from online suppliers, then calculate the markup for each quote. As some have already noted here, the markup can be very high. Is the vendor making $10+K profit for a one or two day install? Published data shows that half the nations installers quote flat rates of $4.90 per KW – thats $25,000 for a 5KW system! And most people are unaware of the markup. Solar vendors have honed the “Green Power” pitch to the calculator challenged. The tax breaks and incentives make this worse. Legislators please take note. Incentive rules have produced a Cartel, where most incentive $$$ go to contractors at the expense of the consumers. Please join me, to the degree that you are able, to be an informed consumer. I am particularly offended by sales people who ask for my birthday (credit check) in the first minute. I am in the market for a solar power products and might later be interested in their financing, but only if it suits me. Birthdays are a major source of identity theft. Say no until its the proper time to discuss financing and then insist they put in writing their legal obligation to prevent disclosure. Solar power is becoming mainstream and economical. some helpful info. 1) For comparison, panels are specified by max power, aka “Standard Test”. Typically 200 to 300+ watts per panel. 2) add up past 12 power bills to get an daily average KW-HR usage. 3) Size your system to provide daily average in a few hrs. Example: 5KW system provides 20KW-HR in 4 hrs. 4) panels generate about 12 to 14 w/ft-sq. 5KW needs ~ 400 ft-sq. Or (20) 250 watt panels. 5) you need south facing surfaces. See panel sizes for how to arrange and fit on your roof or possibly ground area. 6) panels are available at http://www.wholesalesolar.com, prices are $0.90 – $1.20/watt. Look for durability and warranty. 7) Grid tie inverters will run $2000 to $3000 for 5 to 10KW system. Look for efficiency, monitoring, and warranty. 8) Fed provides 30% tax credit. Find your state incentives for tax relief, low interest loans, permit rebates, etc 9) Power companies need renewable sources (you!) and they are reluctant to inform you about it 10) “Grid Tie” systems are most typical. “Backup” and “Off Grid” systems require more (serious DIY!) research. 11) Some places have complicated permitting. See “CPF DOE Permitting study” at https://solarpermit.org Good Luck!
Rural America has relied on wind power for decades. Even after the government completed rural electrification in 1964, far-flung communities continued generating much of their own power from hybrid diesel/wind systems. And the windmill remains a fixture on most American farms-not because it represents a cute and quaint testimonial to times past, but because it makes perfect economic sense. Many large farms connected to the grid only as a back-up for their own more ambitious wind turbine installations. Most American farmers and small manufacturers recognize the wisdom of buying wind turbines instead of paying for electricity. Soon, owners and operators of large industrial and office complexes ought to see a considerable financial advantage in buying wind turbines, too.
The higher you climb, the more you expose yourself to the elements. Everything that persuaded you to mount your wind turbine way up in the air is everything that poses a safety risk. The wind blows harder and more steadily up there than it does on the ground, so the chill factor intensifies. Even if your routine maintenance requires relatively delicate work with nuts, bolts, caps, and wires, protect your hands from cold…Or heat. In the winter, frostbite can set-in within just a few minutes of removing your gloves. Use gloves with clips if it’s cold so won’t drop them. No matter what season you climb the tower, make sure you stay hydrated because dehydration mimics intoxication. Also, make sure you stay nourished because a sugar lull will affect your concentration, balance, and coordination.
The British Energy Savings Trust report titled “Location, location, location”: This requires some reading-between-the-lines as the Trust is rather closely aligned with the small wind industry. They looked at 57 turbines for a year, a number of them building mounted, others tower mounted, and concluded that building mounted turbines did very poorly.
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.
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.