The last piece of equipment you’ll need to consider when considering a DIY solar energy kit is whether you intend to have battery backup or not. Your system does not have to have a battery, but, if you do, you can use the battery to store unused energy (instead of feeding it back into the grid). That way, you’re even less dependent on the grid for energy, for even when the sun is not shining or during blackouts, you can draw on your stored energy in the battery to continue to power your home.
You bum….I was just getting my data together to send to you! Very nice write-up! My wife and I did a DIY ground mount array of 6.875kW for $12k pre-tax credit. We put it on the ground because our roof is 10yrs old. Using the PVWatts website our production (thus far) is beating expectations. It was relatively easy to install, with the ground supports and their concrete being the worst part. My wife is an architect so for ‘obvious’ reasons it had to be located 200′ from the house adding some more challenges. Like when I cut the water lines with the trencher. Ooops….The local power company was helpful but dubious of ability. In the end, we saved at least $20,000 off of the local installers price and gained a ton of knowledge. Using discounted cash flow analysis our return is going to beat 11% in 10 years if electricity prices stay the same. If they go up, we make more money! In the two months since we got it up an running our electricity price has gone up.
In 1839, the ability of some materials to create an electrical charge from light exposure was first observed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel.[6] This observation was not replicated again until 1873, when Willoughey Smith discovered that the charge could be caused by light hitting selenium. After this discovery, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day published "The action of light on selenium" in 1876, describing the experiment they used to replicate Smith's results.[6][7] In 1881, Charles Fritts created the first commercial solar panel, which was reported by Fritts as "continuous, constant and of considerable force not only by exposure to sunlight but also to dim, diffused daylight."[8] However, these solar panels were very inefficient, especially compared to coal-fired power plants. In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is used in many modern solar panels. He patented his design in 1941.[9] In 1954, this design was first used by Bell Labs to create the first commercially viable silicon solar cell.[6]
These kits can also be used for a small building on your property that needs power, such as a barn or parking garage. Running electricity to these buildings can be expensive, particularly if all you need to power are a few light bulbs and small appliances. If you own a cabin that has a greater electricity demand and is off of the grid due to geographical reasons then a solar kit can be an excellent option.

"Wholesale Solar and John Grenvik where a pleasure to do business with. I found it interesting and quite unusual that John would not let me up-size my battery bank beyond what my panels would support on my off grid system, as he said I would be destroying the batteries by their not getting a full charge. How's that for looking out for the customer even at the expense of additional sales."
"I did a lot of research and Wholesale Solar kept coming up with the best reviews, plus local people that had worked with Wholesale Solar previously raved about them. I was paired up with Cheyenne as my contact. She ALWAYS treated me with respect and patiently answered all my questions (treated me with customer service rarely found in today’s world)."
Solar PV cell technology converts radiation from the sun into electricity. The technology has been around for decades, and is pretty straightforward. How It Works is specially-designed solar cells, containing a semi-conducting material such as silicon, are located on the roof or ground of your home or cabin. When sunlight hits the cells, it excites the electrons within the silicon, creating an electric field across the cell's sheet layers and causing a flow of electricity.
Turbine A has a steady output of 250 watts constant therefore in 4 hours it produces 1 kilo watt hour. Over the period of a day the same wind generator in this example would produce 6 killo watt hours of the course of the day. 24 hours divided by 4 is 6 KWH. Estimating at this rate we can presume that at this average turbine A would generator about 180 KWH per month
A turbine that produces around 5 kW worth of energy can produce approximately 8,000 kWh per year, assuming there are decent winds to power it. Given ideal conditions, you will be able to recoup your investment in three to five years, depending on your monthly energy consumption and other related factors. If, however, your property doesn’t get enough wind then it may take a little more time to recover your initial investment.

I bought 36 3 x 6 pre-tabbed cells from a large seller on ebay with lots of positive feedback.  My cells came with solder, flux and extra tabbing.  I also received a few extra cells, which I didn’t expect, but it came in handy because one of the first things I did was break one of the cells as I was separating them!  The cells are fairly fragile so be very careful when handling them.  You should also try to avoid getting fingerprints or dirt on the front of the cells because it will reduce the power output.

Small wind energy systems can be connected to the electricity distribution system. A grid-connected wind turbine can reduce your consumption of utility-supplied electricity for lighting, appliances, and electric heat. If the turbine cannot deliver the amount of energy you need, the utility makes up the difference. When the wind system produces more electricity than the household requires, the excess is sent or sold to the utility. These arrangements with the utility company are typically called net metering or net billing, and they address the value of the electricity sold or net excess generation, the time period for valuing the electricity (typically annually or monthly), and any other contractual requirements with the utility.
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.
An indemnity is an agreement between two parties in which one agrees to secure the other against loss or damage arising from some act or some assumed responsibility. In the context of customer-owned generating facilities, utilities often want customers to indemnify them for any potential liability arising from the operation of the customer's generating facility. Although the basic principle is sound—utilities should not be held responsible for property damage or personal injury attributable to someone else—indemnity provisions should not favor the utility but should be fair to both parties. Look for language that says, "each party shall indemnify the other . . ." rather than "the customer shall indemnify the utility . . ."
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So he's having to carefully conserve so much that it has changed his lifestyle. Meanwhile, with my grid tie system, I'm able to run the A/C, hairdriers, TVs, anything I want, and still spend no money for power. Looking at his roof, my system is about 1/3 of his size, physically. There is one difference: If the power goes out, I have no power, but he does. To me, having all the power I want, when I need it, for free, I can suffer through an outage once or twice a year. So even if he didn't have any battery cost whatsoever, I would never advise anyone to do what he did, unless they are just really into it. For him, it's a hobby, a labor of love, and all that. That's great for him, but it's not what most people are in this for, they just want to save money or get off the grid without understanding the ramifications. Even if there WAS a ROI, you'd have to value your time at zero to realize that.
On a side note I was reading one of your articles last month where you casually mentioned that you use like 250kW/month! How the hell can he do that I thought. We average 1800kW in sunny Florida in our 2 story 3200 sqft 1969 home. So digging even farther through your blog I discovered some hacks….no dryer, no lights (unless needed), etc….and actually measure where it is going. So I did, we did an experiment…killed the dryers (one upstairs and one down ….architect wife remember) and hunted for loss. Well we found a ton! Water heater set too hot, 2 amps. Old dishwasher 12 amps, and the list goes on. Making a few easy changes we dropped the used (not counting the solar) to less than 900kW. Still too high, but on the right track. We keep the air at 80 in summer and 63 in winter so not that :)
The rotor-swept area (A) is important because the rotor captures the wind energy. So the larger the rotor, the more energy it can capture. The air density, ρ, changes slightly with air temperature and with elevation. The ratings for wind turbines are based on standard conditions of 59° F (15° C) at sea level. A density correction should be made for higher elevations as shown in the Air Density Change with Elevation graph. A correction for temperature is typically not needed for predicting the long-term performance of a wind turbine.

The world of small wind turbines is much like the wild-west of a century ago: Anything goes, and no claim is too bold. Wind turbine manufacturers will even routinely make claims that are not supported by the Laws of Physics. Energy production claims are often exaggerated, as are power curves. In fact, this is the rule, not the exception. Those manufacturers that tell the truth are the exception. Many manufacturers have never tested their wind turbines under real-world conditions. Some have never tested their turbine before selling it to unsuspecting customers. We are not joking! Because we sell grid-tie inverters for small wind turbines we have a front-row seat when it comes to actual operation of turbines of many makes and models. It turns out that some do not work; they self-destruct within days, and sometimes run away and blow their inverter within seconds after being turned onfor  the first time (clearly nobody at the factory bothered to ever test it).
My electric company has a “green rate” where they sell you 100% solar energy for a premium. The interesting thing is you also get a discount that removes most of the premium. For myself it’s made a very small difference in my electric bill and I get to feel good knowing I’m using solar energy without owning it. They don’t actually advertise this plan at all so you might have to slueth through their website to find it.

Wire the solar panel: At the back sides of the solar panel there is a small junction box with positive and negative sign for polarity. In a large size solar panel this junction box have terminal wires with MC4 connector but for small size panels you have to connect the junction box with external wires. Always try to use red and black wire for the positive and negative terminal connection. If there is provision for earth wire the use a green wire for wiring this.

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.
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Maybe you've considered solar energy - even if only for a brief moment - only to dismiss it as too complicated and too expensive, or maybe you're seriously considering a project, but don't know where to start. With this Instructable, I hope to demystify the (not-really) intimidating process of installing solar panels in your home. We'll review the parts of a solar panel system, the things you need to consider when you're planning, and how you can save money on (and even get free money for) your project. At the end of the day, you'll know what to look for and what to keep in mind with any solar project.
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A Darrieus type vertical axis wind turbine (the egg-beater type) can in theory work almost as good as a horizontal axis turbine. Actual measurement of one of the better designs out there, the UGE VisionAir5, does not bear that out though: It measures in at a pitiful 11% efficiency at 11 m/s wind speed, while a Bergey Excel-6 HAWT clocks in at 22% efficiency for that same wind speed, twice as much. You can read about it in Paul Gipe’s article.  Besides efficiency issues, a Darrieus VAWT unfortunately has a number of inherent issues that put them at a disadvantage: Since they are usually tall and relatively narrow structures the bending forces on their main bearing (at the bottom) are very large. There are similar issues with the forces on the blades. This means that to make a reliable vertical axis turbine takes more material, and more expensive materials, in comparison to a horizontal type turbine. For comparison, that same UGE VisionAir5 weighs 756 kg vs. the Bergey Excel-6 at 350 kg. Keep in mind that the UGE turbine only sweeps about half the area of the Bergey, the latter is a much larger turbine! This makes VAWTs inherently more expensive, or less reliable, or both.
However, you are going to have to pay a licensed contractor to install the system and much of this savings may go to them. Because most licensed and experienced solar electricians work for solar companies they will often charge quite a lot for installation because they perceive they have lost the ability to make any margin on equipment. This may change over time but currently this is a big factor in why it is very difficult to save much money from a DIY solar project.
Invest in good fall protection equipment, especially including a good helmet. Although good safety harness will break your fall and protect most of your body, it will do nothing to keep your scull and brains intact. Rather than shopping for a hardhat, look at helmets for rock climbing or mountaineering, because they will have the design features you need. Put simply; a hard hat will fall off easily as they don’t have chin straps. Getting ready to climb, remember to check your lanyard and harness before you strap-in; and, although it seems outrageously silly, make sure you strap-in correctly.
If you're keen to living off the grid, take the time to consider which hybrid micro generation systems may be worthwhile for your home or cabin. The ability to generate your own electricity using solar panels and wind turbines can make an off-grid power system more stable by increasing the amount of time that energy is being produced, reducing dependence on energy stored in the batteries. These days, it's possible to generate electricity at a high level of efficiency without using fossil fuel generators . Once you've made the decision to live off of the grid and generate your own power, you need to select the renewable energy technology that best suits your needs. Our comprehensive guide helps you make the best choice for your home.

Wiring systems are specified clearly. For instance, the red one is for all positive joints, black wire takes care of the battery negative and so on. Now, here’s a list of what you need to purchase separately- connector kit or electric wires, a pole or tower and batteries (available at Amazon as well as your nearest store). Considering its highs and lows, the master combination of this solar and wind at such a great price is highly recommended.


Some utilities require small wind turbine owners to maintain liability insurance in amounts of $1 million or more to protect them from liability for facilities they do not own and have no control over. Other utilities consider the insurance requirements excessive and unduly burdensome, making wind energy uneconomic. In seven states (California, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington), laws or regulatory authorities prohibit utilities from imposing any insurance requirements on small wind systems that qualify for net metering. In at least two other states (Idaho, Virginia), regulatory authorities have allowed utilities to impose insurance requirements but have reduced the required coverage amounts to levels consistent with conventional residential or commercial insurance policies (e.g., $100,000 to $300,000). If your insurance amounts seem excessive, you can ask for a reconsideration from regulatory authorities (in the case of private investor-owned utilities) or the utility's governing board (in the case of publicly owned utilities).
The cost has dropped significantly in the last several years, making it such that, with tax incentives or rebates, a grid-tie solar system will pay for itself in just a few years. Essentially, for the price of a few years electricity, you get 25 to 35 years of electricity. In fact, solar systems will likely keep on producing electricity at a lower rate for even decades after that.
Always, as in always, remember to take your first and most important safety precaution before you strap on your safety harness belt and take your first step up the tower: Shutdown the turbine and furl the blades before you ascend. If you leave the machine running, a sudden shift in the wind’s direction can spin the blades right into you, slicing and dicing you as if you were so much meat and cheese for a chef’s salad.
Since wife is into historic preservation buy older homes to fix up and remodel for extra cash every few years so we have always been limited by the home as it was originally designed. Well we are finally considering doing one for ourselves and with the kids finishing high school it can be much smaller. Reading your blog has given inspiration for many aspects of our lives, working less, living more and enjoying simple things. Thank you!
The key to making it all work cost effectively is a really cost-effective system to bolt together over the existing parking spaces. If you can minimize the engineering, steel, concrete and building permit aspects, then things start looking much better. (The same argument applies to choosing small, lightweight bike infrastructure over the massive stuff we need to build to support cars!)
Of course, there are lots of secrets you’ll find out only through practice, but the overall idea is that such a system is cheap and for 200 watts of power you’ll need solar cells worth about $200 and batteries worth about $400 to $500. If you get an inverter from ebay, or even better, buy a used UPS (handle with care), you’ll not go over $500 for the whole system. If you want to really power your entire home, you’ll need about $1,000 to become truly energy independent (as in not paying a dime to electric utilities). How does that sound?

I was just a kid, early teens I think, so I have no idea of what the cash outlay was + the tax credits, but it moved my frugal parents to action. We had a solar hot water system with oil assist for cloudy days (most of New England heats with oil). It’s been in place for 27-35+ years and even been moved from the main house roof to the garage roof with only minor control panel upgrades needed. It’s not a system that feeds back to the grid, it just runs water through… but it made a noticeable impact to our oil bills and was worth relocating to the garage when we expanded the house footprint and changed the roof line.


The two dominant solar technologies to pick from are photovoltaic, which uses arrays of cells to turn sunlight into electricity, and thermal, which uses sunlight to heat water or air for use inside. If your home uses a lot of energy for heating, or you live somewhere where heating fuel is expensive relative to electricity, a solar thermal investment could break even sooner, says the engineer Timothy Wilhelm, who coordinates the electrical technology program and teaches solar installation at Kankakee Community College in Illinois. But, he adds, solar thermal is rarer for homes, so it might be harder to find a qualified installer.
Hey, one thing i see all the time with solar projects is all anybody uses is 12v deep cycle batteries. These batteries were mostly meant for boats, high cranking amps and could be discharged more without killing the life of the battery. The best battery to use is deep cycle 6v batteries wired in series to give you one big 12v battery. If you want lots of power stored for longer use, use 6v batts. Another thing that you need to think of if you are going off grid is your solar array needs to be big enough to not only run the things you want but also put out enough power to recharge the batteries at the same time or each time you start to use the batteries they will just be drained more and more until they are dead. System needs to be bigger than for just running the house. If you are totally off grid then your system needs to keep the batteries charged the whole time the house is draining power. Same thing either way you look at it.

If you ever have the chance and are in north-central California, visit the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico. The parking lot has about 11,000 panels mounted on racks about ten feet up. The racks also support hop bines growing up them, for an extra bonus. Their site indicates 20% coverage of their electricity needs. I bet it was generating nice returns on the blazing 107-degree day I was there one summer. The new Sierra Nevada brewery in Asheville, NC also has them on pole arrays in the parking lot.


We powered all our electrical needs on a 40 ft boat we lived aboard for 11 yrs. We bought Kyrocera245 watt panels X 3 for $1.00 a watt delivered in 2010 and in 2014 they hd gone up in price because of demand. Our battery bank was 12 group 31 AGM batteries on a MPPT controller. We ran a chest freezer and full size refrigerator. plus regular stuff for daily life. For AC we had to have shore power. I don't think prices have come down in the 30 yrs I have been using solar. Nothing is free!

Solar panels, grid-tie / off-grid kits and home backup power. The do-it-yourself (DIY) craze is hardly crazy when one considers the mind-boggling cost savings resulting from this trend nationwide. In fact, many people wouldn't call it a trend at all, merely a return to the practical know-how of yesteryear when people simply had to do it themselves and took great pride in their handiwork! Yet few DIY projects are as cost-saving and investment-rich as the installation of a solar system.
Also, HQST sends you a little pamphlet with these panels, offering you a free 2W/6V solar panel, in return for you leaving a review. While this is the reason I am writing this review (I usually don't bother leaving reviews for anything), it in no way influenced my review. These panels are well constructed and very efficient, I don't think you can beat them for the price.
This is a wind map of the lands south of the border (the US) for 30 meters (100′) height, a very common height for small wind turbine installations. Anything green or yellow is not a good wind resource location. Here in Canada the distribution is similar, in that the good places are in the mid-west and very close to the shores of the great lakes and oceans.

DIY solar is for someone capable of reading with understanding. For any DIY that does not want to take the time to study about what he is planning to do, then DIY solar is a big fire risk for the homeowner DIY. Solar is not too difficult, but it is not easy as pie either. Wire sizes, connections, and fusing have to be undersood, and contrary to most DIY experiences with electricity, DC is a very unforgiving beast; way different from AC.
There are a number of mapping services that have been developed by SETO awardees that will help you determine if your roof is suitable for solar and can even provide you with quotes from pre-screened solar providers in your area. In addition to those resources, an internet search can help you find local companies that install solar panels. Because you will likely have many options to choose from, it’s important to thoroughly read reviews of solar companies to make sure you are selecting the best fit for you and your home.

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The determining factor is shade. Any shade, whether from trees, clouds or neighbors, undermines the performance of the solar cells. To work effectively, the whole installation requires full sunlight for a minimum of 6 hours power day unshaded. The more sun the panels get, the more efficient the power generation will be. In rare instances, your roof may not be large enough or strong enough to support the technology. Usually, this results from poor repair rather than problems inherent in the roof design, though flat roofs are not ideal. Generally, you need at least 100 square feet per kW of available roof space. That means a 4 kW system would need about 400 sq. ft. of roof area.
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.
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.
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.

Honestly, had I known my life as a supermom would involve these sophisticated equations and engineering concepts, I would have changed my Berkeley major from English to Engineering.  The way I see it, calculating my wind turbine’s kW requires the same intellect and imagination as conjuring the manifold meanings in “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.”  C’mon, if I can do Wordsworth, surely I can do Watt times 1000.  “Wind turbine kW” will become my favorite metaphor for “dollars saved.”

Square wave inverters are the cheapest 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.
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.
Yeah, so far I have found that cloudy days can still be surprisingly productive (I see my panels still putting out 600-800 watts when the sky looks completely gloomy). But the deep shade of woods would be much worse. Not every spot is a great place to put solar panels, and that’s fine – there are still plenty of sunny spots around to optimize their placement.

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.
Fact is that in sunny places, solar has already eliminated their daytime peak (mostly from air-conditioning), and now they are complaining about the new peak that happens in the evening, when the sun has gone down and people get home from work and turn on lights and appliances. It’s important to remember that this peak is lower than the one that solar already eliminated–so they know how to handle it. And now storage technologies will help with the evening peak by diverting the excess daytime production. Pumped hydro and industrial-scale batteries are the most mature, just imagine all those old car batteries racked up next to a solar farm.
The distance between the combiner box, which is usually located near the solar panels, and the charge controller will be a factor in choosing the best string voltage for the charge controller and battery system. The higher the input voltage the smaller the wire can be for any given amount of power. For example, a system with a 12 volt battery and solar panels consisting of four 6.75 amp 12 volt DC nominal modules located at a distance of 40’ from the batteries could have the modules wired in series, parallel or series and parallel. Input design possibilities in this example are 12, 24, and 48 volts DC. If the panels was configured with the panels wired in parallel the input voltage would be 12 volts DC with an input current of 26 amps. The same panels wired in series would have an input voltage of 48 volts DC and an input current of 6.5 amps. In this example #1, the 26 amp 12 volts DC panels #1/0 wire, which is prohibitively expensive, would be required to limit voltage drop to 2% which is recommended for 12 volt DC systems. The same panels wired for 48 volts dc would only require a #8 wire. With the #8 AWG wire the 12 volt dc panels would have to be within 7’ of the batteries. The distance that #8 wire can be used is over 5 times greater at 48 volts DC than 12 volts DC.

As suppliers of inverters for turbines good, bad, and just plain ugly, we have pretty well seen it all when it comes to turbine failure. We can tell you unequivocally that you get what you pay for. Depending on your sense of adventure that can be good or bad; if you plan to go cheap, plan on (you) being the manufacturer’s R&D department and test center. Being a really good do-it-yourselfer with an understanding of wind turbines, alternators, and all things electric will come in very handy too. Just in case you do not believe us, you can read about it in this Green Power Talk thread. There are more threads with similar content on the forum, just browse around a little.
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.
The solution, of course, is to promote time-of-use: when there is surplus production during the day, lower the price. That will encourage day-time electric car charging, especially at workplaces. It’s crazy that the electric industry is complaining about both having too much solar during the daytime, and not being able to handle the load for charging all the future electric cars (to be fair, I think it is the auto industry that is trying to find ways to tarnish electric vehicles).

The ability of an off-grid inverter to surge to a higher level than its rated continuous output for a short duration to turn over the locked rotor of large loads like well pumps is critical. The inverter specifications that should be looked at are the Maximum Output Amps and the AC overload capability. If there are large loads a good number to look for is a five second surge capability of at least 1 ½ times the rated output of the inverter. If you have a deep well pump, the minimum requirement may be 3X the continuous run amps.
The first words of everyone calling us are “the wind is blowing here all the time”. People consistently overestimate how windy their place actually is. They forget about all the times the wind does not blow, and only remember the windy days. Such is human nature. Before even considering a small wind turbine you need to have a good idea of the annual average wind speed for your site. The gold standard is to install a data-logging anemometer (wind meter) at the same height and location as the proposed wind turbine, and let it run for 3 to 5 years. Truth is that it is usually much too expensive to do for small wind turbines, and while logging for 1 year could give you some idea and is the absolute minimum for worthwhile wind information, it is too short to be very reliable. For most of us, the more economical way to find out about the local average wind speed is by looking at a wind atlas, meteorological data, airport information and possibly the local vegetation (for windy spots the trees take on interesting shapes).
Research by Imperial College, London has shown that the efficiency of a solar panel can be improved by studding the light-receiving semiconductor surface with aluminum nanocylinders similar to the ridges on Lego blocks. The scattered light then travels along a longer path in the semiconductor which means that more photons can be absorbed and converted into current. Although these nanocylinders have been used previously (aluminum was preceded by gold and silver), the light scattering occurred in the near infrared region and visible light was absorbed strongly. Aluminum was found to have absorbed the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, while the visible and near infrared parts of the spectrum were found to be scattered by the aluminum surface. This, the research argued, could bring down the cost significantly and improve the efficiency as aluminum is more abundant and less costly than gold and silver. The research also noted that the increase in current makes thinner film solar panels technically feasible without "compromising power conversion efficiencies, thus reducing material consumption".[14]
FYI – BC Hydro (the government run electric monopoly in your area) says that payback on a solar system is 23 years https://www.bchydro.com/work-with-us/selling-clean-energy/net-metering.html?WT.mc_id=rd_netmetering. When I factor in a DIY install using info from this blog post the payback drops to about 15 years. That’s really poor for a province where the balance of power is held by the green party. I am waiting for the payback to drop closer to 5 years, but in the meantime I am considering solar with this: https://rimstar.org/renewnrg/solarair.htm instead of my 220V garage heater. Putting money into reduced electricity consumption usually has a quicker payback period than trying to generate your own electricity in my calculations since the Canadian utilities are stingy with the price they pay for your power compared to US or Europe. Alternative thought: since you are close to the US can you string an extension cord across the border to instantly make solar more affordable?
Step 5 is really confusing. Needs more detail. It looks like you took tabbing wire and soldered it in one long strip across the negative face of the bits. Then placed the whole string of bits on a large piece of copper mesh. So that only accounts for the positive to pos. and neg. to neg. Is there some other wire that goes over and under the bits? Could you please add pictures of attaching the where the positive and neg. parts are also?

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Solar PV cell technology converts radiation from the sun into electricity. The technology has been around for decades, and is pretty straightforward. How It Works is specially-designed solar cells, containing a semi-conducting material such as silicon, are located on the roof or ground of your home or cabin. When sunlight hits the cells, it excites the electrons within the silicon, creating an electric field across the cell's sheet layers and causing a flow of electricity.
The hope for a "solar revolution" has been floating around for decades -- the idea that one day we'll all use free electricity fro­m the sun. This is a seductive promise, because on a bright, sunny day, the sun's rays give off approximately 1,000 watts of energy per square meter of the planet's surface. If we could collect all of that energy, we could easily power our homes and offices for free.
Battery bank sizing is the part of the hybrid solar wind system that has a higher probability of causing you problems that other parts of your system. Use the battery sizing worksheet to help you through this critical stage. Factors such as your budget may tempt you to look to cheaper battery alternatives, but a quality battery will pay off over the years. We recommend you choose a 2V or 6V battery and connect them in series so that the total equals the system voltage you initially selected.
Solar leases and PPAs allow consumers to host solar energy systems that are owned by solar companies and purchase back the electricity generated. Consumers enter into agreements that allow them to have lower electricity bills without monthly loan payments. In many cases, that means putting no money down to go solar. Solar leases entail fixed monthly payments that are calculated using the estimated amount of electricity the system will produce. With a solar PPA, consumers agree to purchase the power generated by the system at a set price per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. With both of these options, though, you are not entitled to tax benefits since you don’t own the solar energy system.
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?
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Wire the solar panel : At the back sides of the solar panel a small junction box is there with positive and negative sign for polarity .In a large size solar panel this junction box have terminal wires with MC4 connector but for small size panel you have to connect the junction box with external wires.Always try to use red and black wire for the positive and negative terminal connection.If there is provision for earth wire the use a green wire for wiring this.
The Wind Energy Payback Period Workbook is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet tool that can help you analyze the economics of a small wind electric system and decide whether wind energy will work for you. It asks you to provide information about how you will finance the system, the characteristics of your site, and the properties of the system you're considering. It then provides you with a simple payback estimation (assumes no increase in electricity rates) in years. If the number of years required to regain your capital investment is greater than or almost equal to the life of the system, then wind energy will not be practical for you.
The second technology is concentrating solar power, or CSP. It is used primarily in very large power plants and is not appropriate for residential use. This technology uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat, which can then be used to produce electricity. Learn more about how CSP works.
As you can see from the picture above, I’ve started by building a relatively small solar array. There are twelve panels, each about 40 x 60 inches. Each one generates 300 watts of electricity when the sun shines, and when you run the numbers for my climate, the whole setup will crank out about 6100 kWh/year of electricity, a chunk which is worth about $732 per year at average US power prices.
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