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Before choosing a wind system for your home, you should consider reducing your energy consumption by making your home or business more energy efficient. You can start by learning how electricity is used in U.S. homes. Reducing your energy consumption will significantly lower your utility bills and will reduce the size of the home-based renewable energy system you need. To achieve maximum energy efficiency, you should take a whole-building approach. View your home as an energy system with interrelated parts, all of which work synergistically to contribute to the efficiency of the system. From the insulation in your home's walls to the light bulbs in its fixtures, there are many ways to make your home more efficient.
The PV Value® tool is helpful for both home sellers and homebuyers. It calculates the energy production value for a PV system and is compliant with Uniform Standards of Progressional Appraisal Practice and has been endorsed by the Appraisal Institute for the income approach method. Make sure your appraiser uses this tool to get the most accurate estimate of your PV system’s value.
Cells are usually sold in lots of 36, 100 or 108.  Stay away from 100 cell lots if you are going to be building the typical 36 volt panel.  A set of 108 cells will be enough to make 3 standard 36 cell panels.  I also recommend buying cells that are already tabbed.  “Tabs” are the thin pieces of metal attached to the cell for wiring them together.  Buying pre-tabbed cells will make the wiring much easier.  It is worth paying a little extra to get pre-tabbed cells.

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.
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.
When you hear the term off-grid which is synonymous with stand alone systems, you may generate a picture in your mind of rustic pioneer-type living in a cabin with few modern conveniences. In fact, this is not necessarily the case. While it is true that off-grid solar power is usually not sufficient to power an electric heating and cooling system unless you just won the Lotto or work on wall street, nearly all other appliances can be adequately powered with a properly configured off-grid system. You simply start with a daily energy budget and match the right components to meet your power demands. Check out our off-grid living page for some great information to help you plan the right system for you.
Although the calculation of wind power illustrates important features about wind turbines, the best measure of wind turbine performance is annual energy output. The difference between power and energy is that power (kilowatts [kW]) is the rate at which electricity is consumed while energy (kilowatt-hours [kWh]) is the quantity consumed. An estimate of the annual energy output from your wind turbine, kWh/year, is the best way to determine whether a particular wind turbine and tower will produce enough electricity to meet your needs. Contact a wind turbine manufacturer, a dealer/installer, or a site assessor to help you estimate the energy production you can expect. They will use a calculation based on the particular wind turbine power curve, the average annual wind speed at your site, the height of the tower that you plan to use, micro-siting characteristics of your site and, if available, the frequency distribution of the wind (an estimate of the number of hours that the wind will blow at each speed during an average year). They should also adjust this calculation for the elevation of your site.
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.
Wind Resource Considerations -- If you live in complex terrain, take care in selecting the installation site. 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. You can have varied wind resources within the same property. In addition to measuring or finding out about the annual wind speeds, you need to know about the prevailing directions of the wind at your site. In addition to geological formations, you need to consider existing obstacles, such as trees, houses, and sheds. You also need to plan for future obstructions, such as new buildings or trees that have not reached their full height. Your turbine needs to be sited upwind of any buildings and trees, and it needs to be 30 feet above anything within 300 feet.
Thankfully here in Finland our grid is just under 10% coal and that is mostly combined district heat and power. Unfortunately solar doesn’t really make economical sense here. When the consumption is highest and dirtiest there is no sun to be seen for months. And in summer time, when there is plenty sun, consumption is quite low and electricity price is close to zero, even negative if it is really windy in Denmark and Sweden.

Stand-alone systems (systems not connected to the utility grid) require batteries to store excess power generated for use when the wind is calm. They also need a charge controller to keep the batteries from overcharging. Deep-cycle batteries, such as those used for golf carts, can discharge and recharge 80% of their capacity hundreds of times, which makes them a good option for remote renewable energy systems. Automotive batteries are shallow-cycle batteries and should not be used in renewable energy systems because of their short life in deep-cycling operations.[16]
Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions (STC), and typically ranges from 100 to 365 Watts (W). The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 W module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 W module. There are a few commercially available solar modules that exceed efficiency of 24%[1] [2]

Zoning—Most land has been delegated to various zones by a region's local government and building department officials (at the city, county, or state level [occasionally]). The zones control types of land use, such as agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial, and include subcategories. Each type of zoning carries its own specific permitting restrictions, such as building height and property line offsets (required separation distance).
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).

Next step is preparation, protection and painting of timber box (solar panel housing). Special hooks have to be attached to all four corners of the solar collector, so that it can be easily mounted on the wall (Fig. 16) using 10mm/0.4in screws (Fig. 17). Empty box is placed on the wall in order to precisely mark the spot for drilling the air inlet/exhaust.
You need to better explain how the soldering/connection process goes. Between connecting the cells in series to increase voltage and then connecting the …buses in parallel to increase the amperage, the average, e.g. uninitiated DIYer will be confused. It’s commendable you want to share your knowledge but it has to be done in a way that even the …”lowest common denominator” will understand it.
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.
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This solar kit is ideal for running items like small pumps and lights, and can be used for charging up your battery pack. There are 4 x 100w polycrystalline solar panels that connect up to a two diode junction for better performance. The charge controller that comes with the kit is also one of the better units that we have reviewed. The charger includes a 3 stage control, multi colored status LED, temperature compensation and a manual or automatic charge equalization feature. This kit is more expensive than the 400W Renogy as it comes with an inverter.
We put in our home wind turbines in the fall and started making power. Then, Congress passed the bailout bill this fall, it added a 30% tax credit for small-wind projects. So, our investment qualifies for a tax credit there. Additionally our electricity company announced electricity rate hikes of 15% for each of next three years. That's about 50% alltogether. Electricity costs, rising sharply but with LED Bulbs and ...
What’s surprising about the Mathers’ situation is that their local wind speeds are not ideal, yet home wind power works beautifully for them. “Technically, if you look at wind maps, we’re in a bad location for wind, but we wanted to be off-grid for environmental reasons,” Cam says. The biggest issue with the Mathers’ property is that they have too many trees, and even though their small wind turbine is easily 40 feet above the tree line, the landscape slows down the wind. Wind still makes sense for them, though, because they’re off the grid, so their only electricity is what they produce and then store in batteries. They started with solar panels, but adding a wind turbine to the mix made the whole system much more stable and efficient — a major benefit when you’re solely responsible for generating your own electricity.
According to the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard, the Rated Annual Energy of a wind turbine is the calculated total energy that would be produced during a 1-year period with an average wind speed of 5 meters/second (m/s, or 11.2 mph).[22] The following formula illustrates factors that are important to the performance of a wind turbine. Notice that the wind speed (V) has an exponent of 3 applied to it. This means that even a small increase in wind speed results in a large increase in power. That is why a taller tower will increase the productivity of any wind turbine by giving it access to higher wind speeds.
If the power fails in Loveland, Wesley Baldassare knows that his refrigerator and heater still will work. Baldassare, a home improvement contractor, installed a home wind turbine on his roof Wednesday after showing it off at a few area home and garden shows. The turbine uses wind energy to produce power for his home. ÒThis is designed as a starter kit for green energy," he said. "It's designed to go on the roof, which makes it practical for homeowners." Baldassare is a Colorado and Wyoming dealer for Windenergy7, a green energy company out of Ohio. He started... [rooftop wind turbine]
Wind shear—The difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere. Wind shear can be broken down into vertical and horizontal components, with horizontal wind shear seen across storm fronts and near the coast, and vertical shear seen typically near the surface (though also at higher levels in the atmosphere near upper-level jets and frontal zones aloft).

I heard a speaker explain that he has off grid solar as a backup system. He and his wife got tired of feeding excess electricity to Virginia Power for pennies on the dollar, so they bought a used Nissan Leaf for $8000 or $9000 to soak up the extra electricity. He said that many people buy electric cars and then change their mind, so the prices on used electric cars are quite cheap. I checked out the prices and he’s right! The more I research, the more I’m convinced we can afford solar power if we pick and choose and don’t try to do everything at once.


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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.
Having a gas cooktop probably saves us electricity. However, we also use a large toaster oven to do most of the oven-style cooking. This uses much less electricity than the oven. We also bought a counter-depth (smaller volume = less energy) fridge that is Energy Star rated. And we also purchased an energy-efficient condo-sized washer and dryer set, and we only run them when we have full loads. My husband often hangs the clothes to dry.
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Thanks for the write up. Very interesting. Being concerned about the carbon output as well, has there been any research into the CO2 produced in the production of the material being installed? I was really convicted about this concern when I started considering the CO2 given off by things like spray foam on building projects I have done in the past.

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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