Look at that product name again. How much time will you have to spend just to understand what all those terms mean? Because you need to know what you’re buying before you buy it, right? How do you know if you want or need all those things? Is 300 Watts a lot? How much power will that give me? How much will it save me on my bills? What’s polycrystalline? Is that good?
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Solarize campaigns can also help you start the process of going solar. These programs work by allowing groups of homeowners to work together to collectively negotiate rates, select an installer, and create additional community interest in solar through a limited-time offer to join the campaign. Ultimately, as the number of residents who participate in the program increase, the cost of the installations will decrease.
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.

I’m sold in on solar from an environmental standpoint but still not at these prices even as a DIY. You have a lot of solar needs with multiple facilities and autos using the juice. We are just a middle-aged couple working from home in a small house. Our typical electric bill is $60/mo. I’m waiting for the price to come down much more and to become much easier to install DIY.


So you got your cells in the mail. Let’s say you received solar cells totaling 194 watts for $105+shipping (an actual example from ebay) that you carefully unpack, taking care not to break them, as they’re very thin. Now find yourself some tools like a soldering iron, solder, solder paste or flux (for removing the grease off the wires), a saw, some wooden board and protective glasses, a multimeter to measure voltage and amperage. And, of couse, a pencil and a ruler.
The soldering is super easy and will go fast once you get the hang of it.  This is a great first soldering project because it is so easy.  Put the cells face down on the table and bring the tab from the front of one cell to the back of the next one.  There will be metal squares or pads on the back of the cell.  Press the tab down on the metal pad with the soldering iron to heat them and then press the solder on the tab.  The solder will melt and attach the tab to the pad.  If you aren’t experienced at soldering, make sure you heat the metal and apply solder to the metal.  Do not heat the solder.  If you end up with the tab connected to the pad and nice shiny solder, you’re doing it right.  Keep going until you have 9 cells in line like this.
Going forward, there is hope for the small wind future! Certification programs are under way in various places to provide real turbine performance data. In North America this is being spearheaded by the Small Wind Certification Council, which requires third-party certification of turbine performance in a standardized fashion. Manufacturers will no longer be able to fudge power curves, or specify ‘rated power’ at hurricane-force wind speeds. This will allow you, the consumer, to compare turbines on a much more even footing.
The first component we are going to wire is the Charge Controller. At the bottom of the Charge Controller there are 3 signs in my charge controller. The first one from the left is for the connection of the Solar Panel having positive (+) and negative (-) signs. The second one with plus (+) and minus (-) signs is for the Battery connection and the last one for the direct DC load connection like DC lights.
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.
Some photovoltaic systems, such as rooftop installations, can supply power directly to an electricity user. In these cases, the installation can be competitive when the output cost matches the price at which the user pays for his electricity consumption. This situation is sometimes called 'retail grid parity', 'socket parity' or 'dynamic grid parity'.[50] Research carried out by UN-Energy in 2012 suggests areas of sunny countries with high electricity prices, such as Italy, Spain and Australia, and areas using diesel generators, have reached retail grid parity.[4]
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Where the reputable, and more expensive manufacturers are good in honouring their warranties, you are likely on your own with the cheap stuff. Even with a good warranty, take our word for it that you would much rather not make use of it. Even if the manufacturer supplies replacement parts, it is still expensive to install them. Not to mention that your turbine will not be making energy meanwhile.
While I think on a personal level, distributed solar/storage is great, it just doesn’t seem to scale on a system level, since there is a lot of economies of scale in terms of cost (compare $1/W utility PV vs. $2-3/W rooftop PV), and a lot of benefits from geographical diversity, both in terms of load (your load is way more spikey than CO’s average load), and renewables (while your solar array might be doing bad during a cloudy winter day, the wind could be howling at a wind farm in Iowa or it could be sunny in New Mexico). If we really want to go 100% carbon free, we will need all the geographical diversity and economies of scale that we can. A bunch of people with rooftop solar + a battery won’t cut it sadly.
Module electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage or in parallel to provide a desired current capability (amperes). The conducting wires that take the current off the modules may contain silver, copper or other non-magnetic conductive transition metals. Bypass diodes may be incorporated or used externally, in case of partial module shading, to maximize the output of module sections still illuminated.
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.
A new commercial or industrial wind turbine ought to require little or no maintenance. Manufacturers construct twenty-first-century wind turbine blades from composite materials so that they will not corrode or require replacement; new blades ought to withstand even torturous conditions with little or no routine care. Similarly, reliable wind turbine builders fashion the latest generation of nacelles from rust proof or rust resistant alloys and powder coat the units for maximum durability; the units seal tightly, protecting the working parts inside. And, as with most major machinery, an ordinary wind turbine user will find no user-serviceable parts inside the nacelle. If the unit fails, it will require professional service. Even with all these features designed and guaranteed to keep your wind turbine running smoothly and reliably, the system still requires routine maintenance.
What’s the downside to getting this step wrong? If you don’t place solar panels correctly, you won’t be able to get the optimal amount of power. You won’t save as much money on your electric bill, and over time, that difference can easily eclipse any initial savings from doing the installation yourself. Panels from a kit designed for DIY installation won’t be as effective as a custom install based on your specific needs. Professional solar installers know how to correctly position panels to maximize your investment.
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.
Expertise: Before committing to buy a solar kit there is a certain amount of design and analysis work that you need to do to make sure that the kit you buy will work. It needs to fit on your roof and the output needs to be in the acceptable range for the utility to grant you a net metering agreement. Although rules vary from state to state most utilities only allow net metering of a system that will produce around 110% of your consumption. You also need to understand what type of solar package you are buying. Off-grid and grid-tie packages are completely different and you need to be clear about what you want. These issues may be hard to consider on your own, and many contracted solar installers will only work with systems they’re familiar with.
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.
Solarize campaigns can also help you start the process of going solar. These programs work by allowing groups of homeowners to work together to collectively negotiate rates, select an installer, and create additional community interest in solar through a limited-time offer to join the campaign. Ultimately, as the number of residents who participate in the program increase, the cost of the installations will decrease.
A battery will extend the payback. Batteries don’t last as long as panels and can carry a significant cost. In exchange for the cost, you get backup power for your house. My personal system, which is a bit of a cadillac and has a large lithium-ion battery backup (the most expensive upfront, but also the most resilient and longest-lasting), carries a payback period of about 20 years. I also have significant shading issues. So my house is pretty close to a worst-case scenario, and I end up with a whole-house generator that never runs out of fuel and will at least pay for itself over its lifetime.
Complete instructions included. We installed one here at the shop and it starting charging our 12V battery as soon as we connected it. We connected an amp meter and everytime the wind blows we see the needle move! Perfect for wind demonstration projects, Boy Scouts, classrooms, summer programs. Also check out our hybrid wind and solar DIY kit. Some folks with good wind conditions have successfully used these micro turbines to supplement their solar panels when providing power to remote barns, shops, cabins, fence chargers, gate openers, sailboats etc.
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.
The largest challenge for photovoltaic technology is said to be the purchase price per watt of electricity produced, new materials and manufacturing techniques continue to improve the price to power performance. The problem resides in the enormous activation energy that must be overcome for a photon to excite an electron for harvesting purposes. Advancements in photovoltaic technologies have brought about the process of "doping" the silicon substrate to lower the activation energy thereby making the panel more efficient in converting photons to retrievable electrons.[25]
Before you begin, you'll need to make sure that what you're doing is legal. Call your local government and find out what kind of building permit you need - often, for renewable energy, they will waive the permit fee. Also be sure to contact an electrician. Even if you are installing the entire system yourself, you'll need to have it inspected, just to be safe. An electrician can help with problems or opportunities you may have missed. Be sure to read DSIRE carefully - It has some information on state and local regulations.
Wholesale Solar’s scalable off-grid systems range from a $1,000 “Cabin” starter kit, which produces up to 43kWh/month using two to four solar panels, to a $37,000 “Ranch” system that produces up to 2,087 kWh using 45 to 54 solar panels, and which “allows you to be your own electric company,” according to their website. A mid-range “Homestead” system capable of generating enough power to run a typical American household’s worth of lights and appliances costs between $7,000 and $10,000. (Again, before tax credits and rebates.) 
Wholesale Solar’s scalable off-grid systems range from a $1,000 “Cabin” starter kit, which produces up to 43kWh/month using two to four solar panels, to a $37,000 “Ranch” system that produces up to 2,087 kWh using 45 to 54 solar panels, and which “allows you to be your own electric company,” according to their website. A mid-range “Homestead” system capable of generating enough power to run a typical American household’s worth of lights and appliances costs between $7,000 and $10,000. (Again, before tax credits and rebates.) 
Home wind energy systems generally comprise a rotor, a generator or alternator mounted on a frame, a tail (usually), a tower, wiring, and the "balance of system" components: controllers, inverters, and/or batteries. Through the spinning blades, the rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator, which produces either AC or wild AC (variable frequency, variable voltage), which is typically converted to grid-compatible AC electricity.

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.
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.
The tables above are for HAWTs, the regular horizontal “wind mill” type we are all familiar with. For VAWTs the tables can be used as well, but you have to convert their dimensions. Calculate the frontal area (swept area) of the VAWT by multiplying height and width, or for a curved egg-beater approximate the area. Now convert the surface area to a diameter, as if it were a circle: Diameter = √(4 • Area / Pi). That will give you a diameter for the table. Look up the energy production for that diameter and your average annual wind speed and do the following:
It goes without saying that solar panels are essential for a solar power system. Actually, what you will probably need is known as a solar array. That is because each panel generates a small amount of electricity. The number of panels included in your solar array depends on how much power you need to generate. PV photovoltaic modules, often referred to as solar panels, convert light energy into a direct electrical current (DC). As solid-state devices, solar panels have no moving parts and are extremely reliable and durable compared to any other generator electronic technology. While solar panels have become somewhat commoditized in recent years, there are important differences in form, quality and performance that can impact both installation time and long-term system performance. Our web pages presents a selection of high-quality polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels with a variety of features and cheap price points to suite virtually any homeowners project.
Our panels produce the most electricity between 9 AM and 5 PM (Spring/Summer) when we are not home. Durham/Raleigh area of NC has net metering…..So any surplus is delivered to the grid. In the evening when the solar system is producing the least or not at all, we are using electricity from the grid. At the end of the month, if we use more from the grid than the solar system, we are charged for that usage. If we deliver more to the grid, we carry surplus balance of kWh that carries over to the next month.
The first component we are going to wire is the Charge Controller. At the bottom of the Charge Controller there are 3 signs in my charge controller. The first one from the left is for the connection of the Solar Panel having positive (+) and negative (-) signs. The second one with plus (+) and minus (-) signs is for the Battery connection and the last one for the direct DC load connection like DC lights.
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.
Great article. I had solar panels fitted around 2 years ago here in the UK, costs are a lot higher and our panels are South-East facing. Even so our electricity bills are around a third lower than they were & this year has seen an improvement on that because we charge phones etc and run the washing machine / dishwasher during the daytime whenever possible. Payback is looking to be around 7 years. The only negative is that we had to pay for mesh around the panels because for the first two Summers we had a problem with jackdaws trying to nest under them causing an almightly racket, large (6+ feet) piles of twigs and attacking the wires.

I was researching this recently, seems like such a good idea. From what I understand – still in test and a year or two out. They are trying to make out it will cost not much more than a regular (well a tile) roof. They have two types of identical looking tiles, one that produces electricity and one that doesnt (thinking being that entire roof (particularly the N facing) will not be photo-voltaic). Cost per square depends on the mixture of the 2 tiles but it looked to me to be in the $50 –
A typical house usually requires a home wind turbine with a 5 kW generating capacity to meet all its energy requirements. A turbine that offers this much power would have to be around 13 to 18 feet in diameter and positioned in an area where strong winds often pass through. There are also plenty of smaller, cheaper turbines, but these variants produce less power and are less reliable than their more expensive counterparts.
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.

Now that you know the pieces of the DIY solar power kit that you’ll need, don’t forget about the installation, permits, and regulations involved in residential solar energy systems. Even though you’re doing it yourself, you need backup from the professionals – electricians, roofers, engineers, and others to determine if the system you’re installing is functional, appropriate, and safe and whether your home is suitable for the installation of the solar 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.

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.

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.


Infinitemall stands behind their products and is willing to bend over backwards to help the customer. I live in rural Alaska, power here is very expensive and is generated mainly by diesel generators. My family and I are constructing a grid-tied alternative energy home. Outback Inverters and charge controllers are at the heart of the system, with a total of 8KW in solar panels and 5kw in wind generators. I have also constructed a D/C generator using an old 4 wheeler motor and 2 MWS Freedom II Generals that produces an easy 3.5kw at low engine rpms. The system totals close to 20kw in all. I purchased this wind mill to replace an older wind mill that I had built a few years ago using Windy Nations PMG. When I received the wind generator, I was disappointed to find that the center hole for the shaft had not been machined. Infintemall was very helpful, they got a new turbine out to me right away, and even paid for the defective unit to be returned. All said and done, they are a great company to deal with and I would highly recommend their turbine. It is very quiet, and quite powerful.
Practices vary dramatically across the country so becoming familiar with the local regulations, authorities, and general requirements is helpful. In some cases, zoning and permitting expectations are consistent and straightforward. In other cases, hearings may be required and the process is uncertain. A project designed within the existing limitations will experience a much smoother permitting process and will be more likely to receive a permit. But if your project falls outside of defined limits, it must usually undergo a special review process to obtain a variance from the existing rules and regulations — a potentially expensive and time-consuming process that often involves at least one public hearing and has no guarantee of success.[8]
What is the Best Solar Panel to Choose? The output power, voltage and current profile of the solar panels will dictate the number of panels needed and what inverters or charge controllers can be used. Small off-grid home or cabin kits often require 12 VDC output panels to directly charge batteries and/or operate DC loads. Larger solar panels with output voltages ranging from 24 to 50 VDC are more commonly used in grid-tie home systems where a high DC voltage is required to operate the inverter. If you have the roof or ground space with limited shading issues on your property, the larger solar panels may provide a better investment since the cost per watt is cheaper than smaller PV (Photovoltaic) panels.
Also I hate to nitpick but since you asked, I noticed a couple minor details in the article. You mentioned rigid metal conduit but I think you meant EMT conduit (“electric metal tube”) which is bendable. Rigid conduit is more like gas pipe and uses threaded fittings. Also 10/3 cable and a 40A breaker? That might be a local code difference but up here in Ontario 10AWG is normally only good for 30A. Thanks!
As you climb, work with a “spotter” who can alert you to dangerous conditions or potential problems. Depending on your tower’s design and construction, you may have to check handholds and footsteps as you climb, repairing or correcting defects with nearly every step. As you climb, focus on your next move; do not look all the way to the tower’s top, and steadfastly resist the urge to look down. Your brain and body can imagine you are on solid ground if you control where you direct your sight. When you reach the tower’s top, stay focused on the maintenance tasks you must perform. Unless you know your capacities and limits, and unless you have lots of climbing experience, you should resist the nearly overwhelming urge to take-in the view from up there. And, as you descend, resist the temptation to slide or rappel down the tower; for most climbers, coming down is tougher than going up.
Many municipalities must get kick backs from the electricians they are protecting with these mazes of codes.. Most solar/wind retailes have resorces and calculators to help you calculate fusing and wire size.. Changing out things in your own home even as simple as installing a GFI outlet require a permit and a certified electrician making them outragously expensive.. In my example you could be looking at $400 and the inconvience of having people nosing around your home several times.. If that inspector finds somthing he does not like you could be looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars more in costs or having them slap a condemned sticker on your home.. I have a 4kw system planned and am praying that the County Inspector is not a pain.. Could put in an isolated system with no inspection using my amateur radio license but I want interconnect with the power company.. Local power company has a very simple application system for interconnecting and all they require is an external labeled disconnect and a status light they install on the pole at the transformer cost $50..
Another important part of a solar installation is meeting all of the necessary regulations. A professional installer can help you navigate the complicated details of ensuring that your equipment and install complies with all local, state, and national building and safety standards. You may need to get approval from a local electrical inspector, and your installer will also make sure you’re meeting all applicable electrical codes. You may need approvals from city planning departments. Your installer will also help you work with your insurance company to meet any special requirements they may have. Your power company will also have specific requirements, and working with a solar installer will help you get everything set up correctly. Although it’s not a regulation, you’ll also want to follow all of the requirements that your solar panel manufacturer has laid out in their warranty, so that if you ever need to replace a panel you know that you’ve met all of their guidelines for installation.
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.
Now the hardest part of building the solar panel system, which requires increased care and seriousness in the quality of the work done, is connecting the panel to a pack of batteries and then to an inverter. You can use a computer UPS (Uninterruptible Power Source), but you’ll need more power to power your home. However, the batteries don’t have to be new, and they can be the lead-acid type, but it’s advisable that you should buy specially crafted ones for power storage and deep cycle use, since car batteries can only cope with high loads for a short time, and if they’re accidentally discharged below a certain threshold, you lose them for good.
Solar panel conversion efficiency, typically in the 20% range, is reduced by dust, grime, pollen, and other particulates that accumulate on the solar panel. "A dirty solar panel can reduce its power capabilities by up to 30% in high dust/pollen or desert areas", says Seamus Curran, associate professor of physics at the University of Houston and director of the Institute for NanoEnergy, which specializes in the design, engineering, and assembly of nanostructures.[27]

Generally speaking, they work well in combination with solar panels, but can make sense on their own if your electricity rate is currently very high. Hot, sunny days don’t tend to be very windy, while those cloudy, sunless days are often much more windy. Wind turbines produce most of their energy in the winter, while solar panels do most of their work in the summer. A combination of the two is a great energy providing relationship for the environmentally conscious, or someone seeking to go “off the grid”.

Reactive power—When the voltage and current waveforms for AC power are out of phase the resulting instantaneous power flow is modeled as real power and reactive power. The presence of reactive power increases the instantaneous current flow required to do work. The increase in current flow results in additional line losses. The utility tariff for larger customers may include a charge for reactive power compensation, measured in kilo-volt-amp-reactive.


It ‘d be good if each American homeowner could buy and install his own little household power plant, setting himself free from the grid. But the physics of wind power just does not work that way. Geography, topography, climate, and housing density allow well over 90% of American homeowners to buy wind turbines just barely big enough to power their blenders or waffle irons-nothing more. For most American homes, a single small wind generator has approximately the same value as a yard gnome.
If you regularly find your lawn furniture blown over, or have to collect it from the neighbour’s yard, your house needs to be repainted every year or two because it constantly gets sand-blasted, and where the trees have funny shapes (and not because your power company has been doing the pruning), that is when you know you live in a windy place where a wind turbine is likely to make economic sense.
There are 2 other problems that he has not mentioned, and should be. The first is degradation. Solar panels will be less powerful over time. The rule of thumb is 1% a year. Certainly future tech can, and likely will ameliorate that, but today 1% is a solid number. The second problem is that, for his carbon calculations, he does not consider the energy cost in making the panels. It takes a lot of energy to make the panels, and while I am a fan, installing them in low stability areas is not “good for the planet”. To say it another way, you don’t get enough energy out of them in places like Vancouver, as compared to New Mexico, to justify the energy lost to make, transport, and install them. One also should consider what do do after the panels are done, and what to do with the toxic metals in them. My point here is that they are not perfect nor clean. Each power option has it’s drawbacks, even if all of them are not carbon emissions.

If you look at it another way….At that price, the solar panels were free. Because of the performance warranties and long life of the panels, the solar equipment may take 20-30 years to depreciate. Basically you have converted cash into home equity. You will most likely recoup that $3900 when you sell your property in the future especially as the price of energy goes up….so does the value of your solar system. The solar panels are more like a monthly dividend. Some months are better than others.
The big advantage of installing DIY solar panels is cost saving. Usually it is possible to purchase solar panel kits, using reasonable quality equipment for around $2.00 per watt. When this is compared to the average cost of solar panels installed by solar companies of around $4.00 per watt this can be a saving of $10,000 on an average 5 kW residential solar power system.
This applies any time you hire someone to come into your home, but solar combines the logistics of a home improvement project with the risks of electrical work. Credentials and references are especially important. “You wouldn’t hire an electrician who had never done electrical work to come into your house and change things around,” says Kelly Larson, an electrical contractor in California with 20 years of experience doing solar installations. In particular, look for accreditation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). And this is a big expense, so don’t be afraid to get a few different quotes before you ink a contract.
As you may be aware, the Federal government will provide you with a hefty grant to reward you for being a part of the transition to renewable energy. Just how hefty, you ask? The incentive program will cover 30% of your costs. Not bad, right? For more free money, be sure to check out North Carolina State University's DSIRE. Many states, towns, and utility companies provide additional grants, tax breaks, buyback programs, and low-interest loans to help offset the costs of solar energy. DSIRE maintains an up-to-date list of these programs.

However, there are tiny ones (1kW – 2kW) that are available from $800 upwards. These turbines come with a small start up speed and torque to provide optimum power output in regular conditions. Although they may not provide for luxurious power usage for an average household, they can pretty much meet some of your electricity needs throughout the year. These are ideal for consumers living in remote areas. Most small wind generator suppliers charge no more than $300 for shipping.
Hybrid stand-alone power system technology has advanced with the pace of the number of homeowners who want to live off the grid making remote home energy systems that are no longer dependent on a single technology. In areas of the country with an average sustained winds of 6 M/S or 9 - 14 MPH, good exposure to prevailing winds like the top of hills or clearings at a 98 ft. height are generally considered to have a suitable wind resource for small wind applications.
Wafer thin lightweight and can mold to a Wafer thin lightweight and can mold to a curved surface. These Semi-Flexible Solar Panels are made of the high efficiency mono-crystalline solar cells and strong enough to be walked on. Semi-flexible Panels are weather water and corrosion resistant making them a perfect option for marine applications RVs camping and emergency ...  More + Product Details Close

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What is the Best Solar Panel to Choose? The output power, voltage and current profile of the solar panels will dictate the number of panels needed and what inverters or charge controllers can be used. Small off-grid home or cabin kits often require 12 VDC output panels to directly charge batteries and/or operate DC loads. Larger solar panels with output voltages ranging from 24 to 50 VDC are more commonly used in grid-tie home systems where a high DC voltage is required to operate the inverter. If you have the roof or ground space with limited shading issues on your property, the larger solar panels may provide a better investment since the cost per watt is cheaper than smaller PV (Photovoltaic) panels.

The DC system voltage is established by the battery bank in off-grid systems. A major factor in making this decision is how much power will be required from the batteries. As power demands increase it is advisable to raise the battery voltage. This voltage is important because establishes the type of charge controller and inverter that will be selected. The selection of the battery bank voltage affects the currents. A 1200 watt off-grid system operating at 12 volts draws 100 amps. (1200w / 12v = 100A). The same system draws only 25A at 48 volts. Lower amps reduces the size of conductors, over current protection devices, disconnects and charge controllers. Additionally, since voltage drop and power losses are smaller at lower amps, higher voltage off-grid systems are more efficient. As a rule of thumb, off-grid systems up to 1000 watts use a minimum 12 volt battery bank which limits DC currents to less than 84 amps. For 2000 watt systems, 24 volt battery banks are used. For 5000 watt system a 48 volt battery bank should be selected.


I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. That sounds like an insanely high price for home solar panels, unless you’re trying to power a mansion. That’s the price I would expect to see for a 21-kW solar install, which would be enough to power 3 average American homes. (21-kW at ~$2.80/watt, a price estimate that might actually be kind of high at that size). Unless you need that much electricity, that price is too high for a home system.
The soldering is super easy and will go fast once you get the hang of it.  This is a great first soldering project because it is so easy.  Put the cells face down on the table and bring the tab from the front of one cell to the back of the next one.  There will be metal squares or pads on the back of the cell.  Press the tab down on the metal pad with the soldering iron to heat them and then press the solder on the tab.  The solder will melt and attach the tab to the pad.  If you aren’t experienced at soldering, make sure you heat the metal and apply solder to the metal.  Do not heat the solder.  If you end up with the tab connected to the pad and nice shiny solder, you’re doing it right.  Keep going until you have 9 cells in line like this.
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