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Make solar power system. Consider battery storage

Make solar power system. Consider battery storage

    Installing A Solar Energy System Yourself: Knowing What to Buy

    Tags: DIY Solar Installation, Installing Solar Panels, Solar Energy System, Home Solar Panels, Solar Modules, Residential Solar System, Solar Inverter, Disconnect, Power Meter, Home Breaker Box, Discount Solar Panels

    Thinking about installing a solar energy system for your home, but you don’t know where to start? If you are planning on installing a solar energy system yourself or hiring someone to install the system, then you need to know what your most important choices are. Looking at all of the different equipment and options can be intimidating at first-even for an experienced DIY-er. This article will allow you to master some of the choices you will face as you are installing solar panels so that you can live long and prosper with your solar energy system. In this article, we will review the elements of a solar energy system and open the door for you to design your new project.

    Once you have a general understanding of how the solar energy system functions, choosing the right parts will become much easier. This article will describe the parts of a standard grid tie (or on the grid) system. Staying connected to the power grid means you’ll still receive power from the utility company when you need it, and in some states you may even be able to sell your excess power back to the utility. First, we’ll discuss the components of the grid-tie system so that you know what to buy and what to plan for. Then, we’ll review some of the options that are available with each of the parts. Finally, we’ll discuss installation and financial assistance.

    Major Component Parts of a Solar Energy System for Your Home.

    In a grid tie system, electricity is first generated by one or several solar modules (also known as photovoltaic or PV solar panels). A shutoff switch known as a disconnect separates the panels from the rest of the system so that you’ll be safe if you ever need to do any repairs. Next in line is the solar inverter, which will turn the direct current (DC) from the panels into alternating current (AC) for the household. From the inverter, power moves to your home breaker box and is distributed to the rest of the household. A power meter (probably different from the one you have now. capable of measuring power going into the grid or being pulled from the grid) at the end of the line will measure the amount of electricity that is either needed from, or being sold back to, the utility company. Now that we’ve outlined the distinct parts of a grid tie system, we’ll discuss what to consider when planning your solar array.

    You first need to need to know a few basic things before you proceed to design you solar energy system. You need to know how much energy you want to produce, how many panels can fit on your roof, and what you can afford to buy. An array can be planned from any of these approaches. Knowing what you consume month-to-month is the best starting place. with this information, you can estimate what size array will produce this energy on a monthly basis, or how much energy can be produced in the space available, or how much energy you can produce with the money you have.

    Once you know what your target monthly output is in kilowatt hours (kWh), a little bit of Eighth grade math will let you calculate how big of an array you need. Once you understand this, you can FOCUS on what kind of solar panels you want, where you’ll put them, and how many you’ll need. Look at your utility bills to figure out your daily average use. don’t forget to account for seasonal changes. The average home in the U.S. uses about 900 kWh each month, but this average differs across the country.

    You can divide this number by the hours of peak sun hours you receive each day to determine the size of your system. Did we lose you on peak sun hours? Peak sun hours are the number of hours per day anywhere on the planet where the solar insolation (or irradiance) equals 1000watts/square meters. No, you do not need to measure this yourself. You can find this information readily on the Internet for your precise location. You can find out how much sunlight you receive a day on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website under the US Solar Resource Map for photovoltaics

    Let’s take an example. If you use a thousand watts daily, and you receive five hours of sunlight in a day, you’ll need a 200 watt panel to completely cover your usage. In the Southwest, it could be over six hours, while in New England it could be just four hours. The process of comparing your power needs to sunlight availability, load calculation, is crucial to planning your setup.

    Let’s take another example using a little more complicated way of getting to how large you need to make your solar array. Take your monthly kWh number (900kWh) / 30 days / month = 30kWh/day. What size array makes 30kWh/day? Now you know that this depends on peak sun, and we will again use for this example five hours. Depending on your location, 30kWh/day/ 5 peak sun hours = 6kW array, or 6,000 watts. For a 6,000 watt (same as 6 kilowatts) array, you would need 30 200-watt panels, or 25 240-watt panels. Most homes that are putting in solar energy can offset most of their electrical needs with an array that is between 4. 7kW.

    Now that you know how much power is needed, you can start designing your solar array. You can choose between two kinds of solar panels: traditional crystalline solar modules, and thin-film solar panels. Crystalline modules are the large solid panels that people usually associate with solar power. They are more expensive, and more efficient, than thin film. Thin film comes on a flexible roll of metal or plastic that can be applied to any flat surface, such as a metal roof. They are much simpler to install, but when roof surface area is an issue, high-efficiency crystalline panels may be a better choice.

    Related Articles: For more information, be sure to read our guides on

    Racking Depends on Where you Install the Solar Energy System

    With crystalline panels, you have three options for location: Mounting the panels on your roof, on the ground, or on a pivoting stand. You choose your racking depending on where you plan on mounting your solar energy system.

    Most people think that a roof mount is the most convenient and aesthetically pleasing, but there are many reasons that people choose other options: if your roof is small, unstable, or in the shade; if you aren’t able to face the panel towards the equator (facing south in the northern hemisphere and facing north in the southern hemisphere); if you like the simplicity of a ground mount; or if you have extra land. Pivoting stands are an attractive alternative because they are able to follow the sun throughout the day, so they can be far more efficient, but they’re also more expensive. If you have enough open space, a ground mount may be better. With any of these mounting options, you should make sure that there are no local ordinances or homeowners association rules against them.

    While most people want to FOCUS on panels and inverters, it’s important to remember that solar panel racks are critical. Besides the orientation and shading issues we discussed above, you also need to find out the wind category in your area as well as your soil conditions if you plan to install a ground mount system. Even with off-the-shelf parts, many permit offices will not give you a permit if the racking approach does not have a civil engineer’s stamp of approval. Solar is still new to a lot of people, including engineers, but solar racking systems are in essence just giant erector sets and getting an engineer’s approval of a proposed structure is often required. You should be able to hire an engineer for 500 or even less.

    Related Article: Be sure to read our article on

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    The Benefits of Solar Energy

    Solar energy’s popularity has grown in recent years, partly due to the financial benefits and lower utility bills associated with it. Savings can vary depending on electricity consumption, solar energy system size, purchase or lease options, daily sunlight hours, roof size and angle, and local rates.

    make, solar, power, system, consider

    Solar power is viewed as an upgrade to one’s residence. The United States boasts a colossal solar resource, thus even places with relatively small amounts of solar resources can experience monetary savings. Every kWh of solar energy created will also decline greenhouse gas effusions and other grave pollutants as well as lessen water usage and extraction.

    For those looking to put in solar panels in their home, something as small as 100 watt solar panels and 24 volt electrical storage batteries could serve as a good beginning. If you need greater power, then beefing up to 300 watt solar panels or larger with a sun-following system may be worth considering.

    Check out our “Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Install Home Solar Panels” for more on the benefits of home solar.

    How to find the best solar system for you

    The first question you want to ask yourself is, who will install the system? Do you want to hire a solar pro? If so, read our in depth guide to finding the right solar installer for you!

    Do you want to do-it-yourself? Awesome, we have all the resources you’ll need to get up to speed.

    The next step is to figure out what kind of system you want. There are several different types of solar systems available, depending on your specific needs. Are you looking to build a small, portable solar generator or looking for a permanent whole home system?

    Off-grid solar systems have no connection to the utility grid and must make all the electricity necessary for the home. Grid plus battery backup systems can be used to add backup power to a grid-tie solar system. Grid-tie solar systems are designed for those who already have electric utility service and wish to reduce their electric bill.

    When selecting a solar system, you should consider how much you’ll need, what type of solar panels you want, and whether you need a battery for storage. Our solar calculators can help your figure that out.

    make, solar, power, system, consider

    You should also consider the type of mounting system you’ll use. Options include sun tracking systems and stationary systems. Sun tracking systems use sensors to detect the sun’s position and adjust the angle of the panels throughout the day for optimal energy production. Stationary mounting systems remain in one position throughout the day.

    Finally, consider adding solar batteries for storage if you need a more reliable source of electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Common types of batteries for home solar systems include 12v and 24v batteries to larger 48v batteries.

    Once you’ve determined which type of system best suits your needs, it’s important to understand how a solar panel works, what types of solar panels are available, and how to safely install the system. altE can help you find a professional installer to get the most out of your home solar power system if you don’t want to install it yourself.

    The Cost of Solar Energy

    Are you asking yourself “how much for solar panels?”

    When it comes to installing solar panels at home, there are a few things to consider. The first is the cost of the system itself. Solar panel systems can range from a few hundred dollars for a small DIY setup to tens of thousands of dollars for larger systems.

    The size and complexity of the system will also determine the cost. It is important to do your research and find out what type of system you need for your home in order to get the most benefit from it.

    With solar energy, the costs and pricing estimates vary by state and region. Regions with higher usage and more sunny days per year tend to have more robust incentive programs in place that may make solar energy more accessible. However, other areas of the U.S. may not have the same level of development for solar-powered solutions.

    How much you can expect to pay for a solar panel system is dependent on the number of panels required to meet your energy needs, the type of solar panel you choose, and the incentives available in your region. However, according to Forbes, “Solar panels cost, on average, about 16,000, or between 3,500 to 35,000 depending on the type and model.” That’s quite a range!

    When considering the cost of solar energy, you may want to consider looking into wholesale options, as this may be the most cost-effective route. A solar wholesaler like altE can offer competitive pricing on solar systems for homes and help with understanding how a solar panel works and what components are needed to create a complete system.

    At altE Store, our smallest tiny house kits start at 5000,500 and our Grid-Tied 10kW Residential Home Solar System with Battery Backup is around 26,000. This of course doesn’t include the labor cost to install the system, or other costs like permits. But the sky is the limit and we can design a perfect system for nearly any budget. Browse our large selection of solar power kits, send a quote request for a custom kit or give us a call and we’ll help you design the prefect system.

    When it comes to installing solar panels at home, there are a few things to consider. The first is the cost of the system itself. Solar panel systems can range from a few hundred dollars for a small DIY setup to tens of thousands of dollars for larger systems.

    When it comes to installing solar panels at home, the size and complexity of the system will determine the cost. It is important to do your research and find out what type of system you need for your home in order to get the most benefit from it.

    Research the specific requirements for your type of system

    Before taking the deep dive into DIY-ing, make sure you’ve done the necessary research and have the paperwork to back it up.

    Depending on the kind of solar panel system you’re installing and where you live, there are different regulations, permits, and inspection requirements. In many areas, installing solar on a home that remains connected to the grid comes with stringent rules for both the plan and the installation, including coordination with your utility company.

    If you’re installing an off-grid system, such as to an outbuilding, cabin, or RV, then the requirements are likely far less demanding, though you likely still need permits and inspections. Before you dive into detailed planning for your project, reach out to your local building department and find out exactly what requirements have to be fulfilled with your type of system.

    Not all solar panels are created equal

    When looking into the hardware itself, it can be tempting to save money with the cheapest panels available. However, the purchase price doesn’t always tell the whole story in terms of affordability. First and foremost, consider the durability of the panels. Does the company have a reputation for long-lasting systems, and do they have a warranty to back that reputation up? If you have to replace the system after 10 years when a slightly more expensive system would have lasted 25 years, you didn’t save any money.

    The second consideration is the efficiency of the panels. The more efficient, the more power you’ll generate, and the more of your electrical costs you’ll offset. Those costs add up over the life of the system. A 10% lower installation price might be negated by the increased energy production associated with higher-quality panels.

    Be aware of hidden costs

    To make the most out of your investment, be sure you’re not ignoring that much needed repair to your roof or those dead tress hanging around your yard.

    Don’t overlook the costs above and beyond the panels, rails, wires, and batteries that come with installing a solar panel system. For example, if you install a new solar panel system on the roof, you may need to reinforce the underlying structure. Before you begin, make sure that the roof shingles are relatively new, or plan on the expense of removing the system to install a new roof a few years down the road.

    Another consideration is making sure that your system sits in as much sunlight during the day as possible. This may mean taking down some trees, which can cost thousands of dollars if you need to bring in a professional. Other extra costs might include upgrading your electric panel, keeping them snow-free in the winter, and dealing with potential damage.

    Solar Panel System: How to Build a Cheap One

    A cheap solar panel system will forever be the best solution to expensive electric bills. Solar cells are getting cheaper each year.

    While you could pay up to 10,000 for an off-the-shelf installation and could cover the system’s price in just over 10 years, it’s still better and more educational to make one yourself.

    Let’s face it: we’re still living the post-traumatic stress of what happened in 2008, and we’re still living uncertain times when every cent we take from the bank is thoroughly analyzed before we actually sign a contract. The lack of financial stability has caused astute savings among those who learned how to save what they have, including energy.

    We’re living in a war right now. The battle for energy efficiency has never been fought with more advanced weaponry, and the winners are all those who pay less for more month after month after month…

    The first line of defense against paying more for electricity than you did last year is building your own solar panel system. Yes, you may have heard of Solyndra collapsing and may have even thought, at least once in your lifetime, how it would be like having your own solar panels mounted in your backyard or on your home’s rooftop.

    And, for a moment, you were thrilled. It would certainly be nice being energy independent, let alone having an electric car that you could power with those solar cells to give you free rides for the rest of your life. And so on.

    There’s a problem: how to you recover the costs within a couple of months?

    Well, there’s a solution to that: build your own DIY solar panel system. Here’s how:

    Get cheap solar cells from eBay

    There are a lot of solar cell types that you can choose from. There are the Chinese ones, with good results, the best price, but not guaranteeing much, there are the Japanese ones with good performance, good price and the guarantee of Japanese work, and there are the American ones, with the best performance, the highest price and again, guarantees over guarantees. Choose wisely with regard to your budget. For example, a rule of thumb in 2012 would be that the cells shouldn’t sell for more than 450.3 per watt. Buy a couple of cells you think would fit your solar panel system’s budget and preferences, and move on to step #2.

    So you got your cells in the mail. Let’s say you received solar cells totaling 194 watts for 105shipping (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.

    Plan your solar panel system carefully

    Place the square solar cells onto the wooden board and draw separating lines (carefully). You’re halfway through, after all.

    After you planned the physical arrangement of the solar cells on the board, now start soldering the wires to the solar cells and then to each other.

    First, link the cells in series. Respect this basic rule, just like if you were soldering batteries: the positive lead is to be soldered to the negative lead of the next cell. Do this for as many cells as needed to reach a voltage of 12 or 24 volts. Do not exceed that as you would enter the area of dangerous voltages. You want to generate serious power here, not fool around and you don’t want to electrocute yourself to death (take care!). The power remains the same, after all. You just need a minimum of 12 volts to kick-start a 12V inverter for generating 110/220V AC or charge your 12V battery packs. Linking the cell in series will increase the voltage.

    Then, stick the cells to the board, carefully. It would be better if you made them a frame where they can be inserted individually, so you can replace defective ones, just in case.

    make, solar, power, system, consider

    Before you’ll have stuck all the cells in the right place, make sure you drill holes for the wires, individually. Make connection buses along the positive and the negative lead and then connect those buses (thicker wires) in parallel (plus to plus, minus to minus) to have a parallel connection and increase the amperage.

    You’re done!

    You made your first functional solar panel system, and now you can take it outside to see what it’s generating. You first have to measure the voltage, and then the short-circuit amperage. Just make sure your ammeter bears the solar cells’ nominal power (108W at 12V means 9 amps).

    You can now power anything that runs on DC current, charge your car battery and so on. If you succeeded doing these 5 steps, then you can order some more solar cells until you reach the power you want for your system. Remember, the more power you want, the larger the inverter you’ll need to get.

    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.

    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 450,000 to become truly energy independent (as in not paying a dime to electric utilities). How does that sound?

    Next you could try building a wind turbine that would supplement your power needs at night, when the Sun is over Europe (or vice-versa).

    I know it sounds tough, and I know you’ll have a hard time getting started, just like with all the things you do for the first time, but after you start you’ll see it’s not such a big deal. And you don’t have to pay 10,000 for a solar panel system that’s only going to do the same thing as your own hand-built one.

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