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Solar Energy Advice

Solar Energy Advice

solar power

Solar panels are no longer an unfamiliar sight to almost everyone in the world now but solar energy advice is now being sought on an unprecedented level. There seems to be such a lot of unknowns when it comes to alternative energy and there are lots of unanswered questions on the subject for a lot of homeowners. Questions like:

How do they work?
Are they efficient?
How difficult is it to install them?
How much do they cost?
How long before they pay for themselves in energy savings?

Here are some answers to some of these questions.

How do they work?
It seems like where ever you are traveling, large black rectangles which are solar panels can be seen high up on many buildings now but unless you have one yourself you have probably never got close enough to inspect it to see how it works. There are basically two types of solar panels, photovoltaic panels that generate electricity and heat transfer panels whose function is to heat water.

Are they efficient?
Both types of panels are indeed extremely efficient in as far as they will provide you with potentially unlimited energy for free once installed. You need to work out how much you were paying for heating your water or for your electricity before, calculate the saving you will make by using solar energy and then offset this against the cost of the system itself. This is where solar energy advice is really needed as you need to get your figures right before investing in a costly system.

How difficult is it to install them.
Most solar energy systems come with installation included in the price and though it is not that complicated to install them once you know how, it is not really a task that you can undertake yourself unless you have some electrical knowledge and some home repair experience for the mounting of large panels in tricky to access high places.

How much do they cost?
A lot… In order to get enough electricity out of the photovoltaic panels you need to install a large number of them. This type of panel are the most expensive and often on a normal rooftop there is not enough space (and at times not enough money) to install sufficient panels to cover the average household usage. The heat transfer panels however are a lot cheaper and will provide the household with more than enough hot water for most of the year round.

How long before they pay for themselves in energy savings?
As I just mentioned, the cost of the photovoltaic panels is elevated and you can install a few which will supplement your current electricity usage. The saving you make will be a small percentage of the total cost of the panel and it will typically take 10 to 12 years to pay off the cost of the panel with the savings.

The water heating panels are a lot easier to pay off. Until recently these would provide most of the hot water needed by a household and would pay for themselves in saving on water heating in about 4 years. Now though with the advances being made in making more efficient nordic panels containing tubes of water that you can get an almost unlimited amount of hot water even on rainy days. The only time these panels don’t heat up is when there is fog or mist. These panels can pay for themselves in about 2 to 3 years.

The conclusion here is that installation of any kind of solar panel will definitely make you a huge saving on your energy bills but the initial investment can be quite large. There are ways that you can build your own solar panels quite effectively, which is fine if you have the time and are good with your hands. The know how is not widely published but can be found on the internet. Whichever system you are considering, you should definitely seek some solar energy advice from a professional in the field before going ahead.

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Why A Solar Energy System May Not Be The Best for You

I recently installed a solar energy system in my home that heats my water. I originally wanted to install photovoltaic solar panels, the type that generate electricity. I had it all worked out where I was going to put them and so I started doing some investigation as to where to purchase them.

After looking around for a while I realized that there was more to this that I originally expected. I needed to decide on how I was going to hook up the electricity I would be generating to my house. The most straightforward way would have been to replace my main feed from the utility company with my own. For this I realized that I was going to need some way of storing the electricity so that I could still use it at night when the panels were dormant.

Ok, so this wasn’t so difficult. I would set up a bank of batteries to store the electricity generated so I could use it at night. I then realized that of course the batteries only output Direct Current, DC electricity. What I needed for my home was the standard AC electricity, Alternating Current.

Well this was no problem either. There is an apparatus called a DC AC inverter that will convert battery power into domestic electricity, So all I had to do was to install one of these an I would be autonomous in my solar energy electricity production.

The next step was to price it all up and this is where I got a shock. I decided that I would need to have at least enough electricity in the batteries to last me about 3 days in case of a dull period with no sun, living in a hot and sunny areas this was a good estimate. The amount of batteries that I would have needed for such an installation was a lot. I discovered that the only really viable type of battery was the gel batteries which were extortionate in price. There were none to be found in my hometown and so I would have needed to order them… delivery of the batteries would have cost a small fortune too because they each weigh about 2,000 pounds each and I needed 12 of them.

The number of solar panels that I would have needed to set up the system like this was more that the space I had available and the cost was unthinkable. The inverter too was a pretty high investment too as I needed an especially powerful one to power the whole house and a special type if I wanted to use computers in the house which o course I do.

With the rising cost and the complication I called in a specialist to assess me. There were other points I had not taken into account too like where to direct the excess electricity I generated when the batteries were full and how to maintain a connection with the utility company just in case we had more than 3 rainy days in a row.

The final conclusion was that being as most of my fuel bill was due to heating hot water that maybe the best option for me would be to install a solar power system for heating water instead.

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