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Your Questions About Solar Energy Generators For Sale

Sandra asks…

What home energy saving scams have you found?

open4energy has published a list of home energy scams to help energy conscientious home owners avoid being taken advantage of. They range from down loadable plans to build a magnetic generator, a solar panel or a windmill, to energy saving plug in gadgets, to full blown sales promotions for kvar power factor correction units which have negligible savings capabilities for even the biggest homes.

Each one we find is another community we can protect!

admin answers:

The most common website I encounter is DIY solar panels. The claim is that “for under 200 dollars you too can build your own solar panel and save thousands” I do not dispute the validity of that claim. I do take issue with what they don’t say. There are some building code violations to say the least. I have posted a blog on this very issue, and will continue to do so on a weekly basis. It is my goal to bring clarity to the cyber solar world. Check out my post “To build or not to build that is the question” at http://www.solarmandan.com.

P.S. Maybe we could post links to each other”s sites.

Ruth asks…

How much does it cost to put solar panels on a house? ?

I want to be more green and if I get the panels will I still have a regular electric bill?

admin answers:

Yes, and no.

My cottage is primarily solar powered. However, we’re only there on weekends, and we’re only powering a small fridge (the biggest power draw, by far), televisions, stereos, lights, a water pump, and that kind of thing. For the more powerful items (vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, power tools, washer and dryer) we use a gasoline generator. Our water heater and stove are propane.

We have an array of seven solar panels, and two battery banks.

Obviously, we don’t have utility bills for our cottage.

We will soon replace the solar panels with more efficient ones. Currently, there are 85W panels on sale for $500 CAD. We will buy as many of those as we can afford. We recently had to replace one battery bank.

At home, we currently have a geothermal heating/cooling system. That cuts our energy use for heating and cooling quite a bit. That’s reflected on our utility bill. (Because we’re not in the city, we have our own well, plus a septic tank. So, our only utility bill is for electric.)

My husband and I have discussed it many times and, based on our experience with our cottage, we don’t think we’ll try to do a “whole home” solar system.

Typical estimates for panels, batteries, inverters, etc., to run a typical city home are in the $17,000 range. But with our cottage experience, we know that the real monkey wrench with solar power is STORING that power. And we’ve had more battery problems than we anticipated. Once the batteries are no longer holding charge well, they have to be replaced…and they’re expensive….and heavy…and have to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Our cheapest batteries are probably $200 each. We also use more expensive / bigger 6V batteries. We may even, one day, switch to the huge, very expensive 2Vs.

In any event, I find that the best way (for us) to incorporate solar power into our urban home will likely be panels which will provide power when the sun is shining, but still be on the grid for night time, bad weather, and times of excess power use. That will eliminate the expense and problems of batteries and power storage (and limiting power use, so as not to run down the batteries).

In some places, the excess power you create with solar panels can be put back into the grid, and the local power utility company will pay you for it.

So, for me, based on my experience, that’s what I think I’d do, when it comes time to outfit our home with solar panels. Using only solar power for the bulk of our living at the cottage is great, but we do have to be mindful of how much we’re using. Once the stored power drops below a certain point, the inverters won’t work, and you have to either go without power, or turn on the gas generator. I wouldn’t want that hassle at home.

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