Solar Shingles | Solar Panels
Easy to install solar power
Solar energy is the only form of power that only has to be paid for once. You can do this by installing solar panels or solar shingles. What im about to tell you the solar energy companies dont want you to know. You can install them yourself with very little skill. There are DIY solar panel kits that can be installed on a weekend and will save you money by your next energy bill. How much do solar panels cost? Well there are several different brands some are inexpensive solar panels and still produce a good amount of power but for the most part higher price= more savings in the future.
How much of your power is solar?
Determine Your Homes Power Consumtion
The first thing you need to do is estimate your homes daily, monthly, and yearly power consumption. You can do this by charting the information provided in your electric bill.
Once you have determined your homes power consumption, you will want to build a solar power supply system that will handle your needs and can also exceed your needs by roughly 25%. We are discussing the use of solar power here, however it is very common to use both solar power and grid power combined to service your homes needs. You should account for using both in your calculations.
Solar panel kits
Choosing Your Panels
You will need to purchase photovoltaic solar panels for use on your home. Solar panels have come a long way since their development. There are a variety of solar panel products available on the market such as solar shingles, roll out solar sheets, and solar panels. Photovoltaic solar panels are still the most efficient and lowest cost on the market. You want a single panel that can product at least 250 watts of direct current at its peak. Anything less than 250 watts of direct current is useless for home use. Solar panels last about 30 years, losing approximate 0.5% of their efficiency each year. The only required maintenance is to hose them off a couple of times each summer. Do this from the ground, with a nozzle on your hose.
I also would recommend that if you want to get started integrating solar power into your power system, that you look into trying to supply at least 5000 watts of power to your home with the solar panels daily. So you should try to get at least 20 250 watt panels (5000 watts) for minimal home use. This can easily run a fridge, water pump, and a few light circuits in your home and lessen your dependency on grid power. This would also be an excellent back-up power source in case of an emergency.
Panels can be secured to your roof using a rail mounting system that should be provided with the panels, or which can be purchased separately. Follow the directions included when installing these rails on your roof. Panels can be flush mounted or tilted up to accommodate your roof slope. Ideally, a solar system will go on a southwest-facing roof. However, the direction it faces does not matter as much as you might think. West and south are quite good and southeast, east and north-northwest can provide good pay back too. JUST MAKE SURE THERE IS NO SHADE ON YOUR ROOF.
What You Should Know About Solar Power
Since we are discussing the integration of a solar system here that still uses grid power, it would not be necessary to install a battery bank in this step for storing power for nightly use, as your home will still use the grid power at night. It would be best to run washing machines and dryers at night to utilize the power of the grid. If you decide to go completely off the grid, you would have to invest in a battery bank system in this step to store the direct power coming out of the solar cells. So the power would run from solar cells to battery bank to power inverter.
Here is where you use a power inverter to convert the solar energy and the stored energy in your batteries (if needed) into energy your home can use. Each panel is connected in series and all of the electricity that is coming out of the panels is direct current right now, or DC current. A home and the general power we use is called AC or alternating current power. So the power inverter takes DC power and turns it into AC power. You can either connect the solar panels directly to the inverter and then into the home grid, or you can connect the inverter from the battery banks into the home grid. The inverter, which converts direct current from the panels to alternating current used in your home, will need to be replaced after about 15 years. Expect to pay $2000 for the part and $400 for the labor, unless you install it yourself.
Now we will run the power from your inverter into the homes electrical service panel. or breaker box. The power from the electrical panel will be distributed to any electrical loads in your home. Since you are sharing both solar power and grid power in this example, I would recommend that you insert a second box next to your service panel for the solar panel feed, and also provide a switch on this feed so that you can shut it off if needed.
During the peak hours of the day, when the sun is shining brightly and your power use is low, if you happen to create excess power by the solar system on your roof, the power will flow into the grid through your electric meter. This will cause your meter to run backwards gaining you a credit with the utility company. Net metering legislation states that the utility company must credit you at retail rates (the same rate they would have charged you). Therefore, time of use customers will be credited peak rates for power fed into the grid during peak hours. It is also important to note however that you can not actually lower your electric bill to zero. Your energy company will buy your power, but only to the extent that it drives your net energy bill to zero. They will also charge you a monthly "account fee" of about $5/month that covers services like maintaining the grid and coming to read your meter. Some power companies actually call this a "Green Fee". DO NOT TRY TO OVERSIZE YOUR SYSTEM TO FEED THE GRID.
You should also check into state rebates and Federal tax credits (which you claim on your 1040 Tax Form) when installing a solar system on your home, as these are an important part of the cost/benefit decision.