Solar Power for Homes, what a homeowner must know?

What is Solar Power?

The sun radiate enormous amount of radiation. Devices called solar electric panels use the photovoltaic effect to convert sun radiation (photons) into electric power (electrons). When the Sun is perpendicular to the solar panel, the irradiation intensity is 93 Watts over one square foot. The solar panel conversion efficiency is not 100%, due to inherent constraints of the semiconductor material from which the panel is built. The actual efficiency for panels that are available on the market is more like 12% to 18%, therefore our one square foot solar panel will produce 11.2 Watt (for a 12% efficient panel) to 16.8 Watt (for a 18% efficient panel). A typical US home will need production capability of 3,000 Watts, and to get that it needs 178 square feet of solar panels. (3,000 divided by 16.8). These panels will produce 540 KW-h every month (3 kW multiply by effective 6 hours every day multiply by 30 days in a month)

Homeowners frequently asked questions

Most homeowners heard about solar power, many consider buying and installing a solar power for homes system, and many struggle with the following questions:

What is the right size for my system?

How can I finance the system?

Can I install the system on my premises?

Does a solar power system make sense for me?

What is the right size of the solar power system?

If your home is connected to the grid, look into your electric bills, see what is your average monthly consumption in KW-h and decide what proportion of that consumption you want your system to generate. For example, if your home consume 900 KW-h (typical to many US homes), and you want to produce half of it, you need to produce 450KW-h every month. This is 15 KW-h every day (450 divided by 30), and you will need solar panels that produce 2500 Watts (15,000 divided by 6).

If your home is off-grid (not connected to the grid), you need to supply your entire electricity consumption by your own generators. You will need to store electrical power during day time on a bank of deep cycle batteries that can be used overnight and you will also need a back-up generator such as a diesel generator.

How to size a off-grid solar system?

Sizing Off Grid Solar Power Systems |How to size off grid power generators
How to size correctly an off grid solar power system, off grid residential wind turbines and microhydro turbines

How to finance?

A solar power system is relatively expensive. You may assume $4-6 per watt including the DC to AC inverter, wiring, control, installation, control and permits. The US government will credit you, until tax year 2016 with 30% of the expense with no limit.

Still you wonder how to finance the balance, in most cases well above $10,000. The main financing avenues are:

Taking a long term solar energy loan (very much like a mortgage)

Leasing the equipment through leasing company

Let a 3rd party company install and own the solar system on your premises and buy the electricity from this company. One active company in this business is Sunrun, another is Solar City.

Can I install the solar system?

Best is to install the panels on a tilted roof facing South or “almost South” (such as South-East). You will need for a 3,000 Watts solar system, with 15% efficiency, more than 215 square feet available on your roof.

Does solar power make sense to you?

If you are a green energy supporter, a solar power is an obvious choice.

If you look into return on investment, the situation becomes more attractive if:

The price per KW-h is relatively high in your region

The long term interest rate is relatively low

If the state you live in is generous in tax credits and incentives (California for example)

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5 Benefits of Using a Solar Water Heater

One of the easiest ways that you can incorporate the principles of green living into your everyday life is by installing a solar hot water at your home. Hot water is something that most people use on a daily basis; it’s a vitally important component of life in America, yet most people never think twice about this luxury. As useful as hot water is to all of us, it makes sense that utilizing a solar hot water heater to power our showers is a great way to go green. No matter which type of solar hot water heater that you choose to install, they will all afford you these 5 benefits:

Solar Hot Water Heaters Reduce Your Utility Bill

Studies of energy usage of a typical American home indicate that hot water heaters account for anywhere from 15 to 30% of as homeowner’s overall utility bill. Imagine, for a moment, what you could do with the money that you will save each month on your energy bill after you have installed a new solar hot water heater. For many people in these tough economic times, this sum of money can be quite a significant chunk of change. With many solar hot water heating systems paying for themselves in as little as 4 years, you will quickly enjoy the lasting benefits of getting essentially free hot water for your home everyday.

Solar Hot Water Heaters are Smart Investments

In today’s world, green technology is gaining popularity among buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. In general, making environmentally friendly improvements to your home is an easy way to increase the overall value and appeal of your property. Real estate agents also look for the use of green technologies on a property as a way to promote and advertise it.

In addition to improving the value of your home, solar hot water heaters usually have a return on investment of at least 10 to 30% over the life of a typical mortgage. It must be noted that the returns made on your investment are tax-free and will continue to increase over time due to the rising prices of natural gas and electricity. And the deal gets even sweeter when you account for many of the government tax credits that are available for most solar hot water heaters. Simply put, investing in a solar hot water heater for your home makes financial sense.

Solar Hot Water Heaters Reduce Pollution Emissions

It really goes without saying that solar hot water heaters are great for the environment. Did you know that a new solar hot water heater can prevent up to 5,000lbs of carbon dioxide and 20lbs of sulfur dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually? With a reduced utility bill comes a reduced carbon footprint and therefore a reduced demand for fossil fuels. As anyone will tell you, the obvious result will be an overall decrease in the amount of air and water pollution that enters the atmosphere.

Solar Hot Water Heaters Promote Energy Independence

When using a standard home water heater, the ability to take a hot shower is really in the hands of the utility providers. If there is ever an interruption in your electrical or natural gas service (or if you forget to pay the bill) you will temporarily not be able to enjoy the luxury of hot water. With a solar hot water heater, this inconvenience will be alleviated as you can have warm water at almost anytime of the year, even if there is a power outage or a gas leak. Taking a step toward energy independence is a great way to ensure the future security and stability of you and your family.

Solar Hot Water Heaters are Reliable

Did you know that solar hot water heaters are just as reliable as their gas or electric counterparts and have a lifespan of 15 to 40 years if properly maintained? Well, it’s true. Solar hot water heating systems can easily supply a home’s hot water needs for many years without experiencing any malfunctions or failures. And as long as the sun is shining, the hot water will continue to flow through your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Even on days when it is cloudy out, there is still usually enough radiant heat available to warm your water.

Another reason that solar hot water heaters are reliable is because they have so few parts. The fewer the parts that a system contains, the less likely that you will experience a malfunction or breakdown. In fact, some solar hot water heating configurations consist only of a tank, a heat collector, and some standard plumbing. This makes solar hot water heaters very easy to maintain, requiring no more care than a standard water heating system. Most of the solar systems available today simply require an annual checkup and a system flush to ensure that the machinery stays operational.

Comparison to Conventional Water Heating Systems

So we know that there are many benefits to solar water heaters, but how do they compare to standard heaters? Please refer to the table below:

Solar Water Heater

Gas or Electric Water Heater

Initial Investment

$2,500 – $4,000

$300 – $600

Annual Operating Costs

$40 – $60

$500 – $700

Typical Lifespan

15 – 40 Years

8 – 20 Years

Lifetime Operating Cost

$600 to $2,400

$4,000 to $14,000

Total Lifecycle Cost

$3,100 – $6,400

$4,300 – $14,600

Emissions Output

Essentially Zero

Typical Fossil Fuel Emissions

Return on Investment

10 to 30%


Today’s Solar hot water technologies can be operated efficiently and affordably in any climate. Systems can be specifically designed for various climatic and geographical areas of the country. The technology behind solar hot water systems is affordable and proven. As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of solar hot water heaters. So why not install one in your home?


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Five Reasons to Install Residential Solar Panels

Install Residential Solar Panels and Save

If you have been considering installing solar panels on your home, now is the time to do so! Sales of solar power systems have been increasing in recent years, as prices continue to fall. I would even go so far as to state that putting solar panels on your roof is like insurance for the future.

But should you go solar? After all, aren’t solar panels expensive? Is it worth it to make the investment?

The answers to all three questions are “yes.” There are five reasons to install residential solar panels this year: (1) solar electricity is free; (2) solar panels increase the value of your home; (3) you can guard against future utility rate increases; (4) the cost of solar power is reduced by tax incentives and credits; and (5) they offer you the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and live greener.

As a land use/development attorney, I have witnessed the positive impact of solar panels on the price and re-sale value of homes. The bottom line is that in today’s economy, with current energy trends and incentives, you can install residential solar panels and save!

Should you install residential solar panels? | Source

1. Solar Electricity is Free

Sunlight is abundant in just about every state, country and region around the world. As ultra-violet light strikes photovoltaic (PV) panels it can be converted into free solar electricity. Over the life of a solar panel system (25-35 years), you can tap into the world’s oldest renewable resource. Your investment is merely for the solar panels.

At current solar panel prices, taking into consideration incentives and tax credits, the retail cost of an average home solar power system in the U.S. ranges from $20,000-40,000. After installation, many homeowners see their electricity bills drop by 2/3 or more – some down to zero. Plus, with net metering, homeowners with grid-tied solar power systems can watch their meters turn backward as they get credit for additional solar power generated but not used, which is fed back into the grid.

The return on investment for residential solar panels averages 7-10 years, which means at least 15-25 years during which you are not paying anything for solar electricity!

Lest you are concerned about installing solar panels because you do not live in a sunny region, consider that the leading solar power country in the world is Germany, and one of the top solar power producing states in the U.S. is New Jersey! Solar energy can be generated wherever there is sunlight – whether filtered by clouds, or not.

Installation of Residential Solar Panels

Home solar panels increase property value | Source

2. Solar Panels Increase the Value of Your Home

When most people calculate the return on investment for residential solar panels, they usually only consider the price and life of the solar power system as it depreciates over time, plus the savings in electricity bills. But another, very important factor is that solar panels increase the value of your home. When you put your home on the market, they also help your house sell faster and for more money than a similarly situated property without solar panels.

The United States EPA reported in the Appraisal Journal that, for every dollar you save in annual utility costs, solar panels increase the value of your home by $20. Simple math calculations show that this can significantly add up. Let’s say you save 40% of your monthly electricity bill by going solar – for us, that would be about $80 per month. Over 12 months, that is a saving of $960 which results in an impressive and immediate $19,200 boost in home equity. In other words, you instantly regain nearly 100% of the cost of a solar array in home value. A 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research similarly calculates that installing residential solar panels boosts home prices by 3-4%.

3. Solar Power Helps Guard Against Future Utility Rate Increases

Utility companies frequently raise rates and, with governmental pressure to generate increasing percentages of the power they sell from renewable resources, they seek to recoup investments in the new technology required to do so. While fossil-fuel based electricity remains cheaper than solar power or wind, government mandates cut into utility’s profit margins. This means that we can expect more and greater rate hikes.

A solar power system can help guard against utility rate increases, however. When you generate your own electricity, you are less affected by inflation in your power bill. Even if you don’t want to purchase your own solar panels, you can enter a solar panel lease or a solar power purchase agreement whereby you buy cheaper solar electricity from the owner of the panels at a fixed rate over the life of the lease or contract. These types of arrangements require no money down, as well. Once again, you can lock in existing rates and guard against future utility rate increases with solar power.

4. Solar Power Costs are Reduced by Incentives and Tax Credits

Currently, homeowners can save even more with residential solar panels through incentives and tax credits. In my home state of Oregon, the price of solar panels can be reduced by up to 80% as of the date of this publication. That takes an average $25,000 solar power array down to $5,600!

Solar power companies and other experts agree that the incentives and credits will not last forever. Several federal tax credits are set to expire the end of 2012, if not renewed. With solar panel prices dropping at precipitous rates (over 50% reduction in the past 24 months), the purpose for continuing incentives is shrinking. So, now is probably one of the best times to invest in solar energy when you can maximize on reduced costs and generous rebates.

See the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiencies for a complete list of solar power incentives across the United States.

The Number of Residential Solar Panel Installations is on the Rise

5. Going Solar Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The vast majority of grid-based electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That’s why you can cut your carbon footprint by reducing electricity consumption. Simply, if we all used less power, demand would be reduced and utility companies would pump out fewer emissions as a result.

For the same reason, going solar reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Relying on renewable energy generated right at your home means you will not be as dependent – if at all – on grid-based power generated at polluting power plants. Even if you do not “believe” in global climate change, solar power is greener and safer than coal for many reasons: (1) no emissions; (2) no dangerous coal mining activities; and (3) no coal ash.

In summary, you can save money and the environment by going solar!

Perhaps you are now convinced that going solar is the right choice for you? Consider a DIY solar panel kit, or work with a professional solar installation company, which can also help you maximize rebates and tax credits.

Installation of Home Solar Panels

Would You Install Residential Solar Panels?

Yes – I already have solar panels on my home or business

Not sure – they sound like a good idea, but I need more information

Yes – I have plans to install solar panels in the near future

Maybe – I would like to switch to solar power but I am concerned about cost

No – it is not worth it to switch from grid-based electricity

See results without voting

Why you should install solar panels | Source

author: Stephanie Hicks

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How Solar Power Works

How Does Solar Power Work?

sun-energySolar power is energy from the sun. You feel it every day when the sun shines, especially here in the Tucson area. That giant star in our solar system provides heat and light for the earth. But, what is going on when people decide to use solar power for their homes?

It all starts with the sun’s rays. The sun bombards the earth with solar radiation. We know it as UVA and UVB radiation. Much of those rays are reflected back into space but there is enough of that energy that is absorbed by the earth to fuel homes all across the planet. Unfortunately technology hasn’t caught up with our grand ideas to save the planet but home you can do your part with residential solar power.

You’ve seen solar panels in Tucson on rooftops and in yards. They have gotten a bit more thin and streamlined since they first came out. Before, only someone with a lot of money could afford residential solar power but the systems are widely used now.

Each solar panel is composed of photovoltaic cells. These cells are usually made of silicon or other semi-conductive material. The cells are arranged uniformly with a positive and a negative end to create the solar panel device. When the light of the sun hits the panels (usually placed on the south side of the roof or the lawn), it is absorbed into the solar cells.

The light energy (photons) hits the solar cells and electrons are knocked loose. These loose electrons move through the array and create the electricity you need to power your home. At this point, the electricity that is produced is DC, or direct current. Your home uses AC or alternating current so the energy has to be converted. This is where the rest of the solar electricity system takes over. The electricity that is produced by the solar PV (photovoltaic) array, is then passed to a DC disconnect device. This device interrupts the flow of electricity from the array. From there, you can use one of two methods for funneling the electricity into your home.

If you use a residential solar power system that is directly connected to your electrical system, the electricity will then pass through an inverter to change the DC to AC. If you are using a system that uses a battery to store solar electricity for later use, solar electricity is sent to a battery bank where it is stored until needed. When you are ready to use the electricity, it then passes through an inverter for use by AC outlets in your home.

Finding the Right Solar Power Business

Ask any of the many solar contractors out there and they will confirm that installing a residential solar power system lowers your home electricity bills. When you install solar power, you are tapping into the future of the earth which is alternative renewable energy. It pays to find out more by contacting a local Solar Power Contractor in the Tucson area and learn what is involved to complete a home solar panels installation.

Posted in Solar Power.
Tagged with home solar panels installation, home solar power system, install solar power, residential solar power, solar electricity, Solar Power, solar power contractor.

The Benefits Of Deciding On Solar Energy Rather Than Conventional Energy
When you really think of it, solar energy is something that can have a huge impact depending on the circumstance.

While solar energy is not a new technology by any stretch of the imagination you ought to be aware that the majority of individuals are not taking advantage of this technology. Yet another thing that a lot of men and women don’t yet realize would be that they can additionally use the energy of the sun to be able to heat their houses in the wintertime. Another thing many folks are not aware of is that there have been civilizations that made use of the sun’s energy to be able to heat their houses in the winter. As you continue to read you are going to discover a lot of information on solar energy and the benefits it can have.

The basics of solar energy is to just collect this energy, store it in battery packs at which point we’re able to use this in order to provide electricity to our homes. You should also be aware that not only are their complete solar packages you are able to wind up purchasing, but you could also find programs on the net to show you how to build these systems yourself. The reason that men and women are using these systems now is mainly because they have discovered that they can wind up saving a lot of cash every month on their electricity costs. To make electricity the traditional way you have to realize that we use plenty of our natural resources so by taking benefit of solar energy we help the planet.

We do hope what you will have found up to now about solar energy, and additionally the particular info  about solar panels, is of use for you. Please do keep reading additionally to have extra info regarding this subject.

Some men and women feel the traditional solar energy panels are not aesthetically pleasing which is one of the reasons they have not made the switch over to this new technology. For people looking for a thing that is aesthetically pleasing, I should point out that this new technology is now available in traditional roof shingles. This actually gives individuals multiple options if they choose to switch over to the usage of solar energy and are concerned about how it will look on their home.

Many men and women like the concept of saving cash by switching to solar electricity but loads of men and women do not recognize that they are able to actually earn tax credits by doing this. While some local and state governments may not have tax credits you are going to discover that you might still qualify for Federal tax credits. If you choose to wind up finding a program that will teach you how to create one of these systems yourself you’ll probably discover that the tax credits available will end up covering your costs.

You ought to realize that the sun has enough energy to end up powering our entire nation, of course, if every person ended up using this technology we would no longer have a need for foreign oils. You ought to also understand that this was something which everybody did we would not be burning as much fuel, which wouldn’t be polluting the planet, which in turn would reduce the greenhouse affects we are having right now. Needless to say with regards to switching to solar energy, at this point it’s still up to each individual person.