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Solar Brings Down Electricity Costs
Dec14

Solar Brings Down Electricity Costs

Image Credit: PV Magazine

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See Who Really Goes Solar
Dec07

See Who Really Goes Solar

Think that every homeowner who installs a solar system is an affluent liberal? It would surprise some people to discover that most solar customers are politically moderate folks who wouldn’t have installed a system if it wasn’t for the financial benefit of solar energy. A good number of solar customers are technology lovers and budget-conscious consumers who expect a solid return on their...

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How to Use a “Kill A Watt” Energy Meter
Dec05

How to Use a “Kill A Watt” Energy Meter

Want to test your household appliances to see how efficient they really are?  A Kill A Watt Energy Meter allows you to safely and accurately measure the power consumption of household appliances. You can check the amps, volts, and even see the cumulative consumption of your appliances by kilowatt-hour (kWh), which is the measurement your utility company uses on your bill.   This tool exposes those dreaded vampire loads around your house.  A vampire load is an appliance that uses energy even when they’re “turned off.”  Some of the main energy-sucking culprits in your home could be the microwave, PC, coffee maker, or television. You could have a number of these vampire loads running 24/7, costing you hundreds of dollars every year.  Anything with a digital clock is a suspect, so let’s learn how to test an appliance! This little gadget will make it easy to determine what’s costing you the most. You can set the Kill A Watt Energy Meter to measure the cost of running an appliance by adjusting this energy meter to a rate(s) that’s comparable to what your utility company charges per kWh. The Kill A Watt Energy Meter is particularly helpful for estimating the amount of energy used by appliances that cycle.  I decided to plug our refrigerator into the Kill A Watt to see just how much energy it draws.   Step 1. Plug it in To get started, plug your appliance directly into the Kill A Watt and then plug your Kill A Watt into the AC wall outlet.  Currently drawing 118.8 Volts Now you can reference the Kill A Watt’s LCD display to see the voltage (Volts) and current (Amps).  In addition to volts and amps, it’ll show you Watts (which is volts x amps), and frequency in Hz.   Over time, the Kill A Watt will rack up kilowatt-hours.  To get an idea of how much it costs to run my fridge, I have the rate set at $0.25 per kWh.   I’m presupposing that that I pay my utility company a quarter for every kilowatt-hour I use.   Step 2. Check the Clock You might want to take a note of the time you plugged it in, even though it will tally the hours that it’s connected.   Come back in a day, a week, or whenever.   Step 3. Write it Down Once the Kill A Watt has been plugged in for a while, you can read the sum of the energy your appliance consumed in kilowatt-hours. After reading the LCD display for the cumulative kWh, you can use this information to calculate the average amount of energy used by the...

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Send Power Directly into Your AC Outlet
Nov30

Send Power Directly into Your AC Outlet

GoGreenSolar.com is proud to present our original product, the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit. This all-in-one unit is comprised of a 235 watt solar panel, a micro-inverter, and a racking frame that gives you the option of easily placing the SunPlug on the lawn, deck or anywhere else the sun shines, rather than being permanently installed on the roof. Simply place the kit in the sun (ideally facing South), plug into a standard 110 volt outlet, and the SunPlug will immediately start generating power that is sent back into the grid, off-setting a portion of your electricity usage with clean, renewable energy. SunPlug, the new plug and play solar kit from GoGreenSolar.com The SunPlug is incredibly easy to use, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t still have questions about it! Below you will find a list of answers to common questions about this kit. The most pertinent questions have been included, but feel free to leave additional questions in the comments and we’ll get them answered post-haste! Q: Will my meter spin backwards when the SunPlug is in use? A: Before answering this, it should be noted that most electricity meters that spin to record usage are being replaced with digital smart meters that have no moving parts. So if you have a smart meter that is “spinning backwards,” you would see an arrow pointing left to indicate that your kilowatt-hours (kWh) are being reduced because more electricity is being sent back to the grid than the home is using. That being said, one SunPlug will not generate more electricity than what the home is using. For example, if your home uses 1 kWh every hour and you’re using one SunPlug that offsets .235 kWh (235 Watts per hour) for every hour that it receives peak sunlight, then in that hour your home’s net energy usage will be .765 kWh. Keep in mind that solar panels really only produce significant amounts of energy during peak sunlight hours, and in the United States peak sunlight hours range from 4-5.5 hours per day. So if the 1 kWh per hour home had 5 235 Watt SunPlugs (totaling 1175 Watts per hour or 1.175 kWh/hour) then the meter would “spin backwards” for the duration of peak sunlight hours, but that extra energy that was sent back to the grid would just go to offset part of the home’s usage at night. Q: How many SunPlugs can be used on one branch circuit? A: Circuit breakers on residential homes typically have 20 Amp branch circuits. Rather than breaking down the math, suffice it to say that it’s recommended to put no...

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Our Sun’s Energy
Nov28

Our Sun’s Energy

The amount of solar energy that hits one square mile every year is equal to four million barrels of oil.    ...

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