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stopping solar panel theft dead in it’s tracks

Solar panel theft is a growing problem in the solar power industry. This is a problem is currently being addressed through lockable clamps that hold solar panels down to rails, although thieves can still cut through with the right tools. Lockable clamps are just one line of defense you can use to protect your investment. Gridlock Solar Security, a start up company is taking solar panel theft deterrent to the next level by using electronic technology. The company is producing a wiring system that would be installed on your solar panels, if the solar panels were removed without authority, bright lights and sirens would go off. Also the system would send out an alert to your cell phone and even call the law enforcement. All this protection at the cost of 1% of your solar electric system. I think this is a pretty neat solution to a problem that is quite new, people want to steal solar panels more than ever. And this is great time for companies to create solutions that are going to make the process of going solar less risky for the customer. What do you...

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why do UMG solar panels have a lower cost per watt?

UMG (Upgraded Metallurgical Grade) Silicon based solar panels have been debated because they use a lower grade Silicon to reduce the cost per watt for solar power to the end customer. Canadian Solar Incorporated (CSI) is a company that has changed the game by introducing UMG Silicon solar panel on a large scale into the solar panel market. The primary reason solar power has not reached grid parity yet is because pure silicon prices very high and UMG silicon based solar panels are more competitive to coal based generation because of the lower cost. UMG Silicon is 95% pure compared to high grade silicon which is 99% pure. Solar cells only need a silicon purity of 95% to produce energy, therefore CSI blended UMG with pure silicon to create a lower cost solar panels. Although many people argue that these newer lower cost solar panels are unproven in the field, and it’s a point well taken. On the other hand, CSI is offering 25 year performance warranties on UMG based solar panels. What do you think about low cost solar panels that use UMG Silicon? Do you think they will be as reliable as solar panels that are pure...

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should you build your own solar panel?

This week many people have been asking me if they should “build their own solar panels”. There are quite a few eBooks and videos being sold online give you step by step instructions on how to find solar cells and turn them into solar panels in your garage. This is my two cents on if you should make your own solar panels or not. it would make a fun experiment, for educational purposes don’t expect too much power output in which you could power your entire house with homemade solar panels they have a higher risk catching on fire than factory made solar panels You typically can’t grid tie homemade solar panels because they don’t have a UL mark. Most utility companies won’t allow you to grid tie unlisted product. If you’re looking for a fun educational weekend project that results in you making a solar panel to charge a battery then that is what should expecting purchasing a “make your own solar panel” resource. Although if your looking to generate serious power with reliable and safe solar panels I would highly recommend purchasing a high quality factory made solar panel. What do you think about the concept of making your own solar...

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making sure your solar power system is running right

Many times dirt on your solar panels or shading can reduce the power output of your solar electric system, not achieving your maximum potential could result in many lost kWh (kilowatt-hours) every year. IBC Solar has developed the “SolControl” which is a device that compares your solar electric system’s power harvest to current weather data. The SolControl basic has built in sensors which collects the weather data and then determines how much power your solar electric system should be producing under the given weather conditions. If the solar electric system is not achieving the maximum power yield then the system owner is remotely notified, who can check and fix the problem. The SolControl can be used with any inverter and is offered in three different models which accommodate different sized solar panel arrays. This is a great tool for solar electric system owners who want to make sure hey squeeze every drop out of their solar panels. What do you think about the...

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Sanyo vs. SunPower, who’s better?

I talk to a lot of people about solar panels and I’ve noticed there is a common misconception about “the king of solar panels”. Obviously when comparing solar panels, some solar panels are more efficient then others, this is where the comparison comes into play, which solar panel generates the most watts per square foot? Many people claim that SunPower is the most highly efficient solar panel on the market, but I would tend to disagree because I’ve seen head to head comparisons in which Sanyo solar panels outperform SunPower. One reason Sanyo’s generate more kWh (kilowatt-hours) on an annual basis than competitor solar panels is because they are a hybrid solar panel, they are composed of amorphous silicon and polycrystalline which gives them a higher temperature coefficient. The hotter the ambient temperatures become the less efficient solar panels become, although since Sanyo solar panels have a higher temperature coefficient, when temperatures are 70 degrees and higher they will produce 10% more energy than other solar panels on the market. SunWize conducted a great study comparing a Sanyo 215 watt solar panel to a SunPower 225 watt solar panel, even though the Sanyo is outnumbered by 10 watts by the SunPower, it still generates more energy. What do you...

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a free guide to solar pv design and installation

I thought sharing the guide to solar photovoltaic design and installation manual published by the California Energy Commission (CEC) would be helpful to you to understand the details behind solar electric systems. The guide does a good job starting from the basics and even includes example single line diagrams of how a solar electric system would interface with a home. Towards the end of the PDF file there is a nice table that helps you determine the optimal wire size needed to minimize voltage drop. I figured since many people call us that want to learn all the details about solar power, this would be a good starting point. What do you think about the free guide to photovoltaic design and installation by the...

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