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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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on demand solar power

Sunpods is a company based in Northern California that is simplifying the solar panel installation process through “pre-fabrication”. What different from solar power kits that typically come in multiple parts and as assembled at the project site, Sunpods are ready to power on delivery since they come assembled from the manufacturing plant. Once the Sunpod arrives at your location, all you need is a electrician to plug hook up the grid tie inverter to the grid. The “plug n play” design of the Sunpods reduces the needs of site-preparation, engineering and installation. The simple installation process of the Sunpods reduces labor costs and time to commission projects from days to just hours. Sunpods are available in many configurations including ground mounted, roof mounted, battery based, grid tied or even systems made specifically to charge electric vehicles. What do you think about the Sunpod? Will we see more pre-built solar power solutions in the...

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ask this old house installs a solar attic fan

I’ve been talking to many people about solar attic fans and I’ve found a lot of customers being very skeptical about the real value a solar attic fan can really deliver. Many times customers end up asking roofers or other unqualified people if they should invest in a solar attic fan and many times since these people have very little experience and often say solar attic fans are worthless without any concrete understanding of the benefits. It was not until a friend of mine Attila, an instructor at the East Los Angeles Skills Center stressed the importance of proper attic ventilation that I began realizing how important solar attic fans are in terms of energy efficiency. He highlighted many times our homes remain hotter because of the hot air trapped in the attic which can make your air conditioner run longer per day. Attila has been in the heating & cooling business for over 30 years and understands well the mechanics of how to keep a home cool. We all understand solar panels are very reliable, since they have no moving parts they can last over 25 years. The fans on a solar attic fan are similar to what you would see on a traditional attic fan and sometimes even better if the solar attic fan has a brushless motor. Since solar attic fans do not need a source of power, building permits are not required to install one, since you would not have to bring up a high voltage DC cable up to your roof top. I wonder why so many people are skeptical about the value of a solar attic fan? I think This Old House did a fantastic job educating viewers about solar attic fans, wouldn’t you...

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S-5 VersaBracket attachment for face-fastened metal roofs

How would you mount solar panels on a face-fastened metal roof? The process is quite simple with the VersaBracket, a new metal roof attachment from S-5! A company that specializes in manufacturing attachment solutions that allow solar panels to be mounted onto unique metal roofs. S-5! developed the VersaBracket to handle a load of up to 1,283 pounds, a significant increase over previous models of the attachement. Even though the VersaBracket is designed to provide a strong, versatile and low-cost bracket option, it’s very easy to use solution. The VersaBracket comes with factory-applied sealant already in the base to waterproof its attachment, peel the release paper from the base and tighten fasteners through the pre-punched holes. The factory-applied sealant removes the chance of roof leaks, which is typically a major concern when installing solar panels onto a...

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a rugged string combiner box

Solectria Renewables recently introduced a new type of solar panel string combiner made completely out of stainless steel. The new string combiner product line is now available for fused string combining of any commercial solar photovoltaic system. Stainless steel combiner boxes are great for systems located outside in harsh weather conditions. The U.S. made string combiner box are available in both NEMA4 or NEMA4X type of enclosures. The more rugged string combiner boxes are great for solar electric systems that are installed in coastal regions, harsh sea breezes can cause balance of system components to degrade over...

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