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Heat your water, generate electricity, one panel.

At the ASES Solar 2008 conference we saw some great technology improvements and creative out of the box thinking in the solar industry itself. One technology that stood out was a solar PV panel with the ability to heat water. One panel does the jobs of two different technologies (Solar PV & Solar Thermal) The great part of the new solar energy collector is not only to heats water and produces electricity with less surface area, but the water within the panel water cools the PV Panel before the water is heated and used for hot water. According to the company there is a 10% gain in efficiency of the PV Panel. The industry seems like to get much more innovative. According to representatives at the booth the founder of the company used to work for Intel and understands how to cool silicon since heating of silicon was a common problem in the computer processor industry. The solar energy collector snaps on top most solar pv...

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The first thing you should do before you think about going solar

Thinking about going solar? Start off by looking and trying to understand your electric bill. Yes, we know no one understands how to read a bill, we don’t blame you its so complicated! Most people just pay the bill at the end of the month without really looking at the bill. When going solar its important to do an analysis of your usage. You should look for the following when looking at your bill: What are you paying per kWh (kilowatt hour)? Is there a time of use charge? Are you paying a higher rate during peak hour times? Winter usage compared to summer usage…..does your electric bill spike up in the summer? What service period does the bill cover? How many total kWh are you using during your service period? What rate tier are you in? To conduct a proper analysis its best to have the last 12 months of your bills hand to come up with the most accurate number of your usage. Starting with your bills is a good place to start in figuring how much solar you need to reduce or eliminate your bill. Sometimes it much more cost effective to just use solar to reduce your peak hour usage to drop you into a lower paying tier….so use your bill as a roadmap for your solar power...

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Certified to install Solar Power?

Los Angeles is one of the sunniest cities in the united states. The city is not leading in the number of solar installations, although that won’t be for long because Brian Hurd of the East Los Angeles Skills Center (part of LA Unified school district) is offering NABCEP Photovoltaic (PV) Entry Level Certificate of Knowledge Program in partnership with the The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Brain explains that the entry level PV course opens up an array of opportunities for students by providing them jobs in sales, design, installation, and tech support…etc, the possibilities are endless for students since their skills are such in high demand and there is so much room for growth in this industry. Green Jobs stir up the economy much more than any stimulus check handout! Supporting renewable energy can help the USA bounce back quickly out of the recession, similar to Germany, The renewable energy industry pulled the country out of a recession and now the country is leading the solar power world market, according to Mr. Hurd. Renewable Energy creates jobs aboard, because green jobs need to be done here in the states, therefore they cannot be outsourced. Brain is a leading educator who is pushing on the education and legislation front to help solar become mainstream…and needs an honorable mention on this blog. If your in LA area interested In learning about solar power installation you can learn more by contacting the Los Angeles Skills Center:...

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Does a Do it Yourself Solar Energy Install Make Sense?

Consumers are continuously looking new methods to reduce upfront investments or avoid costs to make a solar energy more affordable. The labor costs when dealing with a renewable energy can be significant to the install of a system and could be eliminated if one prefers a self solar install. There are two sides to this coin, because all decisions come with risk, a self install could go very well and you may be able to save lots of money or it can become a money pit. What does it depend on? You! Installing clean energy systems such as solar photovoltaic (electricity), solar hot water (thermal) or small scale wind requires trade skills and in general working with electricity is dangerous. Depending on your trade skills, there is a learning curve to installation, and on your first self install, expect to make mistakes that will cost you in time and money. Depending on how many mistakes you make the end cost of installing a clean energy system could be a rewarding experience because you not only save a lot of money, but you’ll be the master of your system. Questions you may want to ask yourself before you self install? Am I afraid of heights? (if so, consider a ground mount system) Am I comfortable working with electricity? Do I have room for mistakes in the budget? Does the company I am purchasing the products from offer installation consulting / support? Should I buy a turn key system? Do I know how to use a...

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Planning & Budgeting for Solar Power

Planning and Budgeting is important aspect of acquiring a solar power system. The cost of a solar power system will vary depending many factors including: How big is the structure? How energy efficient is the structure? What is the average electric bill? What is the orientation of the structure? North, East, South, West? How much roof area or ground space is available? What is the latitude? What are the critical loads? What are the potential energy demands? How much of the total energy required is expected to be provided by the solar power system? What unique site issues apply? (Roof area limitations, shading, soiling, snow & ice, etc.) What are the potential energy demands? How much of the total energy required is expected to be provided by the solar power system? What unique site issues apply? (Roof area limitations, shading, soiling, snow & ice, etc.) As a solar power consumer it is important to ask these questions, the questions above will give you a better idea of what to ask when meeting with a clean energy installer. It is always recommended that you prepare for a meeting before you call a solar power installer and answering the questions above will help you establish your goals and help an installer figure out your...

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Solar Panel Warranties

Why do solar panels manufacturing companies offer a warranty period of at least 25 years? The average solar panel has a life expectancy up to 30-40 years. Since there are no moving parts with a solar energy system, nothing wears down. Therefore as long as the panels are cleaned at least every 6 months, the performance of your system should exceed your expectations. Cleaning a ground mount system is much easier since the panels are easily accessible. A garden hose with a bucket of water and soap is all that is needed when cleaning a solar panel system. Cleaning panels becomes a more difficult chore with a roof mount system because working on top of a roof becomes dangerous and typically a consumer must hire a service provider or window washing company to get up there and clean the panels. When making a decision for going solar, maintenance is an important factor in selecting between a ground or roof mount...

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