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Another DIY Solar Success Story
Jun05

Another DIY Solar Success Story

John and Renee Shean’s DIY Photovoltaic Installation If you’re at all like John and Renee Shean, you’re probably turned off by the solar companies that want to charge you an arm and a leg for PV installation.  Maybe the lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) models just don’t cut it for you.  John Shean is one of those people.  John is an electrician who just wanted to work with a knowledgeable supplier that would offer fair price on the materials needed for a complete PV system.  Earlier this year, Renee and John Shean had been trying to “go green” over time.  First came dual-pane windows, then a tankless water heater and pellet stove.  Installing a solar system was just part of this natural progression.   Renee explains how she and her husband made the decision to go solar: “We probably would have done it a lot sooner, but it was just too costly.  Most of the cost was in the installation and since John is an electrician he knew he could install the panels himself.  However, we found it impossible to find anyone that would sell us just the panels, that is until John found Deep at Go Green Soar.  So now we are the proud owners of our own solar system, furthering our quest to ‘Go Green’!” As an electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW),  John wanted to find a supplier that would get him the right equipment for the job so he got in touch with us at GoGreenSolar.com.  He explained how he’s an electrician and just wanted to discuss the different options available, purchase the equipment, and install the system with his own hands.  John chose to work with an Ironridge racking solution and Sharp solar panels, which are manufactured in Memphis, Tennessee by IBEW workers. “John is more focused on the mechanics of it all,” says Renee, “Being able to see the meter running backwards and being able to pull up the system online and monitor each panel and the energy it’s producing, although I think that part is pretty cool too!” “Oddly enough, my favorite part about our solar system is actually seeing the panels on the roof every time I drive into the driveway.  It makes feel happy knowing I can say to myself, I’m creating my own energy!  I say odd because not too long ago seeing the panels on the roof was considered ‘unsightly.’  I remember my parents were approached in the 70’s to put panels on the roof to heat our pool and they considered it until they found out you would be able to see the panels from...

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Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems
May03

Small Scale Solar Electric Power Systems

In the natural world, solar energy has two primary effects: heating and photochemical. The primary photochemical effect is photosynthesis, which is the foundation upon which all carbon fuels are built. Coal, oil, natural gas, wood, alcohol and any other fuel built by life are all forms of stored solar energy. The heating effects of solar energy can be used for both heating and cooling by proper design of buildings, a practice that goes back many thousand of years. Wind power and ocean current power systems are basically means of capturing solar power for human use. A sail boat is a solar powered boat, even though most people don’t usually think of it as such. In the modern technological world we have learned to use focused sunlight to generate heat and, perversely, power refrigeration systems utilizing absorption type refrigeration. Focused sunlight can be used to power steam operated electrical generation plants and very high temperature ovens for scientific research. The ancient Greek scientist Archimedes was said to have used focused sunlight to set Roman ships on fire during the siege of Syracuse in 214-212 B.C. Modern technology has a much simpler system for producing electrical power from sunlight. The photovoltaic effect ( a very distant relative of photosynthesis) produces electricity directly from sunlight. Devices called solar cells capture sunlight and produce electricity. Solar cells are usually small, perhaps a few square inches at most. They are not very thick and are usually supported and protected by glass or plastic and can be arranged in panels with up to several hundred cells connected and supported by some sort of framework. GoGreenSolar.com offers a considerable selection of panels providing power up to 250 watts or as small as 7 watts. Portable power systems are usually designed to charge batteries and provide constant regulated power. In many parts of the world, even in remote parts of the United States, electrical power is hard to come by. If you live 50 miles from the nearest power line, the connection fee for electrical service can be quite prohibitive. Many businesses and ngo’s have designed solar power systems to provide electricity for remote sites. GoGreenSolar.com offers portable systems suitable for remote sites. They also offer components to create permanent off-grid power systems. An off-grid system can be as simple as garden lighting or a charger to allow you to sit in the park or on a mountain trail with your portable electronics, whether a cell phone or lap-top computer. Perhaps it can be a back-pack system to provide power for a back-woods camping trip. Off-grid systems can be an emergency power system or a complete power...

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Basics of Wiring Parallel and Series
Apr23

Basics of Wiring Parallel and Series

An introduction to series and parallel circuits Series connections: When a positive (+) end from one solar panel is connected to the negative (-) end of another module it is called a series circuit or a “string.” When wired in series, the voltage increases but your current will remain the same. For every connection made in series, multiply the voltage by the number of solar panels. For example, let’s say you have four solar panels that are 12VDC, 10A.  When you wire all four of them in series, just multiply the voltage of one solar panel for the number of solar panels in the string.  In this case, this will be a total of 48VDC. Keep in mind that connections in series do not change the amperage.  The amps of one solar panel = the amps of all four solar panels connected in series. Parallel connections:  When positives(+) are connected with positives(+) and negatives(-) with negatives(-), this is called a parallel circuit.   When wired in parallel, the current (amperage) will increase with each panel. In this case, if you were to wire the same four 10A, 12 VDC solar panels in parallel, they’d have a current of 40 amps.  The voltage wouldn’t have increased, so it would still be 12VDC. One last note- always talk with an electrician before attempting any sort DIY solar project and stay in compliance with any laws, fire codes, etc. that are specific to your area.  Any questions?  ...

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How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
Apr12

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

How to calculate a quick, easy GUESStimate for sizing a PV system. “How much will it cost to power my XX,XXX square foot house?” “How many solar panels do I need to eliminate my electric bill?” We get questions like this every day from homeowners in the beginning stages of going solar. For all intents and purposes, it’s pretty much impossible to give you a number based on the size of your house or the dollar amount of your electric bill – it’s all going to depend on the load.  Though I hesitate to give a rough number like this, sometimes you do need a ballpark figure to start things off. Alright, here we go: To begin, calculate your average energy usage in kWh.  Collect your electric bills for the past 12 months or more. Get an average of kWh used on a monthly basis.  Let’s say that this number is 1100 kWh per month. Now divide your average monthly usage by 30 to get your average daily kWh usage.  In this case, it would be about 37kWh per day. To keep things simple for this rough estimate, we’ll assume that a 250W solar panel will produce about 1kWh a day.  **Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate, based on a site location getting 4 hours of sunlight per day** Assuming that you use about 37 kWh per day, you would need about 37 solar panels to meet 100% of your average energy needs. Based on your current usage, how much of this do you want to offset with a solar power system? 100% …75%…. 50% ?    Multiply accordingly. Let’s say you wanted your solar system to account for 80% of your energy consumption. 37 kWh per day x 0.80  = 29.6 kWh Since one solar panel produces about 1 kWh per day, you would use 30 solar panels to account for 80% of your average consumption. The purpose of this is to give a rough idea of how many solar panels you will need.  This sizing tool provides a quick number to go off of as you’re shopping around- it’s not a replacement for having an electrical contractor design a system for you. Once you’ve calculated your average kWh use and determined the percentage that you plan to offset with solar, get a free solar quote from GoGreenSolar.com 😉  We’ll help you design a complete system that’s specific to your roof and geographical location. Any questions?...

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How Much Will Solar Cost You?
Jan09

How Much Will Solar Cost You?

Infographic by Visual News

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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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