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top 5 tips to size a solar power system that fits your budget.

My day consists of helping many people size their solar power system to fit their budgets. If your considering a solar power system for your home or small business, I would consider the following 7 tips to help you size you solar power system: 1. Figure out what is the maximum you are willing to spend on a complete solar power system. Are you going to install yourself or hire a professional? The answer to this question will have an impact on your budget. 2. How much space do you have to install solar panels? If your in the northern hemisphere of the world, which includes the USA. Then the best location to point your panels is south. In the southern hemisphere of the world you would point your panels north to maximize on the peak sun. 3. How much of your electric bill do you want to offset using solar panels? Remember solar power systems are expandable so you can add more capacity in the future. 4. Investigate tax credits, rebates from utility companies, government incentives, and other incentives that you qualify for. call your utility company and ask if they have a solar power rebate program. If your in the USA, ask your tax consultant about the federal tax credit for renewable energy systems. 5. Popular ways to finance a solar power system include for your home are home equity loans, loans from your 401k, lines of credit, and unsecured credit. For small businesses, equipment leases and power purchasing agreements are popular. what do you think is the most difficult aspect of getting started with solar? Is it difficult to figure out how many solar panels you...

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There’s no free lunch, or is there?

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in conjunction with the Pima County Public Library in Marana, Arizona, a city near Tucson is offering a FREE workshop called “Solar Power 101” a community education series on Solar Energy. The workshop will discuss the potential for solar energy in the state of Arizona….Congresswoman Giffords, a member of the House Science and Technology Committee will kick off the workshop by speaking about extended and increased federal solar tax credits moving forward in 2009 and Arizona’s potential as a national leader in solar energy. The solar workshop will help people learn how they can work with their utilities to obtain rebates for installing a solar electric systems. Plans will be presented about new Green Building programs and they’ll cover topics such as financing and installing residential solar electric systems. If you’re in the area and are interested in learning about the basics of solar power, click on this link for more info and RSVP for the solar workshop. I think more cities and local governments should put together free educational workshops for its residents, because through my experience a lot of customers want to go solar, but there are so many questions and hurdles the process can be overwhelming, don’t you agree? Solar Energy workshops will increase adoption rate solar power technology but why aren’t more local governments around the nation offering free solar...

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lower gas prices does not mean cheaper electric rates

“The solar business must be slow since gas prices have plummeted.” many are asking me these days. Many people don’t realize the price of gas and your electric rates are not related. When was the last time your electric rates when down? In fact, electric rates hikes have been announced in the Southern California Edison territory. There are a lot of costs involved for your electric utilities to generate and deliver electricity to you, plus most electric utilities do not use oil for electricity generation. Prices of airplane tickets and groceries have not decreased even though gas prices much cheaper, have they? With solar technology evolving rapidly and raising electric rates announced, an investment in a solar electric system is getting better not...

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NegaWatts save you money.

Want to lower your electric bills? Well, lets start by understanding the term”Negawatt”, I promise this is going to be worth your time because you’ll save thousands of dollars during your lifetime on electric expenses if you can wrap your mind around the concept. Negawatt power is a term promoted and introduced by Amory Lovins of The Rocky Mountain Institute means investing in energy efficiencies to reduce electrical consumption rather then investing in extra generation capacity can actually support the growth of electric supply by improving the efficiencies of appliances, homes or businesses rather then constructing a new power plant. In simple terms it means by saving energy, we create a “virtual power plant “, thus not having to create a new power plant to increase electrical supply. The reduction in electrical demand is called a Negawatt For example, If the World banned all incandescent light bulbs (which are very inefficient) and only sold LED light bulbs, which is high efficient lighting, it would create a significant increase in our power supply because the demand would significantly drop. The world would create Negawatts of electricity without creating a new power plant! Taking this theory into practice in your own home or business, its always more affordable to “reduce then produce”. Solar Panels typically have a high upfront cost, but you could buy less solar panels to cover your electrical generation needs If you focused on Negawatts, energy efficiency first. There are tons of projects you can do everything from fixing the air leaks, better insulation, LED lighting, programming your thermostat, and even conducting a do-it-yourself energy audit. Producing Negawatts could be as simple as making a life style change such as developing a habit to turn the lights off when you leave the room. Please share some methods of how you produce...

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More affordable solar panels in 2009?

Generally most consumers don’t go solar because of the high upfront cost, but moving forward in 2009, not only are there more tax credits and other financial incentives for you to reap but the prices of solar panels are predicted to drop because of oversupply. This is great news for you as the consumer because a majority of the cost of a complete solar electric system comes from the solar panels. The solar power industry has been growing at about 40% each year and there has been high demand for limited amount of solar panels which was one reason for the higher cost of solar panels. Now more manufacturing capacity has been deployed, therefore causing the oversupply in the market, thus dropping down the cost per watt. Do you think that more people will adopt solar power for their home or business next year? Do you think the challenges in the financial markets will slow down the growth rate of the solar power...

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Confessions of a Solar Electric System Owner

Recently, Pyccku , a well respected member of the TreeHugger forums installed a solar electric system on his home and documented the progress on his blog. We discussed that it would be beneficial to share his experience installing solar panels, so his experience can help others decide if solar power systems energize their lifestyles. Check out the Questions & Answers session below: Q: What made you first gain interest in solar panels? A: When we saw gas prices go up, we realized that energy costs are only going to go up, not down. We also hated that here in AZ there was so much energy coming from the sun, but hardly anyone tapping into it. So we did the calculations and found that even if the cost of energy stays constant, over the next 25 years our electric bill would add up to more than the cost of the solar. Q: How much are you saving per month? A: We haven’t gotten our first bill – but our average pre-solar bill was $165 on the equalizer plan (same amount year-round). We are anticipating having no bill for 8-10 months out of the year and only a minimal bill in the hottest summer months. Q: How long did it take to install the solar panels? A: Once they had the permits it took a little over a week for the whole project. The panels, inverters and wiring only took a couple of days. But we built an addition to our patio to put the panels on, so that added some extra time. Q: Was it difficult to find a solar panel installer? A: No, there are several here in Phoenix. Q: How much were paying originally for electricity? A: $165 per month. Q: Did you have to move out of the house to have them installed? A: No. We didn’t even have to be home for them to do any of the work! Q: How many solar panels do you have? A: 36 Q: Do your solar panels power your entire house? A: During most of the year, yes. During the summer we’ll probably need some power from the grid because of the heavy a/c use. Q: Did your electric spinning backwards once they were installed? A: The meter itself doesn’t spin backwards. It does keep track of how many kWh we take from the grid, and how many hours we give to the grid. Then the power company does the math and credits us for any excess. Right now, since we aren’t using much power at all, we are only using 10kWh/day, and we are giving 15kWh/day to APS....

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