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Calculating the Economics of a solar power system

Solar Power shoppers always want to know how to size a system and the output of a system to eliminate their entire bill. Today we’ll cover how to calculate the economics of solar photovoltaic panels. First we need to start with your electric bill so go grab it and have it in front of you, and find out how many kWh (kilowatt hours) you are averaging per month. Step 1 – Figuring out your kWh usage per day For example, your bill indicates you are averaging 600 kWh a month. 600 kWh————– = 20 kWh / day30 Days Step 2 – Calculating the size of solar panel array you will need To figure out how many square meters of solar panels we will need to eliminate your usage. A solar insolation map will be needed to see how much sunlight falls on your south facing surface. Use the one below to find your area For our example, lets use an insolation of 5 sq. meters of sunlight / day 20 kWh/day—————————————————— = 33 sq. meters of panels5 sq. meters/day * 0.12 efficiency The efficiency number can be obtained from any solar panel specification sheet, the efficiency of solar panels range depending on the solar panel you purchase, so if you are looking for accuracy, find the spec sheet and plug in a real efficiency number in your calculation. Step 3 – Output of the system Now that you know how many sq. feet of solar panels you will need lets calculate how many kW (kilowatts) of solar power will the system output for you. 0.12 efficiency of solar panel * 33 sq. meters = 3.96 peak kW Step 4 – Cost of electricity over the life of the system.Now you will need to figure out how much you are being charged per kWh by looking at your bill…depending on where you are planning to install the solar power system, your cost per kWh can range, it can be very cheap to highly expensive. In the United States the cost per kWh ranges from .04 cents per kWh to higher than .20 cents per kWh. The MSRP for a 3.96 kW system is about $35,000 dollars, so lastly lets calculate the how much a solar power system would cost per kWh through its lifetime. $35,000 MSRP cost of system——————————————————————— = 0.16 per kWh20 kWh * 365 days * 30 years system life There you have a short 101 course on how to calculate the money factor for a solar power system. Go ahead, calculate your own requirements and see if solar power makes sense in your area. I’d like to...

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The information every solar power customer wants to know.

Rebates, tax credits and incentives, what do you qualify for? That is critical element every shopper for solar panels or wind power systems are looking for. As clean energy specialists we get asked that question everyday, and the answer is completely different depending on the area you live in. The federal tax credits are standardized across the USA, although the Rebates and other incentives you may receive differ from state to state and even on the localized level. For example, some cities within California offer incentives on top of what the federal tax credit and state rebates. So how do you figure out what you qualify for? Well you can obviously call us, but there is a better way to do the research for yourself. Since the total amount you will receive depends on the actual location of the clean energy system installation, there is a free website, called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency) that makes it easier for consumers to quickly figure out what money they can get back for not only renewable energy but energy efficiency upgrades you do to your home or business. DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. The website database is simple to use, just click on your state to learn about all the incentives available in your local area and the state itself. If you click on the entire map of the USA, you will be able to research the federal rebates that you qualify may qualify for, simple as that. DSIRE is such a great resouce for consumers and the industry alike, since there is not a standardized program for the entire USA yet, without DSIRE it would be a nightmare figuring out how much money you can get back. So what do YOU qualify for? Go through the website and let us...

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People are rushing to complete their solar / wind projects!

The sun is setting on the US federal tax credit on December 31, 2008, considering we’re in July already, we only have 5 months in the USA to take advantage of the federal tax credit. Corporations receive a 30% tax credit while the residential market is capped at $2,000. Many people and large projects are rushing to complete their projects right now because in order to qualify for the tax credit the solar or wind power systems must be in operation by the end of the year. So what does the expiration of the federal tax credit mean for the industry and you? Many companies in the industry are preparing to change strategy next year, more companies are looking to diversify into international markets and scale down their labor force. That means people in the US solar industry will get laid off next year if the credit does not pass. For you, it means if you install a solar or wind power system by the end of this year you are going to qualify for a discount on your system. So you better hurry, stop waiting, get your system while the discount still applies, especially if your on the fence in the decision making process about producing your own green...

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Xcel Energy – $2/watt solar power rebate!

Xcel Energy, a utility based in colorado has paid 31 million dollars in rebates to 1,525 indivduals and companies that purchase grid-tied solar power systems to reduce or eliminate their electric bill. The company claims over 2,300 applications for solar power system rebates have been applied for since the inception of their rebate program. Xcel Energy pays $2 a watt, up to a 10,000 watts (10 kilowatts) of solar panels….this rebate combined with federal tax credits can add up to significant savings for a consumers who purchase a solar power system. Rebate programs sponsered by the utility companies typically come from a fund that was collected by the rate payers (you), on your electric bill there are taxes you pay to support renewable energy programs, the state force the utility comapanies to use the fund and one way the utility companies use the fund is by offering rebates to consumers who choose to install grid tied solar or wind power systems. These rebates are NOT unlimited, they are continosuly decreasing so if your considering a grid tied solar power or clean energy system, don’t...

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Two most important factors that determine your clean energy system payback

Every consumers that call in to inquire about a solar panel or wind power system ask, “when will the system break even?” Obviously this is a very important question in the decision making process for a clean energy system, but often the consumers are not prepared to calculate their return on investment because most consumers don’t understand their costs. Your electric bill is the first place to start, most people just pay their electric bill every month without really understanding their rate or how they are being charged, since customers previously did not have a choice in producing their own energy, most people just pay the dollar amount on the bill without thinking about it. When you decide to install a grid tied solar panel or wind power system a more in-depth analysis needs to be conducted to figure out the break even point of a proposed system. The two most important factors to determine the return on investment are the following: how many kilowatt hours (kWh) are you using per month? what is your daily usage? what is your electric company charging you per kilowatt hour (kWh)? Every customer is different in terms of how much they use and the electric rate they are paying the utility company. So the moral of this story, before you even dream about what type of solar panels your going to buy or think how awesome it would be to have a wind turbine on your farm, get real and start by understanding your electric bill before you make the call to inquire about a clean energy...

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Home Energy Expenese are Increasing Fast!

According to the July 2008 issue of Money Magazine, Home Energy takes up 4% of the average American’s household budget. Not only have the price of gas went up, the price of Home Energy has gone up 9% compared to a year ago. As the global demand for energy increases do to developing countries hungry for energy the prices will continue to skyrocket, eating up more of the household budget each year. There are many ways to get take control of your home energy expenses. The significant expenses on our energy costs rack up simply because we are inefficient. Energy has been cheap and abundant, therefore most people have not thought about efficency till now. Conducting a self energy audit is a great way to start learning about your usage, energystar.gov has a great web application to help you conduct a do-it-yourself energy audit. Becoming more efficient in the way we use energy is the first step in becomming energy independent. You can do the following to help reduce your usage: 1. Replace old light bulbs with LED Bulbs 2. Find and kill vampire loads – appliances that use electricity when when you are not using them. 3. seal up your house, use quality insulation to effectively cool and heat your home. After you reduce your energy usage then think about producing your own electricity through grid tied solar panels or wind turbines. Combining energy efficency and production will help you maximize on your clean energy system and reducing your upfront cost to eliminate the majority of your electric bill through solar or wind...

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