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Simple Grid Tie Solar Power System Drawing

The Guide to Photovoltaic System Design and Installation by the California Energy Commission has an interesting drawing of how a solar electric system wires up to the grid. Grid interactive systems do not have a battery bank, therefore if there is a blackout your power will also go down. A grid tied / interactive system is easier to install and takes 40% less time then a system with batteries because a grid tie system have less wiring and components to deal with. The diagram above shows how a standard solar power system is connected to the grid. Most homes and businesses that have solar electric systems in the USA are typically grid tie systems. The grid tie solar system diagram shows a great view of the difference between the DC and AC side of the system. As you can see the inverter is the hub of the system and an important part of the overall efficiency of the system. The PV Array is a group of solar panels wired together. The size of the array depends on your individual clean energy generation goals and electric needs. If you don’t know how to calculate the size of your system, see Calculating the Economics of Solar PV...

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Solar Electric Systems are Modular!

Modular? What am I talking about? Well a Solar Electric systems are scalable, meaning that like Legos, you can build on top of a small system. Since the solar panels are the most expensive part of the overall system cost, some people can afford to buy enough panels to eliminate their entire bill. So what can a customer do, is it all or nothing? Absolutely not! When you purchase a system, you can oversize the inverter, meaning that if you want a 5kw system in the future, but can only afford 1kw worth of solar panels today, you can buy a grid tie inverter that has a maximum capacity of 5kw and purchase 1kw worth of solar panels, as your budget increases you can buy more solar panels until you max out your inverter. I call this a “staged investment in a solar electric system” the end investment goal is to eliminate your entire electric bill, but you chip away a little at a time. There is a common misconception out there that all your capacity has to be purchased upfront which is totally not true. Go ahead, get started with a small system today, but don’t worry you have the ability to expand it...

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Disinformation: Solar panels ‘take 100 years to pay back installation costs’

I was reading an interesting article today in The Independent, a United Kingdom publication. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), “Solar panels are one of the least cost-effective ways of combating climate change and will take 100 years to pay back their installation costs.” Rics published a new guide on energy efficiency, and stated that solar hot water or solar electric systems are unlikely to save a householder any money and solar energy is a poor investment overall for your pocketbook and the environment. In the case of Solar Hot Water to heat your household water, Rics estimated that the payback period on money saved on electricity and gas would have a payback period of more than 100 years and up to 208 years in their worst case. Rics estimated that Solar Electric Systems would break even in 50 to 100 years! Being a renewable energy professional, I’ve done and seen many of my co-workers do financial calculations and study put out by Rics is total disinformation! I have never seen payback periods that high with electric rates and gas prices shooting through the roof, actually the payback period on solar energy and wind power systems are breaking even much quicker rather then long as Rics claims. The study conducted by Rics is such a hit job for big energy, it’s not even funny how inaccurate their statements are, by spreading this type of propaganda it’s scaring potential consumers away from renewable energy. Rics did not factor any of the rebates and tax credits, they used old data for electric and gas rates and modeled the financial returns based on old solar energy technology, basically they ran the numbers in their favor for the study. So the real question is why are they afaird to publish a real story about the effectiveness of solar energy? What do they have to...

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Prepaid electric bill for life.

When you install a grid tied solar panel system or wind turbine your prepaying your electric bill, it is that simple although many consumers when shopping for a clean energy systems are shocked by the cost up front cost. This the the fist time in history people now have the chance to buy technology to produce their own electricity! People can finally become producers and not just consumers at the mercy of big energy. Since we have been used to paying electric bills on a monthly basis, most customers don’t realize how expensive electricity is over a long period of time when they see the cost of buying solar power to energize their home. I noticed when consumers buy a clean energy system, all of a sudden they start thinking about energy efficiency although when just paying month to month for electricity from the utility company customers are more wasteful. It seems like when customers become their own producers, they start to appreciate the long term value of electricity. Why do you think people who buy their own clean energy system become more cautious of their electric usage after they install a...

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Do you think your electric rate is too high?

I was looking at this interesting chart of the average utility electric rates here in the USA published by the Department of Energy. It’s really interesting to see what people are paying on average per kWh (kilowatt hour), especially if you are considering solar power to offset or eliminate your electric usage. Solar Power without rebates and tax credits typically produces electricity for a solar power system owner at about 15 cents per kWh, therefore states with rates in the range of 10.26 to 24.13 cents per kWh will see a quicker financial payback period with solar panels since the cost of electricity is higher. Take a look at Hawaii, they have the highest electric rate in the USA! Does your electric bill match with the average for your state? Why do you think the electric rate in your state is what it is? Do you think solar panels will make a good investment in your neck of the woods, why or why...

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Will you able to elimate your entire electric bill?

When consumers are considering solar or wind power for their home or small business they typically come in with high expectations of what a system can do for them although when we start to conduct fact finding and uncover how much energy is used, typically the customer is calling because they are an energy hog and think renewable energy will help them magically eliminate their bill. Speaking in realistic terms, most often people will not be able to eliminate their entire electric bill because of the lack of southern facing roof or ground space or their budget is just not large enough to afford the high upfront cost of renewable energy power generation. The avg household in America needs a 5 kilowatt system depending on their location and the peak sun hours they receive, at a price of /watt installed the cost before incentives could rack up to ,000 for a complete installed system. On the other hand and energy efficient home can do well with a 2.5 kilowatt system costing around ,500 before incentives and tax credits. It is cheaper to reduce 1 kWh (kilowatt hour) worth of electricity then it is to produce 1 kWh. So if you are energy efficient off the bat, not only will a solar power system be affordable for you but it will help you achieve the energy dream every solar power shop has in their mind, to eliminate their entire bill. In most cases people who install solar power have systems that reduce their overall usage but do not eliminate their entire bill. When you do the math of an average solar power system produces electricity over a 30 year period at 15 cents per kWh. Taking that into consideration, its most cost effective to just eliminate your most expensive electricity typically the time of use rate or any usage over baseline, which is where the cost of solar power is very competitive.That is the beauty of a grid tied system, is the ability to use the cheap electricity provided by the utility company and offsetting the higher rate charged by the utility company with your solar power...

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