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photovoltaics, the king of renewable energy

Renewable energy, also known as alternative energy includes many technologies such as wind energy, solar hot water and space heating, fuel cells, bio fuels, hydro power and photovoltaics (solar panels that turn light into electricity). According to International Solar Energy Society (ISES) photovoltaic power generation grew by 73% in 2008 making it the most popular method to generate renewable energy. Why do you think using solar panels to generate electricity is more popular than other renewable energy technologies? Why is photovoltaics is more practical for homes and businesses to use than other renewable energy technologies? What are the factors that have increased the use of photovoltaics compared to wind...

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define: grid parity

To understand the term grid parity, lets start with an explanation of the “grid”. Similar to the Internet is a network, the grid is the network in which electricity is transferred. The majority of our power is generated from a coal power plant then is transmitted over great distances to be distributed to the buildings in our community via the power lines and underground cables. An increasing trend in the electrical generation and distribution model is now more people are installing grid tie solar electric systems which contributes extra electricity generated by solar panels back into the the grid (the network). You receive a credit for every kWh (kilowatt-hour) you contribute into the system. The problem today is coal is heavily subsidized by the federal government which gives the ability for coal based electrical generation to be cheaper than producing electricity from solar panels. The term grid parity refers to the point at which the electricity generated by your solar panels is equal to or cheaper than grid power. Places with sunnier climates and high electric rates will reach grid parity first. Hawaii and other islands have already reached grid parity since their grid relies on diesel fuel to power the network, the cost for electricity per kWh is much higher on islands. Most of the USA is expected to reach grid parity by 2015, as long as electric rates continue to inflate, rates have been increasing 5% per year, historically. Do you think we will reach grid parity by 2015? Or will it happen...

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top 3 reasons to buy a complete solar pv kit

If your considering to install a solar electric system for customers or your own home then the process of figuring out all the various components of a solar electric system could be like a complex jig saw puzzle. Similar to your computer system, which includes the CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse…etc A solar electric system is composed of various components then just the solar panels. Many people prefer to solar power kits to make the procurement process less complex. The top three advantages of purchasing a complete kit are: 1. less engineering required – the various components that make up a solar power system are carefully matched and packaged together to meet safety and performance standards. The only aspect the installer has to check into is make sure the ambient temperature of the grid tie inverter that is including in the kit falls within the rage of the historic lowest and highest temperatures in the installation location. 2. documentation provided – before you can install a grid tie solar electric system, you must obtain a building permit for your city. Generally they will ask you for electrical and/or mechanical drawings before they can approve the permit. Complete solar electric systems include the drawings you need to obtain your permits. 3. Simplicity – If you were to piece together an entire solar electric system on your own, especially for the first time it could be very time consuming and overwhelming. solar pv kits provide you convenience of saving time and frustration. What do you think about complete solar electric systems? Do you think they make the solar installation process less...

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a net zero home, is it possible?

I got an interesting question from a reader who is interested in purchasing solar panels for their home that I want to share with you because it comes up very often.Question: can I put up enough solar panels on my roof to eliminate my entire bill? I want to be completely “off-grid” is that possible? Answer: While there are many people out there that have offset their electric bills completely using a grid tie solar electric system most people will not reach the dream of “never having to pay an electric bill” because of two major constraints. Wide open roof space pointing true south without and shading is key to generating as most electricity as possible and obviously the budget, getting to net zero will require a high upfront investment. A smarter more affordable approach is not to eliminate your entire bill but find your highest cost of electricity per kWh and focus on eliminating your highest electric expenses. Also you can focus on reduces your electric bill through energy efficiency and lower your bill first, then in the future when you are ready to install solar panels you would need as many to meet your needs, thus reducing your upfront investment and getting closer to the dream of never having to pay an electric bill again. what do you think? how else can you make your home net-zero? do you think it’s possible to have a net-zero...

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top 5 solar power site assessment factors

To determine if you have a good location to install solar panels to generate clean power you need to conduct a site assessment. Answering the following key questions will help you identify if you have an adequate project site to install a solar electric system: Will the location provide a clear solar window from 9am-3pm without being shaded at critical times? First, do you have access to install the solar panels south? if not, can you install the solar panels west facing? Would you like to mount the solar panels on your roof or is there a location on the ground that is better suited? ever consider pole mounted solutions? What would work best for your location? Is there an area with air flow and indirect sun to mount the grid tie inverter? Where is the main electrical service panel? how about the meter? is there is sub panel? How many feet from the solar array location to the electrical service panel? I hope this quick summary of what’s required in a solar site assessment will help you figure out if the location your considering to install solar panels is optimized to provide you the maximum return on...

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the photovoltaic effect

Albert Einstein is most commonly known about his theory of relativity, particularly the mass energy equivalence, E = mc^2. What most people don’t know is that Einstein conducted the most comprehensive theoretical work on the photovoltaic effect, which means turning light into electricity. In fact in 1921 Einstein won the Noble Prize for his explanation of photovoltaics. Einstein explanation stated that light was a stream of particles, called photons. His studies suggested that when you shine a light upon certain metals, a stream of particles, electrons are emitted from the metal. Einstein concluded in his studies of the photovoltaics: the number of electrons emitted depends on the intensity of the light beam. electrons move faster if the applied light has higher frequency. light has to hit the threshold frequency before electrons can be generated. Many physicists were perplexed because they thought of light as a wave, not a stream of particles. Although Einstein proved that light has a dual nature, it can act both as a wave or a stream of particles depending on the conditions. Looking back at history the first discovery of the photovoltaic effect happened back in 1839, so why are we still so behind in terms of adopting solar photovoltaic panels in our daily lives? It seems like the world has known about photovoltaics for such a long time but has not moved forward aggressively enough to take full advantage of the largest energy source known to man, the sun. Do you think photovoltaics is one of society’s best kept...

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