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SCM series solar panel released to U.S. Market

REC Group, a Norwegian based solar panel manufacturer has released the SCM series of their photovoltaic solar panel which offers a special treated glass on top of the solar cells to increase performance and quick locking connectors. These solar panels have hit the U.S. market, as the REC Group is aiming to diversify their global strategy into the hot solar U.S. market. What’s interesting about the company, is that they own the entire manufacturing process, meaning they produce the silicon, ingots, wafers, cells, and panels in house, which means they produce all the components integrated to develop a solar panel that turns sunlight into electricity. The REC Group SCM Series is backed by a 10 year limited warranty of 90% power output and a 25 year warranty of 80% power output. According to the REC Group SCM series spec sheet the solar panel efficiency ranges from 12.7% to 13.9% depending on the model number. Do you think owning the entire production process improves...

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Want more power out of your solar array?

Don’t cook your batteries, when your dealing with a off-grid or grid tie solar with battery back up solar electric systems, you need a charge controller to protect the battery from overcharging which causes battery damage. Standard charge controllers can be fairly inexpensive compared to MPPT charge controller, but for the people who want the most power output, the MPPT is worth the extra price. What is is MPPT all about? Well, it stands for maximum power point tracking and what it does is keeps your the solar panels’ voltage and current at a point in which it maximizes the output of the solar array. Follow me? MPPT charge controllers are relatively new technology that first started being used in the late 90s, although today MPPT based controllers have evolved and became more reliable and are generally used in larger systems. If your using solar panels to charge a couple batteries then the benefits of a MPPT charge controller will not outweigh the cost. Although if your using solar panels and batteries for your home or business, well it would make sense to look into a MPPT controller. The picture above shows a Outback MX-60 MPPT charge controller with a LCD screen that shows important charging status. Do you think its worth the extra cost to go with MPPT based...

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harness the power of the wind

Many people in urban and suburban areas want to take advantage of the wind to lower their electric bills. Although its a hassle to get wind turbines approved in these types of areas because of the required tower height to achieve a feasible return on investment to break even on a wind power system. A new small scale wind turbine for homes and businesses called the Swift, made by a Scottish company called Cascade Engineering has developed a very unique wind turbine which will enable more urban locations to harness the power of the wind. The Swift wind turbine is unique because it can bolt on right to the side of a building or on top of a roof with a very short pole thus making the installation process easier and more flexible compared to tower based wind turbines. According to the company the unit is vibration free making it safe for roof tops and one unit can produce up to 2000 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year while keeping the noise under 35 decibels which means you can barely hear this wind turbine when its kicking out electricity. The product is backed with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty although is designed to last at least 20 years. Multiple units can be grid tied together to create a larger output and eliminate even more of your electric bill. The company says a typical installed cost can range from $10,000 to $12,000 and will pay itself back within 3 years depending on the electric rate, average wind speeds in your area and rebates and tax credits you’ll qualify for. The claim of 3 years seems quite aggressive on a system outside of California, what do you think? would you install one of these on your home or...

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Fronius IG Plus hits the Street

Fronius is a leading manufacturer of grid tie inverters for solar electric systems. We highlighted their new product line called the IG plus at Solar Power International 2008 last month. The company has been educating installers and retailers about their new product line and will slowly phase away the first generation Fronius IG grid tie inverter. The IG Plus has the following features that reduce and simplify the installation of their product line: integrated DC disconnect Power unit can be disconnected from the connection compartment, which makes it a snap to service the unit. 96% efficiency rating compatible with more solar panels including thin film solar panels. The new IG grid tie inverter was supposed to hit the market in mid 2007, although the company finally showcased it at Solar Power International 2008, and now we are finally seeing it offered to customers in the field. Fronius took customer feedback from their first generation grid tie inverter to develop their IG Plus product line, which is why it has all the cool features mentioned in this post. If you’re considering a solar power system today, Fronius IG plus is the newest cutting edge inverter technology offered by a leading manufacturer that has a impeccable track record in the industry of producing reliable...

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Stronger, Easier to Install Solar Panel Racking

Make sure your solar panels aren’t gone with the wind, your making a long term investment so having a reliable solar panel racking system is critical. Released in 2003 the SunFrame manufactured by UniRac has redesigned their product as a stronger and easier to install solar panel mounting frame. The new SunFrame is compliant to the 2007 California Building Code, which minimizes your chances of running into problems with a building inspector during the final check off of your completed solar power system. Grounding your solar power system is simple with the SunFrame therefore it not only reduces your installation time but also means you have to make less penetrations thus reducing the risk of compromising the roof. The SunFrame is offered in anodized silver and...

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Xantrex solar inverters preferred in Spain.

Did you know Spain has a more progressive solar market then the USA? Spain has been investing aggressively into solar energy over the years. Xantrex recently won an award for Best Quality in Elektroprofesional magazine, a solar publication in Spain. Specifically Xantrex won its award for its solar inverter line, from off grid, grid tie and 3 phase inverters. The Quality and Innovation award was suggested by 365 solar power system installers in Spain. Xantrex Solar Inverters are a popular brand used in many solar installations across the USA also. This is a great award for Xantrex because it proves that its inverters are being trusted across the...

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