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rail-free solar panel mounting

Traditionally, solar panels are a tedious process to install because the process of installing solar panels on a residential rooftop involves the rails to be cut, spliced together and the metal frame of the solar panels and rails themselves have to be grounded according to code. Currently the process is quite primitive and can be time consuming even though the two most popular solar panel mounting companies, UniRac and ProSolar are offering new products to reduce parts and installation time, the companies fail to remove the rails. ZepSolar, a startup solar panel mounting manufacturer will be introducing a new way to mount solar panels to your home’s roof without rails at the upcoming Solar Power International trade show in Anaheim. The rail-free, auto-grounding drop-in solar panel mounting system is an ultra efficient method of attaching solar panels to your roof that according to the company installs 6 times faster than conventional systems and greatly reduces material waste while enhancing the structural integrity and aesthetics of solar panels. Prices of solar panels have been dropping like a rock, since there is an oversupply of solar panels in the market. Although other system components such as inverters and racking systems have not dropped in prices as fast as solar panels. ZepSolar claims that by removing cumbersome rails out process of installing solar panels can save up to $1,000 per kilowatt installed. What do you think about ZepSolar’s innovative approach to simplifying solar panel...

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BP Solar’s 230w solar panel

I’m not a big fan of BP Solar panels ever since BP’s CEO bashed on solar power technology and their solar panels caught on fire due to a faulty junction box. The big oil company continues to push their solar division further offering their own version of a 230w solar panel called the Endura series. The solar panel has a smaller power tolerance range of +3/-3 and has a lower voltage therefore higher current which drives the increased efficiency. The BP Solar 3230N is a 60 cell polycrystalline solar panel with a potted junction box that includes six bypass diodes that improve heat management according to the company. The frame of the 3230N is unique due its “tubular” shape which increased the solar panels ability to handle higher loads. What do you think about BP Solar...

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How much is a solar panel system for a 2,700 square foot home?

Everyday I get at least one email from a customer that asks, “How much is a solar panel system to power a {insert number of square feet here} home?” It’s quite impossible to quote you the size of system that will meet your goals without understanding your individual project site and needs. People who ask this question to me have not done enough research and typically indicate that they are just starting to explore solar power. More than often I lead customers who ask that question to the solar power calculator since it helps them realize all the variables required to figure out how many solar panels you really need. The following reasons are why I can’t give you clear cut answer to, how many solar panels you’ll need for a 1,ooo square foot home: #1 – The size of your home is not as important as how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year. This information can be found your last 12 months of electric bills #2 – Typically grid tie solar panels are used to offset your highest cost of electricity if your being charged on a tiered rate structure by your utility company. Solar panels are most cost effective if you use them to stay out of consuming electricity in higher tiers. Therefore not always do people purchase a system that “eliminates their entire bill”. #3 – Your location matters, in particular if there is shading due to trees, vents, chimneys, other buildings..etc. You’ll need more solar panels to meet your goals if you have to compensate for unavoidable shading. Different places across the world have variances in the number of sun hours they receive per day, which has an influence in the number of kWh you can generate per year in your location. Also the orientation #4 – what’s the intent of your solar electric system? Is it just to get started? Some people are satisfied to get started with a small solar electric system and then add more panels to their system later to keep the upfront investment of the system as low as possible to get started. The great aspect of a solar electric system it’s completely customizable to your requirements, particularly your budget. I hope this post highlights the most important key points that need to be analyzed before you can figure out how many solar panel you’ll need. got any...

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What’s the deal with Enphase?

The Enphase Micro-inverter has built some serious buzz in the solar power industry since it solves many of the issues with using a central inverter. By adding an inverter behind every solar panel, the DC electricity generated by the solar panels is directly converted to low voltage AC at the solar panel level which increases the safety of the system. Also having an inverter behind solar panel makes the system more reliable because if one inverter fails, the entire system does not go down. The major downfall with central inverters is that they are wired in strings, and the performance of the entire string of solar panels is equal to it’s weakest solar panel, therefore if part of a solar panel is shaded the entire string will lose its ability to perform at it’s maximum ability. The advantage of having a micro inverter behind every solar panel is that each panel has the power of MPPT (maximum power point tracking) reducing the performance losses related to shading. I’d say the two major issues with the Enphase Micro Inverters today is how long will the inverters last when they are on top of hot roofs? Especially here in Southern California, during the summer temperatures under a solar panel have been measured to exceed 13o degrees. Will the electronics in the Enphase Micro Inverter be able to last 15 years? Also, Enphase is having a supply and demand issue, according to the company one of their parts suppliers dropped the ball which has caused a drop in their production output. Many customers have been trying to purchase Enphase Micro Inverters although we have to turn them away because the product is on backorder with long lead times. What do you think about all the buzz around the Enphase Micro-Inverter? Do you think the concept of Micro-Inverters is a valid...

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SMA Sunny Portal goes mobile

Customers are getting used to monitoring the performance of their solar electric system with SMA inverters and a webbox on their computer screens. But how about those people who live the on the go lifestyle that want to keep up to date of how much electricity their solar panels are producing? If you have a SMA SunnyBoy Inverter with a webbox, your inverter’s data is uploaded to the SunnyPortal via the Internet. Recently, SMA launched their “mobile friendly” version of the SunnyPortal that you can access from your cell phone’s web browser. I think this is great offering that SMA brings to their table because it increases the customer experience of owning a solar electric system by being connected to the system anytime the owner wishes. Also people are more willing to talk about their system to others if they can bring the data with them and show other customers. Would you check on your solar panels from your cell...

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