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How grid connected solar panel systems work.

After speaking with many customers over this week, I noticed there is confusion with some solar / wind power shoppers about what the grid really means and how a grid connected solar photovoltaic (solar panel) system works for a home. So I decided to focus today’s post about some of the basics. According to Southern California Edison the definition of “the grid” is the following: “a large interconnection of both generation and transmission electrical subsystemsto facilitate efficient distribution of electricity to consumers and businesses.” The grid is a network in which electricity gets consumed and produced, therefore a grid connected system turns your home into an electricity producing asset that shares extra power with the grid. With a grid connected solar panel system you send extra power back into the grid, and receive a credit from the utility company for every kWh (kilowatt hour) you contribute to the grid. The of US Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has created a good illustration of how a grid connected system works with a typical...

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SkyStream 3.7 the most popular residential wind turbine.

The Skystream 3.7 has revolutionized the residential wind power market, its so popular that even the Bush family has one at their home in Maine. What makes the Skystream 3.7 by Southwest Wind Power so different from endless selection of wind turbines in the market? Southwest Wind Power has really figured out their target market for the Skystream 3.7, the wind turbine has a built in grid connected inverter, so you can plug it right into the grid without having to buy an inverter along with the wind turbine. The Skystream 3.7 not only has great reviews about its design but the way it operates, its very quiet compared to older wind turbine technology. Installation is a snap, you can order with or without the pole. Typically its better to source the pole locally to save on shipping costs. The 5 inch adaptor kit is an optional part to help you can order to attach the skystream 3.7 to a 5 inch pole you can locally source. The amount of electricity you will produce from the 1.8 kW (kilowatt) skystream depends on your the average wind speeds in your area. The chart below shows an excellent diagram on the expected monthly kWh (kilowatt hour) a skystream 3.7 will produce for you. To get started with the skystream 3.7, first let your neighbors know your installing one. You may need to file for a building permit with your city and register with your electric company to connect the turbine to the...

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I’ll have power when during a blackout because I have solar panels!

Probably not, the majority of solar power systems installed in the USA are typically grid tied systems, meaning they connect to the utility company to push any extra electrons you product back into the grid. These types of systems have a significant advantage because they qualify for extra rebates provided by the state on top of the federal tax credit. The downside to gird connected systems is that when the utility company encounters a blackout, so do you, even if you have a solar power system. Due to utility company regulations, a solar power system must shutdown when the power goes out due to safety regulations and the fact since with a grid tied solar electric system is using the grid as a battery to store the electricity you produce. One way to avoid a blackout is adding a battery backup system to your grid tied solar electric system. Which means you solar panel system in addition to sending electricity back into the grid charges a battery system just in case the grid goes down you start drawing power from the batteries. As great that sounds, being the only person on your block who has power when there is an outage. A battery backup system not only requires yearly maintenance but it adds a significant increase in the final cost of a system. Also the batteries need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years depending on the brand and quality of the battery you use with your system. Check out our grid connected systems that can help you reach your energy goals:...

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The Myth of the Zero Electric Bill

Every consumer who is thinking about solar power always dreams of the day they won’t receive an electric bill from their utility. Once the typical consumer finds out the cost of a solar power system that eliminates their entire bill, they face what we in the industry call, “sticker shock” Well, there are a certain class of consumers in which money isn’t really a problem for, if they have the surface space there is a potential for solar power to supply their entire electrical usage. Even if you have all the money in the world and buy a system that produces more that what you use, if you are grid connected you will always receive an electric bill from your utility company. Your utility charges you a monthly fee just to have their outdated meter calculating your usage and what you send back into the gird. The typical meter access fee is around $5 a month, but the fee depends on your utility company. So if your thinking about a grid connected solar power system, but and your assuming you’ll never see an electric bill, think...

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