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texas school gets a 1kW solar power system

Minshew Elementary School in Texas recently got a free 1 kW (kilowatt) solar electric system to offset a small percentage of the school’s electric bill. TXU, a local utility donated the system to the school mainly for educational purposes. The grid tie inverter on the system includes web-monitoring capabilities through fat spaniel so teachers, students, parents can all monitor through the school’s website how much electricity the 6 solar panel system is contributing to the grid in real time. Teachers at the school are being trained on how to use the solar power system as a tool to educate students on the science behind photovoltaics. TXU plans to give away more solar electric systems to schools, under a program they call “Solar Academy”, the utilities’ push to help younger generations realize the importance of conservation and energy of the future. It’s quite shocking that a utility would support this kind of initiative, wouldn’t you think...

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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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solar panel sales up, even with lower gas prices

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about people making assumptions the economy and low gas prices are crippling solar panel sales. That’s untrue, because there is an increased tax credit for homeowners who install solar electric systems, on top of that more states and even some progressive cities are offering people rebates. I think some optimistic customers who are on the fence of buying a solar electric system are expecting Obama to release even more money to encourage people to buy solar. Do you think Obama will stimulate solar sales? Not to add this year solar panel prices are expected to drop significantly, which will also increase the demand. Gas prices are not related to electric rates, for example even though oil prices have bottomed out the price for groceries are still higher then ever before. The point I am trying to make is that electric rates are not forecasted to drop anytime soon, in fact I have seen many utilities announcing rate hikes. What do you think, will more people go solar in 2009 then last...

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ugly’s electrical references handy for solar power

Today, I met up with Dennis Epp, founder of Hertiage Solar a leading solar power installer in Orange County and San Diego gave me a book called, Ugly’s Electrical References. The reference guide is not a replacement for the national electric code (NEC) but provides the most common required information in easy to read format, which includes pictures and tables. The guide has the following relevant information that’s important for solar electric systems. voltage drop Conduit size Cable type number of conductors that can fit in conduit or tubing. Talking to customers, I’ve noticed people often have a difficult time figuring out wire size and voltage drop, after looking through Ugly’s, I noticed it’s a great resource to figure out these important elements of your solar electric system. It’s important your system is designed correctly to meet NEC codes, otherwise it could be a potential safety hazard. What’s your favorite electrical reference...

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