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Suprise drops solar panel permitting fees

Across America, before you can install solar panels to heat your water or generate clean electricity most likely you will have to file a building permit with your city. The city of Surprise in the greater Phoenix took a bold move to encourage more homes and businesses to seize control of their own energy future. The city council voted unanimously on Thursday night t0 drop all fees related to procuring permits for residents who are installing solar panels to produce electricity or heat water. Typically the city charged $275 for a building permit to build your own power plant. “The mayor and council gave clear direction that solar is a key element in our sustainability commitment. This ordinance is a useful tool in encouraging more people to adopt solar by helping to lower the up front costs.,” said Community Development Director Jeff Mihelich. This is a great sign of the general acceptance of solar energy as a priority on the local level of government. I think more people are realizing that energy is becoming a limited resource and people understand the USA has occupied Iraq for energy reasons. The cities are doing their part to reduce the upfront costs of going solar. Even though the permits are just a small percentage of the total cost of a system every little counts when you remove the barriers to generate green energy. We hope every city across America removes this annoying barrier onto top of the already confusing process of going solar. It seems like renewable energy is going mainstream through local grassroots movement towards clean energy...

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Jay Leno is a big fan of solar panels and wind power.

Today, after the Presidential Debates between Obama and McCain, one of the first commercials that aired was oil man T. Boone Pickens to join him on the Picken’s Plan Community to chat with him live about the energy plans laid out by both Candidates. As I was intrigued that T. Boone was fielding questions about his Natural Gas and large scale wind farm development through his chat room. One individual asked, “what do you think about powering your home or business with solar or wind power” and Picken’s replied “Jay Leno does it.” Recently Jay Leno had T. Boone Pickens on his show as a guest and Jay mentioned that he was using solar panels and wind turbines to produce electricity for his garage. Jay Leno is infamous for having a collection of cars and the warehouse style build he houses his cars in is powered by renewable energy. Jay Leno’s Green Garage has 270 x 200 watt General Electric (GE) Solar Photovoltaic Panels, which is a 54 kW system, that’s huge! In comparison the solar panel array on top of Jay’s Garage generates enough energy to power 10 average American homes. According to GE, the environmental impact of the system is equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road. Considering Jay has a huge fleet of cars in his collection, I guess it’s does not offset much in reality. Jay is using Fat Spaniel Web Monitoring system to keep tabs on the output of the solar power system. He can easily log on a website that shows how much energy he is producing, consuming and exporting to the grid. Web Monitoring for solar power systems extend the customer experience after installing solar panels because the owner and their peers can see the benefits they are receiving by installing solar panels. So you think a 56kW solar power system is large enough? Well Leno, did not stop there he installed a hard to get Delta II by Pacwind that is rated at 10kW. Pacwind makes unique vertical axis wind turbines and the best aspect of these turbines is that they can generate electricity at 5 mph. These turbines are simple to install, connect right into the gird and are maintenance free. Unfortunately, we called Pacwind to put these turbines on our website although they are sold out till next year! Seems like they have an interesting product we would like to investigate more. It is great to see more celebrities jump into renewable energy systems and take the risks to show how effective these systems really are. Many people look up to people like Jay Leno and other celebrities,...

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String Inputs on Your Grid Tie Inverter

The number of string inputs is the total pairs of solar photovoltaic (pv) panel positive and negative input terminal lugs provided by the inverter manufacturer. The maximum number of solar photovoltaic panels source circuits that can be connected to an inverter without wiring in a parallel connection is determined by the number of input strings. The larger inverter you have, the more terminals will be provided inside the inverter to connect solar pv panels onto, thus being able to hook up more solar pv panels per inverter. Sometimes it’s better or needed with a installation to string in parallel because of the type of equipment being used and the individual circumstances of the project, combiner boxes are used in these type of cases. We recommend people buy complete grid tied solar power kits because it takes the headache out of making sure the inverters and number of solar panels will be...

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The Path of the Sun Across the Sky

The sun raises and sets everyday, but the path the sun takes across the sky can differ between seasons. Azimuth is a concept defined as an angle measured in degrees between a reference plane and a point. When installing solar panels to ensure maximum system output you must consider the azimuth of the sun. Obviously, the days are longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, this is because the sun is traveling on different paths across the sky. In the winter the sun is low in the sky, on December 21st the shortest day of the year is called the Winter Solstice, at this point the sun is a the lowest point in the southern sky. Each day after Winter Solstice the Sun’s path goes up higher in the southern sky. The Summer Solstic occurs on June 21st which is when the sun follows a longer path through the sky. As the sun moves through its yearly rhythms is important to take note what may not be a shading issue in the Summer could be an issue when the sun changes its path in the winter. The diagram above provided by the US Department of Energy shows an example of the difference between the summer and winter sun in relation to a solar photovoltaic...

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Solar Arrays, Explained.

I read a lot of articles out there related to solar energy and I’ve seen many different terms used by authors describing a Photovoltaic Module. Photovoltaic Module, What does it mean? Its just a solar industry term that describes a solar panel that can covert light into electricity. But people often refer to panels as “solar arrays” or “solar cells” and I noticed many people get confused by the different terminology. So lets break it down, The Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems by the infinite power organization of Texas has a great diagram. A group of individual cells make up a solar panel (module) and a group of solar panels create an Array. Typically, people install a solar arrays on their roofs or ground mount solar arrays, rarely solar arrays are mounted to tracking systems to follow the path of the sun. The number of solar panels that make up an array depend on individual project goal, budget and needs. The great aspect of a solar array is that the panels are modular, meaning you can add more panels to the array at a later date to generate more electricity. There are a growing amount of people who are concentrating sunlight onto each solar cell that by magnifying the intensity of the sun and generating a greater output per solar panel, imagine taking a large magnifying glass and putting it over a solar array. Over clocking a solar panel, just like people over clock computer processors for more processing...

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