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new Kyocera solar panels coming soon

Kyocera is getting ready to present two brand new solar photovoltaic panels at the end of this month at Intersolar 2009 in Munich, Germany. The KD185GH-2PU and the frameless FD135GH-2P polycrystalline solar panels are composed of “high performance” solar cells which has efficiencies of up to 16%. Higher efficiency solar panels means you will be able to harvest more kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity per year. The KD185GH-2PU has a 48 cell configuration with an output of 185 watts. The frameless FD135GH-2P has 36 solar cells with an output of 135 watts. Framless solar panels are used for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), which is a technique to install solar panels that become the facade of a building, BIPV has a very appealing aesthetics value that some people prefer over generating more watts per square foot. The great part about Kyocera solar panels is their warranty, the company has been in business for 50 years and has never has recorded a financial loss. They are a diversified business which means their warranty holds a lot of weight. There are a lot of new companies manufacturing solar panels today that are offering warranties on their solar panels of 20 years or more but as a consumer you have to ask, “how long will they be in business” At least with Kyocera solar panels, the chances of the company being around in the future are...

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demand charges explained

Demand charges are a significant cost on your overall electric bill but very few people understand what a demand charge really is. I recommend everyone who is considering to do energy efficiency upgrades or install solar panels and wind turbines start with analyzing a 12 month history their electric bill first. Understanding the rate you are being charged per kWh and other elements of your billing is important for you to make effective energy reduction decisions. Demand charges are a cost on your electric bill which are based on the greatest amount of electricity used in any half hour period during the billing period. The charges are represented as a dollar per kilowatt (kW) and is applied to your maximum kW demand also know as the highest rate at which you required energy. Demand is the rate of how fast electricity is delivered to you over a half hour period of time. For example, if you have all your appliances running at your house at the same time your electric meter would spin forward really fast therefore your demand charges would skyrocket. Demand charges represent the rate of how fast you are consuming...

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solar powerd attic fans

Last week we discussed at the East Los Angeles Skills Center’s Solar photovoltaic class that the air conditioner is a major contributor to your overall electric bill. Helping your air conditioner run less is the key to dramatically reducing the number of kWh (kilowatt hours) you consume per year. During summer months your attic temperatures has the potential to soar to 150 degrees Installing a solar attic fan can help you remove the heat before it reaches inside your home which has a direct effect on the number of hours your AC will turn to keep you cool. This is a great example of how a small solar panels can make a great impact on your electric bill by helping you become more energy efficient. It’s always more cost effective to reduce and then produce clean energy and a solar attic fan is a cost effective method to reduce your AC as much as 50%. What do you think? Are solar attic fans a good way to produce negawatts...

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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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suntech increases solar cell efficiency

Today, Suntech a Chinese solar panel manufacturer released news about their next generation solar cell technology called Pluto which has efficiencies of 19% (monocrystalline) and 17% (polycrystalline). Suntech sent the Pluto based solar cells to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, which independently tested the the solar cells and verified the efficiency ratings. Currently, suntech solar panels out on the market have solar cells that have efficiencies of 16.5% and 15.5% respectively. It seems like Suntech is trying to catch up with the higher efficiency solar panels such as the Sanyo and SunPower solar panels. Although you have to take into consideration that solar cell efficiency is not the same as solar panel efficiency. Since a group of solar cells make up a solar panel, when solar cells are wired together, they lose efficiency. Currently Sanyo 200w solar panels are 17% efficient at the solar panel level. Also the temperature coefficient (how well the solar panel perform in hot temperatures) determine how many kWh (kilowatt-hours) you will produce per year. Even though Suntech Pluto solar cell technology is getting better, it’s far from being the best on the market. Currently, I would say Sanyo solar panels are the best on the market, since of their high efficiencies at the solar panel level and their better performance in hot weather, they peform very well in real world conditions. These efficiency tests Suntech did in the lab are not going to be as good in the real world. What do you think about Suntech solar...

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