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family sends solar power back into the grid

I ran into an article by KTBS 3 today that described an average family in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana that purchased a solar power system three weeks ago which offsets 50% of their electric usage. The grid connected solar power system takes advantage of net metering which allows the family to “bank” renewable energy credits when their home is producing a surplus. When everyone is out of the house during business / school hours the home will be producing electricity and pushing it back into the grid. The Niten family says that their primary motivation is to lower their carbon footprint by generating their own clean power versus traditional sources that leave us dependent on foreign entities and do harm to the environment. Natural Gas and coal are traditional forms of power generations which are not “clean” like solar power. It’s being efficient, helping the environment and empowering the family to be independent from traditional electricity companies and raising rates. The quote that got me interested in the story was when Tommy Niten said,“I possibly plan on adding to the solar system later on and upgrading it to produce more of my power.” Solar Power is scalable, which is something we here at often tell consumers, many people call in inquiring about solar and are determined to eliminate 100% of their usage right off the bat with solar panels, although realistically, it is way out of their budget to do so. If most consumers set small goals, to buy 25% of their electricity capacity at a time and make solar power a staged approach, all of a sudden the investment looks much realistic. This story is not bragging about some great big project, but a small one that can make a difference for a family and leads them one step closer to producing their entire electric needs and truly be energy...

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Connecting your solar or wind power system to the grid

The majority of the systems installed in the USA and Germany are grid tied systems, meaning the solar panel or wind power systems are connected to the utility grid, extra electricity generated is sent back to the utility in which the owner of the system gets a credit per kWh (kilowatt hour) produced, a term called net-metering. Before you run out and connect your system up to the grid to take advantage of net-metering… need to first contact your utility company to review the utility’s interconnection agreement. The interconnection agreement sets the ground rules for the terms and conditions including the requirement for building permits, home owners insurance, and grid connection specifications. Interconnection agreements are standard documents although each utility has its own document. Some utilities may even charge you a small fee to connect your system to the grid if its a very large installation, but again this depends on your particular utility that’s serving your area. To turn your home or small business into a power plant, start by analyzing your electric bill and your historical usage, then call your utility to review the interconnection agreement so you make sure you understand the terms set by your utility company or just give us a call and we can guide you through the process of understanding your electric bill, figure out how many solar panels you need, and work with your utility company to help you file your interconnection...

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Grid Tied Solar Power with Battery Backup

There is a common misconception with solar power systems, many consumers are under the impression that their grid tied systems will keep them up during a blackout. A grid-tied system hooks up with the grid and requires no batteries to store the power because the power generated is sent to the utility who gives you a credit for the power you send into the grid, therefore when there is a blackout your grid tied solar power system has no place to store the power and goes down with the utility company. One way you can have backup power when the utility shuts down is through a battery backup system. In conjunction to your grid tied inverter, you would have a battery bank in which power is stored so in case the grid goes down you can power critical loads such as your refrigerator, computers, phones, and tv….etc. The down side to adding a battery backup to your grid tied solar power system is the batteries significantly increase the upfront cost of a solar power system. The batteries also require maintenance, could be a fire hazard, and need to be replaced every 5-10 years depending on the type of battery. Today, batteries are a headache until the technology evolves to make it more user friendly and cost...

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eBay goes solar!

Just like every major corporation that knows the 30% federal tax credit for renewable energy, such as solar power is expiring the end of this year is rushing to get solar power installed on their business to take advantage of the generous federal tax credit coupled with the state rebates, really makes it a no brainier for corporations based in California. Google, another dot com company showed off their large solar power system last year and now it seems like EBay is now jumping onto the Bandwagon. SolarCity installed the 650 kilowatt solar power plant on Ebay’s north campus in San Jose, California. Ebay’s solar power installation is the largest commercial installation in San Jose. The solar power system will save EBay around 0,000 in electricity costs for just in the first year of operation. According to Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive officer, “While many companies talk about environmental responsibility, eBay is ‘walking the walk’ with a multi-faceted commitment to clean power and green building, Our managed solar installation will allow eBay and its employees to measure their collective, positive impact on the environment.” Sure, Mr. Rive…..eBay went solar to exclusively save the environment, it had NOTHING to do with the fact of the high return on investment and all the money the corporation will get back from the federal government and the state of California. I’m so positive when you went into your sales call with eBay executives that all you mentioned was how much the system would do for the environment, give me a break. Mr. Rive of SolarCity sold this solar power system to eBay purely on its financial return. I’m being EXTRA critical because when ever I see a press release about a large corporate solar power installation, I always see quotes from the executive management that the corporation did it for the environment and they never mention how good of an investment it is for their type of entity. The bottom line is that they are “greenwashing” the real reason why eBay purchased the solar power system. All consumer research in the solar power space has proved that consumers buy solar power only if it makes sense financially. Very few people or organizations just do it for the...

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How can I figure out how many kilowatt hours one panel will produce yearly?

Many consumers out there are confused because they don’t understand how many factors play a role in forecasting yearly kWh production of a solar panel. Using the numbers provided in product specification sheets you can figure out the yearly output of one solar panel using the following equation: PTC Watts (PVUsa Test Conditions Rating) * Inverter Efficiency Percentage * Sun Hours Daily * 30 (days) * 12 (months) = yearly kWh output for one solar panel PTC Watts & Inverter Efficiency Percentage – You can find this number in the specifications sheet, check our shop or the solar panel manufacturers website. Sun Hours Daily – Use the chart below. This is an important equation to know when shopping for solar power because output is what makes or breaks a system financially. Obviously this assumes optimal conditions and does not account for...

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