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Solar Electric Systems

Carla Said:

I am looking for a solar system to run the electric power in my small two bed bungalow?

We Answered:

Try the Milky Way!.

Tammy Said:

Solar electric system help, please? DIY?

We Answered:

Very general answer. What you plan is difficult if you want to make it perfect. If you want to make it quick and dirty for fun, it could be a neat project.

A CPU fan is a great little thing to power because it is very well balanced and takes little energy.
Try to get some data on the fan. I am just guessing, but it is bound to be much less than 5 V DC.

If you want to play around, get some rechargeable batteries. See how many batteries, hooked in series, it takes you to power the fans. The fan has a little cable. One lead is positive and one negative. You might find that from 4 rechargeable batteries, you can run one to four fans for some period of time. Try a parallel configuration and see what happens.

Use the solar panel to charge the batteries. Use the batteries to power the fans. The reason is that the fans will then always spin at their usual rate, and they can spin even in the dark.

Get a good sense of what is positve and what is negative on your batteries and leads. Be careful not to mess up your panel by using positve and negative incorrectly.

Good luck.

Brian Said:

Plumbing stack vent - code and practicality of re-routing above the roof but under a solar array?

We Answered:

The vent cannot be reduced from it's present size nor can a trap be formed that can hold water. Aside from that a vent can be turned as often as you wish and directed all the way to the ridge if necessary. A vent consists of 2 zones. The wet zone, which is the portion of vent from six inches above the highest drain in the structure all the way down, and the dry vent, which is everything above that point. In the dry vent part, only air and gas flows so direction is not an issue. The easiest way to move the vent would be through the attic. I would follow the roof line as much as possible. When you use a hole saw to cut the new hole, save the plug. Fasten it to a larger board and attach this to the old hole from the inside then re shingle that section. Buy a new boot for the stack, it will save any possible leaks from the old one. I would not recommend cutting the stack short and turning it on the roof as you may have a problem flashing around it and it could be a spot for water to get into the house not to mention the hassle they roofer will have when it needs to be re roofed.

Raul Said:

should I buy a solar electric system?

We Answered:

i would say yes, because iit can explane the solar system to you and it is more convienent.

Jennifer Said:

Question about home solar panel systems?

We Answered:

There are several items here.

1) the panel produces 245 Watts of energy that can either be used directly to power items or charging batteries up to the output of the 245 Watt panel. Loads in excess of that amount would be fed via a battery up to the amount of charge on the battery or the capacity of the inverter.
2)The size of the battery determines how much and how long you have power and the size of that battery determines how effectively you can charge it in a day.
3)the inverter is the device that is converting that Direct Current from the panel and stored energy in the battery to Alternating current for unmodified AC appliances, entertainment, etc. The size of the inverter determines how much current you can draw from it at a maximum of 1.2 Kw continuous to 2.4Kw peak intermittent, such as starting an electric motor. The rating is in effect instantaneous ratings.

To determine what size panels you need, you first need to know what your current usage is per day in Kilowatt Hours.

To figure out how long it will take to pay for itself, take your current Kilowatt Hour charge on your electric bill, divide that number into the total cost of the system, multiply it by 4.1 and that gives you the hours you need that system producing energy in terms of Kilowatt hours, so however long the weather and daylight permit you to reach that amount of time should be considered your break even point of cost recovery.

In short- that system might be enough to eliminate the need to plug in an RV to an AC source, or for a small cabin or home. with maybe 1 kilowatt hour to 2 kilowatt hours of usage each day assuming a lot of sunny days. Assuming heat is not electric and hot water is not electric. and that you are not powering a well for irrigation.

If you are looking to go off grid, in one fell swoop, 245 Watts is not enough for an average family without some serious changes to usage patterns. 2000 Watts of panel "might" be adequate for some, but people still need to change usage patterns.

If you are looking to have a system installed, you can get some idea of some components and vendors through http://www.builditsolar.com and http://www.homepower.com The latter's magazines tend to read more like a sales brochure than a magazine.

If you plan on doing the work yourself- be sure to get it inspected for a multitude of reasons. You can get some additional pieces through http://www.northerntool.com From panels, to inverters, to controllers, etc. Just look in their alternative energy section.

If you happen to have aboutt 30,000 dollars to drop on the installation and you plan to live their more than 10 years, talk to your power company and they can set you up completely.

Clifford Said:

what would make a solar system add energy to an electric bill instead of replace it?

We Answered:

Hey Jared, frustrating problem you have there isn't it? Let's narrow the field a bit. I assume you have an array of some size connected to a grid tie inverter. There are two possibilities here. One, your system is actually pulling power in from the grid when it should be going out. Two, the meter installed on the house is a newer type, which in some cases looks like the old electric-mechanical ones we grew up with, but differs in how the logic inside works. Here is a simple test you can do. Go to the house at a time when you have good midday sun. Have the homeowner turn off all nonessential loads. This will put your system in a state where it should be producing enough power to feed the home and the grid simultaneously. Now examine the meter and see which direction and how fast it is spinning. It should be spinning in a direction that indicates power feeding out to the grid. You won't know which way is which yet, but you will in a minute. Next, have someone turn off the inverter, so that you know no power is feeding back onto the grid, and examine the meter while this is done. If the meter spins faster, but in the same direction, all is well, it means the home was using more power than the array was providing, but deactivating it increased the amount of grid power the house needed to keep running. In this case I would suspect the home has some unknown load someplace, such as an attic fan running continuously, or a well pump with a bad check valve, and so forth. If the meter slows down when you turn off the solar, than it means one of two things. First, that your solar system is actually drawing a load someplace. Without seeing the system you installed I couldn't begin to guess where the problem might be. I would suspect the inverter or AC wiring from the inverter to the house. Second, that the meter on the house is a new type that only runs in one direction, and it sees the extra power from the grid as more load power.

The third thing that could happen is the meter reverses direction when the solar is turned off. This indicates that the system is working well also, but the homeowner simply is using additional power someplace after hours.

As a side note, after doing this test by turning the inverter on and off, try also turning off the AC feed from the house to the inverter while it is running and see if the results are the same. If you get a different result, it might indicate that the solar array is in fine shape, but the AC wiring to the inverter or the inverter itself are suspect.

I'm wondering, you said, "We" installed this array, are you a solar installer for a living? If so you might put in a call to the inverter manufacturers tech support and throw this at them, if problems like this have occured before with their product, they usually know about it.

Good luck Jared, and take care, Rudydoo

Discuss It!

hermes outlet said:

Get a good sense of what is positve and what is negative on your batteries and leads.