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Home Built Solar Panel

Ernest Said:

Solar Panels for a to be built house help!?

We Answered:

use geo thermal energy. solar panels can damage a house if there are high winds

Kurt Said:

Thinking about going to a grid tie solar panel sytem for a new home...how many watts would we need?

We Answered:

A really nice article by someone who has "been there, done that" can be found here: http://www.hollowtop.com/cls_html/solar_…

The number of watts you need will depend on your expectations as well as the actual load drawn by appliances and lighting in hour home. The number of solar panels you will need depends on location and whether you choose a fixed-angle installation (optimized for only one day of the year!) or a sun-tracking installation (expensive!). Consult with experts in solar panel sales and installation before plunking down any cash.

In general, the only way that solar panels are economically justifiable today is if you purchase with OPM... other people's money. Most states and the national government offer "incentives" in the form of rebates, tax credits, or outright cash if you install solar electric panels. In the article cited, these rebates virtually payed for the entire cost of the solar panels... $4.66 per watt paid minus $4.50 per watt in rebates.

For the size home you are considering, my "gut" feeling is you need at least 2000 watts capacity, and twice that amount would allow you to sell power back to the grid most of the time that the sun shines... all at taxpayer expense. What a deal!

Bernard Said:

If I built an 800 sq.ft. home, could I power it entirely with solar energy?

We Answered:

That sounds like a typical off-grid cabin, maybe a little larger than average.

Any home can be completely powered off solar, the only question is whether it will be cost-effective. You need to total up your predicted energy use, then see if an appropriately-sized system will make sense.

If you plan to have any of the following, they will probably make solar electric prohibitive in cost:

- electric heat
- electric stove / oven (occasional microwave or coffee maker ok)
- washer / dryer (if used with any regularity)
- air conditioning (fan is ok)

How much it costs also depends vastly on how much sun your area gets.

Discuss It!