Monday, October 31, 2011

Wind Energy

Air in motion is called wind. Uneven heating of the Earth’s surface generates wind. As Earth’s surface is made of very different type of land and water and it absorbs sun’s heat at different rates.

The Daily Wind Cycle

 In day the air above land heats up quickly than air over water. The warm air over the land expands and rises and as cooler air is heavier it rushes to take place with this procedure wind is created. While in night its total different than day because in night air over land gets cooler quickly than air on over water.

The atmospheric winds that circles the earth are also created in same way because land near the Earth’s equator heats up more than the land near South and North Poles.

Wind Energy as Renewable Energy Source

Wind energy today is a renewable energy source because the wind will keep on blowing till the sun is shining. Wind energy mostly is used to generate electricity.

Electricity Generation from Wind

How Wind Turbines Work?

Old-fashioned windmills, which are now called wind turbines, collect the wind’s kinetic energy through their blades. The wind strikes over the blades creating lift, like the effect on airplane wings that cause the blades to turn. The blades are connected with a shaft drive, which turns an electronic generator to manufacture electricity.

The problem still persists that what to do when wind is not blowing. For that it is said to use other type of power plants for producing electricity.

Wind Production In United States

In 2008, wind machines generated 1.3% of the total U.S. electricity generation and that total generation in figures was 52 billion kilowatt-hours. Though it is a small contribution in the Nation’s total electricity production even then it was enough electricity to serve 4.6 million households or to power the entire state of Colorado.

In recent years electricity generation from wins is growing rapidly. From 2006 to 2008 power generation from win in United States had been doubled.

Through new technologies the cost of producing electricity from wind is being decreased and also growth in wind power has been encouraged by tax breaks for renewable energy and green pricing programs

For supporting renewable energy sources technologies there are many utilities around the country offer green pricing options which allows the customers to pay more for the electricity that comes from renewable energy sources.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Types of Solar Panel Mounting Systems for Homes

Solar panels are extremely useful to have in homes because they generate electricity and compensate the energy requirement. They don’t cost much; all they need is proper sun light. Solar panel is actually used to generate energy. The greatest problem of this century is no doubt the energy crisis so the need of such alternatives automatically increases rapidly.

Some types of solar panel mounting systems for homes specifically, are discussed here. They are also known as residential mounting systems.

Checking Your Roof

Before starting off with these systems and getting them installed, you must check the undercarriage of your roof. This can be done by any qualified structural engineer so do get their services prior to the installment. It is not required by every country to have an engineer’s stamp on the building but for a Vibrant, a structural engineer is must.

Building Codes

UBC mandates the techniques and the building materials. It actually stands for universal building code. Codes are given after every few years. When any city or a country decides for adopting a new UBC version, the efficiency varies.

Local buildings code usually has some variations from the standard techniques. People must also consider the fire department and electrical code regulations before the installment.

1. Flush Mount

Flush mount is a standard mounting system. The benefit is that a less space is taken by them and it has the lowest visual impact. If you want to install it, your roof will be penetrated into the joists by using a 5/8” long bolt. A standard roofing sealant is also used. There is a metal of L-shaped foot which is fixed by the bolt. Vents, pipes, and other structures are also used accordingly.

2. Tilt Mount

Metal legs are added to the flush mounting for tilting the tops of the panels. It is done in order to gain a better angle towards the southern horizon. This increases the cost in labor and material but you have a benefit that the output is better. The sun hits the mount at an appropriate angle. Thus the maximum solar energy can be used and utilized.

3. Fin Mount

It is specifically for the slopes which face east or west. So this mount is fixed to get a better angle to the south. Legs of varying lengths are installed and this system is comparatively higher than the other ones.

4. Shadows

There are more than one row in tilt and fin mount system. A separate shadow is cast by each row. That’s why each row must be placed at a reasonable distance so the shadow couldn’t be cast by the southern row on the next one. The slope of the roof and the tilt of the planes determine the distance of the rows.

5. Side Mounts

Cantilevered window can be mounted to almost every building side. But prior to the installment the structural engineer must check the condition of the wall, design process and other factors.

6. Ground Mounts

They normally require digging holes for pouring concrete in them. It is done to secure the poles, rack bases etc.

7. Parking Canopies

It is better to have a covered parking area. So install the solar panels and get the shade.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Solar Energy Facts

The solar energy we receive from the sun has a great potential. Since the prehistory man has been using the solar energy for different heating purposes. Virtually every living being has been using sunlight directly or indirectly for million of years now. In modern times, the use of solar energy can manifest in different forms by using different techniques. In the lines to follow we will elaborate some of the common uses of solar energy.

Direction Conversion to Electricity

Solar energy can be directly converted to electricity. The photovoltaic cells or more commonly known as solar cells, convert the light to electricity using a photoelectric effect. The semiconductors doped with an impurity help in creating the free flowing electrons to supply the electric current to loads upon receiving the sunlight. The small cells are gelled together to make a module. Tens of modules are bound together to make a solar panel. An assembly of solar panels is called a solar array. When there are a lot of solar arrays spread over a specific area of land we will witness a solar farm from which bulk electricity can be produced.

Passive Solar Energy Usage

Solar energy can be collected using solar collectors or large bodies of water or other heat absorbing fluids. The energy from the sun can be directly used in heating buildings or offices using large windows. Direct heating of water convoluting the pipe lines over the roof can give them maximum exposure to sunlight and in turn absorbing heat. Black paint can be used in order to absorb maximum solar radiations.

Solar Power Systems

The solar energy can be used more effectively in producing power by using the solar concentrators. The stirling dish, trough or other such arrangement can help in concentrating the sun rays in a way similar to magnifying glass to attain high temperatures. The high temperature attained can be used for thermal storages to be used in cloudy or dark conditions. This is not a possibility in producing electricity through solar panels.  This water can be converted to steam, which helps in running a steam turbine to produce electricity.

Solar energy has the potential to supply electricity to fulfill the current electricity demands of the whole world. This however may never accomplish owing to different technical barriers. Recent advancements in the technology have reduced the costs significantly and we can use solar energy for generation of electricity at our homes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How We Can Use Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the type of energy which is clean and environment friendly. This energy is available everywhere. Only once it will cost you in beginning but after that for lifetime you can use it without paying any electric bills, as sun never cost any price to its customers. Solar energy can be used in different forms; here are the most popular ways of using solar energy:

1. Active Solar Heating

Active solar heating main purpose is to use the solar cells to collect and absorb solar radiation. The radiation is converted into heat by solar cells and then its transferred to the interior of the building. Active solar heating works in two ways.

First way is through solar liquid heating. Solar heating usually warms water or antifreeze through the use of solar cells. Then the liquid is pumped into home and heats it via radiators. In some cases same method is used to heat pools.

Second method of active solar heating is solar air heating. Solar panels warm the air then that air is pumped into home through a forced air pump. Active solar heating systems are usually designed in such that that they meet 40 to 80 percent of a home’s heating needs, as less than 40 percent is not cost effective and more than 80 percent usually requires the use of too many solar cells.

2. Passive Solar Heating

Warming the building by using natural sunlight is called Passive Solar heating. Homes that use passive solar heating usually have large windows facing southwards. The home which use passive solar heating they are well insulated and often have overhangs over the windows to keep the home cool when sun is at its highest. Passive solar homes also take advantage of insulated curtains and windows to minimize heat loss.

3. Solar Electric System

To absorb solar radiation a solar electric system uses photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells are semiconductors. Electrons are loose out when the cells absorb sunlight this is called photoelectric effect. Then free electrons move to circuit where they form an electrical current. Cells are connected to form panels and each panel creates 10 to 300 watts. Usually a building or home haves several panels for its power supply. The panels are fixed in a specific angle, or panels are having tracking device to maximize power for a day. Solar panels can stand-alone or can be hooked up to the power grid. There several solar array systems in the southwest that supply the electric grid.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

iSun Solar Cell Phone Charger

If we look the technology trends we will see that technology travels from to large to small. As weather changes same technology changes time to time also. A few years it looks like a dream to charge the cell phone with sunlight. Now that dream is part of reality as the iSun portable solar powered battery/ cell phone charger is the most complete solar charger for small electronic appliances on the market today. Accessories along the iSun solar charger enables to operate over 90% if all small electronic appliances in the market.

iSun Solar Charger’s Features

Its features are:

  • Portable, modular solar DC electricity generator.
  • 2 watts of power output.
  • 50% more than any comparable devices on the global market.
  • It can charge a MP3 player and can also keep the GPS at full power.
  • It has 7 plugs which fits in most electronics found in today’s market.
iSun solar charger is truly handy for out doors especially for the places without electricity. It has universal “plug n’play” connection socket, it can be attached to power/recharge/tickle-charge batteries for personal electronics, automotive accessories, leisure, and other consumer applications with direct connections or using product-specific cables.

You can also boost its power by daisy chaining, as iSun’s replicator docking mechanism enables you for that.

How to Use iSun Solar Charger

  • It haves 7 adapter plugs, you only have to choose the plug which fits to your device. Then just connect it to the iSun power cable.
  • There is a cap on the right side of the iSun remove it and connect the power cable to the iSun output.
  • Always put iSun towards sun so that it can work with its full capacity.

Is it possible to get more from iSun Charger?

Yes that’s possible you can get more power from iSun solar charger. For that you must be having at most 5 iSun solar chargers.  Through daisy chaining iSun solar charger can be connected together. In this way iSun solar charger enable you to get 5 times more output.

Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Main Benefits of Bio Fuels

Bio fuels are friendlier to environment as compare to fossil fuels. Bio fuels emit so less carbon in the air and can be produced with indigenous resources. Bio fuels are good for earth and also for economy.  They enable a country to have less dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Bio fuels are having more benefits and that’s all because of modern technology. Bio fuels are environment friendly.
Need for renewable energy is increasing that’s why bio fuels are becoming more important. Still world’s energy needs are mainly dependent on traditional coal, oil, and gasoline. But these conventional energy resources are not environment friendly as compare to bio fuels.

Main positive affect of the bio fuels is that they are not harmful to environment and nature. Almost every one knows that world is facing global warming problem and other environment issues. Those all are result of using fossil fuels. Best solution for global warming and pollution is bio fuels.

Here are some advantages of bio fuels:

1 – Sustainability

Its first main advantage is that bio fuels are sustainable unlike fossil fuels. Fossil fuel’s supply can decrease while for bio fuels there are several crops which can be grown continuously. Those crops can be grown on vast basis according to energy demands.

2 – Emissions

Fossil fuels are having more carbon emissions as compare to bio fuels. Bio fuels emit less carbon, and that helps in reducing the greenhouse gas toxins. In this way it helps to reduce the pollution in the air.

3 – Bio-Degradation

Bio fuels contain more degradable substances and a fewer toxins. As the bio fuels contain fewer toxins that why in case of any accident the bio fuel leaks or spill there wont be a major hazard to people’s health or environment. It will be cleaned up quicker and easier and will cost less.

4 – Basin Elements

Mostly “waste” products are the basic elements of the bio fuels, for example agricultural farms byproducts and corn stalks. The food industries can also make bio fuels by using their expired stocks and waste products.

5 – Earth’s Protection

Coal and fossil fuels are gained by digging earth’s deep crust and this causes a strain to the earth. While for bio fuels we don’t have to dig the earth and it also don’t involve any risks like oil spilling.

There are many other benefits of bio fuels also such as it will help to improve country’s economy by decreasing its dependence on foreign fossil oils. New jobs will be created for farming and transportation of bio fuels. Most of all every country can make bio fuels with its own resources, which will eliminate the cost factors too. Bio fuel materials are less expensive and controllable. You will not face any fluctuation at the gas pumps.

Farmers will get main benefit as the demand for crops will increase and it will help the farmers all around the world who are struggling in this economy today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lease Solar Panels for Fraction of Cost in California

This really looks a best way to go solar in California, leasing solar panels with down payment and they will be installed for free.

As many people can not afford to buy their own solar panels for home, so leasing solar panels looks the best solution. You don’t have to pay any money for purchasing solar panel or for installation. All you have to do is only that every month you have to pay its fee, its same like as you get other things like motor vehicle on lease and then every month you pay certain amount for that.

In California free solar panel leasing program is started. According to this program customers will only pay a monthly fee and get lower utility bills. Ownership of the photovoltaic panels will be retained by the SolarCity.

Generally if a person’s home power demand is 2.8 kilowatt, then he approximately will be having monthly electric bill around $150 but after installing solar panel it will cost $60 a month and $80 to $90 monthly lease payment to Solar City. So at end of month you probably can have $10 saving.

Solar City was founded in 2006 and is chaired by Elon Musk who also chairs the Telsa Motors.

The solar panels installed by the company will charge you a set price for 10 to 15 years worth of service during that time period they will handle all maintenance and repairs also. Though you will still pay the electric bill but with the solar panels generating electricity it will get much lower. And if your panel will be producing more electricity than your use, it’s fed back to grid and for that electric company pays you also.

Let’s say if because of solar panels you get 10 to 20% saving on the life of solar panels then at the end of lease time you probably will be having the amount to pay off the panels. After that point with panels still generating power, you may not have an electric bill anymore.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 5 Global Warming Solutions

Though the world had almost realized the problem of global warming but still there are some who say global warming may or may not be a problem. This “ may” in this issue is creating a lot hurdles in taking major steps against global warming because if global warming don’t exist and the world apply too much resources to solve that problem which don’t even exist then that will be a great loss of world’s resources and billions of people will have to face then poverty. On other hand if global warming problem exists and we don’t do anything about it then it will become a disastrous problem for mankind in future.

So it is more important to see what steps we can take that would prove beneficial whether or not anthropogenic global warming turns out to be a problem. These steps can be termed “no regrets” policies.

How can be a “No Regrets Global Warming Policy” made? Well a global warming policy can be termed “no regrets” as long as it:

  • When the greenhouse gases amount is reduced being emitted in the atmosphere.
  • To make less such things, prevent or reduce harm associated with global warming.
  • Providing greater capacity for dealing with problems associated with global warming.
  • Making such policies for global warming that wont affect the economy and are beneficial.

1 – Eliminate all subsidies to use

Subsidies to energy R&D cost taxpayers millions of dollars while producing minimal benefits. Though these programs may be relatively small according to the size of domestic energy markets, they server little, if any, useful purpose while subsidizing large corporations at taxpayer expense. Whether threat of global warming is real or not but that is a one more reason to eliminate these subsidy programs.  There is an international agreement that aimed at ending energy subsidy with binding targets would be a significant victory for emissions reduction. While Kyoto forces on energy starvation diet on its participants, such a treaty would be a move to combat energy obesity.

2 – Repeal the Federal Flood Insurance Program

More concern about potential global warming in U.S. is the rising of sea level, which will cause the floods. That’s why much of the investment in potentially vulnerable areas is a result of the Federal flood Insurance Program.  This program helps for building in vulnerable areas by acting as a moral hazard that’s why people take greater risk because government had ensured to help to bear that risk.

More realistic view of that issue will be that reform will reduce the moral hazard connected with building in vulnerable area and transferring the risk from the taxpayer to the private sector.

3 – Reform Air Traffic Control Systems

More demand for air travel means more flights and that means greater fuel use and a large amount of emissions. Current air traffic control system in U.S. is based on a 1929s-era system of beacons, which may hinder innovations that could reduce fuel use and emissions. As its generally known that a shorter flight consumes less fuel. Neither of airlines or pilots are having freedom to choose more economical air route. If pilots will be given freedom to map their own course in an attractive and desirable change in the eyes of industry and for environment it will be a great impact. That will also save considerable amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and it will have significant impacts in terms of time and expense to the U.S. economy. Same like that significant reductions in service levels associated with more routine applications of emissions reduction policy will be proffered to that approach.

4 – Facilitate Electricity Competition

Energy waste and emissions will reduce considerable by rejecting the model of central regulation and letting suppliers to meet their customer’s needs more exactly while relying on distributed generation. It will be economically beneficial by reducing the energy waste and even if emissions themselves do not cause any problems.

5 – Reduce Regulatory Barriers to New Nuclear Build

There is no doubt about that there is no other technology than nuclear which is proven to be capable of providing emissions-free energy at the scale required to make significant reduction in carbon emissions.  But problem for that a nuclear plant takes a long time to be built. Because of that development and construction costs get higher up to the level where it is not economically competitive with higher emitting forms of electricity generation like coal and natural gas. According to nuclear energy institute a nuclear power plant take 10 years from concept to operation, from those 10 years only 4 years are for construction, 2 years for permit application development and 4 years Nuclear Regulatory Commission takes for deciding.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)

Renewable energy can help to resolve the problems such as increasing prices of fossil fuel oil, need for more energy for domestic use, and harmful air pollution. National renewable electricity standard can help to provide energy with clean domestic resources. That will help to stabilize electricity prices, reduction in natural gas prices, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful air pollutants.

Most of all it will create jobs especially in rural areas and farmers and ranchers will find new income.

What is a Renewable Electricity Standard?

The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) or Renewable Portfolio Standard is a market-based process, which requires utilities to gradually increase the portion of electricity produced from renewable resources like wind, biomass, geothermal, and solar energy. Thirteen states including Texas had ordained minimum renewable energy requirements. But energy production makes national economic and environmental problems, which need national solutions.

The RES Relies on Market Forces

Use of tradable “renewable energy credits” for achieving compliance at the lowest cost, the functions like the Clean Air Act credit-trading system that permits lower-cost, market-based compliance with prescribed air pollution rule.  This approach creates a competition between the renewable generators, providing greatest amount of clean power with lowest price and also plays major role for driving costs down.

Benefits of the Renewable Portfolio Standard

The Renewable Portfolio Standard is having following benefits:

Saves Consumers and Business Money

America’s homegrown renewable energy resources by several enterprises had created a more competitive market, which can reduce natural gas prices and save consumers money on their energy bills. Renewable energy is not responsible for changing prices that can harm natural gas power plants.

There are two recent studies, which made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); they used high renewable energy cost estimates and find that a national RES will provide 10 percent of U.S. electricity from renewables till 2020 and that will lower natural gas prices. It will be having no impact o the electricity prices and will save energy consumers as much as $13.2 billion.

There is another 2002 UCS report “ Renewing Where We Live” also shows that a 10 percent by 2020 national RES will significantly reduce consumer energy bills. In this report this also had been looked that what will happen if the national RES were doubles to 20 percent by 2020. In this aspect, the RES will achieve greater diversity, economic development and also beneficial for the environment. And it will save $4.5 billion for consumer’s energy bills.

Reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lower fossil fuel prices

Studies by UCS, the Department of Energy, and other studies shows that RES is able to create healthy competition for fossil fuel power plants that are increasingly fueled by natural gas. When the natural gas heavy demand will reduce then RES will be able to reduce natural gas prices to homes and businesses.

Current chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and former Chair of the Texas Public Utilities Commission, Pat Wood who had implemented the nation’s most successful RPS to date says, “ The benefit of wind and solar energy is a predictable price path, and your variable costs will be zero.”

Foster economic development

This RES will arouse domestic investment in new renewable energy throughout the nation, creating jobs and income in rural areas and also in high tech and manufacturing sectors.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy would provide $1.2 billion in new income for farmers and rural landowners by 2020 and 80,000 new jobs. By tripling use of biomass energy in U.S. could provide as much as $20 billion new income for farmers and rural communities. When United States will be having a strong domestic renewable energy industry then the economy will benefit from the large export potential of this industry.

Reduce emissions and environmental impacts

Taking on a strong national renewable energy standard can reduce United States carbon dioxide emissions because the heat-trapping gas is first for being responsible of global warming from electricity generation. Along with energy efficiency improvements, power plant carbon emissions can be significantly reduced.

One of leading source for carbon emissions in U.S. is electricity generation. Almost 40 percent of carbon is emitted by power plants in United States.

A renewable energy standard will also significantly reduce other emissions such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. These mentioned pollutants mainly cause acid rain, smog, respiratory illness and water contamination.

EIA’s recent study shows that the RES could reduce the cost of controlling power plant emissions by reducing pressure on natural gas prices. RES will also reduce the need of drilling for natural gas, building new pipelines and power lines. It will also reduce the need for mining, transportation and burning of coal. Renewable energy can be more efficient and faster than developing new fossil and nuclear energy supplies.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tips to Buy Cheap Solar Panels

You can find cheap solar panels in many places if you know what to look for. The cheap solar panels that you want to buy can be new or used ones. Here I will write down some tips that will help you to get best use of your hard earned dollars.

1 – Search for Sale Items in Your Country

It’s cheaper and easier if you buy from the country you live in, through postage, insurance and supplier service. It will be quicker and easier to return the item if you don’t want it. Aside from that items would have to travel less and will be having less chance to get any damage in transit.

2 – The DIY Option

There are few claims about producing cheap solar panels and wind generators, whether those are true or false. But if you have access to the materials outlined in the manuals, you can make a cheap solar panel. The Earth 4 Energy is most reliable ebook to learn that. They have full refund within 8 weeks so you can’t go wrong. This company is having good track record of giving refunds when requested.

3 – New Cheap Solar Panels

New solar panels and other equipment come along a warranty and an indication of build quality. You will have to check with the seller that how you can claim the warranty; is the seller the person who would deal with a damages item, or is this your responsibility? Posting damaged solar panel from one place to other is time consuming and expensive.

You will have to look out these factors against the possibly lower item cost if it is being sold by a new vendor or on an auction site.

The best way to get the new cheap solar panels is to buy it directly from the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s main supplier. When you will buy directly from the manufacturer or main supplier, you will save the money which vendor will get as profit margins. And big suppliers are more reliable when it comes to support with warranty issues.

4 – Used Cheap Solar Panels

Used solar panels can be lot cheaper than new ones. But before buying the used panels you must see few things. If the solar panel is old then it will be having less productivity, because the age of a panel affects its productivity usually in a thin film panel.  Look at the structure of the panel if it’s sealed properly or not. If there will be moisture inside the glass or plastic cover then it will be having huge impact on its performance.

In other things you will have to see if it provides a steady flow throughout the day. If not then it means the panels are having some issues with corrosion or other damage to the internal circuitry. Usually this problem old thin film solar cells get.

A necessary thing the used panel which you are buying look carefully that its not being used on a boat.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Solar Shingles and Photovoltaic Panels

Solar roof tiles are up-and-coming technology which is replacing the bulky photovoltaic panels that have been commonly used to make solar power.

As photovoltaic panels are used commonly so people mostly know about them, but what are solar shingles? Are they same competent like photovoltaic panels? These are couple of questions which must be coming in your mind.

Is Shingles better than traditional Photovoltaic Panels?

Solar shingles are better than traditional photovoltaic panels because of their small size; shingles are having same size as the traditional shingles. The shingles lay on the roof same as regular roof shingles and their appearance is a dark publish hue. This means you will not have to sacrifice design and aesthetic quality by placing big panels on your roof. Solar shingles are lot easier to install, unlike with a regular photovoltaic power system the shingles are extremely easy and take a lot less time to install, with several models you can just hammer them to the roof.

Solar shingles are also called solar roof tiles or “building-integrated photovoltaic” BIPVs for short.  Solar roof tiles were introduced in 2005, so it means they are relatively new in the field of green energy. There are various companies producing solar shingles and prices are dropping also time to time because of competition and further breakthroughs in the technology.

What you should know before buying solar shingles?

Important thing which you need to know before purchasing solar roof shingles is that figure out if your house is suitable for photovoltaic power generation. You must be having a good roof for photovoltaic roof shingles. There might be zoning laws which you’ll have to check with the proper channel before you purchase your system.

How Solar Shingles Work?

Solar shingles work same as solar photovoltaic panels. They are made of crystalline silicon disks which are then attached tometal-conductors. Solar cells within the shingles convert the sunlight into DC voltage, to supply that power to home inverter is used to change it into AC voltage so that house appliances can use the power. Solar shingles are lot smaller and cumbersome than traditional photovoltaic panels.

How solar shingles can be beneficial for you?

As solar shingles generate green energy which means you don’t rely on conventional power that is generated from coal, nuclear, or gas. The best thing is that it generates cheap energy means that you will pay less for your electricity. You can also make money as most systems are integrated into the electricity grid, which allow you to sell excess energy back to the grid.

Solar shingles come with the warranty of 20 years, some with 50 years also.  This means you will be having a long time period to save more and you will not need to replace damaged solar shingles. There are also government run incentive programs which will help the expense of installing a new photovoltaic system.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Build a Solar Controlled Battery Charger?

The sun is amazing source of energy but that’s up to us that how to convert the sunlight into usable energy. But the process of converting solar won’t have to be complicated. Batteries power many of products, which we use in daily life.

The simple way is to hook up solar panels to battery chargers to provide free energy to run your home appliances.

How to create a Solar Power Battery Charger?

Here are simple steps for creating a solar battery charger:

Step 1

Buy a solar panel, which almost match the amps and voltage output that the cigarette-lighter adapter is rated for. On cigarette-lighter adapter you can see the printed information.

Step 2

Cigarette-lighter adapter will be plugged into the battery charger and put the rechargeable batteries you want to charge in the charger.

Step 3

One alligator clip will be connected from the first set to the exposed metal tip end of the cigarette-lighter adapter that inserts into the cigarette lighter. Then connect a clip from the second set of alligator clips to the exposed metal on the side of the adapter.

Step 4

Opposite ends of the alligator clip sets are connected to the positive/negative connections on the back of the solar panel.

Step 5

Now you can place the solar panel outside so that it can collect the energy and batteries starts charging.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rental Solar Panels

It’s true that getting a solar panel for your home power needs is and effective way to immediately cut your impact on coal plants made power. Buying a solar panel costs a lot even then it’s an economically sound decision on long run.

As average homeowners can not afford to buy a solar panel, keeping this point in view some entrepreneurial companies had started solar panel leasing for interested homeowners.

Rental Companies

Citizenr’s REnU program is having several advantages over traditional solar panel purchase. The other solar panel releasing companies are:

  • FreEner-g is developed initially in Minnesota for serving the Minneapolis/St.Paul Area.
  • In Connecticut there is CT Solar Lease.
  • Serving for Arizona, California, and Oregon is SolarCity.

How These Companies Work?

Though the companies are having different terms and conditions but the basic thing about leasing solar panels is consistent in each package. To have that rental solar panel for your home needs you would have to deposit initially almost $500-$1,000. This deposit money you can refund at the end of your lease. This is the initial process after that solar panels are installed in your according to your household’s energy needs. Every month you would have to pay the rent to the company that leased the panels.

The power which is produced by the solar panels for your home flows back into the grid which causes the meter to run backward. These solar panels are available only for those places which are having net metering; means that the difference between what is produced and what is used can be tracked.

The Economics

There is a big difference between buying and renting the solar equipment. Let’s say if you buy the photovoltaic (PV) panels to power your home it will cost you almost $50,000. But if you buy it only for heating the water it will cost you around $6,000 which can be lowered more after rebates and tax credits and factored in. But there is one benefit of solar panel that it increases the value of your home and some areas allow you to sell power back to grid.

If you want to what it would cost you according to your area, Find Solar website is having a solar calculator that estimates costs of buying solar panels according to the location and few other factors. Keeping the above mentioned solar panel costs, its really hard for a common person to buy it, even if he do saving for ten years.

In such case only solar panel lasing is the way for a common person. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is having the complete information regarding leasing, rebates programs, loans, grants, incentives, exemptions, and many more for renewable energy and energy efficiency in each state.

Rental solar panels are having so small startup cost, and that is also possible to lock in a rate that will stay constant for the next 25 years but that depends on the rental period, that for how many years you will use it. In the beginning the costs for per month will exceed as the energy will be obtained from the grid. Anyhow the savings are likely based on the theory that the energy costs will continue to rise, but have no guarantee of paying off in the long run.

Though rentals are little riskier than buying panels but that will surely save you big money after a couple of decades. If we put a small variation in cost aside, solar power rental will allow hundreds of thousands of homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint and decrease dependence on non-renewable resources.

Currently it’s really difficult to predict that the costs for solar rental will be slightly higher, equal or lower than the traditional power from the grid, but one thing is for sure if this enterprise succeeded then it will be a good mark for environmental benefits.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Solar Energy Cost and Economic Impact

Solar energy prices from last 10 to 15 years had declined an average of 4% per year. A lot of progress has been made for increasing the cell’s efficiency, and manufacturing economies of scale are the underlying drivers of this price decrease. The figures in the Solarbuzz Global Price survey clearly show that prices had declined consistently over the last two years.

A solar energy system for home usually cost almost $8-10 per Watt. If the government incentive programs exist and coupled with lower prices secured through volume secured through volume purchases then installed costs for solar panels can become as low as $3-4 watt, means that 10-12 cents per kilowatt hour can be achieved. If there is no incentive programs then solar energy costs range between 22-40 cents/kWh for very large PV systems.

Other system that is used in large power stations is the concentrating solar power (CSP) technology. It’s a large collection of mirrors or lenses which are used to produce heat or directed towards PV systems. CSP technology costs $2-$4 per Watt. Some had estimated that these types of solar arrays can produce 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050. It’s expected also that CSP costs will become as low as 6-7 cents per kWh, which is almost equal to conventional energy production. CSP industry is growing rapidly in Spain and United States.

Solar energy already haves remarkable effect on the world economy. According to the Department of Energy in United States market for PV is expected to be around $ 27 billion dollars by 2020 and it will create 150,000 new jobs. As a matter of fact solar energy allows the countries without a grid infrastructure to power isolated areas, and no hurdle in receiving a free source of energy from sun. The distribution transmission lines are having life, which ends with passage of time. Even in the United States those distribution transmission lines are becoming critical due to aging infrastructure and local emission errors. That’s why solar energy in a way is free from such troubles, and it provides energy independence, for example in Hawaii’s Mauna Lani Bay Hotel’s had installed PV cells on the roof top, which produce 75kW of energy and this solar panel array is expected to pay itself off in 5 years.

It is calculated that 25,000 square kilometers of solar panels can produce all of the US electricity needs for one year, and obviously this amount of land is available in the United States. If we see the figures then we’ll know that more land is being used to grow ethanol currently.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Facts about Solar Energy

Installation of solar panels in home for getting solar energy benefit you in two ways; one is that you gets cheapest energy for your home and second it increases you home value. Modern solar systems are more accurate, efficient and easy to install.

Though initially installation of solar panels cost you much but on long term you really know that your investment haven’t gone in vain. When the solar panel will be installed, the costs are being depreciated over time, the system itself adds to your home value. Most of all you are having a satisfaction that you are using clean and non-polluting systems.

Six Things That Makes Solar Energy a Better Choice

  1. Unlike other energy sources oil, coal, or natural gas solar energy haves free source.
  2. If you sell back the extra electricity to the electric company made by your solar panel you can have no electric company bill.
  3. You can share the costs and benefits along your neighbors but under certain circumstances. For that look for local laws and restrictions if that is possible in your area.
  4. Solar energy is a clean power and haves very low environment effect. It’s having no emissions, no maintenance costs and no unstable fuel costs.
  5. You can have government sponsored rebates, financial incentives and tax credits also.
  6. Most important factor is that solar power peak production time is same when the electric company is having peak usage time and highest rates. This benefits you because at that time you do not need to use the most expensive type of power company electricity.

Some Important Facts about Solar Energy

About other facts on first you must know about the solar energy that how it works, what is the lifetime of your solar panels and how you can improve the value of your home and reduce costs?

Here are some facts about solar energy:

Solar Energy is not so complicated

Solar panels get the sunlight on solar photovoltaic (PV) cells, which then activate electrons. Then the electrons jump from atom to atom and make a chain of electricity that runs through a charge controller in the form of a DC charge. That charge can be stored in a battery which you can use as 12 volt DC current or transform it by using an inverter to 110 volt AC current. AC current is used mostly in home appliances.

Durability of Solar Panels

Though the full sun is best for your solar panel for producing the energy but it is operational also in other conditions. The life of solar panels can be from 3 to 25 years. Most of solar panels are having warranty of 10 to twenty years.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making a Solar AAA Battery Charger: Step By Step Guide

Solar cells or photovoltaic semiconductors are the most easy and cheap way to charge small batteries. Making a solar battery charger is inexpensive and provides savings in the future from the cost of new batteries.

Here are some simple steps for building a solar charger:

Step 1

For charging a AAA battery it’s necessary that solar panel must generate more than 1.5 volts in direct sunlight. Smaller solar panels can not do this on their own, for they should be soldered in a series to boost the output voltage. For connecting those in series wire the positive lead of the first panel to the negative lead of the second panel. Continue this procedure until the output voltage gets higher enough.

Step 2

Last positive lead must be connected one side of the diode and other side will be wired to the positive terminal of the battery. The small plastic battery holder makes it easy to change the batteries out once charged. Remaining positive and negative leads will be solder to the terminals on the holder. When it will be completed then the circuit will be having chained solar panels to the battery holder, if more than one panel is required.

Step 3

Build the entire solar array on the wood board to give it a solid surface. For fixing each panel on the wood apply a small amount of glue at back of each panel and while affixing them on wood don’t press them hard because solar panels are glass.

Step 4

On final step place the battery in the holder and put the entire apparatus into direct sunlight. One battery charging time will be proportional to the output voltage. For instance is solar panel array puts out 3 volts, then the battery may charge to 95% in eight hours and if out is doubled then it might take only 3 to 4 hours.

Tips and Precautions

While using electricity and soldering wear proper protection equipment and you must be having proper ventilation while soldering.

Never try to connect solar panels in “parallel”, or positive-to-positive.

Solar Powered Refrigerator

In third world countries solar power generators are used most commonly. These refrigerators works by harnessing the solar energy, and they preserve the goods like meat, vegetables and dairy. The much needed vaccines are also put in those refrigerators to avoid them from spoiling. The portable devices of the solar refrigerators can be constructed easily by use of simple components, and it really works in the areas where there is no electricity or unreliable power supply.

Different size and technology solar power refrigerators are being already employed in Africa. The biggest challenge for solar power refrigerators is unreliability of the sunshine, as its available several hours in the day but sometime it’s cloudy for days. So to have constant refrigeration phase change material is added.

Refrigerators Impact on Environment

Conventional refrigerators are having some dangerous impacts on the environment such as contributing to ozone layer depletion and global warming. The substances in refrigerators that cause the ozone layer depleting and global warming are chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), in their insulation foam or their refrigerant cycle are the most harmful.  In 80s CFC’s were banned then they were replaced with substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) both are the ozone depleting and contribute to global warming chemicals. Solar energy use for refrigeration tries hard to have minimum impacts on the environment.

Solar Refrigeration History

Solar refrigerators for specifically developed for developing countries. So that vaccines can be stored in proper temperature. As electricity in such countries is unreliable or some of their areas are having no electricity that’s why conventional refrigerators can’t work there.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Biofuel Facts

Bio fuels are basically the alternative fuels for the petroleum based fuels. They are thought to be energy conserving, pollution free and environment friendly.

Actual Facts about the Biofuels

They are basically prepared from the biological materials and the purpose behind their usage is that they pollute the environment comparatively less than the petroleum based fuels. But the reality is somehow converse to it. It is found that the amount of carbon dioxide released by the Biofuels in the environment is four times larger than that of petroleum based fuels. These findings are recently released by the European Commission in Brussels, released under the Freedom of Information Act. The particular ones are the oils used for fuel extracted from the soybean biomass.

Negative Aspects

If we put the concentration of carbon contributed to the environment by the usage of Biofuels, there is another important factor that must be considered regarding its preparation. Most of the Biofuels are prepared by exacting the oils from the plant sources. This destroys the plant life and is likely to cause certain problems in the ecosystem. After that, once they have been prepared, their burning produces too much of the carbon dioxide gas in the environment that is harmful both for the plant and animal life. The ratio of oxygen in such environment ultimately gets lowered.

Non Eco-Friendliness of Biofuels

There has been a long-standing battle for a number a years for bio fuels in the market due to the non eco-friendless characteristics. The recent report released by the European Commission is expected to cause a decrease in the production and consumption of biofuels in many areas of the world.

Biofuels-Food Industry

A part from that, a significant impact ob the food industry has also been observed. It is because most of the staple plants are used in the production of bio-fuel and thus it causes the shortage in the market. The food companies are selling their food stock to the fuel manufacturing companies at higher rates of profit without realizing the consequences. This is also caused inflation in the prices of food commodities especially staple crops.


Taking about the transportation done through the usage of biofuels, it is quite expensive than the one done by the petroleum-based fuels. They are though to be the better alternatives and conventional fuels but actually they are affecting both the people and the environment in the adverse way.


The biomass that is to be used for the production of a particular bio-fuel must be studied properly. The amount of carbon released by a particular biomass upon burning must be considered. Hence, all such bio-masses that produce high carbon concentration would not be used in the preparation of the biofuels. It would definitely help in generating the cleaner burn for the fuel. The end or by products must also be studied before the preparing of bio-fuel from particular plant or biomass. In short, selective bio-fuel production must be done based on the after affects of the bio-masses.