Easy Home Solar Power

Solar Power For Homes

The great thing about solar power for homes is the many ways in which it can be utilized. From PV arrays (also known as solar panels) collecting sunlight for use throughout your home, to individual, stand-alone applications that cost you no money for daily operation. Solar energy is one of the best, most easily accessible, renewable energy sources out there.

There are 3 basic levels relating to solar power for homes:

  1. Off-the-Grid: no longer being tied to the local electrical utility
  2. Grid-tie: still tied to the local electrical utility, option to sell electricity back to utility
  3. Stand-alone applications: applications that utilize the solar energy they create

Off-the-Grid Homes Solar Power

Solar power for homes provides a way for you to become energy independent by going off-the-grid and being responsible for generating and storing all the electricity you need. This option is the highest in regards to initial investment, as you will need PV arrays, batteries, and a backup generator, all sized to run your house day and night. But your impact on the environment will be tremendous. Not to mention your savings as energy prices keep rising.

Grid-tie System for Solar Power

You can also stay on-the-grid, or grid-tie, and still make an impact on the environment by using solar power. For homes that don’t want the responsibility of providing ALL their own electricity, you can supplement your electric usage with solar power while still being tied to the electric grid. When the sun is not out (nighttime, storms, cloudy weather) or you just need more power than your home solar power system can provide, you use electricity from the electric company. You can still incorporate a battery bank, like off-the-grid, to store your excess solar power that you generate, or you can utilize net-metering. Either way, a solar grid-tie system will definitely help reduce your electric bill.

Solar Net-metering for Homes

There is a neat system called solar net-metering, which is available in most states. With net metering, you are utilizing a grid-tie system in which you sell any excess power back to the electric company for a credit. Not all states support solar net-metering – check the DSIRE database for your state’s incentives.

Stand-alone Solar Power for Homes

Other options for using solar power for homes are stand-alone applications, such as outdoor walkway lights and solar attic vents. Even if you are just lighting up your walkway, that’s electricity that you are getting from a renewable source – no carbon footprint on that walkway, or increase in your electric bill. Another great benefit to stand-alone solar power applications is the fact that you don’t need an electrician to do any wiring. And so many of these are great DIY solar power projects.

Updated Solar Tax Incentives

Whether going off-the-grid or staying grid-tied, solar power for homes can save you a lot of money in the long run. However, there is a considerable upfront cost associated with both of these options. To help alleviate some of the financial burden, new solar tax incentives were passed at the end of 2008. These solar tax credits were put in place to try to encourage more solar power for homes and will definitely help you in reducing the time in which you’ll see payback.

Benefits of Using Solar Power

So what are some of the benefits of solar energy?

  • Use less electricity from the utility company, which will reduce your electric bill, especially important with the current trend of increasing energy prices.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint – you are not contributing as much to global warming.
  • Generate savings for many years – most PV arrays have a 20 – 25 year warranty so your solar investment will be paying you back for many years.

Any way you utilize solar power for homes,
you are making a positive impact on the environment.

Filed Under Solar Power Info

Having an Off-the-Grid Home: Understanding the Basics

If you are considering having an off-the-grid home, you really need to understand how your entire solar power system for your home works. It’s not very complicated, but you do need to understand the following 9 components of a complete solar power system for living in an off-the-grid home. Read more

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Solar Grid-Tie Systems: The Best of Both Worlds

Do you want to start using solar power in your home but aren’t comfortable with unhooking from the electric utility and having an off-the-grid home? Then solar grid-tie systems are just what you’re looking for. A grid-tie system provides the benefit of generating and using your own solar power combined with the use of electricity from the grid when you need it. Read more

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Solar Net-Metering: How it Works

A great way to reduce your electric bill is to utilize solar net-metering. With solar energy net-metering, you “sell” any excess solar electricity back to your local utility. This is usually in the form of a credit. Your electric meter will literally run backwards when you are “selling” your electricity back. Then when you use electricity from your utility, the meter runs forward again. Read more

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Is DIY Solar Power Possible?

Is it really possible to have DIY solar power in your home? If you like do-it-yourself projects, then yes! Now what we’re talking about here is electrical power (photovoltaics), as opposed to solar water heaters and solar heat systems. Solar water heaters are also a great DIY solar project. Solar heat systems have best results when they are planned into the architecture and building of your home. Read more

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Solar Pumps

What better way to power your pond or fountain than with a solar pump? Ponds and fountains are a great DIY project, but when it comes to the wiring of the pump for water circulation/waterfalls, most people must hire an electrician to run the wire from their house to the pond/fountain. But what if you could take that part out? With a solar pump, you can!

Think about all the advantages of a solar pond pump or a solar fountain pump: Read more

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Universal Solar Battery Charger

A universal solar battery charger has the capability to charge numerous types of portable, rechargeable devices, such as laptops, mp3 players, and cell phones. Universal solar chargers usually come supplied with many different types of connectors for all types of devices.

Filed Under Solar Chargers, Solar Power Applications

Solar Trickle Charger

Most trickle chargers, solar or electric, are not made to charge a battery from a dead condition, but rather to keep a small, or trickle, charge to the battery to keep it from discharging. Some solar trickle chargers will also completely charge a battery, but those will tend to be more expensive.

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Solar Panel Battery Charger

A solar panel battery charger typically charges household AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt batteries. Some models come with interfaces to let you know what kind of solar power is available and how long it will take to fully charge the batteries. Other, more basic, types just provide a light to let you know they are charging.

One feature on some of the solar panel battery chargers worth looking at is a blocking diode. A blocking diode will prevent discharge of the batteries when left in the charger without actually charging. This is nice if you are trying to recharge batteries and it is cloudy or becomes nighttime.

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Solar Chargers

There are all types of solar chargers on the market today. There are some chargers made for explicit purposes, such as recharging everyday household batteries to trickle charging car and marine batteries. Other chargers, known as universal chargers, are able to connect and charge different devices with mulitple interfaces. Read more

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