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A Consumer Guide To Residential Solar Electricity

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ernest Wilkioull @ 10:29 pm February 19, 2012
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With soaring residential electricity costs and as more and more people become more environmentally aware, harnessing solar energy to power homes has become a very attractive prospect. Having a PV system installed has many advantages. Aside from helping our environment by lowering dependence to fossil fuels and reducing utility expenditures, it will also add value to your home, allowing you to sell the house for a much higher price. One commonly cited drawback though is that capital expenses from equipment and installation are high.

For a medium size home, a PV system would set you back about twenty thousand dollars, which covers purchase and installation, although this can differ significantly among vendors and communities. However, it is worth noting that a solar electricity system has relatively long service life, around 30 years, provided it is properly and periodically inspection and maintained, and usually homeowners will have ROI in 4-5 years after state, federal, utility incentives; net metering and rebate programs. Since ROI happens much earlier in the system’s service life, this would mean you enjoying free electricity for years. In such regard, having a PV system installed at your home is feasible, especially because breakthroughs and strong consumer and government support for solar technologies are bringing initial costs down and making modules more reliable than ever. In remote areas, for instance, your weekend cabin in the backcountry, PV systems will also be the more economically feasible choice in comparison to line extensions.

Typically, a PV system is made up of solar cells arranged in array on a peg board and interconnected by electrical wirings. To extend the service life and improve stability of the module, it is mounted onto a board and covered with glass. It will also have an inverter to convert electricity produced by the system from direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy which is used to power household appliances and lighting fixtures.

Separate diodes are also required to avoid reverse currents during partial or total shading and at night. Also, without diodes, the cells are prone to overheat, and shorten the service life of the module. Photovoltaic systems may or may not have battery packs. A stand-alone system with battery packs will be able to store power during the day which can be used at night or during cloudy weather. A grid-connected system without custom battery packs will not be able to generate power for the house when the utility grid is down. Custom battery packs are made of special batteries, a battery charge controller to prevent overcharging, and sometimes a power meter that displays the amount of power used, produced, and stored in the battery bank.

Some individuals opt to create their own PV system by following do-it-yourself guides on the Internet. However, using a professional, licensed contractor to install your PV system can prevent problems due to improper installation and maintenance.

Solar electricity has many benefits. To have reliable solar power at home during nighttime and bad weather, your solar module should be supported by custom battery packs. More info about solar panels with battery packs here.

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