Tag Archives: solar energy

6 Solar Energy Myths

1. There’s Not Enough Sunshine In My Area for Solar

America is bathed in sunlight. Solar works, even in the Pacific Northwest or the Northeast where cloudy days are more frequent — you’ll just need a bigger system. Photoelectric systems produce optimally in spring, summer and early fall. Bear in mind, you don’t need a crystal-clear, blue sky to generate electricity. Even on cloudy days, solar electric systems easily generate 10 to 20 percent of their full capacity.

2. The Cost of Solar Is Too High

The costs associated with home solar electric systems have plummeted in recent years, mostly because of industry streamlining. In fact, solar has never been cheaper.

Moreover, solar electricity’s lifetime cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is significantly cheaper than other North American utility options, in part because of the federal Investment Tax Credit extension, which is now good until 2022. (See http://goo.gl/F3iPHt for more on tax credit extensions.)

In the Midwest, electricity from a solar electric system currently costs around 6 to 7 cents per kWh with the 30 percent credit, based on installation costs. In sunnier regions, such as the West and Southwest, the cost of electricity from a solar electric system is even lower. For comparison, large, investor-owned utilities typically charge 10 to 17 cents per kWh, sometimes more.

Even without the federal tax credits, solar electricity is still less expensive or on par with energy costs from

major utilities. And, unlike conventional power, the cost of electricity from a solar system won’t steadily increase. Consequently, solar electric systems hedge against inflation and spikes in energy prices, frequently providing a return on investment in the range of 3 to 5 percent.

The challenge with solar is that prepaying your electric bill requires a huge chunk of change. Because you have to pay for 30 to 50 years of electricity upfront, solar often appears outrageously expensive, at first glance.

Fortunately, in many areas, installers will lease you a system. And they’ll install a system on your home free of charge. You’ll simply pay them for the electricity the system generates for a set period, usually about 15 to 18 years. In this case, customers’ electricity bills are often cheaper than what they would have paid to utility providers throughout the life of the lease.

When the lease is up, the solar system will be yours, and all of your electricity will be free from that point on. You could easily benefit from another 15 to 20 years of free electricity, although you might need to install a new inverter.

read more at: http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/solar-power/home-solar-myths-zm0z16amzbre.aspx

Disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only

Solar Energy for People Who Can’t Afford It

Make your own heating for your home

Make your own heating for your home

Jason Edens started experimenting with a solar-powered furnace because he didn’t have any money and he didn’t want to be cold. He is happy to explain how “solar thermal” technology works. It’s what he does as the founding director of the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, which manufactures and installs solar energy systems across nine states.

First, here is what a solar-powered furnace isn’t: the familiar shiny photovoltaic panels that rest on the roof, generating electricity year-round. Instead, “essentially it is an aluminum-and-glass box,” said Mr. Edens, 41. Inside one of these solar thermal systems “is what I like to call a sun sponge or the absorber, the part that inverts the irradiance of the sun into useful heat.”

Will a solar powered furnace add value to your home in San Diego?  Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your value questions.

Still can’t picture it? Try this: A solar-powered furnace is a slab of coated metal and a fan. The technology, which was patented way back in 1881, Mr. Edens said, operates when the sun shines.

But let’s get back to that cold winter a dozen years ago in Pine River, Minn. Mr. Edens, then a graduate student in environmental policy, was so poor that he ran out of propane to heat his 1,250-square-foot home.

read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/20/garden/solar-power-to-the-people.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ref=realestate

Disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only

Are We On the Cusp of A Solar Energy Boom?


The total solar energy hitting Earth each year is equivalent to 12.2 trillion watt-hours. That’s over 20,000 times more than the total energy all of humanity consumes each year.

And yet photovoltaic solar panels, the instruments that convert solar radiation into electricity, produce only 0.7 percent of the energy the world uses.

Does solar add value to your home?  Contact the appraisers at www.scappraisals.com for your value questions.

So what gives?

For one, cost: The U.S. Department of Energy estimates an average cost of $156.90 per megawatt-hour for solar, while conventional coal costs an average of $99.60 per MW/h, nuclear costs an average of $112.70 per MW/h, and various forms of natural gas cost between $65.50 and $132 per MW/h. So from an economic standpoint, solar is still uncompetitive.

And from a technical standpoint, solar is still tough to store. “A major conundrum with solar panels has always been how to keep the lights on when the sun isn’t shining,” says Christoph Steitz and Stephen Jewkes at Reuters.

But thanks to huge advances, solar’s cost and technology problems are increasingly closer to being solved.

Read more at: http://theweek.com/article/index/244437/are-we-on-the-cusp-of-a-solar-energy-boom

Disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only.