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Residential Solar Power Systems

Gorry Terry

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There are many astute homeowners who currently enjoy miniscule energy bills and who are concerned about the environment who are part of a quiet revolution to reduce their dependence on big government and the power companies. .

Solar energy for homes is a reality for these astute homeowners. In this article I look at the background to solar power systems and how you can get a piece of the action.

There is a big difference between the cost of solar electricity today and what you had to pay a few years back. The government also helps you convert your home either partially or completely to solar energy by offering tax rebates.

The efficiencies of the different arrangements and designs of the photovoltaic cells used in solar energy systems are not the same. The warranties may also be different. A panel that has a efficiency value of 15%, with a 1 year warranty will not be as valuable to you as another that has 13% efficiency but which comes with a lifetime warranty. Ask for a second opinion from friends and talk to people who have experience of using solar panels.

There are 3 different types of designs for solar panel systems.

Grid-ties System: In this arrangement your solar panels are connected to your electricity meter. This arrangement allows you to use the electricity coming from the power grid when the sun is not shining or you need to use more electricity than what you can obtain from your panels.

Grid-tie with battery backup: In this system batteries are used to store excess electricity, and any electricity over that is then fed back to the power company.

Stand-alone system: This solar energy system is not connected to the power grid and works on its own to power your home. The batteries (if bought) store the excess energy which can be used at night or when the sun is not shining.

You can buy new and used solar panels but a much better option is to make your own solar panels which can be made with reasonable diy skills and for a tiny investment.

Make sure that you know exactly how much energy you require before you consider the different options available to you. Take a look at your bills to determine ho much your energy consumption varies from month to month. Keep in mind the amount of sunlight that is available at different times of the year along with the heating and cooling requirements.

After completing your research and perhaps considering whether using wind energy with small wind generators alongside your solar panels might be the best option for you given your climate and locality.

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