Saving Energy with Solar Power Using Homemade Solar Panels
When you look over there you see the more common size of solar panel. Don't be afraid that it looks that terrible because I did that solder it together by myself. There are companies who are producing these full sized cells and sometimes when they produce them, they break. And that what you see here, these pieces are all broken. And the funny thing is that it doesn't matter if they are broken or not, they are still producing electricity and each of these pieces is producing 1.5 volts. And the wattage depends on the size.
So this one will produce much more watt than a small one or a broken one. And so you see what I did is here is just put them together. The sun shines on it and ions go through this silicon. So on the top you have minus and on the bottom you have plus. And so I grab the plus from the bottom and bring it here to the next one so this is then the first 1.5 volts. It comes here, feeds in here. The next one has 3 volts. So it goes back there,.
Saving Energy with Solar Power Using Solar Panels for Energy
OK, we talked about catching the sun, but you can catch the sun in different ways. You know, the sun is really the main reason that we exist on this Earth, because it provides us with energy. And this kind of solar cells us see here, is a different kind that we have on our roof because this is not one cell after another. That's really always one piece, and it's producing electricity even when it's shady, even if the sun is not full shining, these cells can produce electricity. The bad thing on it is that these cells are not quite.
Happy when it gets too hot, so you really have to have some kind of air going around it. And in high summer, these are not that perfect, but they work. And a size like this you see here is producing 45 watts an hour, and at the moment the sun is shining, so it will produce full 45 watts an hour. And when you buy these at the local store here, you will pay around 200 dollars for it. So, you can calculate that you spent 200 dollars, but you get as long as the sun is shining, the 45 watts an hour out of it. So, it really.
Pays of in not a too long of time, but it's not as cheap as when you get your electricity from the grid. But we use it to charge our car battery sometimes. For the golf cart it's perfect to charge it. So, it's a mobile system. You get, with the price, you get a lamp for it so you can use it to, for your tent, or when you have a hut out there somewhere where you have no electricity. You put these there and a little golf cart battery, and when you.
How much does going solar cost
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Saving Energy with Solar Power Using a Solar Powered Water Heater
So what you see here is our water heater. And this water heater is a big one, because we want to store as much water as possible when we get the hot water from the sun. If you would use only a 10 gallon or a 20 gallon water heater, and we take a shower, then the water will be gone. So we use a big one because we want to store as much water as possible. And it's double insulated, so it has not the normal insulation, it's double insulated so.
It can store the hot water for at least 23 days before it gets cool. What we use in here, it's a little bit unusual because we use rain water in here. Many of you know that the water heater's really get problems when you have hot water because they get clogged up by the limestone, and they are, then you have to call a repair man or even throw it away, because nothing comes out there anymore. But when you use rain water, the rain water has no limestone in there. No lime, no hard particles. So this water heater is here for 12 years.
Now, 13 years now, and it will never clog up because rain water does not clog up a water heater. So that's a good thing. Another good thing is when you open it up on your faucet, the hot water you will not have the stains. When you use the rain water in your washing machine, then you only use a quarter of the detergent that you normally use because the detergent has not too soften your hard water. So, you save money there. And, as you know with a washing machine, you have the problem that the limestone is building up in there.
Too, and it clogs up your washing machine, and it gives stains in the machine and on your clothes. So, with rain water you don't have this problem. I only can recommend using a rain water catching system, and it's easy to do and it's not very expensive. Many states even supports the use of rain water in giving you a tax rebate on your rain water harvesting system. Here in Texas, we don't pay sales tax on it because when you tell your company you buy it from, the will cut out the sales tax, because Texas wants to have people use.
Saving Energy with Solar Power Using Golf Cart Batteries to Save Energy
We are down here in our basement. It's not very comfortable but we need the space because here, what you see there, is our golf car batteries. You can use different kind of batteries. There are much more sophisticated ones, but they are much more expensive so we choose just to get golf car batteries. Some of them are even recycled from someone who didn't need it any more. One of these batteries is about fiftyfive dollars. Why do we use golf car batteries A golf car battery is a deep cycle battery. That means it can store a lot.
Of energy but it's not able to give it away in a short moment. In a car you have a battery that needs full power when you turn around your key. In a golf car battery you want to have a battery that you can drive for a long time. The same idea we have here because we want to store the electricity we get for as long as possible because we never know when the sun is shining or when the wind is blowing. That's kind of a huge storage and the more.
Saving Energy with Solar Power Solar Panel Temperature Precautions
Another thing to mention is, again, warm water, hot water. When the sun is shining here, it can get so hot in here that this water in there would become steam. So, sometimes here, in Texas, it is needed that I have really to watch it that it gets not too hot. And, when you use hot water, that brings here your well water, then these pipes can clog up with limestone with lime in there very soon. Because lime in the water falls out at about 120 to 130 degrees. So, if it gets hotter than that, the lime will clog inside these pipes and.
The pipes will get smaller and smaller and after a while it will be not working any more. What we use here is our rainwater system, because we run the rainwater through here. Rainwater has no lime in it, no problems with calcium no problems with clog up. So, that's the reason why it can stay for 30 years and nothing happens to it. And the copper pipes can handle the rainwater without any problems so I would recommend to use hot water in solar water heating with soft water or rainwater. Sure you can use a water softener too, but.
DIY Solar Panel System Cost
The total of the system and materials was $22K. I ended up spending about another $1,800 in permit fees and a structural engineer and $400 for an electrician, several hundred dollars for a guy to come help me out for the two afternoons he spent with me. Xcel Energy gave me $16,538 rebate. Fix cost based on the number of kilowatts you are installing and has nothing to do with how much you pay the permit office or the electrician. My final cost after rebate was $7,237. I started my research in solar probably about a year before I actually installed it went.
And got a couple of bids from some of the local solar people both from contractors that my friends have used as well as just searching the internet and while talking to one of the guys I find of developed a good feeling from him, and I asked the question Would it be possible to do some of the work myself and kind of learn along the way he said Sure I absolutely support the doityourselfer DIY so I said why don't you throw me bids, what it would cost just come home and have solar one day and what it would cost to have.
It done where I do some or all the work myself. And throw them both to me and I said let's try the second one. The guys name is Steve Cross from Sun Spot Solar. I gave him my electric bills and said this is how much I think I need to generate and he said I agree and lets do these types of panels 180 watts each, you will need some where around 19 to 22 we figured out 21 fit pretty well. So I went and got all the permit information from Golden, filled it out. He came by 12.
Hour one day he type all the Xcel application on the internet and I kind of ran the process and when I had a question I would just send him an email and he helped me out. I think in parallel we order the equipment he dropped off in my driveway. Then one of his installers came out and helped me for two afternoons and I pretty much myself put in the whole rack system on the roof and the installer came out and helped me kind of a two man job carrying the panels up, putting the panels down and bracketing them down.
Saving Energy with Solar Power How Solar Energy is Converted
When the batteries are full or even if they are not quite full, with these big wires here, the energy runs to this inverter. The inverter is an electronic and electric unit that is able to use the 24 volts that are going in here and then changing it from a direct current, what they call DC, to Amplitude current, called AC. An outcome, here, is what you use for your house. That's a normal switch, that's a normal plug here, where we have out light in here. So, in a moment we are working with solar to get the light in here and to show.
You that it's so easy to store the electricity in batteries, to convert it to the power you want to. This one is 110, this black box, here, we brought with us from Germany, and this one will convert not to 110 but to 220 because that's what we use over in Germany. Then it goes up there to the house and we have our plugins and you can run your TV and your computer and your everything. What is not using too much power, you can run on solar. And, this way, usually when you have weather like today, beautiful sunshine and.
Wind, we use no electricity from the grid at all. Grid, the grid means, the grid is called what the electric provider is providing to you. So, in a moment our meter does not run at all because all of our electricity for the freezer, for the refrigerator, everything comes out of the batteries. When we have bad days, what happens too, there is no sun, no wind, then about after two days the batteries are empty. So they shut down by themselves, nothing can happen, but then we need the power from the grid. And so, we have an electricity.
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