Solar Options

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Old 08-22-05, 01:10 PM
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Solar Options

We want to install solar panels on our house. I'd really like a system that can expand as we need more power, and as panels get cheaper. Can anyone recommend a company? Is it likely that installers will give me a discount if I do some of the work myself?
 
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Old 08-22-05, 02:14 PM
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Expansion of the panels isn't so much of an issue as proper sizing of the inverter and battery stoarge. The amount of power you can get out of a solar installation is largely dependent on the size of the inverter you install. If you plan to expand, buy a large enough inverter to accomodate that expansion. I'm sure a solar designer/contractor will explain this in spades; but make sure he knows that future expansion is a design goal for you.

Also, consider a dual-use solar system in which you use some photovoltaic cells for power generation and some circulation panels for producing/supplementing your home's hot water supply.

Be sure to work with a good designer who has solar experience; ask for references and check them! Solar is a relatively new technology, and there are a lot of ways to spend tons of money and get a very poor system. Proper design of the whole system from panel sizing and placement to end uses is very important.

Call the California Energy Commision. They are very dedicated to solar and wind power, plus you can get tax breaks on the installation costs of the equipment.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/

http://www.otherpower.com

http://www.otherpower.com/otherpower_links.html#solar
 
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Old 08-22-05, 04:53 PM
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I'd look through Home Power magazine
 
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