Energy Blueprint - The Off-Grid

Energy Blueprint - The Off-Grid

Energy Blueprint - The Off-Grid

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 1 The Off-Grid Energy Blueprint How to Harness The Power of 100% Free Solar Energy By Sam McCoy

Energy Blueprint - The Off-Grid
  • If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 2 CONTENTS Introduction What are the Benefits of DIY Solar Power? 3 Chapter 1: Solar Electricity Basics 5
  • What Type of Solar System is best for my Home? 5
  • The Three Types of Solar PV Systems 6
  • How Much Power will my Solar Panels Produce? 8 Chapter 2: Choosing the Right Solar Power System 10
  • Is my Roof Up to the Challenge? 10
  • 5 Ways to Mess up your Solar Panel Layout 11
  • 4 Important Solar Panel Buying Tips 13 Chapter 3: DIY vs. Professional Installation 15
  • Are you up to The DIY Solar Power Challenge? 15
  • 7 Things to Know for a Safe DIY Installation 16
  • 10 Important Questions to Ask a Professional Solar Power Installer 17 Chapter 4: Solar Power Buying Guide 19
  • How much is it going to Cost? 19
  • Reduce your Energy Needs Now - - 20
  • Using Federal, State and Local Incentives to Help Lower Overall Costs 22
  • How can I Finance my Solar Power System? 23 Chapter 5: Grid Connected PV System Installation 25
  • The Pros and Cons of Owning a Grid Connected PV System 25
  • 5 Steps to a Grid Connected PV System 26
  • What the Heck are Safety Disconnects and why they are so Important? 27
  • AC/DC—Not the Band; the Power Supply 28
  • Do I Need a Battery Backup? 29 Chapter 6: Off Grid PV System Installation 31
  • The Pros and Cons of Owning an Off Grid PV System 31
  • 7 Steps to an Off Grid PV System 32
  • Should I Buy a Backup Generator? 34
  • Tips and Techniques for Maximizing Battery Life 35 Chapter 7: Non PV Solar System Installations 37
  • DIY Solar Water Heater 37
  • Tips for Building your Own Solar Heat Collector 38
  • Five Steps to Installing a Solar Tube Skylight 40

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 3 INTRODUCTION WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DIY SOLAR POWER? The amount of solar energy that strikes the earth in any given minute is equal to the same amount of power the entire planet consumes each year! Maybe that’s why solar power is one of the most promising sources of renewable clean energy. And with energy prices on the rise and growing concerns over the state of our environment, alternative energies like solar power are becoming more and more attractive to homeowners.

With advantages like clean power and a significant reduction in power bills, it’s no wonder why so many homeowners are choosing to install their own DIY solar power plant to power their homes—and change their lives for good. Installing your own solar power has many benefits such as:
  • Super savings on your electric bill. And in some cases, it may eliminate the need for a power bill all together. In best case scenarios, you may produce more power than you need, where you’ll end up selling it back to the power company for a profit.
  • Solar power doesn’t hurt the planet. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average four-person family home generates between 83,000-100,000 pounds of greenhouse gases each year when using conventional power sources like coil, natural gas and oil. That’s as much greenhouse gas that’s released by driving your car 100,000 miles! Solar power significantly reduces our homes greenhouse gas production and does it for decades at a time.
  • Blackouts/brownouts no more. When you haven’t got a need for power from the grid, problems like power outages from storms, downed power lines or heavy use are a thing of the past
  • Solar power helps your country. By purchasing your solar power goods from local companies, you can bet that manufacturing prices go down while GDP goes up. And by reducing our need on foreign oil and other overseas energies, we make our country
  • If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 4 more secure.
  • Solar power systems last. Generally, a solar power system will last 25-30 years without major upgrades or power failures.
  • DIY solar power has a great ROI. If you’re looking for a good return on your investment, it’s hard to beat a solar power installation. With the right rebates and tax incentives, DIY solar power costs can be recouped in 4-5 years. That translates into decades of guiltfree and cost-free power for your home.
  • Solar power can help to increase your home’s value. With increased energy efficiency, little to no utility bills and power access 24/7—even through stormy weather—the value of your home is significantly increased.
  • Little maintenance is required to keep up a home solar power supply. And if your home is connected to the grid, you don’t have to worry about the power going on and off when rotten weather doesn’t let your solar panels do their job.
  • Easy to install. Many systems are “plug and play” meaning that once you install the panels and components of the system, you just need to plug in all the wires for the system to be up and running. Simple installation processes mean that overall costs go down too.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 5 CHAPTER 1 SOLAR ELECTRICITY BASICS What Type of Solar System is best for my Home? With so many different solar power systems on the market, it’s no wonder it’s such a tough job to pick and choose the right solar design for you and your home. There are many different factors that can help decide whether or not your solar power system is a success. And without the right plan of action, you can bet that your DIY solar power system is going to be more like a DIY solar power flop.

Learn the basics of solar power first and help better understand what type of solar system is best for you and your home.

What is the PV Effect? The word “solar electricity” is really a misnomer. Solar power comes through the atmosphere every day and doesn’t “electrify” us. For electricity to be produced from solar radiation, it must be changed into electricity from its radiation form through a medium. This amazing effect can only take place when solar radiation strikes the medium of a photovoltaic cell. For a PV cell to work, a bit of polycrystalline silicon is applied in varying thicknesses to a substrate where conductive wires are added to each end of the now formed photovoltaic or PV cell. Once sunlight hits the cell, solar radiation is converted into electricity and travels through the two wires where it can then be used instantly—or stored away for later use.

This is known as the PV effect and its finer details make for a pretty boring dinner conversation. Solar panel companies make solar panels by connecting a series of PV solar cells together. When several solar panels are wired together, it is called a solar array. When several solar arrays are hooked together and are connected to other components, it can then be called a solar energy system.

Yet without the PV effect, our society as we know it would come to a screeching halt. It would mean the end of solar powered calculators, remote highway signs and most importantly every single satellite in space! The PV effect accounts for quite a bit of the world’s power needs and as science continues to research this phenomenal effect, thinner, better and cheaper solar panels will soon be on their way.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 6 The Two Types of Solar Panels There are two basic types of solar panels that are used for a home-based solar power system:
  • Crystalline SiliconA crystalline silicon panel is typically the most common form of PV solar panel power. It is often square or rectangular in shape and tends to be about 2-4 inches thick. Covered with a protective glass covering, these panels are the most efficient on the market—but also the most costly. Polycrystalline silicon solar panels are a bit cheaper than the single crystal version, but polycrystalline cells make up for it by being a little less efficient at gathering solar energy than their single crystal cell counterpart. Solar conversion ranges from 25-30%.

Thin FilmThis newer solar panel technology is becoming more prevalent as it gets more efficient. With conversion rates at around 10-20%, they won’t produce as much energy as a crystalline cell but they certainly are much cheaper—and more flexible too. Some thin film comes in long rolls that can be adhered directly to a metal roof for instant solar power production. The Three Types of Solar PV Systems Now that you know a little bit about the two types of PV panels that are most commonly used to power home based solar systems, we can talk about what type of solar power system is best for you and your home.

A solar PV system is comprised of more than just a few solar panels. The typical PV solar power system uses a combination of equipment to use and store the power generated from the PV panels—but we’ll talk about that later on. For now, we’ll focus on the following three solar PV systems and what they do.

Grid Connected This is probably one of the most common PV systems used in suburban systems. A grid connected system is just as its name implies—it’s hooked up to the main electrical grid. This allows the solar power system to more or less compliment your existing power supply. The typical grid connected solar power system consists of the following materials:

  • If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 7
  • PV Solar ArrayA series of wired PV solar panels
  • AC/DC Power InvertorConverts the DC power generated from the PV array into AC power
  • Service PanelA service panel or breaker box is located between the main junction box and the invertor
  • Power MeterUsed to display how much power the system produces and how much power the home is using at any given time
  • Safety Disconnect SwitchThis safety feature prevents solar power from energizing the grid during a power outage Battery Backup Grid Connected The only real difference between a grid connected system and a battery backup grid connected system are the batteries and a charge controller. These are used to store excess energy produced by the solar array. The power stored in these batteries is often used during the evening when solar panels produce no power. Battery backup also works great for when the main grid has a power outage. This type of system is a little more complicated than a grid connected solar system without battery backup and consists of the following materials:
  • PV Solar ArrayA series of wired solar panels that produce electricity
  • AC/DC Power InvertorConverts solar DC energy into an AC power supply
  • Battery BankUsed to store excess energy from the solar array
  • Charge ControllerPrevents the batteries from overcharging
  • Service PanelHouses the wiring connections and breakers between main breaker box and the invertor
  • Power MeterTells you how much power is being used, generated and stored in the batteries
  • Safety Disconnect SwitchStops power from traveling to the grid when the main grid power is out
If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 8 Off Grid These solar systems are not connected to the main power grid and are most common in areas where the utility grid is nonexistent or connection costs exceed the price of an off grid system. An off grid solar system supplies the entire structure with power while a battery backup is used to supply the structure with power during the night when the solar panels aren’t generating power. Diesel or other fuel powered generators are often used as a backup power source for the off grid solar system. An off grid solar system consists of the following materials:
  • Solar Panels-Used to generate power from the sun
  • AC/DC Power InvertorConverts DC power from the solar panels to AC power for the home
  • RectifierThis is sometimes used to convert AC power back to DC power (or back again) to help the off grid system store and use energy more efficiently
  • Charge ControllerPrevents the battery bank from overcharging
  • Service PanelsTwo junction boxes may be needed when using an alternate backup source of power like a generator
  • Power MeterDisplays the power generated, stored and consumed How Much Power will my Solar Panels Produce?

The big question when deciding on what type of solar PV system you are going to use is how much power will it produce. While there is no definite answer, you can use this information to help you get a good idea about how many solar panels you’ll need to power all or part of your home. Since solar panels are assigned a rating based on maximum wattage they produce under ideal conditions, it can be misleading how many solar panels you’ll really need. The exact power produced by the panels won’t be truly known until they are installed and metered. That’s because a solar panels efficiency can be affected by many different factors such as roof tilt, panel orientation, shading, dust and even the wiring that is used to bring power into

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 9 the home. In ideal locales where sunlight conditions are at their best, you can expect a 1-kilowatt system to produce around 1,500 kilowatt hours each year—give or take a few hundred depending upon how many cloudy days affect solar output. That’s really only enough power to offset the average homes electricity needs by about 15% or less. Typical grid connected systems— since their power supply is offset by the utility company—use a 2-3 kilowatt system.

This allows the solar system to help cut your utility power consumption in half. Off grid systems that power an entire home use a combination of higher kilowatt systems (3 or more) and energy saving devices like gas powered refrigerators or LED lighting to help keep the homes power needs as low as possible (we’ll discuss energy saving techniques in a later chapter).

Many solar power suppliers now provide customers with power estimates for their solar panels. Information like roof pitch, location and panel orientation can severely affect power output, so these factors must be taken into account by the supplier when estimating solar panel power output. One of the best ways to ensure your solar PV system is going to do its job correctly is by determining how much power (in kilowatt hours) you and your home consume on a regular basis. This information can easily be found right on your existing utility company’s bill or website. You can also record your power meter reading from the beginning of one week until the next.

Multiply those readings by 52 weeks to find your annual energy consumption rate to find out how much power your solar power system is going to need.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 10 CHAPTER 2 CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOLAR POWER SYSTEM Is my Roof Up to the Challenge? The majority of solar PV arrays are placed on the roof of the structure. This allows for the proper tilt and orientation as well as ensures that the solar panels are up and out of the way where they are less likely to be damaged. While not all solar arrays are installed on the roof, if you plan on installing them on your roof, there are a number of roofing requirements that should be met prior to installation.

Roof Pitch Typical roofing pitches have a 6 inch fall for every 12 inches of roof. This roof pitch may be too steep for some locations. In areas closer to the equator, the angle of sun tends to be at a more pronounced angle, requiring the panels to be tilted. Too steep of a roof pitch can also cause solar panels to not perform up to their highest levels. Roofing Panel Tip #1: Always be sure you solar panel dealer lets you know the optimal pitch for your solar panels. Asphalt Shingles The main problem with a solar array being placed on the roof is that it requires a lot of mounting hardware.

That usually means that you’re going to cover up a large section of asphalt shingles. So what happens when your roofing shingles need to be repaired or replaced? You’ll have to remove the solar panels to fix your shingles.

Roofing Panel Tip #2: It’s a wise idea to replace aging asphalt shingles before you install a PV array on your roof. In most cases, an asphalt shingle roof will last around 25 years—the same length of time PV panels typically last. Support Depending upon what type of solar system you’re going to install will depend upon whether or not your roofing support structure is up to the challenge. Typical solar PV panels can weigh

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 11 as much as 3-5 pounds per square foot—or about 20-50 pounds per panel.

Many older roofing systems just won’t be able to take all of that additional weight. And throw in the fact that rain and snow loads can double or triple that weight and your roof could be in for some serious troubles. Roofing Panel Tip #3: You may need to beef up older framing members to support the extra weight of a roof-based solar power system. When in doubt, install your solar panels safely on the ground.

Homeowners Associations While your roof might be ready for solar panels, your neighbors might not be. While most homeowners associations don’t consider solar panels to be under their regulation, more conservative areas just might have something to say about the matter. When solar panels are visible from the road, a neighbor’s house or they’re installed on a historical structure, you could be in violation of your HOA terms of agreement. If you don’t have permission, you may be forced to take them down.

Roofing Panel Tip #4: Always contact your homeowners association if your home is in a deed restricted community.

A quick call to your local building department can also help you to find out the bigger picture about roof-based PV arrays and if they’re right for your home or business. 5 Ways to Mess up your Solar Panel Layout Now that we know your solar panel electrical productivity can be altered by their pitch and placement, you’ll want to ensure that the layout works in their favor. Whether you’re placing them on your home, garage or on the ground, you can bet that if you do one (or all) of the five following things when you layout your solar panel array, it’s not going to work as well as predicted.

Not the Right Orientation One of the most important parts about a solar array layout is the orientation it has relative to the suns position in the sky. In other words, if they aren’t facing the right direction, then they won’t work as well (or not at all). The best direction to place a solar array is so that the panels

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 12 face a southerly direction. North, east and west facing solar panels are not recommended.

If your roof doesn’t face a southerly direction, you may want to place them on a garage, on the ground or on the south side of your home as a window awning. Not Enough Space Besides facing the right direction, you’ll need a lot of space for your solar panel array to function correctly. You’ll need a minimum of 100 square feet of space for every kilowatt of energy produced. If you’re using the less efficient thin film solar panels, then you’ll need to double the amount of space you’ll need to around 180-200 square feet per kilowatt. Some homeowners maximize their space by placing the panels in various locations around their property.

But be careful as to how far apart you space your solar panel array. Additional wiring will sap away electricity, making your well positioned array not as efficient as a cluster of panels would be.

Too Much Shade When a solar panel is in the shade, it doesn’t work as well as it should. And if your solar array is shaded for just a few hours a day, it can cut energy production down significantly. Trees, roofing ventilation stacks and even skylights can all cause shade to fall onto your solar panels. Keep your solar panels out of the shade and increase your power supply. Too Much Tilt Roofing systems can affect the tilt of your solar array, but with the right mounting system, the proper tilt can be created for nearly any solar panel. But more often than not, as the sun passes through the sky, the solar panel will not be at the appropriate tilt for some part of the day.

To combat this effect, a solar tracker can be installed so that the panel remains in the optimal solar collecting position throughout the day.

Too Old Your roofing materials are aging as we speak. Some asphalt shingles are designed to last for decades, but they can cost a pretty penny and are often substituted for cheaper asphalt shingles. And if you’ve got inferior shingles on your roof, you might find out that you need to

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 13 replace them right after your solar panels have been installed. You may want to replace your entire roof (or just the area under the solar array) with 25 year shingles to ensure they last as long as your solar array.

4 Important Solar Panel Buying Tips Whether you’re buying a solar power system from a dealer or you’re putting together your own solar power system from scratch, there are a number of important issues that homeowners should be aware of before purchasing their solar panels and equipment. Use the following four solar panel buying tips and get the most out of your solar panel purchase. Permits One of the most overlooked, yet most important aspects of installing your own solar power system is getting permission to do so from your local building department. In most cases, a permit will be required to install and connect a solar power system to your home or the grid.

Once a permit has been secured, you can begin the installation. After the installation (or certain aspects of the installation) have been performed, a building inspector will need to verify that all of the work performed is up to federal, state and local electrical and building code standards. Always call your building department before you purchase any solar panels to find out exactly what permits you might need to begin your DIY solar installation. Warranties Because most solar panels are designed to last around 25 years, their warranties will at least cover this 25 year life span. However, that typically only accounts for the solar panels themselves.

Materials such as the invertor are destined to have a lifespan of about a decade, so be sure that you’re aware of the fact that somewhere along the way, you’re going to have to replace parts of the system, long before you’ll need to replace other sections of your solar power system.

Maintenance Solar panels might come with a good 25 year (or more) warranty, but without the right maintenance, they’ll never last half of that time. In some cases, without the proper care

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 14 and maintenance, you may even void the warranty of the equipment. It’s always a good idea to perform annual maintenance tasks even if the warranty doesn’t specify what those maintenance tasks are. One of the most important parts of solar panel maintenance is keeping the panels clean and clear of debris.

In extreme locales where heavy rains, dust or snow loads are in effect, panels may need to be cleaned bimonthly to ensure their in perfect working condition for many years to come.

Insurance Your homeowners insurance is used to protect your home from damages. But what happens when your solar panels do the damage from a poor installation or the solar panels are damaged themselves? You could be out of luck if you don’t have the system professionally installed. It’s always a wise idea to give your homeowners insurance representative a call before you install your own solar power system. In most cases, your solar power system will be covered from damages by your homeowners insurance—but only if you verify it with them first.

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Go To 15 CHAPTER 3 DIY VS. PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION Are you up to The DIY Solar Power Challenge? Installing a solar power system isn’t for everyone. It requires a basic knowledge of electrical wiring, mechanical skill and in some cases—no fear of heights. There are a number of problems that could go wrong with the installation and if it’s not done according to federal, state and local electrical and building codes, you’re not going to pass inspection. Even worse, you could cause electrical damages to the equipment, your home and the power grid.

So are you up to the DIY solar power challenge?

  • Electrical BasicsFor smaller off the grid systems, a simple solar panel and the hardware that keeps it running connects to a non-lethal DC voltage. This is easily handled without having to worry about severe electrical shocks. But for systems hooked directly to the power grid, you might be in for a shocking experience—literally. If you don’t have a general knowledge of home electrical wiring, then you may want to hire a professional installer to do the wiring part of the project for you.
  • Mechanical SkillCan you tighten a nut and bolt? Then you probably have what it takes to install your own solar power equipment. But it’s not just about nuts and bolts. Wiring connections, hardware installations and panel placement all require the use of basic mechanical skills to get the project done without running into trouble.
  • BalanceWhile the majority of DIY solar power installation is safely located on the ground; solar panels often are placed high in the sky. Whether they are up on the roof or they are located on the end of a pole, getting up their safely with a bunch of awkwardly heavy equipment can be a challenge—even for those who have the balance of a tightrope circus performer. If you have any fear or apprehension about climbing up on your roof or standing up on a ladder, you may want to think twice about doing this part of your solar power project yourself.

ToolsIt’s going to take a lot more than just a screwdriver to install a solar power system on your home or business. Tools like wire strippers, wrenches, socket sets, fish tape and yes—screwdrivers are all needed for even the most basic of DIY solar power

  • If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 16 installations. If you’re not willing to spend a few extra bucks on the tools you need for this project, then you may want to consider hiring a professional installer to do the project for you.
  • PatienceThis part of DIY solar power is a must-have. Patience is important when it comes to dealing with everything involved with a DIY solar project. Building inspectors may fail your work several times, power connections need to be checked twice (and then again) and waiting for the utility company to make progress can all take some serious amounts of time (and patience) to ensure the system is at its best before the power begins to flow.

If you’re not up to all of the following tasks, you may find help online. Hiring a day laborer for as low as $10 an hour can help you to get the tougher parts of the job done that you might not have experience to safely and efficiently deal with on your own. Electricians, carpenters and other skilled labor can also be contracted for daily jobs on websites like Craigslist to help you get you DIY solar power project complete without having to spend a fortune on hiring a professional solar power installer.

7 Things to Know for a Safe DIY Installation Installing your own solar power system doesn’t have to be dangerous.

But without the right safety precautions in place, you could end up damaging equipment, your home or yourself. Use the following seven safety tips for DIY solar power installation and get your solar power installed without worrying about going to the hospital in the process. 1. Electricity is DangerousThis one is a no brainer, but it needs to be included into the precautions all the same. Not only can electricity be dangerous; it can be downright deadly. That’s why it’s VERY important to make sure that all of the power is off to the structure when connecting any wiring from the solar power system to the homes live wiring system.

Always double check with a power meter just to be sure you don’t accidentally make a “shocking” discovery after it’s too late. 2. Heights are DangerousThis is another safety tip that’s fairly obvious but needs to be reiterated over and over again. When you’re installing solar panels on a roof, you’ll need to make sure that you’re safely secured on the roof to prevent falls. Remember, even a short fall is enough to kill you.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 17 3. Sharp Metal can cut youIn some circumstances, you may need to cut metal flashing for the roof or trim panel brackets for a custom fit. Once sheared with a pair of tin snips, the metal edge can be really sharp. Even if you bump up against it softly, it can still be sharp enough to cut down to the bone. Always wear gloves when handling sharp metal!

4. Glass can cut youSome solar panels have a glass covering to protect the delicate PV cells from damages.

While these types of glass are almost always made from safety glass, it can still cut you even if it’s not broken. Sharp glass edges need to be handled gingerly and with a thick pair of leather gloves. 5. Heat ExhaustionSince you’re putting your solar panels in direct sunlight—probably on the hottest part of your roof—you can easily develop heat exhaustion or sun poisoning when you’re exposed to the sun without adequate protection. Sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water can help this dangerous problem from happening to you during the installation.

6. Back TroublesIt’s no secret: solar panels and the equipment that holds them in place can be awkwardly heavy. Have a friend (or several) help you lift the heavy stuff and always be sure to lift with your legs and not with your back. 7. Eye ProtectionThis safety tip is the one that’s most ignored, but is probably the one that can be the most dangerous. Flying metal scraps, exposed wiring and sharp metal are prevalent even on the simplest of DIY solar power installs. Cover your eyes with certified safety glasses and protect your vision from damages. 10 Important Questions to Ask a Professional Solar Power Installer While DIY solar power installation is easy enough—it’s not for everyone.

In fact, getting a professional installer to help with one or multiple parts of the project can really help you to save time and money on the project. In some cases, they can even help you with rebates and tax credits for your solar system. But even when solar power installers say they are up to the task—how do you really know they can do the job better than you? By asking these ten questions, you’ll ensure that you get the right person for the job. 1. What’s your Experience? Being certified as a professional solar panel installer is one of the most important parts to hiring a pro. Also be sure to ask what experience they

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 18 have and if they can provide any references. 2. How long have you been in Business? The longer they’ve been in business, the more experience they have doing jobs similar to yours. 3. Will you pull the Permit? The best thing about hiring a professional solar installer is that they can cut through the red tape of government permitting with ease. Having them pull the permits can help get the ball rolling that much faster. 4. Are you NABCEP Certified? The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certifies installers who pass a series of tests to prove they have the knowledge and skills it takes to get the job done right.

5. Are you a Member of any Solar Trade Organization? Organizations like the Solar Energy Industries Association can help you make sure that your solar power installer knows well about the latest solar power standards and practices. 6. Will you handle the Incentive Paperwork? Federal, state and local tax breaks, rebates and other monetary incentives can be accessed to help you offset the cost of a new PV solar system. The right professional solar power installer can help you get the most savings out of your new solar system.

7. Do you Offer Payment Plans? Some solar power installations can cost you a pretty penny.

Ask your solar power installer if they provide a payment plan or other cost effective options to help ease the burden of a hefty one-time payment. 8. Will you do some, or all of the Work? Some professional solar installers will work with the homeowner to help lower installation costs by allowing them to do some of the work themselves. Be sure to have any agreements like these in writing before you commit. 9. What Warranties do you Offer? Some solar power installers will offer a warranty on the goods and services they provide. This can help add a little more piece of mind, just in case something goes wrong later on down the road.

10. What Maintenance Services do you Offer? Maintaining solar power equipment, batteries and PV panels is important to ensuring their longest life possible. A good maintenance schedule from your installer can really help to prolong the lifespan of your PV system, without the need for you to lift a finger.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 19 CHAPTER 4 SOLAR POWER BUYING GUIDE How much is it going to Cost? Determining how much your PV solar power system is going to cost can depend on several different factors as well as how you view savings, rebates and other monetary incentives.

An average solar system can cost anywhere from $2 to over $10 per watt depending upon what type of system you have installed and who is going to do all of the work. Because new technologies, government subsidies and more buyers are constantly fueling solar power technology, that price gets lower and lower every day.

There are numerous federal, state and local incentives that can also help to bring the average cost of your solar system down even further. Some solar power installers and vendors will sell you a solar power system at after-rebate prices to help entice customers. They do all of the rebate paperwork and keep the rebate themselves. Some states may have phenomenal incentives for installing solar panels, helping to recoup your initial investment even sooner. Add in the fact that your power bills will remain consistent for the next 20-25 years and you’ll come to the conclusion that the entire system will pay for itself in five years or less.

So generally speaking, the system will eventually end up costing you nothing if you factor in rebates, energy savings and other government subsidies and tax credits. Larger grid-tied systems will even generate power that you can sell back to the utility company, making your DIY solar system a profitable venture that actually makes you money in the long run. But with savings aside, the average straight upfront cost for a DIY PV solar system really depends on how many watts you’re willing to install. Average 2 kilowatt systems range from $1,500 to over $5,000 depending on the materials used and are enough to cut your existing utility bill in half.

Larger systems that are over 8 kilowatts actually turn a profit. To have a system like this installed by a professional, you may end up doubling or even tripling the overall cost, so doing most or all of the work yourself can really help you to save some big bucks once it’s all said and done.

All in all, the average price for an 8-kilowatt DIY solar system kit with everything taken into

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 20 account will cost you around $16,000 before rebates or tax credits. Add in the average federal rebate price of around $6,000 and you’ve got an upfront cost of $10,000 or less. Factor in state and local incentives and you could save an extra $1,000-$500 or more bringing the total cost $9,500-$9,000. If your average electric bill is around $150 a month, with DIY work, incentives and all costs factored in, it would take 63 months or roughly five and a half years for you to break even.

That leaves you with almost 19-20 years of free energy. And if you’re producing more electricity than you can use and you’re selling it back to the power company, that’s 20 years of profit! Any system over 8 kilowatts turns a profit and at peak production, an 8 kilowatt solar power system produces around 32 kilowatts of power per day. Per month that’s 960 kilowatt hours. The average U.S. home uses around 900-950 kilowatt hours per month. With some additional energy saving features (as described in one of the following chapters) added to your home during the DIY solar panel install, and your home could be making you 100 kilowatt hours or roughly around $300 a year.

At the end of your solar power systems 25 year lifespan, you’ll end up with an extra $6,000 in your pocket. Throw in the extra $3,750 from the 25 years’ worth of free electricity your DIY PV system creates and you’ve just made about $10,000— double the money than you invested to begin with.

Reduce your Energy Needs Now - - Lower your Solar Power Installation Costs Later Now that you’ve got a general idea of how much it can cost to install your own solar power supply, you can see that it’s an investment that not all of us can afford. So how can you make the price of a DIY solar system go down even further? Simple! By reducing the kilowatt output and the overall size of the system itself. But as you remove kilowatt power from the PV system, you lessen the amount of power your home is going to receive, making a DIY solar system a means to offset high utility bills at best.

By reducing your homes energy needs before you install your PV panels, you’ll not only reduce the price of your current energy costs, but once you get ready to install your PV solar system, you’ll be able to reduce the initial cost of the system as well—and all without lowering your living standards in the least.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 21 Home Energy Audit To determine exactly what “energy troubles” your home may have can be addressed by having a professional energy auditor come to your home and perform a few tests. These professionals typically perform a variety of tasks to help you find out where your biggest losses in energy consumption come from—and what you can do to help conserve more energy in the future. This way, you can lower the overall cost of your PV system and your future energy needs.

Certified home energy auditors should do the following ten things while performing an in-home energy audit: 1. Analyze your Annual Fuel Bill to Find Out Mean Energy Consumption 2. Interview you to Learn about you and your Homes Energy Needs 3. Review the Basics of their Home Energy Audit Process 4. Exterior Inspection of Roofing, Siding and Foundation 5. Health and Safety Inspection of Electrical Equipment 6. Interior Inspection Including the Attic and Crawlspaces 7. Complete Electrical Inspection 8. Appliance Energy Efficiency Inspection 9. Blower Door Test to Determine Air Loss 10. Provide you with a Comprehensive Report of the Energy Audit An in-home energy audit will consist of many tests and requires very specific tools to perform said tests, so it’s not something homeowners typically do themselves.

For example, the blower door test requires the use of a large fan that depressurizes the home. It simulates a 20 mph wind to help find air leaks in windows, doors and exterior ceiling/walls. Minor air leaks often add up to a sizeable problem. The average home air leak problem is like having a hole the size of two foot window that’s open 24 hours a day.

Energy Efficiency is the Key to Cheap DIY Solar Installs Up to 30 percent of energy loss can be recouped through the average energy audit. You can increase your homes energy efficiency even more and reduce the need for a higher kilowatt solar system with the right energy efficient equipment. LED lighting, EnergyStar rated

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 22 equipment and alternative fuel powered appliances (like a natural gas stove) can all relieve your homes high electrical energy needs and lower the overall price of your DIY solar system.

Using Federal, State and Local Incentives to Help Lower Overall Costs There are numerous incentives that can help to significantly lower the costs of your solar power system. From enormous tax credits to local property tax breaks, the government and utility companies are helping citizens in all parts of the country transfer their power supply reliability from nonrenewable resources to renewable energy. While not all of the monetary incentives are available in all areas and for all homes, no matter where you live, there is going to be some incentive program that will help you to offset the initial cost of installing a DIY solar power system.

Federal Tax Credit The federal tax break over the years has increased for solar power production. In the year 2008, tax breaks for installing a solar system were renewed for another eight years until the year 2016 when they are set to expire. For all existing and new construction homes—as well as second homes (rentals aren’t included) 30 percent of the purchasing and installation costs will be returned to you when you get your tax refund at the end of the year. This also covers solar water heaters for potable water use too.

Solar systems just need a certification from SRCC or other comparable government endorsed entities to help alleviate the cost of their solar power system.

Find out more about the federal solar tax credit here. There are also other numerous tax credits and monetary incentives for solar and renewable energy resources that can be found here at the Database of State Incentives of Renewable and Efficiency (DSIRE). State Incentives Each state has a wide variety of cash incentives for installing solar power and other renewable energy resources on your home or business. While these vary wildly from state to state, each area has at least some program to help home and business owners cope with the monetary difficulties that can be associated with installing their own solar power supply.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 23 good folks over at DSIRE can help you to find the perfect incentive in your state for installing your own solar power system. Since 1995, DSIRE has been the most comprehensive source for energy efficiency incentives and is owned by NC State University and funded by the US Department of Energy. The DSIRE website can be found here. Local Incentives County and city incentives are a little harder to come by, but depending upon where you live; these programs can help to lower the costs of your solar power system.

Property tax breaks are one of the most common ways local solar incentives are used by county and city officials. Your local utility company may also provide relief to help lower your energy consumption needs as well as installing your solar power system. By connecting your solar power system to their energy grid, their net metering programs can also help you to make money off of your excess solar power by allowing it to flow back into the grid. The power company that owns the meter offers different prices for different times a year for your excess solar power, so be sure to give them a call first to find out your best options for net metering prices and incentives.

How can I Finance my Solar Power System? Even with all of those tax breaks and monetary incentives, coming up with the hard cash for an upfront payment for a brand new solar system out of your pocket can be tough to say the least. So what do you do when you can’t come up with the cash to buy your solar system outright? Financing options are always available to help lower the initial costs of buying a PV solar system. Use this guide to financing resources for solar power and get the help you need to go solar.

  • Home RefinanceRefinancing your home can help you to consolidate money for your new solar system. Combine solar power systems with other home improvement projects to help increase your options.
  • First MortgagesTake a mortgage out on your home to help alleviate costs of a solar system. With this option, it’s a good idea to get a larger PV system since monthly
  • If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 24 payments won’t increase much.
  • Home Equity LoansTax deductible interest, lower interest rates and longer terms make this financing option an attractive one to some homeowners.
  • Bank LoansMany bank loans will help cover the cost of a solar purchase or installation. Some banks will even give the loan at a less-than prime rate. Not all banks like homeowners doing the work themselves, so be aware that you may need outside professional help when choosing this financing option.
  • Construction LoansRemodeling, renovation or additions onto your home will require a construction loan from your bank. Many times, you can include solar power as part of the project as well.
  • Solar SuppliersA common trend is to have the solar power vendor supply the homeowner with financing. Be careful of the fine print: some vendors ask that their solar power supplies be installed by their team of professional installers to be able to get the financing you desire.
  • Government OptionsFannie Mae, US Department of Energy and US Veterans Affairs are but just a few of the many programs the federal government has available to homeowners around the country to help pay for a solar power system for their home or business. There are numerous programs available for a wide variety of people, places and solar power systems—in fact, too many to fit into this eBook. Take a look at The Borrower’s Guide to Financing Solar Energy Systems for more details on all of the programs available to help finance your DIY solar system.

If you’ve enjoyed this report and would like to receive 10 more just like it FREE today... Go To 25 CHAPTER 5 GRID CONNECTED PV SYSTEM INSTALLATION The Pros and Cons of Owning a Grid Connected PV System A battery-free grid connected system is one of the best DIY solar power systems because of their size and simplicity. They’re also great for DIY work and are much more budget-friendly than other PV solar systems. And because grid connected systems don’t need batteries (the grid is in essence the battery), a grid connected system requires the least amount of maintenance.

While they are the most popular PV solar system in North America, there are a few pros and cons you should be aware of before you buy.

Cons Because of the fact that they don’t have batteries may make them easy to maintain, but this also makes them vulnerable to blackouts. When power outages affect the grid, the solar power system has no backup and is on its own. That means when the sun goes down—so does the power. And like most simple grid connected PV systems, they don’t have enough kilowatt energy available to power the entire structure. So even if the sun is shining brightly, you won’t be able to power the entire home and the system will shut down from the overload. In areas where grid failure is common, homeowners may want to consider adding a battery backup system or generator to the system.

Smaller uninterrupted power supplies can help offset power grid failures for medical equipment, computers, LED lighting or other essential low wattage equipment.

Pros Simpler than other systems, a battery-free grid connected system is the best option for the first time DIY solar installation. They are less expensive as well, making them especially desirable for the homeowner on a budget. Unless the grid is down, you’ve got a constant power supply that’s cheap and easy to maintain. To top it all off, if your system does produce more energy than you’re using, you’ll end up selling power back to the power company for a

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