Tag Archives: Solar panel

Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The Benefits of Residential Solar Panels

The environmental impact of installing solar panels are evident. The installation of residential solar panels will reduce the size of your carbon footprint and your share of greenhouse gases that are produced annually. As you go through the decision-making process of determining the feasibility of installing residential solar panels, here are a few key points to consider:
  • Start-up Costs - You can reduce the substantial initial outlay by taking advantage of incentives and tax rebates.
  • Self sufficiency and independence -The ability to get of the grid can be liberating. You can also remove a bit of market volatility that can be caused by terrorism, natural disasters and market forces.
  • Return on Investment - The initial purchase of solar panels is obviously a substantial investment, but energy genera
  • solar panelstion starts immediately, resulting in immediate savings on electrical costs. After the initial outlay is covered, in 10 – 15 years, the system will provide pure profit.
  • Remote Installation - Cabins, sailboats, RV’s, these are great places to see the advantages of solar energy. Solar power is often much more cost effective to establish in remote areas than conventional power infrastructure.
  • Environmental Impact - The use of solar energy produces no emissions or noise pollution.
  • Home equity - Passive solar layout & landscaping concepts increase the value of a home.
  • System Longevity - Solar panels have the capability of collecting energy for 40 plus years and manufacturers typically warranty the systems for 20 to 25 years.

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Hill Country Solar Tour – Saturday Oct. 12, 2013

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Join the Hill Country Solar Tour, a collaboration of TXSES, Pedernales Electric Cooperative, and in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society National Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. The tour will take place next to Oak Hill and the surrounding areas, and it will feature homes with solar installations and other green features.

This year’s tour will feature opening presentations on solar energy, a solar car workshopPEC_Hill_Country_Solar_Tour_1 for kids ages nine and up and a solar and energy-efficiency exhibit.
9:00AM – 11:00AM:   The day begins at the PEC Oak Hill Office with Cathy Redson’s popular Solar 101 class, a presentation that is well worth a second visit if you have heard her before. Larry Howe from Plano Solar Advocates will discuss his organization’s successful Solarize Plano project that organized interested residents in his community to negotiate a group purchase of solar installations for their homes. Dr. Gary Vliet will conduct his energetic Solar Model Car Workshop for kids (9 years and up please), buiding and racing the finished product.
11:00AM – 3:30PM:  The self-guided tour of five solar powered homes spans the territory from just off FItzhugh Rd. all the way to Blanco, with projects in between. You need not travel in any special order to see these homes, nor are you required to attend the presentations (though there is much to learn!). The tour is free and we will post the addresses of the homes closer to the tour date. Tour guidebooks will be available  at the PEC Oak Hill office on tour day, at the homes, and in .pdf form on this website.
Tour Preview:
Traildriver in Big Country, 78737
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Builder/Solar PV Installer - Native
Just completed in the summer of 2013, this 3,200 sq.ft. home for a family of five was built with a 6kW solar array, rainwater collection, geothermal HVAC, Energy Star appliances and heat pump water heaters. Siting the home for solar energy collection and passive solar design features were crucial to
energy efficiency and comfort.
Harris Dr. in Belterra, 78737
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Solar PV Installer - Longhorn Solar
Built in 2008, this 2,530 sq.ft. home in a traditional suburban subdivision was retrofitted for a 5kW solar array in 2013. Prior to the installation, the owners made sure their home was energy efficient by adding extra insulation, solar screens and double pane windows. This is the first ‘visible from the street’ solar array in this subdivision.Thanks to the Belterra HOA for their open minded attitude regarding the adoption of solar.
Twin Oaks Trail west of Dripping Springs, 78620
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Solar PV Installer- Freedom Solar
Designer, Builder and Solar Thermal Installer-Z Works Design Build
This home has both solar thermal for hot water and 7.3 kW solar PV for electricity. Built in 2012, it was designed, sited on the property and built for energy efficiency, comfort and beauty. Insulated concrete forms the walls and structural insulated panels (SIPS) the ceilings. A 28,000 gallon rainwater catchment system supplies all their water.
RR 165 between Henly and Blanco
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The air conditioned space for this 18 year old home is 1500 sq.ft. The solar configuration is a combination of both grid tied (interconnected to Pedernales Electric Co-op) and off grid (stand alone) production. The grid tied array is 2.46kW on a single axis tracking device. The off grid .7kW array is
on a fixed pole mount.
Misty River Run, Blanco
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Built in 2010, this 1,144 sq.ft. home was planned and constructed to be extremely energy efficient. The 2.7 kW solar array is your first clue, but there is more. Deep porches, a metal roof, geothermal heating and cooling (efficient also for hot water), thick walls and ceilings  and a modest footprint all contribute to a sustainable lifestyle.
               Hill Country Solar Tour, Saturday October 12, 11:00-3:30

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Advantages of Solar Chargers

There are several advantages to using portable solar chargers and solar panels. First of all, they are eco and environmentally friendly. They do not emit harmful waste, and can be used anytime and anywhere as long as there is access to sunlight.

Freeloader Solar Charger

A solar battery charger is a device used to power electronics batteries without the use of a power outlet. They are easy to make use of and do not require a great deal of attention. You simply connect the battery to a charger that has solar panels and allow the sun do the rest. The solar panel will collect power from the sun and translate it to electricity. That is accomplished by use of small solar cells within the charger that translates the sunlight into electricity.

Solar Chargers are a convenient source of power in remote areas, on field trips, or when hiking and camping out. They can recharge batteries, cell phones, or other gadgets in any location. In addition to being convenient, solar chargers are a clean energy source and do not cause pollution or other harmful emissions while creating electricity. They also reduce the need for disposable batteries, and thus reduce the overall volume of harmful chemicals and toxic waste that ends up in landfills.

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Solar Wild Grass Garden Lights

The Solar Wild Grass Lights use solar power to provide a beautiful, eco-friendly lighting feature to your garden or landscape. The lights come in a set of 3 sprigs of fiber optic lights that can be arranged in a variety of ways, each leaf can be manipulated for the desired look. Wild-Grass-Solar-Garden-Lights.-3-LED-Lights-400x243

The Solar Wild Grass Lights are powered by a 0.2 watt solar panel that chargers a 500mAh rechargeable NiMH battery. The battery can provide around 6 hours of lighting for the wild grass sprigs from only 8 hours of sunlight. The grass lights achieve this as they use 3 LED bulbs, one per sprig, to provide the lighting. The grass lights turn on automatically as dusk approaches by the light sensor.

These are absolutely gorgeous and stylish lights for lighting up flowers, steps and patio seating area. 1 pack includes 3 LED lights connected with 1 solar panel on with stake.

 

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How to Select Portable Solar Chargers

Tips and Recommendations on Selecting Solar Chargers

Portable solar battery chargers have been a great benefit to individuals that spend time outdoors or city dwellers that are  constantly on the move and disconnected. Portable solar chargers are used to charge cell phones, MP3 players, GPS devices, goal zero solar chargertablet computers and laptop computers. The chargers today utilize various types of solar panels, ranging from thin film to monocrystalline panels. With the myriad of choices and applications, there are several things that should be considered when evaluating a solar charger purchase:

  • Built-in Charge Controller – The charge controller monitors the amount of charge supplied to the batteries. Once the batteries reach full charge, the controller will halt charging to prevent overcharging.
  • Device Tip Compatibility – Confirm that the charger is compatible with your electronic devices. There is limited standardization among electronic manufacturers and there are a large variety of tip options.
  • Charge Time Requirements – The more solar cells on the device, thee more watts that can be generated. Most solar chargers have only one or two solar cells and so put out a relatively small amount of power in a short period of time. It is going to take some time in the sun to charge your device. The more solar cells the charger has the more watts of power it can generate and the faster it can charge your devices. When comparing chargers look for the charger with the most output in watts for its physical dimensions and price.
  • LED Charge Indicator – Many solar battery chargers offer a LED indicator that will enable you view the see how near the unit is to a complete charge. if the unit is still charging or full. There are also units that will automatically block sunlight whenever the battery is full. A typical solar charger has adaptors and charging clamps for the batteries.
  • Panel Dimensions & Charger Voltage – The larger the solar panel is typically translates to more solar cells. As the number of solar cells increase, the the more charge that can be transferred to the charger’s battery. For comparative purposes, a solar charger with a 2 watt solar panel has twice the current generating capabilities of a 1 watt panel and a battery rating of a 4 amp hours (Ah) has the capability of holding twice the charge of a 2 Ah battery.

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Green Product Review: Nokero N200 Solar Light Bulb

Even if you are not one of the many individuals in the world in need of kerosene lanterns, the Nokero N200 is a great eco-friendly lighting alternative. We decided to test the Nokero N200 as an alternative light source for an outdoor building without any access to interior lighting.

At first glance, we enjoyed the light bulb shape design and the clever swiveling solar panel, for optimal charging exposure. At only 85 grams, the Nokero N200 is lightweight. The overall construction of the N200 is also quite durable and well made, which would be beneficial in rugged outdoor situations. This rugged design extends to the waterproof casing of this solar light bulb. The N200 has 4 LED lights powered by a rechargeable battery that receives its charge from a solar panel. There is also an auto sensor that turns the bulb off it is exposed to light.

The Nokero N200 has three modes of operation: On, Off, and Turbo-Task. The bulb received a full 6 hours of sunlight for each of our product tests. For our first test, we tested the Nokero N200 in the “on” mode. We were able to achieve a full 7 hours of light before the LEDs went dim. For the second test, the bulb was tested in “turbo-task” mode. The bulb was significantly brighter in this setting, but provided just over 2 hours and 50 minutes of light in this mode.

We recommend Nokero N200 for the avid camper or anyone in need of an outdoor lighting fixture that is more economical and environment friendly. We also appreciate the vision of Nokero and their effort to support efforts such as the New Beginnings Project to improve millions of lives through clean, safe, solar light bulbs.

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Product Test: Novothink Solar Surge for iPhone

Anyone who has a iPhone knows that battery life can be a significant issue. Novothink has come up with a solution that harnesses the power of the sun to keep your iPhone up and going, the Solar Surge for iPhone.  One key benefit of this charger over others is that this is the only one to be Apple-certified.

The Surge features a  solar panel on its back, connected to a 1500mAH lithium-ion battery. There are Indicator lights to let you know the status of the charge and the current strength of your light source, while an additional speaker is built into the bottom to compensate for the iPhone’s own speaker being covered. The case also provides a cutout for attaching wrist straps, carabiners, or other clips to charge the device while hiking, biking or other outdoor activities.If you find yourself without adequate sunlight, you can also charge the Novothink Solar Surge via USB. For our first test, we placed battery depleted iPhone into the Solar Surge without charging. We placed the Solar Charge in sunlight for an hour and a half. We then calculated that we were able to get nearly fifty-five minutes of talk time on the iPhone before the phone needed additional charge. We then charged the Solar Surge for sixteen hours to get a full charge. From a full charge, the Solar Surge provided over six and a half hours of talk time on the iPhone. As a bonus, Novothink offers a free app from the App Store that helps you plan for extended trips. The app, Novothink Solar Planner, lets you adjust for sunny or cloudy trips and app usage, and it tells you how long you’ll need to keep the Surge in the sun to keep it – and your phone – juiced up. The Novothink Solar Surge for iPhone is a recommended power solution for iPhone users with the need to keep connected on the go.

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