Questions tagged [solar-power]

Electric energy produced from sunlight. This could be via semiconductors, in [photovoltaics]; or through the concentration of solar heat to drive a turbine, as in concentrating solar power [solar-thermal].

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41
votes
6answers
940 views

Producing my own energy options in urban area with windows but no roof access?

I'm wanting to produce my own energy, but I live in a condo with no access to the roof. I'd like to produce electricity, so maybe turning that energy into electricity safely. I have windows that have ...
32
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3answers
3k views

Which solar power technology has the highest energy return on investment (EROI aka EROEI)?

Which solar-electric technology had the highest EROEI? Energy Returned On (Energy) Invested, also known as EROI and as EROEI, has become something of a fashionable metric *but see footnote. It is ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

Estimating the cost of solar panels and return time?

I'm interested in installing a solar array on my property, and am trying to find tools that can help me do a cost analysis so I can optimize my budget and see how long it will take to balance the ...
28
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7answers
10k views

Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

I've just received two quotes for installing a rooftop solar system at my residential address (near Sydney, Australia). This caught my eye: Company 1: Panel: 22 x ET panels 300w Inverter: Growatt 5 ...
24
votes
1answer
520 views

Do small portable solar chargers generate more energy than it costs to produce them?

I know large solar panels generate more energy than is needed to manufacture them, but what about small portable solar chargers for mobile phone or radio? I've read somewhere that their efficiency is ...
21
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8answers
5k views

What advantages (any?) has water heating via photovoltaic system over solar thermal system?

Both solar thermal water heating systems and photovoltaic systems already have a good commercial background. Efficiency of energy gain of a solar thermal system is about 80%, while photovoltaics is up ...
18
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1answer
359 views

Can solar panels be recycled?

There are plenty solar panels installed in the recent years. Their operation expectancy as far as I know is about 50 yrs. This will produce waste for our grandchildren. Please, reassure me, that these ...
17
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4answers
3k views

Should solar panels be installed before or after re-shingling the roof?

My roof will likely need new shingles within the next few years. Should I consider getting solar panels installed now, or should I wait until after the roof is taken care of?
16
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3answers
7k views

Would monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels perform best in a UK climate?

If I were to get solar panels installed on the roof of my home, in the UK, what type should I choose? There appear to be three main types, and at present the choice appears to be between the ...
16
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1answer
286 views

If I can create enough electricty from solar should I store and use it rather than feed back to the grid?

When we installed our solar PV system in 2010 there were several reasons it wasn't feasible at that time to store and use the power we were generating instead of feeding into the grid. The main ...
15
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8answers
2k views

What alternatives to batteries exist to store solar energy at home?

What viable options (other than batteries) exist for a home owner to be able to store energy from solar panels for use at night or when the sun isn't shining? I realise there will be losses in the ...
14
votes
1answer
364 views

What type of photovoltaic cells are the most environmentally friendly?

Some solar panels use silicon crystals that required careful purification and enormous quantities of energy. Some types use cadmium, which is highly toxic. Several types are noted by Wikipedia. If we ...
13
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2answers
1k views

How do white roofs cause global warming?

Another user asked the question, and I think the question is important enough to deserve it's own post. I've heard that white roofs drive away clouds and cause global warming. How can this be?
12
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4answers
2k views

Forcing water circulation in solar hot water installation

I'm planning an installation for heating water using solar "exchanger" panels (solar used to heat water directly, not through electricity). I don't want to bind the reservoir, panel and tap locations ...
12
votes
3answers
231 views

Options to suggest to landlord for cost savings via renewable energy?

I have a landlord who is very interested in saving money. I wanted to suggest options to her to help her save money while reducing environmental footsteps. However she is not motivated to save the ...
12
votes
2answers
336 views

How do I keep my solar panels clean?

What sort of cleaning regime should I have for a solar energy system, and do PV and solar-thermal panels need to be treated differently?
11
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2answers
17k views

What's needed to set up a personal solar power system?

I'd like to set up a solar power system to power a small house, say 20 kWh per day, 600 kWh per month. What equipment do I need to make it happen? Production and storage are both important. I'm ...
11
votes
3answers
388 views

What is the state of "artifical photosynthesis" technology, as at March 2014?

I've been hearing a lot in the news about artificial photosynthesis processes that can use energy from sunlight to split water and produce synthetic fuel. Sounds pretty exciting, but being a non-...
11
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2answers
582 views

Are tracking mounts cost-effective for home photovoltaic systems?

Solar PV panels are clearly more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity if they are mounted on racks that rotate to track the sun's apparent travel across the sky. However, tracking mounts ...
10
votes
2answers
444 views

Why are Fresnel lenses not widely used in the production of solar electricity?

Why are Fresnel lenses not commercially used in the production of steam to run a turbine and produce electricity?
10
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3answers
165 views

How can I cheaply evaluate how much solar energy I can collect?

I'm nearing the end of the life of my asphalt shingles on my house (the inspector estimated 2yrs left when I bought the house 2yrs ago). Since my house is 100% electric and my state (Nebraska) offers ...
10
votes
3answers
217 views

Solar PV panels - Worth the cost of more efficient panels?

We're investigating fitting solar PV to our large guesthouse in the UK. We can fit around a dozen panels on the south-facing roof (sadly this is one of the smaller roofs). Some installers are ...
9
votes
4answers
243 views

Investing in Solar Panels in the UK

I am based in the UK (in England) and am thinking about installing solar panels on my roof. The problem I am having is actually finding some resources which I can use to get some objective ...
9
votes
3answers
409 views

Are there types of solar panels that can be made completely locally and independent of fossil fuels?

I want to know if there are any kinds of solar panels that can be produced completely locally, from gathering materials to manufacturing to installing, without fossil fuel inputs anywhere in the ...
9
votes
2answers
183 views

How worthwhile is it to use energy during daylight to take advantage of grid-based solar power?

Common sense is telling me to try to do things like vacuuming, laundry and cooking at times of maximal sunlight during the day so that more of the electricity I use comes from solar power generators ...
9
votes
2answers
696 views

Wind turbine vs. solar panel or both?

I am looking for a solution to replace a broken electricity generator. I am considering using solar panels or a wind turbine. Or even both. I need it for an animal shed and the targeted consumption ...
9
votes
1answer
128 views

Are there solar panels that can survive extreme temperature changes?

I want to look at getting solar panels for my home. Unfortunately, one thing that I need to resolve first is whether or not they will work / last while in the temperature extremes - anywhere from -40 ...
9
votes
1answer
256 views

Establishing a Small Commercial Solar Plant

This question may be outside of the scope for this forum, but I'm having a hard time finding good information, and thought asking here might be worthwhile. I started looking into farm-scale solar ...
9
votes
1answer
154 views

Solar water heater from plastic windows - what are the considerations?

I've been able to acquire several plastic-framed ("energy-saving") windows - it appears some contractor messed up the measurements and a whole batch of new custom-made windows for a nearby ...
8
votes
4answers
457 views

Can we build a very effective cooling system for house or apartment using solar or wind power?

I ask this question all the time. I am living in Southeast Asia & the temperature there is always 30-32 C in almost every day of the year. So, houses in Southeast Asia normally are pretty hot. ...
8
votes
1answer
111 views

Can solar energy be too focused onto a solar cell?

I want to focus solar energy on a solar cell with the use of mirrors (that I already have) and maybe some aluminum foil. Should I not go overboard on the focusing? How can I detect if the focused ...
8
votes
1answer
186 views

Is the energy used to manufacture and install solar panels in proper balance with the energy output from them? [duplicate]

From mining/harvesting materials to altering them into useful manufacturing materials to making actual products, and then packaging them and shipping them to retail stores, or directly to customers, ...
8
votes
3answers
513 views

Offsetting with Solar, over what period do you measure the carbon offset

I'm looking to offset the carbon footprint of my wedding. I'd like to do it by helping out some local community solar projects. I've calculated that the wedding's footprint will be about 23,000 kg ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

How to attach more sources of energy to your charge controller

Lets say I have an existing solar power system. If I want to add a wind turbine or I get more solar panels, is it as easy as just attaching the new sources of energy to my charge controller (in ...
8
votes
2answers
88 views

Feeding hotwater into modern appliances

Most appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers typically take cold water and heat it internally. This is probably the most efficient way on a grid connected house with electric water ...
8
votes
2answers
128 views

How to improve energy efficiency of composting toilet?

I've been looking at a commercial composting toilet for a mobile, off-grid application ("boondocking rv"). I've done a power budget and the toilet is coming out as the biggest user of energy. Power is ...
8
votes
2answers
259 views

What have been the economic factors behind the build of tracking PV systems?

I see there's now over 1GW of installed PV capacity in tracking systems. What have been the economic factors behind this? I'd pretty much written off both 1-axis and 2-axis tracking in my mind, ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

How can I monitor a PV system's performance?

What are things I should monitor to track a photovoltaic system's performance? I'm not looking for a recommendation for a particular piece of kit, because such a recommendation could quickly go out ...
7
votes
2answers
817 views

Is creating hydrogen fuel for the fuel cell from the solar panel worth considering?

Does creating hydrogen from solar energy provide a lesser amount of energy than is extracted from the Sun? Isn't it more efficient to use the electricity being generated by the Solar resource itself?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is solar energy the best renewable source of energy?

Here is my thinking on renewable resources. Biomass is the absolute worst way to go because it releases CO2 and damages habitats. Geothermal is not far behind but is for a different reason. ...
7
votes
3answers
645 views

Want to build a portable solar refrigerator

I've got a 5v Peltier chip. What kind of and how many solar cells 4.5v 18mA do I need per 1 chip? I found these cells online on dealextreme, but there are also other different types. I'm lacking a ...
7
votes
1answer
371 views

Is a solar cell phone charger a sustainable choice?

I bought this handy mobile solar charger for my cell phone. I wonder if it's a sustainable buy and looking for a report or similar that compares the production costs (including carbon dioxide ...
7
votes
1answer
229 views

How efficient is it to use an electric car as storage for the energetic overload generated during sun hours (peaks) by solar panels?

I guess that the question is quite self-explanatory. I am hoping to invest in a solar panel soon, but I am a little worried about it getting inefficient once government subsidies run out and the ...
7
votes
1answer
110 views

Is it cost effective to use a solar panel in an apartment if I have a low electricity bill?

I would like to be more sustainable and I am thinking of installing a solar panel on the roof of my apartment, my question is how cost effective I will be knowing that my current electricity bills are ...
7
votes
1answer
136 views

Instructions for making, and comparisons of, *small* solar thermal collectors

The web has probably thousands of pages with instructions on how to build solar devices for heating air, water, and probably things I've never even thought of. Wikipedia describes different types of ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How to set up grid-tied photovoltaics without feed-in?

In my current place (Morocco), the electrical utility operator does not allow feed-in. How can I create a photovoltaics installation that respects this rule? I would like to create a grid-tied ...
7
votes
1answer
164 views

Have spray-on solar cells hit the market yet? What other lightweight cell can I use for unusual shapes?

I read in a couple of places that researchers at Sheffield University have made spray-on perovskite cells at efficiencies of 11%. I was interested in this because it is lightweight and could fit more ...
6
votes
3answers
221 views

How to consume all my photovoltaic electricity locally?

In a location where feed-in to the grid is not rewarded, it makes sense to somehow consume all the "oversupply" electricity from photovoltaics by yourself. How can I implement this in an automated ...
6
votes
1answer
253 views

Can 140 square miles of solar panels power the US?

In the book The Upcycle (copyright 2013) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, the authors make the following claim: ... consider exactly how much desert area covered in solar collectors ...
6
votes
2answers
129 views

How large a solar panel would I need to electrolyse 1 liter of water?

I am interested to know how large a solar panel one would need to produce pure oxygen and pure hydrogen from sea water. I already found the required energy here: If you assume perfect efficiency......