Newbee question

1 Posts
Apr 20, 2010 04:03 pm
Newbee question

If I have $1000.00 to invest in something for my home in solar
power---What is a good place to start?  Should I think  about one appliance or is it even enough to try something new?
578 Posts
Apr 20, 2010 04:17 pm
Re: Newbee question

if I had a thousand dollars . . .

I would spend it on efficiency.  either go bananas and switch as many lights to l.e.d. as possible, or find my oldest appliance and have at that.

if all my appliances were efficient, and all my lighting was as efficient as possible,

i would consider insulation and new windows

if that was done,

I would consider a home energy audit, and or a solar site assessment by the respective qualified personnel.

then . . .

I would consider solar thermal, or perhaps a small grid tied pv system that could grow over time.

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184 Posts
Apr 21, 2010 09:53 pm
Re: Newbee question


I agree with James that the best way to start is with efficient lighting and appliances, insulation, and so on.  But since your question is how to best spend your money on “solar”, I would first look into solar water heating, and then solar electricity. 

With solar electricity, you have two basic options, grid-tied or off-grid.  $1000 is not nearly enough to get a (practical) grid-tied system up and running, so I’ll limit this reply to off-grid.

If you spend your money wisely, and do the labor yourself, your $1000 off-grid system might be big enough to provide some lighting, charge a cell phone, power a radio, and not much more.  Still, it’s a good start.  You’ll really appreciate the value of your small system in the event of a grid-power failure.  As you enlarge you’ll be able to watch TV, do a little cooking, and use other household appliances.  It will take quite a bit more to provide air-conditioning and heating.  I use a bio-fueled stove and only use electricity to power the motors. 

May I suggest that before you buy anything, think about what you want to end up with in the long run.  Use on-line resources to calculate how big your system needs to be, mainly in terms of watts of PV and amp-hours of battery capacity, to meet your ultimate goals. 

There’s nothing wrong with starting small and adding to your system over time, but consider your battery strategy carefully, as it is not a good idea to add new batteries to an existing array. 

If you’ll tell me what your goals are, I’ll be happy to provide additional information. 

« Last Edit: Apr 21, 2010 09:55 pm by John Dalhaus »
55 Posts
Apr 24, 2010 12:26 pm
Re: Newbee question

This is just a little side note. If you decide to change to LED bulbs do not get light of America brand. 8 bulbs 8 failed in less than a year 50 down the drain.
184 Posts
Apr 24, 2010 03:30 pm
Re: Newbee question

Right!  Not all bulbs are of the same quality.  I have no LED bulbs, but almost everything in my home is CFL.  I've had good luck with Sylvania.  You can extend the life of CFL's by making sure that heat doesn't build up inside the light fixture.  I've actually inverted some of my light fixtures so that the base of the bulb (where the electronics are), is below the bulb itself. 

Apr 25, 2010 03:45 am
Re: Newbee question
« Last Edit: Apr 25, 2010 03:47 am by Thomas Allen Schmidt »
7 Posts
May 8, 2010 07:41 am
Re: Newbee question

As far as I know then it is better for us that we should work on power systems of homes like, using CFLs instead of power bulbs is lot more beneficial. Also, you can install power saving equipments that are better for unnecessary loss of power. Also, you can install solar PV roofing that can also worth.



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