The main impetus for the accelerated interest in solar electricity has been the California Energy Commission's rebate program. They offer rebates of $4.00 per watt for homes and $4.50 per watt for businesses (approximately 50% of the total installed cost of solar electric systems).
Making a hybrid power system work in the long run is not just about buying and installing the equipment. Like with any other technical system, there must be adequate documentation of the installation. Operators and maintenance personnel must have proper training. Funds must be allocated for maintenance and repair, e.g. to replace a worn-out battery bank or hire a specialist for troubleshooting.
The question is why are you interested in using solar or wind energy? Is it because you need some back-up electricity for when the utility grid is unavailable? Or is it because you want to spend less money per month on electricity?
News articles indicate that photovoltaics are already cost effective in Hawaii and some parts of California. Photovoltaics are also cheaper than electric grid power if you wish to power a remote home that is more than 2 miles from the nearest power line.
My view is that while we would all like to believe that the decision to use alternative energy sources by individuals will be justified economically ... or politically ... or culturally ... in fact the primary market growth for the products and services in this industry will be driven by responsible people who just want to feel good about the way they conserve or create energy.
Solar electric systems have high up front costs. Before going solar electric, you should conserve as much energy as possible so that your solar system can be smaller. Here are some tips on conserving electrical energy.
Steam, as with other forms of alternate energy has it's realm. Where steam excels above the other common systems, is in an application that requires large quantities of controllable, useable heat.
Maximum Power Point Tracking, frequently referred to as MPPT, is an electronic system that operates the Photovoltaic (PV) modules in a manner that allows the modules to produce all the power they are capable of.
The design is simple yet truly effective in offering to the building owner an aesthetically pleasing, lightweight photovoltaic roofing system that rests on flat or low slope roofs, requires no roof penetrations, protects roofs from weather and UV radiation and produces cost effective solar electric energy.
For emergencies there are all sorts of hand crank lights, solar flashlights, and low power LED flashlights. There's even a "shake-up" flashlight that uses a shaking motion of the hand to produce the needed power.
Power Energy Fuels, Inc. (PEFI) has the opportunity to assist the US Forest Service in converting forest residual (wood waste) into a useful commercial product.
Embracing change is the answer! As a nation, we need to look at this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. This attitude and approach will lower our cost of living while creating a new market opportunity for green technologies. This opportunity can lead us to new industries and new jobs carrying our economy forward into a future world where we have learned to optimize, to adapt and overcome.
As compared with passive switchable glazing technologies such as photochromic or thermochromic -- which merely react to environmental conditions such as ultraviolet radiation or temperature -- SPD technology offers the user control over the amount of light transmission and much faster switching speeds.
To make the motorized registers, I'm using standard units purchased at a local hardware superstore, and the small servo motors were purchased from a local hobby shop that deals in Remote Control cars, planes and boats. All that's needed is a simple circuit to control them.
Ideally, a home energy controller would be programmed to calculate when loads should be turned on or off. It should also be designed to look at alternate solutions such as closing the window blinds before turning on the air conditioner to cool a room. The controller has to strike a balance between energy savings and comfort and convenience to the homeowner. The system should be almost invisible to the homeowner. If it isn't, it will soon be disabled.
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