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Energy Efficiency November 22, 2013 Sonia



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modern technology delivers convenience our ancestors couldn’t dream about. Of course, everything has a downside, and the main technology downside is energy consumption. We use a lot of energy, all the time, and at an ever increasing rate. This paradigm combined with massive industrialization in the developing world translates into steadily rising energy prices that show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The only way to escape them is to find real alternatives to conventional fossil fuels. Some alternatives, like nuclear fusion reactors, require major capital investment and difficult years of research. Others, like hydrogen fuel cells, may be theoretically possible, but too expensive to use on a massive scale.

Even if super sci-fi tech like those work out, they’re still years in the future. Is there anything we can do right now?

 

Solar Here and Now

Yes, it’s called solar energy, and solar has a lot going for it you may not realize. For example:

  • Enough solar energy hits the Earth in a single hour to fuel the entire planet’s needs for a full year.
  • Solar energy already fuels our flora and fauna. The food you eat is, essentially, repackaged sunlight.
  • Solar power is inexhaustible, pollution free, noise free, carbon free, and cheaper than other renewable fuel sources.
  • Solar energy is the most versatile power source yet discovered. A solar cell can gather energy in Arizona as easily as it can in Antarctica or the surface of the Moon.

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Easier Said Than Done?

As good as it is, a lot of folks aren’t convinced by the solar sales pitch, and it’s hard to blame them. Solar panel technology used to be bulky, clumsy, difficult to install, and, mainly, expensive. Used to be, that is, but not anymore. Modern solar panels are simple, easy to install, and affordable due to complete package options like an IWAE ACPV 5kW Complete Solar Energy Kit.

This complete kit is everything you need to get solar going at home. It’s also one of the few solar packages on the market you can mostly install yourself. If you’re a trained electrician, then you could, in theory, do all of it alone.

Let’s dig in.

IWAE Generation 2 ACPV Complete Solar Energy Kit

First, what’s in the box?

  • 20 monocrystalline AC solar panel modules.
  • Roof mounting hardware including mounting rails, L feet, flashings, screws, and more.
  • Wiring and electronic connections.
  • Web monitoring equipment.
  • WEEBs for grounding and lightning protection.
  • AC disconnect.
  • Owners Manual.
  • Technical schematics and engineering drawings.

 

That’s a lot of stuff. What good is it?

AC Solar Modules

The most important part of the package are the monocrystalline modules. Previous generation solar energy systems required hours of electrical work to wire together individual solar cells, and even more time to connect to the local grid. All this complex electric work required professional knowledge, took a long time, and, as you can imagine, amplified consumer costs across the board.

Modern mono solar AC modules are much simpler to install than previous generation cells. A solar AC module is a solar panel with an AC module already factory-installed. This eliminates a lot of the fieldwork older installations required. The only wiring a solar AC module needs is to be plugged in to its neighboring module. That’s it. If you can plug in a toaster, you can plug in a solar AC module.

You’ll still need a professional electrician to integrate the system into your house or your local grid, but any layman can do the bulk of the installation.

Roof Installation

AC solar modules might be easy to wire together, but actually bolting them to the roof is still a hassle, right? Not at all. If you can tile a roof, you can easily install the necessary railing required to support ACPV solar modules. It’s just making measurements, drilling screws, tightening bolts, and taking your time. There’s nothing particularly complicated or difficult about the process. If they follow the instructions in the kit and don’t cut corners, anyone can install the roof mounts.

WEEBs

Lightning is a very real threat to anything not properly grounded, and a solar energy installation is no exception. You probably don’t need much convincing to understand how bad it would be if lightning struck solar modules on your roof. Which is why there are WEEBs.

What is a WEEB?

WEEB washers are products specifically designed to protect solar modules against lightning strikes. When installed correctly, WEEBs create an electrical path for the lightning to follow from the roof to the ground. WEEBs are simple, easy, cheap, and, best of all, they work great.

Benefits & Savings

A new complete energy kit with mono ACPV solar modules might be easy to install and more affordable than ever, but what does it deliver? Energy, obviously, but how much and for how long? What would a complete energy kit save the average Joe?

The average American household could get about 50% of their monthly electricity needs from an appropriately sized solar energy installation. This equals out to about $600 a year, but could can be higher for homeowners who live in markets with high energy energy.

So, suppose you invest in the IWAE ACPV 5kW Complete Solar Energy Kit which retails for around $11,600. At a savings of $600 per year it would take approximately 20 years to recoup the initial investment, and then have an additional 5 warranty years left on the standard 25-year warranty. Of course, machines don’t instantly fail when the warranty expires, and the typical solar module will last years longer.

Of course, the aforementioned calculations don’t take into account the 30% Federal tax credit you will qualify for when you invest in a renewable energy system like ACPV solar panels. Depending on where you live, you might also be eligible to take advantage of state and local incentives like low-interest financing, property tax exemptions, feed in tariffs, kWh tax credits, and more.

Basically, when you combine a solar energy installation with Federal, state and local incentives, they make even better financial sense than they do on their own.

Bottom Line

If you’ve been considering solar panel investment, now is the time. The technology is mature, the incentives are lucrative, and, for an extreme DIYer, installation has never been easier. So, if you want to save energy for the rest of your life, invest in solar now.

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