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SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS
AIR CONDITIONING & HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS
AIR LEAK MINIMIZATION
AIR LEAK SEALING PROCEDURE
AIR SEALING STRATEGIES
BIOGAS PRODUCTION & USE
EVAPORATIVE COOLING SYSTEMS
FLOOR FRAMING & SUBFLOOR for TILE
FLOOR POURED FINISH ON CONCRETE SLABS
FLOOR RADIANT HEAT Mistakes to Avoid
FLOOR TYPES & DEFECTS
FRAMING DETAILS for BETTER INSULATION
FRAMING DETAILS for DOUBLE WALL HOUSES
FRAMING METAL STUD PERFORMANCE
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
FROST HEAVES, FOUNDATION, SLAB
GREEN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION CODES GUIDES
GREENHOUSE DESIGN for SOLAR HEATING
GREENHOUSE / SUNSPACE GLARE
HEAT LOSS in BUILDINGS
HEAT LOSS DETECTION TOOLS
HEAT LOSS INDICATORS
HEAT LOSS PREVENTION PRIORITIES
HEAT LOSS R U & K VALUE CALCULATION
HEAT LOSS RATE CALCULATIONS
HEATING SMALL LOADS
HOUSEWRAP INSTALLATION DETAILS
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
INSULATION IDENTIFICATION GUIDE
INSULATION LOCATION - WHERE TO PUT IT
LEED GREEN BUILDING CERTIFICATION
LEED Building Designation & IAQ
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PLUMBING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
RADIANT SLAB FLOORING CHOICES
RADIANT SLAB TUBING & FLUID CHOICES
ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
ROOF VENTILATION SPECIFICATIONS
SHEATHING, FOIL FACED - VENTS
STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
SUMP PUMPS GUIDE
SWEATING (CONDENSATION) on PIPES, TANKS
Thermal Expansion Cracking of Brick
THERMAL EXPANSION of HOT WATER
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
THERMAL TRACKING & HEAT LOSS
VAPOR BARRIERS & AIR SEALING at BAND JOISTS
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in BUILDINGS
VAPOR BARRIERS & HOUSEWRAP
VAPOR CONDENSATION & BUILDING SHEATHING
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS
WIND TURBINES & LIGHTNING
WINDOWS & DOORS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
This article explains photovoltaic electrical power supply products used in solar energy systems. Sketch at page top courtesy of Lennox Industries. Here we include solar energy, solar heating, solar hot water, and related building energy efficiency improvement articles including material reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Our page top photograph shows a portion of an extensive photovoltaic solar panel array installed by Ortho McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Johnson & Johnson), and located on Rte. 202 in Raritan, New Jersey. The system was completed in 2007. Photo courtesy of Paul Galow.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
The New York Times reports that most of the wind turbines and wind energy being installed in the U.S. as well as most of the solar panels being used in the U.S. are being produced in China, and that G.E. (General Electric) makes nearly half the wind turbines used in the United States.
Our photo (left) shows photovoltaic panels installed on utility poles in Haddonfield, NJ, a community where extensive use of solar energy is supported.
U.S. President Obama has called for American Industry to step up its production of renewable energy equipment. Vestas, a Danish corporation, has completed the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturing facility, located in northeastern China, effectively transferring the latest turbine technology for wind turbine generators and turbine controls to that country.
China intends to produce 8 percent of its electricity generation by renewable energy by 2020, compared with the current 4% level in both China and the U.S. In China, wind energy remains 20-40% less costly than that produced from coal. But renewable energy costs continue to fall.
Historical & Current Prices for Photovoltaic Solar Panels
How Much Photovoltaic Power do I Need and How Much Should I Spend on Photovoltaic Power Supply
Question: How Much Photovoltaic Power Can I Buy for $11,000.?
I am building a 3000 square foot passive solar house in Aspen, CO, 1500 feet away from the local power company line. They want $11,000. (1985 prices) for an underground line to the house.
How much photovoltaic power can I get for that much money? My minimum power consumption is around 500 kWh/month. Maximum electrical energy consumption would be about 1000 kWh/Month. I have a good solar site and a 5-kW backup electrical generator. -- Tim Howe, Old Snowmass, CO.
Answer #2: Solar Energy Technology and Costs - Price per Watt (Current)
Three Photovoltaic Technologies: Thin Film, Conventional, & High Efficiency: efficiency levels and relative costs:
According to Leyden, by 2009 the cost of photovoltaic systems had fallen to one tenth of photovoltaic module prices (in dollars per Watt or $/Wp) in 1976, from about $42. per Wp in 1976 to $4.50 / Wp in 2009. (Source: Navigant Consulting).
More recent price estimates (Solarbuzz) trace the price per watt Wp from $5.40 Wp at the end of 2001 down to $3.60 USD per watt Wp by November 2010 in the U.S., and down to $3.20 EU per watt Wp in European Euros. The lowest prices we found (Solarbuzz) was $1.37 Wp for a 60-watt thin film solar module.
Experts indicate that the price of producing electricity from solar sources will probably cross over and then be less than the costs of electricity production by the conventional grid by about 2017.
Current Photovoltaic Efficiency levels depends on the type of collector installed:
- Leyden, 2009.
Components of Price of Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems
A Comparison of Solar-Based Electricity to Conventional Electricity Costs per Kilowatt Hour
For a non-expert it can be difficult to make sense of these various solar photovoltaic system component costs - they are not simply additive since they are not all expressed as cost per watt. Solarbuzz reported (November 2010) that the residential electricity produced using solar modules cost about $0.32 USD per kilowatt hour, and that commercial and industrial electrical costs were $0.22 and $0.17 USD per KWH.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes average retail prices of electricity by end use sector and by U.S. State. Quoting from the EIA's August 2010 data for average retail price for electricity for residential customers, the cost per kilowatt hour ranged from $0.08 (Washington State) to $0.29. (Hawaii).
The average electricity cost across the entire U.S. (August 2010) was $0.12 per KWH: in other words, in the fall of 2010, electricity generated by photovoltaic systems cost roughly 2.6 times the U.S. overall average price per KWH.
For areas where electrical energy cost is sufficiently above the U.S. average, solar-based systems can show a rapid payback.
Historical Solar Energy Costs: Solar Energy Costs in the Mid 1980's
Our photo (left) of photovoltaic solar panels atop an outhouse is from the Poughkeepsie NY Railroad Bridge rail trail crossing the Hudson River. This three-panel photovoltaic installation is sufficient to power interior lighting and a ventilating fan in this public toilet facility.
According to Solar Age technical editor Joe Kohler, of KLR Engineering, you should be able to buy an 840-peak watt photovoltaic power supply system, with an inverter, charge controls, meters, racks, installation, and 1200 amp-hours of battery storage for your $11,000. (at 1980's prices for photovoltaics).
You could expect to get about 200 kWh from this system in the best summer month, and close to 100 kWh in the dead of winter. With a very efficient refrigerator, florescent lights, and a gas-powered water heater and stove, you should be able to live quite well.
Also keep in mind that photovoltaic electrical power systems are modular and expandable. You could add photovoltaic solar panels as your budget permits and, at least until the end of 1985 in Colorado, photovoltaic electrical system installers could take tax credits again for add-on purchases.
Check with your state and federal tax authorities on current tax credits available for photovoltaic electrical systems as well as other passive solar design components.
Manufacturers of Photovoltaic PV Solar Modules
As of November 2010 we found the following manufacturers and websites for solar modules. Some of these manufacturers also produce solar cells. Countries represented among this list of solar module manufacturers include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Japan, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK), United States (USA). Generally all of these companies distribute their products world-wide.
Our detailed list of solar module manufacturers is found at SOLAR MODULE MANUFACTURERS.
The link to the original Q&A photovoltaic solar panel article in PDF form immediately below is preceded by an expanded/updated online version of this article.
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