Solar Panel Electricity

It’s true that solar panels aren’t for everyone and everywhere. There are certain climates that just don’t get enough sunlight, or houses that don’t have a place to add solar panels. However, there are a lot of places that should be using solar panels and aren’t. My island here in Okinawa is one of those places. We have had a couple of very large wind turbines and one very small solar field, but that is about it. We are a sub-tropical island (think hawaii), so we get a lot of sunlight each year.

On top of that, this island is designated as an “eco island” which means there is supposed to be a focus on green energy and sustainable living. Unfortunately, this is really more of a title than it is a push to make the island sustainable and clean. The island gets a ton of money from the Japanese government so we have a ton of parks, baseball parks, tourist locations, and now an underwater tunnel. So why don’t we have solar panel electricity?

Most of it comes down to politics and the fact that our island is a tourist island, so the money is put towards things to get more tourists to come. The politicians don’t think about the long term benefits of getting electricity from solar panels. In fact, there aren’t even really solar panels for sale here on our island.

However, this is about to change. The government is currently installing a large solar panel field that will allow our island to get about a percentage of our electricity from solar panels. If it works out well, then we may see more projects in the future. Solar panel electricity makes a lot of sense, since not only do we get a lot of sun, but during storms it can also be difficult to get gas to run the generators. Not to mention the extra costs associated with having it shipped here.

As you can see from the picture above, the field is substantial and is supposed to be finished this year. They did unfortunately, cut down a small forest to put it in place (as they destroyed a coral reef to put up the underwater tunnel). On the good side, trees and plants grow incredibly fast here.

I will keep you up to date and try to get some pics once it’s completed.

Small Solar Panels

When thinking about solar panels for your home, a lot of people tend to think about the big ones that can be mounted onto your roof. Of course, there are a lot of us, who don’t have either the funds (though the solar panels for sale have gotten much cheaper) or we may not have the space. Because of this a lot of people tend to mark solar panels off as a viable option.

However, there are also a number of small solar panels for sale. In fact, very small solar panels have been around for a very long time. I’m sure that you have all had a solar powered calculator. If you live in an apartment or a rented house, you may not have the ability to have solar panels installed on your house, but you can use small solar panels to provide some power.

As mentioned above, for those who rent, having solar panels installed on the house doesn’t make a lot of sense. Not only will you have to have them removed when you leave (if the owner even let’s you install them), but you also have to worry about all the wiring on a house which isn’t even yours. It can make things expensive and complicated. Luckily, as solar panels have gotten cheaper, so have the number of options increased.

You can now purchase small solar panels which can be mounted on windows, decks, or a mounting device of your choosing, and come complete with their own converters and batteries. This works perfectly to provide a little extra electricity for your appliances as well as reduce your monthly energy bill. Small solar panels also don’t take much to put up, and since they aren’t wired or permanently attached to the house you can take them with you.

You can also create your own solar panels for a fraction of the cost. If you want to go green now, and save a lot of money then this is for you. You can find out more here.

 

 

Japan to require solar panels on all new buildings by 2030

For a lot of people this sounds like a big push in the right direction. Imagine if every building had solar panels powering it. The amount of power produced by gas or nuclear would drop dramatically. But, I think this is more of a plan to get attention away from the recent nuclear disaster than it is an effort to go green.


First, 2030 is almost 20 years from now. And that doesn’t mean that all buildings will be required to have solar panels by then. Only that all new buildings will be required to install them. So there is really no immediate push for companies are building owners to install solar panels. They also fail to mention that by the year 2030, the amount of expansion in Japan (unless drastic measures are taken) will be close to zero. You don’t build a lot of new buildings when your population is continually shrinking.

Now if Japan was serious about using solar panels, they would have made this immediate so that all the new houses that will be built in the areas hit by the tsunami would require solar panels. Rather than just rebuilding those communities they could make them clean and green and independent.

Let’s face it, the solar panels for sale have gotten cheaper and will continue to do so. Especially when the majority of buildings in Japan are built by corporations and large companies. It’s time we start demanding more from them. Cheap solar panels can be picked up pretty easy these days, and the more that are purchased the more that will be made.

So what are your feelings on the subject? Is it a good start or is it too little too late?

You can find more info here.

Cheap solar panels could get cheaper and more efficient

Solar energy is great. As long as the sun is out, and your panels are aimed in the right direction, then you are making power. One of the limiting factors for solar panels for sale on the market today has been the efficiency at which they gather light. Up until this point the best solar panels gather about 30% of the light that hits them. According to IDTecEX, a new type of flexible solar panel is being designed at the University of Missouri that can collect up to 90% of f sunlight. That is impressive.

The cells will use a different type of cell made of of circuits and antenna to collect both sunlight and heat.  They are also currently designing a manufacturing process will will allow the solar panels to be produced cheap and in large quantities. The goal for the project is to have the cells available within 5 years.

So what does this mean for us? Cheap solar panels are already starting to show up on the market. With more types available the prices will go even lower. Also, as the efficiency of the panels gets better, each house will require fewer and fewer panels. At 90% that is triple the current panels ability to make electricity which means you will only need one-third of the panels that are currently needed.

Solar Panels For Sale

When it comes to going green, there are a lot of options. Not only are there now a lot of solar panels for sale, but you also have to decide where you want to install them, the best setup for your house, to have them installed professionally or to do it yourself, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.

The good news is that as solar panels are getting cheaper and cheaper. Th options for solar panels are also increasing giving you more options to suit your needs. Doing even just a quick search for solar panels on Amazon brings up over 6,800 options in different price ranges.

solar panels page

Think about your needs

Are you looking to just save a little money on your electric bill each month or are you looking to get rid of it all together and be more dependent. You also need to consider your house, your landscape, and the climate. How many hours of sunlight do you get each day? What kind of house do you have and on what kind of terrain.


If your house is located on flat land, where the sun hits everywhere, then it will probably be easier (and cheaper) to mount the solar panels on the ground rather than on the house. ¬†However, if you live in the hills or mountains where the sunlight doesn’t hit for as long, then you may need to mount them on your home, or wherever they will get the most sunlight.

Climate is obviously another important aspect to consider. The amount of power that your solar panels generate is directly related to how much direct sunlight they get. If you live in a predominantly cloudy area, you will either need more solar panels, more efficient solar panels, or you may need to think about alternatives such as wind, water, etc.

What can you change

In addition to just getting energy from solar panels, you may also want to consider what energy you can stop using. Is there a better way to run your AC or heater. I was able to produce a solar heater using nothing but soda cans and some wood. You could use lower wattage lights and appliances. Not only will this save how much energy you use, but it lowers the number of solar panels you will need.

Research

Find out how many watts of power you use, when you use the most power, and also how many solar panels you will need. This is the time to start researching individual solar panels and finding out their benefits. Cheap solar panels don’t cost as much, but they may also not provide as much electricity. Also find out what kind of refunds or discounts you can get from the government. There are a lot of green programs now days, and with the right paperwork you might be able to get your house running off solar panels without much money out of pocket.

You’ll also want to find out what companies sell panels and offer installation in your area. There are a lot companies selling solar panels online, but if you are planning to have them installed for you, it might be better to buy the panels from that company. Find out what your options are.

Professional installation or DIY

This all depends on what kind of person you are and what your budget is. If you can get the government to pay for your solar panels, then I say have it installed professionally (unless you want some kind of special setup. You are are looking to go the least expensive route, then you will want to think about doing the installation yourself. There are even guides that show you how to purchase slightly damaged panels at the fraction of the cost and work basically just the same.

I tend to be a DIY when I have the option. I guess I just don’t like to spend money when I can help it and I actually enjoy doing the work.

How much are you paying for electricity?

The higher it goes the easier choosing solar panels gets. And remember, it will keep going up. The longer you wait the more money you will loose. Summer is almost here. Don’t loose all of that valuable light.

 

Solar Panels for Sale…err Rent?

I remember reading a while back about a company who rather than selling solar panels, was installing them for mostly free and then selling the electricity. This morning I came across this article talking about a company SunRun who is doing just that.

Its quite a unique concept, and one that will certainly help push solar power forward. If you can’t afford solar panels, then at least you can buy power made by them. Now I still think the best route for those who don’t mind a little DIY is to build your own solar panels. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of current solar panels for sale. However, if this isn’t an option is renting a good idea?

While this will help more solar panels getting sold, and allow more people access to solar, there is one thing I don’t like. You will still be paying an energy bill. One of the benefits of solar is to free yourself a bit from the system and the bills that go a long with it.

So what do you think? Do you think this is better for most people or are they better off buying their own systems?

Powering the World with Solar Panels

Solar panels are getting more popular. Even the hardware stores have solar panels for sale now. But there are those who still say solar panels aren’t enough. We need additional forms of energy. The below link shows how much land would need to be covered with solar panels to supply the world with power. Let’s just say “not much”. And if you spread it out over a lot of houses and buildings, it could be easily accomplished.

powering the world

Solar Panel Heater

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was building a solar panel heater ( also known as a soda can heater or solar space heater). Well, I finished the project, but have run into a small problem.

The solar heater actually works very well. Air gets pulled in through the bottom and circulated through the black aluminum cans and exits as hot air. It works just like it’s supposed to.

The problem I have is that attaching it to the house has proved more difficult than I thought. The area I originally planned to put it doesn’t get quite as much sunlight as I thought. Unfortunately, the house is made of concrete, so attaching it to the house and adding holes is very difficult. I am currently looking at mounting it in a different location and using long pipes to run it into the house.

Until then, here are some of the pictures from the building process.

New Solar Panels for Sale: Nanosolar

One of the biggest set backs for solar panels has been the high costs that it takes to manufacture them. This in turn makes their retail cost very high. Well, not there is are some new solar panels for sale in the market by a company called Nanosolar.

Nanosolar’s focus has been to try and lower the cost of manufacturing the panels so they can easily be produced. They have done this by using a special ink to literally print the panels onto a sheet. According to Nanosolar they can make their panels for about a tenth of what it costs to make panels currently on the market today.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think.

Solar Panels, Solar Energy, Green Projects, and Evil Geniuses

Okay, the title is a little bit long. A few weeks ago on solar panels for sale I wrote about ordering some new books. In particular: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Well, they arrived and I have had a chance to take a look at them. And to be honest I am a little surprised at the results.

My primary purpose for these books was to see what types of helpful projects they contained for installing or making your own solar panels, solar heater, solar cookers, and other types of green energy. I was also hoping for tips and help on making a home more energy efficient. So what did I find out?

Well it depends on what you want. The one I was looking forward to the most Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius turned out to be the one that was the least helpful. It had a few unique projects on making solar cookers or water heaters, but most of the projects seem to be more about learning a concept rather than something that is actually useful.

50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius actually turned out to be pretty cool. It has info on how to install solar panels on your house, make compost bins, build water purifiers, and a whole bunch more. The thing I liked about this one was that most of the projects were useful.

The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart also turned out to be a decent book, but only for someone who owns or is building their own home. It was very comprehensive on how to get the most energy efficiency with your house. However, it was also not a simple book. I felt like I needed to be a contractor to understand half the things I read through. Unless you are building or own your own house this probably isn’t a great choice.