Living Green

by DAN VOS
Vos Energy Concepts

Dan Vos

Today we talk about the exotic form of solar energy—the one that techies drool over. The one that gives people that far away look in their eyes, as if they are in the Mars Rover or the space station or at the communication satellites that our phones and iPads bounce off of. Well that last was a bit of a stretch.

Solar electric or PV panels make all those things possible. They are also powering our lighted signs on the highways, among many other things.

A solar electric installation is what I’m asked about most by homeowners. The cost is dropping dramatically, which is what has kept most of us from purchasing such wonderful technology. New inverter technology has made questionable sites more positive, and bigger panels means less mounting hardware. Inverters, by the way, change the voltage from the panels to that which we can use 120v AC to such a fine quality that we can now grid-tie them.

Grid-tie means that we can sell our extra production to the utility company at the same price they charge us, so no batteries are needed. We just buy back at night what we sold them during the day. What a deal. Batteries can still be used for people who need them.

The panels can be mounted on a roof, on poles and on trackers which follow the sun’s path through the sky. They work very well, are quiet, will last for many years (I have some that are 25 years old) and are beautiful to behold, at least I think so.

Don’t forget: energy efficiency first.

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