Solar Energy Basics

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CarbonfreeDC presentation by Jim Crowley, Chairman of the Potomac Region Solar Energy Association (PRSEA)

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Solar Energy Basics

  1. 1. Potomac Region Solar Energy Association
  2. 2. <ul><li>--Reading your electric bill </li></ul><ul><li>--Conservation and efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>--Solar hot water </li></ul><ul><li>--Solar electricity </li></ul>
  3. 3. --Kilowatt-hours used --Transmission cost --Cost per kilowatt-hour --Fuel adjustment charge Total cost per KWH: 12.9¢ (increased by 30% in last 5 years) 69 kWh 69 x o.o260300 69 x 0.0551500 69 x 0.0474500
  4. 4. --Rate increases already approved in VA, MD, DC --Carbon tax and/or cap- and-trade policy will increase fuel costs Electricity Cost Trends
  5. 5. <ul><li>Upgrade to efficient “Energy Star” appliances </li></ul><ul><li>-refrigerator </li></ul><ul><li>-clothes washer </li></ul><ul><li>-dehumidifier </li></ul><ul><li>Insulation, sealing </li></ul><ul><li>Heating/cooling </li></ul>Front-load washer Energy-star refrigerator www.energystar.gov
  6. 6. <ul><li>Upgrade to efficient appliances </li></ul><ul><li>Insulation, sealing </li></ul><ul><li>-attic insulation 15” minimum </li></ul><ul><li>-attic door cover </li></ul><ul><li>-storm windows </li></ul><ul><li>Heating/cooling </li></ul>Insulated attic door cover
  7. 7. <ul><li>Upgrade to efficient appliances </li></ul><ul><li>Insulation, sealing </li></ul><ul><li>Heating/cooling </li></ul><ul><li>--Annual maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>--Difficult to retrofit </li></ul><ul><li>--Ductless heat pumps </li></ul><ul><li>--Radiant barrier </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>--Use less air conditioning— programmable thermostat </li></ul><ul><li>--Whole house fan </li></ul><ul><li>--Lower hot water heater temperature setting </li></ul><ul><li>--Use fans for spot cooling </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>--Use less air conditioning </li></ul><ul><li>--Whole house fan </li></ul><ul><li>--Lower hot water heater </li></ul><ul><li>temperature setting </li></ul><ul><li>--Use fans for spot cooling </li></ul>From: Extremehowto.com
  10. 10. <ul><li>--Use less air conditioning </li></ul><ul><li>--Whole house fan </li></ul><ul><li>--Lower hot water temperature setting to 130 F </li></ul><ul><li>--Add insulation blanket </li></ul><ul><li>--Use fans for spot cooling </li></ul>1. Turn off circuit breaker 2. Remove covers 3. Set thermostats 4. Turn on breaker!
  11. 11. <ul><li>--Use less air conditioning </li></ul><ul><li>--Whole house fan </li></ul><ul><li>--Lower hot water heater temperature setting </li></ul><ul><li>--Use fans for spot cooling—Turn off when you are not nearby </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>--Buy things that don’t use energy when turned off </li></ul><ul><li>--Eliminate “phantom” loads </li></ul><ul><li>--Turn stuff off! </li></ul>Coffee pot with clock/timer
  13. 13. <ul><li>--Buy things that don’t use energy when turned off </li></ul><ul><li>--Eliminate “phantom” loads </li></ul><ul><li>“ Kill-a-Watt” meter </li></ul><ul><li>--Turn stuff off! </li></ul>Entertainment center with Power strip Kill-a-Watt meter
  14. 14. <ul><li>--Buy things that don’t use energy when turned off </li></ul><ul><li>--Eliminate “phantom” loads </li></ul><ul><li>--Turn stuff off! (printers, monitors, coffeepots, security lights, etc., etc.) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Your personal smart grid can reduce “peak” energy usage <ul><li>Put hot water tank on a timer to avoid peak hour operation (12:00 pm-7:00 pm). </li></ul><ul><li>Use timers on other major appliances (dehumidifier, possibly freezer/refrigerator) </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>--How does it work? </li></ul><ul><li>--What does it look like? </li></ul><ul><li>--What are the requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>--What are the cost/benefits? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Diagram courtesy of Standard Solar, Inc . Back up heat
  18. 18. <ul><li>1. Evacuated tube </li></ul><ul><li>--more efficient </li></ul><ul><li>--smaller footprint </li></ul><ul><li>--angle tolerant </li></ul><ul><li>2. Flat panel </li></ul>www.sssolar.com
  19. 19. <ul><li>1. Evacuated tube </li></ul><ul><li>2. Flat panel </li></ul><ul><li>--simple, effective, </li></ul><ul><li>durable </li></ul><ul><li>--heavy! </li></ul><ul><li>--angle steeper than </li></ul><ul><li>many roofs </li></ul>www.heliodyne.com
  20. 20. <ul><li>--Unshaded, south facing roof </li></ul><ul><li>or other location near house </li></ul><ul><li>--Angle should be optimized for winter; </li></ul><ul><li>summer will have plenty </li></ul>Shed mounted Ground mount near house
  21. 21. <ul><li>1. Typical usage (family of four) = 4700 kwh/year @ 15¢ per = $700 </li></ul><ul><li>2. SHW system displaces ~70% of usage= $500 </li></ul><ul><li>3. SHW system cost after tax incentives = $5000 </li></ul><ul><li>-- </li></ul>Basic assumptions
  22. 22. <ul><li>Three ways to look the benefits: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Simple payback --$5000/$500 per year savings = 10 year s </li></ul><ul><li>2. CD comparison --$5000 invested to get $500 per year = 10% interest rate. Actually about 13% effective rate considering taxes. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Refinance $5000 @ 5% rate costs $322 per year. You saved $500-$322 = $178 per year. No large out of pocket expense. </li></ul>And don’t forget!
  23. 23. <ul><li>--How does it work? </li></ul><ul><li>--What does it look like? </li></ul><ul><li>--What are the requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>--What are the cost/benefits? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Diagram courtesy of Standard Solar, Inc.
  25. 25. <ul><li>Single crystal, polycrystalline, extruded thin-film—all are functionally very similar. </li></ul><ul><li>--cost/watt approximately $3.50-4.00 </li></ul><ul><li>--panels represent about half the total </li></ul><ul><li>system cost of ~$7.00-8.00 per watt. </li></ul>Single crystal Polycrystalline
  26. 26. <ul><li>Off-grid </li></ul><ul><li>Grid-tied with net metering </li></ul><ul><li>Grid-tied with net metering and battery backup </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>--DC electricity generated by your solar panels is converted to AC by an inverter that feeds the power back to the grid. </li></ul><ul><li>--You receive a power “credit”. In essence, your utility meter runs backwards if you are generating more electricity than is being used within the house. </li></ul><ul><li>--The grid becomes like a giant battery—saving your excess solar energy for later use. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>--Solar panels </li></ul><ul><li>--Charge controller </li></ul><ul><li>(battery backup systems only) </li></ul><ul><li>--DC -> AC Inverter </li></ul><ul><li>--External shut-off </li></ul>External shut-off System with battery backup Simple grid-tie inverter
  29. 29. <ul><li>--Need southern exposure with no </li></ul><ul><li>shading for most of the day. </li></ul><ul><li>--Roof mount or ground mount; </li></ul><ul><li>fixed or adjustable. </li></ul><ul><li>--Can be located away from house </li></ul><ul><li>(inverter near panels so that power </li></ul><ul><li>is transmitted as high voltage AC. </li></ul><ul><li>--Modular design is possible </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>Assumptions: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Price for a one kilowatt grid-tied </li></ul><ul><li>array after incentives: $7000 </li></ul><ul><li>2. Annual kilowatt-hours produced : 1250 </li></ul><ul><li>3. Value of electricity produced: $188 @ 15¢ per kwh </li></ul><ul><li>$376 @ 30¢ per kwh </li></ul><ul><li>4. Annual cost to finance at 5% rate: $451 </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>www.dsireusa.org </li></ul>Picture is changing rapidly—You can influence the outcome! Website provides information about incentives for each state:
  32. 32. A few other resources: <ul><li>www.prsea.org (our website) </li></ul><ul><li>Homepower.com (home power magazine) </li></ul><ul><li>Solartour.org (DC area solar homes tour website) </li></ul>
  33. 33. The 7 stages towards acceptance of a new idea, such as solar power generation, by entrenched interests: <ul><li>1. Idea is dismissed out of hand. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Idea is described as quixotic and impractical, for various reasons </li></ul><ul><li>3. Some lip service is paid, but grudgingly </li></ul><ul><li>4. Keen interest expressed, but mainly a marketing ploy </li></ul><ul><li>5. Control of changing public attitudes and political trends becomes difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Idea is mainstream and treated seriously. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Corporations must adapt or become extinct! </li></ul>

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