Ever wonder about the major components that make up a residential solar power system? So did I until I went through the process of installing a solar array at my house in 2010. This is a little vid I threw together last May to help explain the thingy.
Forgot to mention in the show that one of the reasons I purchased this house 6 years ago was the perfect South facing slope that is le bomba for mounting solar arrays. Much bettah than mounting on the roof.
Also did not mention that my electric bill was $800 per month before, system cost was $70K after rebates - making this a decision even a math moron like me could make. Looking for a good electric car now.
Q: Do utilities pay you for generating more electricity than you consume?
A: No, they typically just leave credits on the books for one year and apply them on that month when you consume more than you produce.
Q: Do you still have power in a blackout?
A: No, since I use the utility grid as my "battery" - when it goes down so does my power. The only way to avoid this is to have bigass batteries which are hugely expensive.
Q: What is the warranty on the system?
A: 25 years on the panels from Sunpower, 1 year for the installation . . . or as long as each is in business - which is a real concern. When choosing your Team go with big, established and well financed companies.
Q: What about permits 'n stuff.
A: Several are needed for a typical installation, almost like you're building a house. Also careful not to count on natural "open space" for your installation. The City can view a solar panel project the same way as if you are building a guest house. Also, be aware of property line set-backs.
Q: How does shade effect the system output.
A: Dramatically, even if one panel out of the entire array is shaded then it kills the output of the entire array. Has to do with how the panels are wired up together (series/parallel). Make sure your location is without current or future shade (fast growing trees on your neighbor's side of the fence).
Q: What about maintenance?
A: Monthly washing of the panels to keep them operating at 100% is all that is required. A good family time task.
Q: Why as a Nation are we not doing more to encourage this no-brainer solution to energy independence?
A: Washington is run by well financed special interest groups controlled by Coal, Oil and Natural Gas. They have done an effective job of convincing Americans that the answer to energy policy is to produce more finite resources ("drill baby drill") - rather than the obvious solution of reducing demand and investing in renewable energy technology. China is going green on a huge scale since they don't like being enslaved by anyone and understand that real energy independence = strength. Wake up USA!
Q: Is Josh currently in a relationship?? I soooo want to get with him.
A: Sorry ladies, Josh is married to a super hot wife.