Posts Tagged ‘home solar panel’

Cooling Solar Panels to Increase Efficiency

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Just like you, the solar panels on top of your roof are not as productive at high temperatures! Most people think that with the more direct sunlight the more energy the panels will produce, but then don’t worry about the accompanying high temperature. Cooling solar cells can often be a pretty expensive and time consuming process with previous solutions including the use of chemicals or gallons of water. Solar panels could actually be more efficient if they did not “overheat” as often. The problem is how to do this in a gentle and inexpensive way. Researchers at Stanford University have recently unveiled new coating made out of silica glass that will allow the solar cells to cool themselves, but still receive the same amount of sunlight and produce the same amount of energy. A silica, pyramid patterned coating was seen to work the best by being transparent to visible light and easily able to redirect thermal rays back into the atmosphere.

Spring Forward with Solar Lights and Fountains

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

It is that time of year again, but you would not know it from the weather outside in Washington, D.C. It has been cold and breezy, yet the sun is shining and if you have your solar panels out, you have been producing lots of solar energy. We have just updated our site with a new selection of new home solar panels, so if you are in the market, or just want to compare various options, then please let us know. If you don’t have the big bucks to shell out for a home solar panel system, then you may want to think about other solar offerings. As soon as the sun comes out, people start thinking solar powered lights and solar fountains. Every year, the solar light options get increasingly better, more efficient, brighter and more attractive. The SolarTown learning section provides an overview of solar powered lights, what applications they can be used for, a brief description of the lights, and how long they will work when operating at a full charge. Probably the most popular lights are solar path lights, but solar lamp posts are also quite popular.

Solar Gifts from SolarTown: Greening the Holidays

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Are you looking for green or eco friendly gifts to give for the holidays? Every year, we at SolarTown are compiling a list of some gifts that you may want to consider. Take a look at our solar gifts that we are recommending this year in our learning section.The first gift you can give is to educate yourself and your friends about the power of solar energy. My family and I went to the Science Museum in Baltimore over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is easy to forget that the sun is 1.3 million (yes, million) times as large as the Earth. If you open up the sun and dump over a million earths in it, you can begin to imagine that the sun carries a pretty large punch. The challenge is of course how to garner all of that energy. The answer is that we don’t need to garner very much of that energy to meet our energy needs; we just have to do it efficiently.

Solar Inverters: Best in Show Awards

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As most loyal SolarTown customers know, we try to get you the best guidance on selecting solar energy products from our selection of home solar panels to solar water pumps and other products. We recently played with the idea of doing the same thing with our selection of solar inverters, but came to the conclusion that the inverter market may not have as many objective standards or features to make that kind of comparison as useful as with solar modules. Some excellent brands, like Outback, don’t stack up in the numbers because they are specialized in other areas like being installable in almost any tropical or harsh environment or switching between on and off grid mode. That said, sometimes the numbers have a point, and we want to share that point with you so at least you have some information on which to base your decision of which solar inverter to choose for certain size solar panel systems. So here is our first rundown of Solar Inverters: Best in Show!

Enphase Innovating into Obsolescence

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

We like the microinverter for residential solar panel systems and we respect Enphase’s market leadership. Just as the elevator was synonymous with the lift and Xerox was synonymous with photocopiers, Enphase has become synonymous with microinverters. Most of the residential installations of solar panels we see are with microinverters. As Enphase has extended its warranty, the microinverter has become an integral part of home solar panel systems. All of that is well and good, but we are wondering if Enphase is innovating into obsolescence by treating its microinverters as electronics, fundamentally changing its product every few months. We like the Enphase microinverter, but wish that they would spend less time on innovation and more time on improving its current products.

Extreme Off Gridding in Mongolia: A Lesson for Obama

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Look at this ger from Mongolia. It’s about 18 feet in diameter and about 8 ½ feet high at its apex. And it has precisely one more solar panel than the White House. You probably have seen the latest news stories about how President Obama has so far politely declined to restore solar to the White House. The nomads living in gers in Mongolia may be able to teach the President a thing or two about solar energy. Now I know that Obama has not taken to this idea very well—but here’s a new idea. Why not set up a ger on the White House grounds right next to Michelle’s organic garden? SolarTown will donate a solar panel to place on top of the ger. That way, the White House will have at least as many solar panels as the nomads living on the steppe of Mongolia.

Choose Your Home Solar Panel System with SolarTown

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

We have had increased interest from those wanting to manage their solar installations. Some of those who have contacted SolarTown are handy around the house and fashion themselves as DIY solar installer. Some are simply taking an active role in managing their solar installations. They are not the type to get on a roof, but they are ready to hire a roofer and electrician. And then there are plumbers or electricians who are making the transition to the solar installation business and need our assistance. All of these folks are people who now make up the SolarTown community. They are interested in working with SolarTown to choose solar energy systems. If you fall within one of these categories, we can help you, too. We have a lot of online resources to assist you. We also have technical customer assistance to guide you through the process of installing your own solar energy system. In this blog entry, we want to demystify the process of how SolarTown can help you succeed with your solar energy project.

Installing a Solar Energy System on Your Home

Friday, April 9th, 2010

There is nothing like the fresh air and sunshine of spring to focus the mind on the new solar project you want to install on your roof, in your garden, on your pathways, or near your pool. We hope that you have read the learning article about the installation challenges that our solar engineer faced down during the installation of his home solar panel system. We enjoyed watching his journey as he went from the design stage to installation. In this blog entry, we discuss three major decisions that he faced: designing the system, choosing the solar module, and choosing the solar inverter.

Choosing your solar design. As with any home improvement project, the advance work is the key to the success of your solar energy system. You need to design your system, knowing that these home solar panels will be on your roof for the next 25 years. Even an experienced solar installer like our solar engineer may go through several alternative designs before settling on the optimal one, because every rooftop is unique. You need to take into account what conditions may influence the design. Every roof has a different configuration and different obstructions. When our solar engineer was conceptualizing his design, he originally intended to install more panels, but eventually changed the configuration and opted for a design with fewer panels.