Solar home wiki

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Welcome to the Solar home wiki mini wiki at Scratchpad!

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ideas to start with:

Doors Open content from Gord on Ravena Dr., photos, chatter.

Marco Island beach-house photos and cautionary tale: Lightning arresters and rods save inverters and other expensive equipment.

Glossary: inverter, balance of system, breaker, DC, AC, voltage, current, efficiency, insolation, solar angle, wind loads, racking, tracking, mounts, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, thin film, solar south, cost-per-watt, grid-tie, off-grid, grid-interactive, battery charge controller, battery venting, lead acid batteries,

Motivations and outcomes: space heating, energy, CO2 footprint, independence... --> grid-tie, solar thermal, off-grid, grid-interactive,

Economics, demand, and the effectiveness of solar PV in different environments: reference to Toronto's transmission grid issues. In some places, PV solar makes more sense than others because solar output will match up with electrical (but not all energy) demands e.g. from

Understanding the electrical grid: base and peaking generation, various environments with more coal, more nuclear, or more hydroelectric, each with a different emission intensity.

Why conservation is cheaper than production.

Why solar panels on a car make little sense, but solar panels on the roof of the garage are promising!

--tai 22:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC) eastpole

Household functions and appliances that almost never work with solar (electric range, oven, household central aircon) and the alternatives. Some pics from IESO and perhaps pointers to solar resource mapping ( (check old bookmarks) --tai 18:20, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

    Getting performance estimation data: Things you should log.
  1. Why estimate performance in advance? Maybe you will find that the giant tree to the south of you means your house roof won't be a good place for panels. Maybe those panels should be somewhere else!
  2. power usage before designing a solar system. Why? How? Good experiences with electrical bills, reading the meter, Kill-A-Watt, and TED 1000
  3. insolation (if possible) before implementing a solar system. Why? What are the alternatives? How about pictures of the south side of your house at various times of day?

A weather station that can log insolation is a real investment, perhaps 10% of what you will spend on the entire solar system. To me, that seems like too much money unless you also happen to be a weather station geek. Are there alternatives? Yes! --tai 16:53, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Heating Degree days, cooling degree days: Weather as a load on the electrical system. Lighting Solar energy variation from Seasons and random weather variation.

Sometimes there are benefits that are hard to see, e.g. cold days bring higher panel efficiency along with fewer sunlight hours.

Point to Home Power special issue that included current panel ratings -- you care about things like W / area on panel, W / dollar. --tai 20:49, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Hidden power loss, e.g. does your inverter run 24/7 just to keep power to a 7 W wireless router? The router would run fine on a 12 V input, you have a large in-house 12 V battery bank, duh! Oh but you have no 12 V wiring... for shame. The inverter probably consumes 30 W just idling, so unless you actually NEED those many tiny loads overnight, you would gain power by turning them off. Thoughts, anyone? Most houses will never have 12 V wiring, even though it would make a lot of sense given how many of our loads are now low-voltage. Too bad DVD players etc. don't use power bricks or we could plug them into the house battery directly, too!

--tai 20:54, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

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