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(Lost link to yahoo article)
 
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[[User:DavideAndrea|DavideAndrea]] 21:00, 13 June 2007 (CDT)
 
[[User:DavideAndrea|DavideAndrea]] 21:00, 13 June 2007 (CDT)
 
== lost link to yahoo article ==
 
 
[[PriusBlue_EVents#Friday_Nov.2C_2]] references http://picks.yahoo.com/picks/potw/20071102.html which is no longer online, would love to track down a cached copy to keep locally.
 
 
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! Breadcrumbs:
 
|-
 
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Did find this:
 
[http://74.6.116.71/search/srpcache?ei=UTF-8&p=ryan+fulcher+November+02%2C+2007+Yahoo!+Picks+Profiles+EAA-PHEV.&fr=ush-voices&u=http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=ryan+fulcher+November+02%2c+2007+Yahoo!+Picks+Profiles+EAA-PHEV.&d=4538741990359518&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=4fJ2mYBAl20P-w9bHYSt4ny6vNaP3cI9&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=uSCUjYq.CV1quZSEBYdJGQ-- cached] but it may not be the article in question, looks like "Home Power Magazine Solar, Wind and Renewable Energy Issue 121"
 
 
<html>
 
<h1>Home Power Magazine Solar, Wind and Renewable Energy Issue 121</h1>
 
 
 
<p>
 
 
  <i>30</i><b> affordable </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Denis Du Bois
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Innovative financing for this town house development allowed<br />
 
  investors and homeowners to reap the benefits of solar energy.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <i>40</i><b> efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Paul Scheckel
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Put these top ten tips to use and make your household more energy<br />
 
  efficient and renewables-ready.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>48</i><b> cashing </b><i>in
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Andy Black & Erin Moore Bean
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Better your bottom line and find the best financial fit for your<br />
 
 
  renewable energy projects with these online resources.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>50</i><b> sunshine </b><i>states
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Jon Sharp, Ray Furse & Robert Chew
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Move over, California : Progressive incentive programs are giving<br />
 
 
  Northeastern home and business owners the ability to plug into<br />
 
  affordable solar energy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>56</i><b> plug-in </b><i>hybrids
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Sherry Boschert
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Can plug-in hybrids deliver on their promises of fewer emissions<br />
 
  and improved fuel economy? An inside look at the future of<br />
 
  transportation.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>contents
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>October & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">November</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>6
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Clockwise from lower left: Courtesy Google.org; courtesy SolarWrights; David Lewis; Richard Hallman; courtesy Solmetric; courtesy Canadian Solar Inc.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>64</i><b> pv </b><i>parts
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Scott Aldous, Zeke Yewdall & Sam Ley
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Wondering how superthin slices of silicon can turn sunshine into<br />
 
 
  electricity? Here’s a closer look at what lies inside a photovoltaic module.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>70</i><b> buyer’s </b><i>guide
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Joe Schwartz with Doug Puffer
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b style="color:#fff;background:#0033cc">Pick</b> the perfect PVs with our comprehensive solar-electric module<br />
 
 
  buyer’s guide.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>82</i><b> pump </b><i>primer
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Chuck Marken
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Expert advice on how best to match a pump to your solar hot water<br />
 
 
  system for years of reliable performance and trouble-free service.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>88</i><b> RE</b><i>view
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Joe Schwartz
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Looking for a professional-grade, solar site-analysis tool? Check out<br />
 
 
  Solmetric’s handheld, touch-screen SunEye.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>94</i><b> solar </b><i>savings
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Regina Anne Kelly
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Peter and Tanya Ptak tap into smart solar savings, and profit from their<br />
 
 
  investments in three different solar-electric systems.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>102</i><b> system </b><i>monitoring
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b><b style="color:#000;background:#ffff66">Ryan</b> Mayfield
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Keep tabs on your solar energy system’s performance with these<br />
 
  options in inverter-based and third-party monitoring gear.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>7
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Regulars
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>8 </b>From Us to You
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power<b> crew
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Potential…
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>14 </b>Ask the Experts
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Industry Professionals
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Renewable energy Q & A
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>22 </b>Mailbox
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power<b> readers
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Feedback forum
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>112 </b>Code Corner
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>John Wiles
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Code Q & A
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>116 </b>Independent<br />
 
  Power Providers
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Don Loweburg
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Grounding options
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>120 </b>Power Politics
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Michael Welch
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Show RE the money
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>124 </b>Word Power
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Ian Woofenden
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  On & off...grid
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>128 </b>Home & Heart
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Kathleen<br />
 
  Jarschke-Schultze
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Everything is round
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>132 </b>RE Happenings
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>136 </b>Marketplace
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>138</b><i> </i>Installers Directory
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>143</b><i> </i>Advertisers Index
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>144 </b>RE People
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Bill & Debbi Lord
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>7
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>On the Cover
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Our <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b> PV Buyer’s Guide surveys<br />
 
  more than 100 solar-electric modules<br />
 
  on the market today.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Photos courtesy: Day4Energy; Canadian Solar Inc.;<br />
 
  Advent Solar
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>7
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power (ISSN 1050-2416) is published bimonthly<br />
 
  from offices in Phoenix, OR 97535. Periodicals postage<br />
 
 
  paid at Ashland, OR, and at additional mailing<br />
 
  offices. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to<br />
 
  Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>Think About It...
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power,<br />
 
  but for the passionate sense of potential—for the eye which, ever young and<br />
 
  ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  —Søren Kierkegaard
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Americans represent 5% of the world’s population and consume close to 25% of the<br />
 
  global energy supply. You may have heard this statistic a few more times than you’ve<br />
 
  cared to. But instead of assuming this figure is a harbinger of the unavoidable global<br />
 
  energy debacle around the corner, I look at it as an opportunity. Then, the questions<br />
 
  become: Can we use energy more efficiently and produce more of it with renewables?<br />
 
 
  What resources do we have at our disposal, and how much renewable energy capacity<br />
 
  can the grid realistically support?
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • In every issue, Home Power <b style="color:#fff;background:#996600">profiles</b> homes and businesses that consume a fraction<br />
 
  of the energy required by their inefficient counterparts, while maintaining an equivalent<br />
 
  level of comfort and convenience. Using energy intelligently is the foundation of long-<br />
 
 
  term energy security.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Nations that have implemented well-coordinated programs to increase renewable<br />
 
  energy generation have succeeded. In the United States, strong consumer-level support<br />
 
  exists for clean energy technologies, and a tangible, bipartisan shift in the collective<br />
 
  attitude of our federal representatives is underway.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  • Average per capita income in America is among the highest in the world. U.S.<br />
 
  consumers and businesses have substantial financial resources, and represent the largest<br />
 
  potential market for renewables worldwide. Many countries that already have achieved<br />
 
  a high percentage of renewable energy generation have solar and wind resources—and<br />
 
  financial resources—that pale in comparison to the United States.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Variable resources such as the sun and wind account for less than 2% of U.S. electrical<br />
 
 
  generation. In Denmark, wind energy provides more than 20% of the nation’s electricity.<br />
 
  Since the beginning, American utilities have successfully managed the variable nature of<br />
 
  the load side of the grid. There are no insurmountable hurdles to keep them from doing<br />
 
  the same on the generation side.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Turning a problem into an opportunity is a learned skill. The energy challenges that face<br />
 
  America represent a tremendous opportunity for leadership, technical innovation, job<br />
 
 
  creation, and lifestyles that are comfortable, satisfying, and sustainable.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  —Joe Schwartz for the Home Power crew
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>from us </b><i>to you
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  POTENTIAL…
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  ictor
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.outbackpower.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  European Sales O ce<br />
 
  Barcelona, España<br />
 
  (+34) 600-843-845
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Corporate Headquarters<br />
 
  19009 62nd Avenue NE<br />
 
  Arlington, WA USA<br />
 
  (+1) 360-435-6030
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The OutBack Power Systems FLEXnet™
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  DC is the ultimate in DC System
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  monitoring devices. Our integrated
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  networked communications make
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  valuable, usable data available from your
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  system, providing you with the answers
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  you need concerning your system’s
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  health, performance and efficiency.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>9
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  European Sales O ce<br />
 
  Barcelona, España<br />
 
  (+34) 600-843-845
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Corporate Headquarters<br />
 
 
  19009 62nd Avenue NE<br />
 
  Arlington, WA USA 98223<br />
 
  (+1) 360-435-6030
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.outbackpower.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  OutBack Power Systems is a leading global manufacturer of power electronic
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  products for renewable energy, back-up power, and mobile applications. No
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  matter where your location, no matter what your power source, OutBack Power
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Systems has the solution for you. OutBack’s ruggedized inverter/chargers
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  are designed to survive in environments that would normally cause other
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  inverter/chargers to fail, without compromising outstanding performance
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and reliability. Utilizing our FLEXware line of balance-of-system components
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  allows you to customize your system to your needs, from 2 to 36kW. Visit
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.outbackpower.com and see how FLEXware, and our power conversion
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  products, are bridging the gap between imagination and reality.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Publishers <b>Richard & Karen Perez
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Executive Editor & CEO <b>Joe Schwartz
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Managing Editor<b> Claire Anderson
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Art Director<b> Ben Root
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Senior Editor <b>Ian Woofenden
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Senior Editor <b>Michael Welch
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Graphic Artist <b>Dave Emrich
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar Thermal Editor <b>Chuck Marken
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Green Building Editors <b>Rachel Connor, Laurie Stone, Johnny Weiss
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Transportation Editors <b>Mike Brown, Shari Prange
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Columnists <b>Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze, Don Loweburg
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Michael Welch, John Wiles, Ian Woofenden
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Advertising Manager <b>Connie Said
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Advertising Director <b>Kim Bowker
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Chief Information Officer <b>Rick Germany
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Operations Director <b>Scott Russell
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Technical Assistant <b>Doug Puffer
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Customer Service & Fulfillment <b>Jacie Gray, Shannon <b style="color:#000;background:#ffff66">Ryan</b>
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>Contact Us...
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Independently Published Since 1987
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Copyright ©<b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b> Home Power Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without<br />
 
 
  written permission. While Home Power magazine strives to publish only safe and accurate content, we assume no<br />
 
  responsibility or liability for the use of this information.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Interior paper is made from 85%–100% recycled material, including 20%–30% postconsumer waste.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Subscriptions
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To subscribe, renew, change, or inquire about<br />
 
 
  a subscription:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>800-707-6585 or 541-512-0201
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>subscription@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.homepower.com/subscribe
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Back Issues
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Many of our back issues are available in print<br />
 
  and/or online in Adobe PDF. Our first 120<br />
 
  issues are also compiled on DVD-ROM.<br />
 
  More information at:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.homepower.com
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Order online or by phone:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>800-707-6585 or 541-512-0201
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Submissions
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  For inquiries and information related to<br />
 
 
  editorial submissions, write to us at:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>submissions@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.homepower.com/writing
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Marketing
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Promotional opportunities and offers:
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>marketing@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Ask the Experts
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To have your technical questions considered<br />
 
  for publication, send them to:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>asktheexperts@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Web Site
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Send your comments and suggestions<br />
 
  regarding the site to:
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>web@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Advertising
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  For inquiries and information related to<br />
 
  advertising in <b><i>Home Power</i></b> or on<br />
 
 
  homepower.com, contact:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>connie.said@homepower.com<br />
 
  541-512-0201
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>kim.bowker@homepower.com<br />
 
  541-858-1791
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.homepower.com/advertising
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Letters to the Editor
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  E-mail your comments and suggestions<br />
 
  to us at:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>mailbox@homepower.com
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  or write to the address below.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>Home Power</i> magazine • PO Box 520 • Ashland, Oregon 97520 • USA
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Introducing the new Sunny Island 5048, designed to meet
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the most demanding system requirements. From remote
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  off-grid applications to urban battery-backup systems, the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sunny Island inverter provides high efficiency, robust surge
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  capability, and unsurpassed reliability. Our unique AC
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  coupling system integrates solar, wind, hydro, batteries and
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  generators, distributes power more efficiently, and extends
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the overall life of the batteries. See our free DVD on AC
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  coupled off-grid systems. Call or email us today for a copy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Call us: (888) 476-2872<br />
 
  www.sma-america.com
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  trim
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bleed
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Extreme off-grid
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  with our new 5000 Watt battery-based solar inverter
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  trim
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bleed
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  All new product<br />
 
  line for <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>What makes our<br />
 
  solar inverters best?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Visit Booth #
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>130
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to find out.
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  September 24–27<br />
 
  Long Beach, CA
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  A completely new line of UL-compliant
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sunny Boy inverters ranging from 700 to
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  7000 Watts. The new Sunny Tower simplifies
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  commercial installations and is available
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  in 36 or 42 kW models. Each “US” model
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  inverter has a standard 10-year warranty
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and is compatible with our wireless and
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  on-line monitoring systems. All SMA products
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  are designed, manufactured and tested
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  in Germany.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(888) 476-2872<br />
 
 
  www.sma-america.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Introducing the new Sunny Island 5048, designed to meet
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the most demanding system requirements. From remote
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  off-grid applications to urban battery-backup systems, the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sunny Island inverter provides high efficiency, robust surge
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  capability, and unsurpassed reliability. Our unique AC
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  coupling system integrates solar, wind, hydro, batteries and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  generators, distributes power more efficiently, and extends
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the overall life of the batteries. See our free DVD on AC
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  coupled off-grid systems. Call or email us today for a copy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Call us: (888) 476-2872<br />
 
  www.sma-america.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  trim
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bleed
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Extreme off-grid
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  with our new 5000 Watt battery-based solar inverter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  trim
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bleed
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  All new product<br />
 
  line for <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>What makes our<br />
 
  solar inverters best?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Visit Booth #
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>130
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to find out.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  September 24–27<br />
 
  Long Beach, CA
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  A completely new line of UL-compliant
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sunny Boy inverters ranging from 700 to
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  7000 Watts. The new Sunny Tower simplifies
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  commercial installations and is available
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  in 36 or 42 kW models. Each “US” model
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  inverter has a standard 10-year warranty
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and is compatible with our wireless and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  on-line monitoring systems. All SMA products
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  are designed, manufactured and tested
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  in Germany.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(888) 476-2872<br />
 
  www.sma-america.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>A healthy new line<br />
 
 
  ready for anything
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Fronius USA LLC, 10421 Citation Drive, Ste 1100, Brighton, MI 48116
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Tel: 810-220-4414
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Email: pv-us@fronius.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Web: www.fronius-usa.com
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Models from 4 KW to 12 KW in a single inverter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Dramatically improved ef ciency
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Integrated technology to maximize energy harvest
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  even on cloudy days
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Integrated DC disconnect
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Enclosure allows for indoor/outdoor installation
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Want to learn more?
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Visit us at Solar Power <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>, Booth 131 in Long Beach, California for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  information on this exciting new addition to the Fronius family.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Introducing the<br />
 
  Fronius <b>IG Plus</b> Grid-tie Inverter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Three power levels, proven technology, smart design –
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  what you’ve come to expect from Fronius, only better.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Smart ventilation design
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Field programmable to 208, 240, and 277 volts
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  with no loss in output power
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Field programmable to positive or negative ground
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Removable power stage for  eld service
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Built-in, fused six circuit combiner
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>A healthy new line<br />
 
  ready for anything
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Fronius USA LLC, 10421 Citation Drive, Ste 1100, Brighton, MI 48116
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Tel: 810-220-4414
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Email: pv-us@fronius.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Web: www.fronius-usa.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Models from 4 KW to 12 KW in a single inverter
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Dramatically improved ef ciency
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Integrated technology to maximize energy harvest
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  even on cloudy days
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Integrated DC disconnect
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Enclosure allows for indoor/outdoor installation
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Want to learn more?
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Visit us at Solar Power <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>, Booth 131 in Long Beach, California for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  information on this exciting new addition to the Fronius family.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Introducing the<br />
 
  Fronius <b>IG Plus</b> Grid-tie Inverter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Three power levels, proven technology, smart design –
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  what you’ve come to expect from Fronius, only better.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Smart ventilation design
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Field programmable to 208, 240, and 277 volts
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  with no loss in output power
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Field programmable to positive or negative ground
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Removable power stage for  eld service
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Built-in, fused six circuit combiner
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>14
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  (continued on page 16)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Peak Sun-Hours
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I’ve read that the Seattle area averages only 3.7 peak sun-hours per day. Maybe that’s true
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in December, but April through October, I’d say it must be more like 10 to 12 hours a day,
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>meaning that the average must be higher than 3.7 hours per day throughout the year. How
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>are peak sun-hours determined?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Jeff Huffman • Brier, Washington
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Excellent question! “Peak sun-hours” are not the same as “hours of
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  sunlight.” Sunrise to sunset represents hours of sunlight. But peak
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  sun-hours describe how much solar energy is available during a day.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The daily amount of solar radiation striking any location on
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  earth varies from sunrise to sunset due to clouds, the sun’s position
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  in the sky, and what’s mixed into the atmosphere. Maximum solar
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  radiation occurs at solar noon—the time when the sun is highest in
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the sky, compared to the rest of the day. Sunlight in the morning
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and evening does not deliver as much energy to the earth’s surface
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  as it does at midday because at low angles more atmosphere filters
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the sunlight. Besides day-to-day differences, there are also seasonal
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  effects. In midsummer, due to the sun’s higher position in the sky, an
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  hour of sunshine packs more energy than the same hour of sunshine
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  in the winter.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Batteryless Hydro
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I’ve heard of large-scale batteryless AC hydro-electric turbines for both on- and off-grid
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>use, but are there any </b>small<b> batteryless hydro systems for on-grid applications?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Are there batteryless grid-tied inverters that will synchronize a small
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>hydro turbine’s output with utility electricity? What does it take to set
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>them up?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>James Conklin • Manchester, New Hampshire
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Coupling a batteryless inverter with a small hydro turbine in a grid-tied
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  application is definitely doable, but there are some important system design
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  considerations. As with a batteryless inverter using PV for input, you must
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  correctly match the hydro turbine’s output voltage to the inverter’s input voltage
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  window and maximum DC voltage limit. This can be done with low-head to high-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  head hydro systems, but is usually easiest with mid- to high-head systems. Low-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  head hydro systems might require a batteryless inverter with a DC input as low
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  as 48 VDC nominal, which is hard to find these days. For mid- to high-head sites, I
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  usually use an induction turbine configured for high voltage (200–500+ VDC) and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  1,200 to 3,600 watts peak output.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The specifics of the turbine are very important, including the diameter of the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  runner (which affects rpm and voltage), output voltage, and peak output. Unlike
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  a PV system, an important distinction of a hydro system is that it may not be able
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  to handle running without its load. Without protection, this will occur if there is
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  a utility failure, when the batteryless inverter is designed to shut down. In this
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  situation, the rpm of the turbine will increase, and the open circuit voltage (Voc)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  of the turbine would likely exceed the inverter’s maximum DC input voltage and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  damage the inverter—and possibly the hydro turbine too, due to overspinning.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  For high-head situations (200+ feet), having a Voc that is too high for the inverter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  is a real concern. Fortunately, special diversion loads and controllers are available
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  that will divert the energy fast enough to avoid damaging the inverter, while keeping
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the turbine electrically loaded. These diversion load/controller combinations are not
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  cheap—they can cost more than $1,500 for 4,000 watts of diversion.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Because these small, batteryless hydro systems are still unusual, I recommend
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  that they be undertaken with the guidance of the turbine and inverter suppliers and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  manufacturers to ensure optimum performance and reliability.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Jay Peltz • Peltz Power
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Ask the EXPERTS!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  +
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy www.sma-america.com; www.microhydropower.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Now appearing in backyards everywhere.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Small wind has never been so easy. Announcing the Skystream 3.7™<br />
 
  residential power appliance. It’s the first compact, utility-connected,<br />
 
  all-inclusive wind generator designed to provide inexpensive, quiet,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  clean electricity to reduce or eliminate your home’s monthly energy bill.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Learn if Skystream can work for you at www.skystreamenergy.com.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  THE POWER TO CHOOSE.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.skystreamenergy.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>INDESIGN CS
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>170951<br />
 
  170951A
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>EGG
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>08-10-06
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>1
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>JB
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>PRO. YEL
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PRO. MAG
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PRO. CYAN
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PRO. BLACK
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>HOME POWER:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  BLEED_8.375 X 11.125<br />
 
  TRIM__8.125 X 10.875
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>RENEWABLE ENERGY WORLD:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  BLEED_8.6875 X 12.0625<br />
 
 
  TRIM__8.25 X 11.6875
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>REFOCUS:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  BLEED_8.125 X 11.875<br />
 
  TRIM__8 X 11.75
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SOLAR TODAY:
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  BLEED_8.75 X 11.125<br />
 
  TRIM__8.5 X 10.875
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>16
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Ask the EXPERTS!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Batteryless or Backup?
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I want to install a grid-tied solar-electric system,
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>and I’m having a hard time deciding between a
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>battery-based system and a batteryless system. Can
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>you give me the pros and cons in plain English? Is
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>there any way to have the best of both worlds—the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>efficiency and economy of a batteryless system
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>paired with the reassurance of always having a
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>reliable source of backup energy?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Joan Beaudet • Milton, Massachusetts
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Batteryless systems are simpler, more efficient, and less expensive
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  to install and maintain, but during a utility failure, these systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  will not provide any electrical backup, even if the sun is shining.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  A grid-tied, battery-based system is designed to do just that, but
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  uninterruptible power comes at a price. With the same size solar
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  array, a grid-tied, battery-based system will yield about 7% to 10%
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  less energy than its batteryless counterpart. This is primarily due
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  to the inefficiencies involved with battery charging (even when
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the grid is functioning). And keep in mind that the batteries will
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  need replacement roughly every seven to ten years, which can be
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  a major expense. If you don’t experience frequent or long utility
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  failures, you will likely be happier with a batteryless system.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  If your grid electricity is unreliable (perhaps you depend
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  on a long rural line in an area that’s prone to lightning or ice
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  storms), consider a battery-based system. In battery-based, grid-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  tied systems, you have to install a separate AC subpanel to
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  separate critical circuits from luxury loads. This ensures that
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  when the system switches to battery backup, the energy stored in
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  the batteries will not be depleted by loads that you can easily live
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  without.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  An experienced photovoltaic installer can help you determine
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  which of your electrical appliances can realistically be backed up,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  and how much battery storage will be required. In almost all cases,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  it’s unrealistic to rely on backup electricity for space or water heating,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  or for major cooking loads like an electric range, since the energy
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  consumption would be far beyond the capacity of an affordable
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  battery-based photovoltaic system. If your location experiences long
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  utility outages, think about investing in solar heating systems or gas
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  appliances for your heating and cooking needs.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  During a utility outage, consider supplying emergency needs
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  with no electricity. Store water in a tank. Keep a stack of ice packs in
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  your freezer to increase its holdover period. Keep LED headlamps or
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  flashlights or fluorescent (or gas) lanterns handy. Be ready to ignite
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  your gas stove-top using a spark lighter or matches. Use wood heat, or
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  gas heaters that don’t require electricity. If you want battery backup for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  your computer, Internet connection, radio, or TV, consider purchasing
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  an off-the-shelf uninterruptible power supply (UPS) unit just for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  that purpose. These preparations will keep you from being overly
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  dependent on electricity when the grid goes down.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Windy Dankoff, founder (retired) • Dankoff Solar Products
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  A peak sun-hour is roughly the amount of solar energy striking a
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  1-square-meter area perpendicular to the sun’s location over a 1-hour
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  period straddling solar noon in the summertime. So we can compare
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  apples to apples, the amount of power is standardized at 1,000 watts
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  (1 kilowatt) hitting that 1-square meter surface. By adding up the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  various amounts of solar irradiation over the course of a day, and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  counting them as units equivalent to 1 solar-noon midsummer hour
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  (1,000 watts per square meter for 1 hour), we get a useful comparison
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  number—the peak sun-hour.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  An analogy might help complete the picture. Imagine that you
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  have to pour sunshine into buckets that are 1 meter square, and each
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  holds 1,000 watt-hours of solar energy. The fastest rate of filling that
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bucket will occur at solar noon in the summer, when the sunlight is
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  really streaming down. At that time, you could fill a 1,000-watt-hour
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  bucket in 1 hour (1 KWH per hour). At any other time of the day,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  however, it will take longer than 1 hour to get an equivalent “bucket”
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  of 1 peak sun-hour.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  On average, summertime Seattle conditions will net you 4.8 peak
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  sun-hour-equivalents from sunup to sundown. Wintertime sees an
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  average of about 2.5 sun-hours per day. Over the course of a year, the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  daily average works out to about 3.76 peak sun-hours. For month-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  by-month solar irradiation information for a variety of cities in the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  United States, visit http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/pubs/redbook.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Larry Owens • Shoreline Solar Project
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy www.midnitesolar.com/www.concordebattery.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>18
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Ask the EXPERTS!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Wiser Driving
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I’ve heard that the way you drive an electric vehicle (EV) can affect range dramatically.
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Does the same apply to fuel economy for engine-driven vehicles? Can you give me some
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>basic pointers on how to drive so I use less energy and create less pollution?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>James Fallow • Big Pine, California
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Many factors affect driving range, but air drag and weight are
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  certainly two of the most important. For an EV moving at less than
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  30 mph, it’s the weight of the vehicle that kills driving range; as
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  speeds increase beyond 35 mph, air drag takes over as the biggest
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  culprit of  dragging down fuel economy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Some idea of air drag’s insidious nature can be gained from
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  data for the RAV4 EV—one of the most-studied EVs ever built. At
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  45 mph, the car can travel almost 150 miles on a single charge; at
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  60 mph, driving range plummets to about 100 miles (just imagine
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  what happens at 80 mph).
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  In the case of a conventional internal-combustion-engine (ICE)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  vehicle, gains in fuel economy are there for the taking—if you’re willing
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  to drive at a more leisurely speed. My 1993 Dodge minivan delivers its
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  highest fuel economy—29 mpg—at a constant speed of 45 mph. (For
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  safety reasons, I suggest not driving at this speed on the open highway.)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  When I dare to keep up with traffic on the Michigan interstate (80+
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  mph), my minivan’s fuel economy drops to about 17 mpg.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Stop-and-go city driving also reduces fuel economy for ICE-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  based vehicles. This is a consequence of the operating characteristics
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  of typical engines that are designed to operate at higher loads (and,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  hence, higher driving speeds), and the need for constant acceleration
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and deceleration. Most hybrid-electric vehicles have circumvented
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  these problems and actually do as well, if not better, in the city as on
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  the highway.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  You can improve your city mileage with an ICE-based vehicle if
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  you drive more intelligently. Learn how to coast, rather than braking,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  into a stop, and time traffic lights so you keep moving at a relatively
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  (continued on page 20)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Financing an off-grid home or property is not entirely different
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  than financing a home in a typical subdivision. There are three
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  major categories that apply to residential real estate financing—
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  income, credit, and collateral.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Collateral is the most important factor in financing an off-grid
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  home, and it is up to an appraiser to address the typical issues and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  evaluate the property’s features for potential underwriters. You’ll
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  need to find an appraiser in your area who specializes in out-of-the-
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  ordinary properties, with experience appraising off-grid properties.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Many off-grid homes are near other off-grid homes, which can
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  be used for appraisal comparisons. Have the appraiser prepare an
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  addendum to the property’s appraisal that details other nearby
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  off-grid properties and their sales histories. This will help show
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  underwriters that your property is not an anomaly for the area.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Your appraiser will not necessarily be bound by the normal
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  rule of having to use sales comparables within five miles. The
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  lending company Fannie Mae will allow greater distances as long
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  as the appraiser is able to support the necessity for using a sales
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  comparable outside normal guidelines. The appraiser may also
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Financing Off-Grid Homes
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I am writing to you from Vermont where I would like to purchase
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>an off-grid home. I have spoken to a few local banks and have
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>received a lukewarm response to the possibility of taking out
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a mortgage for a property that is off the grid. How can I find a
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>receptive lender?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Mickel Zuidhoek • Pawlet, Vermont
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  search for older sales comparables of off-grid homes to support the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  value of the home. If you know of any off-grid homes in the area, let
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  the appraiser know—sometimes sales of off-grid homes are private
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  sales and do not show on the multiple listing system, which is how
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  many appraisers find comparables.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Once an underwriter is able to see how the value of the property
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  is supported with reasonable sales comparables, you will soon be
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  enjoying your off-grid property or home.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Terry Phenicie • First Priority Financial
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  David Lewis
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Ed Marue
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>20
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To submit a question to
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power’s<b> Ask the Experts,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  write to: <b>asktheexperts@homepower.com
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  or, <b>Ask the Experts<br />
 
  Home Power, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Published questions will be edited for content and length. Due to<br />
 
  mail volume, we regret that unpublished questions may not receive<br />
 
  a reply.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Ask the EXPERTS!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Although there are several factors that affect tower height, your
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  choice will most likely be a compromise between energy production
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  and economics.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Proper tower height is essential for two reasons: Turbulent
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  wind is not only a poor quality fuel, but it dramatically increases
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  wear and tear on the turbine and tower. To provide the turbine with
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  high quality “fuel,” the tower must be tall enough to be well above
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  the turbulence layer created by obstructions such as buildings and
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  vegetation. The wind is stronger up there, and smoother. Ground
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  drag created by obstructions and the ground itself reduces the energy
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  available in the wind. To minimize ground drag, we need altitude.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Put simply, wind speed increases with height.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Minimum guidelines for tower height require the turbine rotor
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  to be a minimum of 30 feet higher than obstructions within 500 feet.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  You should go even taller if the obstructions are young trees that will
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  continue to grow. Finding the average annual wind speed at your
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  site at a given tower height is a bit more difficult, but I would highly
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  recommend trying to determine or at least estimate it, starting with
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  regional wind energy consultants and dealers.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Now for the economics. Once I know the minimum tower
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  height needed to get above the turbulence, I let the turbine and the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  customer’s budget help determine the maximum tower height. I look
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  at the cost of the turbine, its estimated energy production at various
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  tower heights, and the cost of the towers.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The following example uses wind data from my hilltop in
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  western New York, a Bergey Excel-S grid-tie turbine, and three
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  different heights of guyed lattice tower:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  constant speed. These measures will help increase your city fuel
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  economy (as well as increase the time between brake replacements).
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Likewise, mountain driving offers a number of challenges to fuel
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  economy. Here again, coasting (when possible) and driving slower
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  (when no one is tailing you) will save fuel and reduce pollution.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Another means of saving fuel is to consider carpooling. If you
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  put four people in one car, you’ll cut pollution and fuel consumption
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  by about 75 percent compared to four people driving their individual
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  cars. Now that’s impressive!
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Dominic Crea • Institute for Sustainable Energy & Education
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  How Tall?
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I hear a lot of talk about wind generators needing tall towers. How do I decide what’s tall
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>enough? Is there such a thing as too tall?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Jon Powell • Duluth, Minnesota
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Why install a $28,000 turbine
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  on a short tower and lose 25%
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  or more of its potential energy
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  production to save $2,750,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  which is roughly 5% of the
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  overall system cost? Spending
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  that additional $2,750 up front
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  yields an estimated additional
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  62,880 KWH over a 20-year
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  turbine life span. Here in my
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  neck of the woods, that has a
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  value of $11,318. And that’s at
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  our current utility rate of $0.18
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  per KWH, which I’m pretty sure
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  will increase over time!
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  A low-cost, small-diameter
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  turbine on a short tower may
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  be a small investment, but it
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  will only yield a small amount
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  of electricity each month. And
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  you won’t be any further ahead
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  with a larger turbine installed on a short tower, since you may
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  be sacrificing a large percentage of the turbine’s potential energy
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  production, and increasing maintenance costs.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  At some point, of course, the law of diminishing returns usually
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  asserts itself and the tower choice becomes clear. And don’t forget
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  about zoning or height restrictions, which can be a limiting factor in
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  many areas. Of course, the final factor is the budget for the project.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The bottom line for most folks seems to be maximum bang for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  minimum bucks. So, yes, there is such a thing as too tall a tower,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  for economic reasons. But other than the money, you’ll just keep
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  improving a wind turbine’s performance by going higher.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Roy Butler • Four Winds Renewable Energy
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tower<br />
 
  Height (Ft.)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Average
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Wind
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Speed
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(MPH)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Production<br />
 
 
  (KWH<br />
 
  Per Yr.)Tower Cost
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Annual Energy<br />
 
  Value*
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  80
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  11.3
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  9,960
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $8,100
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $1,793
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  100
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  11.9
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  11,468
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  9,200
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  2,064
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  120
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  12.6
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  13,104
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  10,850
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  2,359
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  *At $0.18 per KWH
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Sample Tower Height<br />
 
  Economics
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>The Whole Ball of Wax
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SunWize pre-packaged grid-tie systems and grid-tie systems with<br />
 
  battery backup contain everything you need for a complete installation.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  OFFICES THROUGHOUT THE US AND CANADA
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>22
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar Pride
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I drove up to our new property last
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Thursday to take the last walk-through
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>with the former owner and my real estate
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>agent. I got a primer on the solar-electric
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>system, and managed to get the solar-
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Mailbox
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>powered well pump working without too
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>much trouble. Greg, the former owner,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>was gracious enough to let me spend the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>night in the cabin (and gave me the keys),
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>despite the property not closing until the
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>next day.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>So I spent the afternoon playing
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>with the solar-electric system. Turned
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the lights on. Then off. Then on again. I
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>peeked into the water tank maniacally,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>watching the slow dribble of water into
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the tank. I watched with satisfaction as
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the battery monitor said, “Good,” even
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>with the lights on and the pump running.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>After an afternoon of playing with the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>system (can’t tell you how much joy it
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>gave me to see it running so perfectly),
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I drove down to Oroville to get some
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>provisions, called my wife Joni to brag
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>about the solar pumping system actually
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>working, and then drove back up the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>bumpity 2.2-mile gravel road to the 2.75-
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>acre compound.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I got out my sleeping bag, placed it
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>on the deck, and watched the moon rise.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I took it as a good omen that the property
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>was to close on the day of a blue moon. I
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>toasted the moon. Gave a wine offering to
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the property. Neighbors drove by in their
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>pickup trucks. All of them waved. The
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>neighbor’s chickens were quite busy with
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>their clucking. Dogs barked. Generators
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  McMansions
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I’ve been an avid reader of </b>Home Power<b> for
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>five years. Recently, I heard the derogatory
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>term “McMansion” used on a green blog
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>for the thousandth time. I myself live in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>what qualifies to some as a McMansion
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(large subdivision home) in San Diego.
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Should I feel guilty?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>After reading your latest issues, I’ve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>found the answer. In our home, we use
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a gas heater in the early morning for
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>20 minutes per day (on a timer) about
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>two months each year. We use the air
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>conditioning about five days each year for
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>about two to three hours each day. In one
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>year, our heating and cooling bill is what
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>someone in Montana or Phoenix would
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>likely pay in a week.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Bottom line: We use far less energy in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>our McMansion than many of the people
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>featured in your magazine. They often
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>have thick jackets on in the photos. Their
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>homes are in either extremely cold places
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>or deserts, and require constant heating
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>or air conditioning. After choosing to live
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in a very non-green location (from an
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>energy standpoint), they go to extremes
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to make their living more green, and are
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>then dubbed energy heroes.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>By contrast, we coastal southern
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Californians in our McMansions that
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>people love to judge, just by living here,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>may end up using less energy at home.
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Even without solar, wind, or sealing up
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>our houses airtight, we use far less energy
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>per person than those in more severe
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>climates.
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Should we feel guilty? Yes, for our
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>swimming pools, SUVs, and hour-long
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>solo commutes to work. But, alas, not
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>for our McMansions. As the magazine
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>writers have said so many times, it is
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>better to conserve than to generate your
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>way out of large consumption. And the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>very choice of where we live can be an act
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>of conservation. Keep up the great work!
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Vinod Lobo • San Diego, California
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  It is better to conserve than to generate your way<br />
 
  out of large consumption. And the very choice of<br />
 
  where we live can be an act of conservation.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  (continued on page 24)
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Vinod Lobo
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Allan Stellar
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
              <br />
 
                               
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
         
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                         
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                                                                <br />
 
                                                                                                  <br />
 
                                     
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
                                                                         
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                                 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                                       
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                             
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                               
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
                                                       
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                   
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                                                               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>24
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Mailbox
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>ran. Sound travels well out here. It was
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a little spooky in the Sierra foothills as
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>night descended, but I slept like a baby on
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the deck. Woke up to a jackrabbit nibbling
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>on my weeds. “Have at it, fella”—keeps
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the fire danger down and I won’t have to
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>weed-whack it.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Again I played with the solar-electric
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>system. Filled the tank halfway. Battery
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>monitor still said, “Good.” Got a drink
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>out of the spigot and washed up with my
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>own solar-pumped water. Kept giggling
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>at my good fortune. Simple pleasure.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Old Bill dropped by. Bill has lived up
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>here for fifteen years. Off the grid with 24
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>solar-electric modules and a 2,500-gallon
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>water tank. A former Ford factory worker,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>he proudly stated he raised a family. Had
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a car. A wife. Children. All supported on
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>his good union job. He sold his house and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>now is an “off-the-grid, solar Libertarian–
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Republican.” I quickly learned that up
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>here in this off-the-grid community, your
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>wealth is measured by the number of
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>solar panels you have, multiplied by the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>size and flow of your water tank…
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>On my way back to Calistoga (in the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Napa Valley), I received a message from
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>my real estate agent on my cell phone
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(which doesn’t work at the property).
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>“Congratulations—you now own the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>property.” Called Joni and left a message
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>that all was well. The solar cabin is ours.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Allan Stellar • Concow, California
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Wanted:<br />
 
  Performance Data
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I just read through the twentieth
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>anniversary issue. Such fun, looking at
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the journey…
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Looking at the past prompted me
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to think of the future. Do you think it is
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>at all likely that you will be doing more
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  In this off-the-grid community, your wealth<br />
 
  is measured by the number of solar panels you<br />
 
  have, multiplied by the size and flow of your<br />
 
  water tank…
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>The original Solar Pathfinder<br />
 
  with its reflective properties gives an excellent<br />
 
  “instant solar blueprint” of the prospective site.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Now, the new Solar Pathfinder Assistant software,<br />
 
  and your digital camera, carry that shading information<br />
 
 
  into a concise, thorough, professional-looking<br />
 
  solar site analysis report in just seconds.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Pathfinder Assistant: automatically adjusts for magnetic<br />
 
  declination, latitude, azimuth, tilt angle, & tracking mode<br />
 
  (fixed, 1-axis, 2 axis); automatic yearly energy computations<br />
 
 
  using included NREL data (no WWW necessary);<br />
 
  displays “before/after” results of removing obstructions;<br />
 
  CSI-EPBB compliant.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>3953 Marsh Creek Road, Linden, TN  37096 • 317-501-2529  • Fax 931-589-5400<br />
 
  info@solarpathfinder.com • www.solarpathfinder.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>The BEST Tool for Solar Site Analysis
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>JUST GOT BETTER!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>New...
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Actual<br />
 
  Screen<br />
 
 
  Shot
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Pathfinder Assistant
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SOFTWARE
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>USER FRIENDLY, FAST & ACCURATE
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <i>www</i>.<b>homepower</b>.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>25
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Mailbox
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>equipment reviews? It is nice to read
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>about somebody’s personal experiences
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in setting up a system, especially when
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>it’s similar to what I have set up. And
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>seeing that they used some new item
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>that makes the system more efficient
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>is helpful. But those articles, useful as
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>they may be in motivating newbies, do
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>little to help those who are already sold
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>on the idea and need more specific info
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to aid buying decisions. Or, like me,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>already have a system and may want
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to upgrade. We need to know that “X”
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>piece of equipment performs as well as
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>it is advertised, or not. And that among
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the best-selling brands in a particular
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>category, “A” stands out in one regard
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>and “B” in some other regard…
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>An example: Several years ago, I
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>decided to upgrade my system, adding
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>50% to my PV array capacity. I knew I
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>would have to increase the controller
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>capacity over the Trace C-40 I had. So
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I took a look at MPPT controllers. I was
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>able to get enough information in </b>Home
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Power<b> and elsewhere to determine that
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>this type of controller would increase
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>my system’s efficiency. But as to which
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>brand of MPPT controller to use, I found
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>little hard data. Yes, there was some
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>word-of-mouth info, which helped a
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>little. But I needed an outright review
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>with some hard data. I did not find any.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I finally selected an OutBack MX60 and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>have been happy with it. But I may have
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>just been lucky…
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Much of the new technology I run
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>into comes from the dealers’ ads. If it’s
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>something I might find useful, I do a
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Web search for reviews, comparisons,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>etc., and I usually find very little. And
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>even now, a search for MX60 reviews
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>brings up nothing of substance.
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Why am I concerned at this juncture?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Well, my system is just over ten years
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Looking at the past prompted me to think of<br />
 
  the future: Do you think it is at all likely that<br />
 
  you will be doing more equipment reviews?
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>26
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>...Mailbox
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>old now. While I don’t see any real signs
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>of their coming death, my twelve Trojan
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>L-16 batteries will have to be replaced
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in the foreseeable future, with the same
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>or perhaps with fewer but larger cells.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Also, I don’t have a “backup” inverter
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to my Trace 4024, and supposedly the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>technology has been improving. At some
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>time I would like to upgrade, while keeping
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>my old inverter as
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a backup.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>What I am
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>saying is that there
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>is a need for hard
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>data on all the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>various pieces of
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>equipment and, if
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>anyone is in position
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to provide that data,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>it is </b>Home Power.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>John Bertrand •
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Holualoa, Hawaii
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power is ramping
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  up our hardware
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  reviews (see the
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Solmetric SunEye review on page 88 of this
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  issue), and we’re increasing the frequency
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  of our in-depth equipment buyer’s guides
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  as well. In addition, we have two additional
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  equipment data collection and review
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  projects in the works. Look for more on
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  this in future issues of Home Power, and on
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.homepower.com in 2008.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Joe Schwartz • Home Power
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Overseas RE
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>It was a pleasure to read the “Clean
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Energy Pioneers” piece (</b>HP120<b>), which hit
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>my mailbox in Bangkok today. I remember
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>helping with a bunch of those articles—
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>seems like yesterday. I was especially
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>tickled to see in your retrospective article
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a photo of myself as a long-haired 19-
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>year-old in front of the solar oven I built.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>And now, here I am, twice as old! What
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a ride!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve been
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>up to. In 2004, I finally finished a doctoral
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>degree at UC–Berkeley’s Energy and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Resources Group, with a dissertation
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>on community microhydro power in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Renewable energy pro<br />
 
 
  Chris Greacen:<br />
 
  Then…and now.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www</i>.<b>homepower</b>.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>27
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>...Mailbox
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To send a letter to
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Home Power’s<b> Mailbox,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  write to:
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>mailbox@homepower.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  or
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Mailbox, c/o Home Power<br />
 
  PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Published letters will be edited for content<br />
 
  and length. Due to mail volume, we regret<br />
 
  that unpublished letters may not receive a<br />
 
  reply.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Thailand. In the process, I got diverted
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>by working on various renewable energy
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>projects. Since 2000, I’ve been living in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Bangkok.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>In 2003, my wife and I started Palang
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Thai (www.palangthai.org), an NGO
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>that works to improve conditions for
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>clean, decentralized energy in Thailand
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>and the Mekong region. One success
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>we had was drafting Thailand’s net-
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>metering regulations, which are now in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>place. An upgraded version approved in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>December 2006 allows RE generators up
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>to 10 megawatts (MW) to net meter and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>to sell excess electricity at a premium feed-
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in tariff. More than 280 MW of projects
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>(mostly biomass from sugar cane and rice-
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>husk residues) have been approved under
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the regulations. Despite some successes,
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>the clean energy community in SE Asia is
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a tiny minority and for every MW of RE,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>another 20 or so MW of dirty conventional
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>coal/gas is in the pipeline. In the past few
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>months, nuclear energy is raising its ugly
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>head all over the region, with plans in place
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in Thailand, Vietnam, and (gasp!) Burma…
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Home power technologies and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>sensibilities are sorely needed over here...
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>We’re always looking for talented long-
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>term volunteers! I’m real proud of all that
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>y’all have done over the years. We’re now
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a force to be reckoned with. The forces
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>of light, creativity, logic, and compassion
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>are chipping away at the old, dirty, greasy
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>hegemony.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Chris Greacen • Bangkok, Thailand
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Window Tips
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I’m about to mention something small
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>but effective. It took me until this year to
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>realize it, after fifty years of solar energy
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>awareness. On sunny autumn, winter,
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>and spring days, when you can use
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>more heat in your home, take off your
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>window screens! Compared to leaving
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>your screens on, it will significantly
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>increase the solar energy input.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Somehow I missed this until I made a
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PV power meter and checked the output
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>of a module through my new double-pane
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>windows. Then I thought about what
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>would happen to module output through
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>a screen. (PV output is not the same
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>as solar thermal gain, but it reminded
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>me that I’m losing solar potential by
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>leaving my screens on.) And the rest is
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>history, which we need to share, even
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>if everyone says in retrospect, “I know
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>that—it’s obvious!”
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>S. Premena • via e-mail
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  www.phocos.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Get more energy from your system<br />
 
  Rated for use with PV input up to<br />
 
  96 Voc in 12/24V<br />
 
 
  Stand-Alone<br />
 
  Systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Phocos USA
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  742 E. 46th Street Tucson, AZ 85713 USA<br />
 
  <b>Phone:</b> +1 (520) 777-7906<b> Fax:</b> +1 (520) 844-6316 info-usa@phocos.com
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Ready for use in<br />
 
  Stand-Alone Systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Germany China India Bolivia Australia Brazil Kenya Mongolia Romania Singapore South Africa Tunisia USA
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  GridPoint Connect™ seamlessly integrates<br />
 
  renewable energy, grid-tied instant battery<br />
 
 
  backup power and an onboard computer<br />
 
  to provide an easy to install, smart<br />
 
  energy solution.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  GridPoint Connect is remotely monitored<br />
 
  by GridPoint operations center for optimal<br />
 
  performance and provides home and<br />
 
 
  business owners with the first online energy<br />
 
  management portal to control energy<br />
 
  production, consumption and costs.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar<br />
 
  Made<br />
 
  Smart.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Backup power made easy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  To learn more, visit us at <b>Booth #223 </b>at:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Visit <b>www.gridpoint.com/consumer<br />
 
  </b>or call 888.998.GRID (4743).
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  SOLAR
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
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</p>
 
<p>
 
  JUST GOTA LITTLE
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>GREENER.
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS • THE BEST FOR OUR WORLD • ONLY FROM HEAT TRANSFER.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>ULTRA-POWERFULWATER HEATING. ULTRA-EFFICIENT BACKUP.</b> Introducingasmarterseriesofwaterheaterswith<br />
 
  the power to capture the energy of the sun and<br />
 
  theabilitytoprovideareliableeconomicalback-up<br />
 
  system. • Building on our leadership in energy<br />
 
 
  efficiency,The SuperStor Contender Solar, the<br />
 
  SuperStor Solar, and the Phoenix Solar cover the<br />
 
  gamut for any and all solar thermal applications.<br />
 
  Frombasicdomestichotwaterstoragewithboiler<br />
 
  or electric backup to an ultra-high efficiency gas<br />
 
  backup that combines a solar heat exchanger and<br />
 
 
  an energy-saving, Low-NOx burner for both<br />
 
  domestic hot water and space heating in a single<br />
 
  unit, HeatTransfer has the solar solution that’s<br />
 
  right for your next job.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>ELECTRIC BACKUP
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>BOILER BACKUP
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>GAS FIRED
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>ELEMENT
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>HEAT EXCHANGER
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>BACKUP
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in addition to the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>in addition to the
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>with a Solar
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Heat Exchanger
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Heat Exchanger
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Heat Exchanger<br />
 
  for domestic<br />
 
  hot water and
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Glass lined
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Stainless Steel Glass lined
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Stainless Steel
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>space heating
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  PO Box 429, 120 Braley Rd, East Freetown, MA 02717 508.763.8071 www.htproducts.com
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>SUPERSTOR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SUPERSTOR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SUPERSTOR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SUPERSTOR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>PHOENIX
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>CONTENDER-SE SOLAR-SE
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>CONTENDER-SB SOLAR-SB
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SOLAR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SOLAR
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>SOLAR
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  HT0704-AD-PhoenixSolar_HPM_v2:Layout 1  07/26/07  <b style="color:#000;background:#66ff99">02</b>:51 PM  Page 1
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>30
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>HIGH-PERFORMANCE HOUSING<br />
 
  + SMART INVESTING
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Affordable<br />
 
  Solar
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>by Denis Du Bois
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>31
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>I</b>nnovative financing for this Mosier,<br />
 
  Oregon, town house development<br />
 
 
  allows investors and homeowners alike<br />
 
  to share in the incentives and financial<br />
 
  benefits of harnessing solar energy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>These modern town houses in northern Oregon are shining examples of building<br />
 
 
  with energy use in mind.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Richard Hallman (2)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Would home buyers pay a premium to<br />
 
  have renewable energy integrated into<br />
 
  their new town homes? Peter Erickson,<br />
 
 
  owner of Urban Fund Inc., a Pacific<br />
 
  Northwest development company,<br />
 
  was pretty sure of it. “The public is<br />
 
  very aware of and concerned about the<br />
 
  rising costs of utilities. If a prospective<br />
 
  buyer can purchase a home that consumes less energy than a<br />
 
 
  typical home and produce a portion of its own energy,” says<br />
 
  Erickson, “then it’s not a tough business decision.”<br />
 
  So he worked with his architects and a solar consulting<br />
 
  firm to integrate photovoltaic and solar hot water systems<br />
 
  into his 34-unit development in Mosier, Oregon. After some<br />
 
  preliminary number-crunching, he wasn’t confident that<br />
 
 
  homeowners would be willing to front the large $28,000 per<br />
 
  unit initial expense that the two RE systems would require.<br />
 
  But some savvy financial planning saved the day, allowing<br />
 
  Erickson to realize his plans to add a strong renewable energy<br />
 
  component to high-performance housing.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Making RE a Reality
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Erickson tapped into the talents of solar consultant Doug<br />
 
  Boleyn of Cascade Solar Consulting, to figure out an attractive<br />
 
  financial strategy for incorporating renewables into the<br />
 
  development.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  In Oregon, financial support for both residential and<br />
 
 
  commercial solar systems is strong. The state offers generous<br />
 
  tax credits for both home and business owners of qualifying<br />
 
  grid-tied systems, and the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon<br />
 
  offers additional cash incentives. Adding in federal tax credits<br />
 
  for residential and commercial solar energy made the decision<br />
 
  to install renewable systems a sound financial move.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Boleyn compared private and commercial solar incentives<br />
 
  and laid out two possible scenarios, based on a goal of<br />
 
  producing about half of the development’s electricity and hot<br />
 
  water with solar energy.<br />
 
  One approach was to leverage federal incentives available<br />
 
 
  to private individuals for residential solar installations. Each<br />
 
  homeowner would qualify for a maximum $6,000 Oregon<br />
 
  state PV tax credit, plus a one-time $2,000 federal solar tax<br />
 
  credit. Although this would take care of a chunk of the up-<br />
 
  front cost, the combined credits represented less than 30% of<br />
 
  the total capital cost of the solar equipment on each home.<br />
 
 
  Plus, Mosier is a vacation destination, with Washington State<br />
 
  right across the river. Washington residents who purchased<br />
 
  a town house as their second home wouldn’t be able to use<br />
 
  Oregon’s tax credits.<br />
 
  The second option was to arrange for the solar equipment<br />
 
  to be commercially owned by a subsidiary of the development<br />
 
 
  company. Business owners of solar installations qualify for<br />
 
  much higher incentives than do individuals under both<br />
 
  the state and federal programs. With no caps, the state and<br />
 
  federal business tax credits have potentially higher value,<br />
 
  and businesses can also depreciate the solar equipment, a tax<br />
 
  write-off not available to individuals.<br />
 
 
  In addition to the tax breaks, the Energy Trust of Oregon<br />
 
  offers incentives to property developers who install solar-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>32
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  ”The utilities no longer have a monopoly on supplying<br />
 
  power. Mosier Creek Solar is doing it, and at lower<br />
 
  electric rates.”
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  —Doug Boleyn, Cascade Solar Consulting
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  electric and solar thermal systems on<br />
 
  buildings. The result: The combined<br />
 
  business incentives would be enough<br />
 
  to offset 70% of the systems’ installed<br />
 
 
  costs, a savings Erickson couldn’t pass<br />
 
  up—and would be able to pass on to the<br />
 
  homeowners.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  To capitalize on the largest incentives,<br />
 
  Erickson formed a subsidiary, Mosier<br />
 
  Creek (MC) Solar LLC, to own and operate<br />
 
 
  the systems for a minimum of five years.<br />
 
  This third-party investment group bought<br />
 
  the solar equipment and took all the utility<br />
 
  and tax credit incentives. In addition,<br />
 
  they took accelerated depreciation for the<br />
 
  improvements over a five-year period.<br />
 
 
  In effect, MC Solar became its own<br />
 
  solar utility, selling the solar electricity<br />
 
  generated by the rooftop systems to the<br />
 
  homeowners at about 15% less than the<br />
 
  local utility’s retail rate, a significant<br />
 
  savings. Each homeowner has a net-<br />
 
 
  metering agreement with the primary<br />
 
  utility (Pacific Power) and can offset<br />
 
  with solar up to 100% of their electricity<br />
 
  use at the same rate that the utility<br />
 
  charges.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The addition of Btu meters would<br />
 
 
  have made it possible to meter the energy<br />
 
  produced by the solar water collectors as<br />
 
  well, but the investors were satisfied with<br />
 
  their return on investment without having<br />
 
  to claim the water heating savings. So the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>By clustering the 34 residences into eight<br />
 
 
  buildings, Mosier Creek Place devotes half of<br />
 
  its 5-acre site to maintaining the existing creek<br />
 
  and grasslands.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Large windows admit an abundance of<br />
 
  natural light into each townhome’s interior,<br />
 
  reducing the need for artificial lighting.
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>33
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Richard Hallman (2)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  approximately 2,500 kilowatt-hours equivalent annual energy<br />
 
  from the solar water heating system on each town house is<br />
 
  provided to the homeowner at no additional cost.<br />
 
  At the end of five years, homeowners who wish to<br />
 
  purchase their rooftop solar systems will be able to buy them<br />
 
 
  at a fraction of their initial cost from MC Solar. Owning the<br />
 
  systems will mean that homeowners get low-cost solar energy<br />
 
  from their systems, helped by renewable energy credits<br />
 
  (green tags) and other available incentives.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>A Model of Success
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Erickson and his team, including Cascade Solar, Surround<br />
 
  Architecture in Portland, and local green building certification
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  agency Earth Advantage, have broken new ground for<br />
 
  renewable energy with Mosier Creek Homes. “This is a first-off<br />
 
  model for this sort of arrangement—a developer selling power<br />
 
  that’s produced right there on the building,” says Boleyn.<br />
 
 
  “The utilities no longer have a monopoly on supplying power.<br />
 
  Mosier Creek Solar is doing it, and at lower electric rates.”<br />
 
  Boleyn says they checked Oregon utility law to make<br />
 
  sure that MC Solar would not be considered a public utility<br />
 
  and subject to regulation, and acknowledged that the<br />
 
  utilities were “quite cooperative in setting everything up,<br />
 
 
  including the net metering agreements.”<br />
 
  Erickson is pleased with the outcome and says that high-<br />
 
  performance housing offers “distinct marketing advantages
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>34
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  100KWH
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  G
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>KWH Meter:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To utility grid
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>AC Service Entrance:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  To 120/240 VAC loads
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>System<br />
 
  Performance<br />
 
  Meter
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>DC<br />
 
  Disconnect
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Inverter:</b> PV Powered PV2880 XV, 450 VDC<br />
 
  maximum input, 200–390 VDC MPPT window,<br />
 
 
  240 VAC output
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Photovoltaics: </b>Eighteen Sharp NE-170U1 or NT-180U1, 170 W or 180 W each at 34.8<br />
 
  or 35.9 Vmp, wired in two 9-module series strings for 3,240 W total at 323 Vmp
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Note:</b> All numbers are rated, manufacturers’ specifications, or nominal unless otherwise specified.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>PV<br />
 
  Combiner<br />
 
  Box
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  PV Powered
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  H2
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  H1
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  100KWH
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>AC<br />
 
  Disconnect:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Exterior
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Right: PV modules cover the roofs of this<br />
 
  modern town house complex.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Below: PV Powered inverters convert DC<br />
 
  electricity from the arrays into typical<br />
 
 
  household AC electricity.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Mosier Creek Homes On-Grid PV System
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Tod LeFevre (2)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  that protect the developer in a down-<br />
 
  market cycle. In fact, we came online<br />
 
  having received our final occupancy<br />
 
  permits this past June in the middle of<br />
 
 
  a national slowdown in real estate and<br />
 
  have sold ten of our thirty-four units<br />
 
  to date.”
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  “The public is very concerned about<br />
 
  the rising costs of energy. If a prospective<br />
 
  buyer can find a home that is LEED-H<br />
 
 
  certified and produces 50% of its energy<br />
 
  needs, then it’s an easy decision,” says<br />
 
  Erickson. “I wouldn’t have engaged in<br />
 
  the process if it didn’t pencil for both us<br />
 
  and the home buyer.”
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Access
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Denis Du Bois was hooked on solar<br />
 
  energy in 2001 when he installed a PV<br />
 
  system at his off-grid summer home.<br />
 
  He is CEO of P5 Group Inc., a Seattle<br />
 
  firm that helps energy-related companies<br />
 
 
  market successfully. Du Bois founded<br />
 
  <i>Energy Priorities</i> magazine and hosts the<br />
 
  popular “Energy Minute” podcast series.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Cascade Solar Consulting • 503-655-<br />
 
  1617 • www.cascadesolar.com •
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  RE planning
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>35
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Incentives<br />
 
  for Better Business
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Mosier Creek Solar LLC took advantage of three solar-electric and hot water<br />
 
  incentives available to businesses:
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  • Oregon state tax credit: 35% of system cost, no limit. (This has since been<br />
 
  raised to 50%.)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Federal solar investment tax credit: 30% of system cost, no limit.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Equipment depreciation: 5-year accelerated.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  In addition, the Energy Trust of Oregon kicked in $35,000 (the maximum, per<br />
 
 
  project) through two incentives:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • $1 per watt of rated PV capacity.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • $0.40 per kilowatt-hour of electricity saved for hot water.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The Mosier Creek Homes formula for making PV financially appealing to both<br />
 
  developer and buyer:
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Install PV and solar water heating systems on each unit.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Set up a separate business to own the solar equipment.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Use business tax incentives and other subsidies to cover as much as 70% of<br />
 
  the cost.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  • Price the homes at a premium, because of their renewable energy features.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Sell the solar-generated electricity to the homeowners below retail rates, and<br />
 
  let them sell any excess to the utility.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Consider leasing or selling the equipment to the homeowners, which offers<br />
 
  another potential source of profit for developers and investors.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Location:</b> Mosier, Oregon
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar resource:</b> 3.9 average daily peak sun-hours
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Heating & cooling system:</b> Carrier Performance series,<br />
 
 
  Energy Star-rated heat pump/air conditioning system
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Electricity: </b>3.2 KW grid-tied PV system
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Water heating:</b> Solar, with electric backup
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Average monthly production, PV system: </b>366 KWH
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Average monthly production, SHW system:</b> 208 KWH
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Photovoltaic System Details
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Modules:</b> Sharp NE-170U1 or NT-180U1, 170 W or 180 W STC,<br />
 
 
  34.8 or 35.9 Vmp
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Array (per housing unit):</b> Two 9-module series strings, 3,240 W<br />
 
  STC total, 323 Vmp
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Array installation:</b> UniRac SolarMount, on south-facing roofs,<br />
 
 
  14-degree tilt
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Total PV installed capacity (entire complex):</b> 86.7 KW
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Inverters:</b> PV Powered PVP2800 XV, 450 VDC maximum DC<br />
 
  input voltage, 200-390 VDC MPPT voltage window, 240 VAC<br />
 
 
  output
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar Hot Water System
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Collector:</b> Sol-Reliant, 56 sq. ft.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Collector installation:</b> Roof mount, south-facing, 14-degree tilt angle
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Heat transfer fluid:</b> Propylene glycol
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Circulation pump:</b> PV-powered Hartell HEH18
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Storage tank:</b> Rheem Solaraide 120-HE/1, 120 gal. (provides<br />
 
 
  SHW storage and backup electric water heating); integrated<br />
 
  heat exchanger
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Town House Tech Specs
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  (continued on page 37)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>36
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Single-Tank Solar Hot Water
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Manufacturers of the single-tank solar/electric system<br />
 
 
  place a single 240 VAC element about one-third of the<br />
 
  way down from the top of the tank. With a 120-gallon<br />
 
  tank, this assures at least 40 gallons of standby hot<br />
 
  water—even if the sun doesn’t shine. The heat in the<br />
 
  tall, vertically oriented tank naturally stratifies, with the<br />
 
  hottest water at the top. The solar heat exchanger is<br />
 
 
  located in the bottom half of the tank, using the sun’s<br />
 
  energy to warm the coldest water first.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  On a sunny day, the solar gains will exceed the electric<br />
 
  element’s temperature setting, with solar energy heating<br />
 
  the whole tankful of water to 140°F or more. A water<br />
 
  heater timer can be used to keep the electric element off<br />
 
 
  during the middle of the day, “prioritizing” solar energy<br />
 
  over heating with electricity. (A tempering valve should<br />
 
  be installed to ensure that scalding hot, solar-heated<br />
 
  water doesn’t flow into the hot water service.)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  In a single-tank solar-integrated system, solar energy is<br />
 
  generally able to achieve temperatures well above the<br />
 
 
  thermostat setting, and the heat lost down to that setting<br />
 
  is all solar generated—and all free. The typical standby<br />
 
  loss of a two-tank system can be 15 to 20% of the total<br />
 
  energy required for the water heating system. In a single<br />
 
  tank system, standby losses are about half this amount.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Potable Hot<br />
 
 
  Water Outlet
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Cold<br />
 
  Supply In
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Pressure<br />
 
  Relief<br />
 
 
  Valve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Isolating<br />
 
  Ball Valve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Isolating<br />
 
  Ball Valve
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>12 VDC<br />
 
  Pump
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Low Point Drain<br />
 
  and Fill Valve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Heat Exchange Tank:
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Rheem Solaraide 120-HE/I,<br />
 
  120 gal.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tempering<br />
 
  Valve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Potable Cold Water Line
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>4x14 ft. Sol-Reliant Collector
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Spring<br />
 
  Check<br />
 
  Valve
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Mosier Creek Homes<br />
 
 
  Solar Hot Water System
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Besides electricity, the sun also provides domestic hot water<br />
 
  via solar thermal collectors.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Powerfully Efficient Homes
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  With an estimated total energy load of 13,560 kilowatt-<br />
 
 
  hours per year for each townhome, the combined output of<br />
 
  the 3-kilowatt PV array and a 56-square-foot thermal solar<br />
 
  collector is expected to supply a little more than 50% of the<br />
 
  residence’s energy requirement. Doug Boleyn, consulting<br />
 
  engineer for the project, says that’s impressive for an all-<br />
 
  electric home on Oregon’s chilly Columbia River Gorge.<br />
 
 
  But this shouldn’t be surprising, given that the Mosier<br />
 
  Creek development was built to the highest energy<br />
 
  specification. This LEED-certified project features high-<br />
 
  efficiency heat pumps, and Energy Star appliances and<br />
 
  lighting. Two-by-six studs framed at 24 inches on center<br />
 
  conserve lumber and reduce thermal bridging, and R-21<br />
 
 
  insulation in walls, R-30 in the floors, R-38 in ceilings, and<br />
 
  low-emissivity, high-performance windows throughout help<br />
 
  ensure each townhome’s excellent thermal performance. The<br />
 
  townhomes are sited in an east–west orientation to maximize<br />
 
  solar gain. In all, the buildings use 30% less energy than<br />
 
  energy-efficient buildings of a decade ago.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Richard Hallman
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>37
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>affordable </b><i>solar
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  At just under 1,600 square feet, space was at a premium<br />
 
  in the two-bedroom townhomes—both inside and on the<br />
 
  roof. So the common two-tank solar water heating system—<br />
 
  with a solar preheat tank and conventional backup water<br />
 
  heater—was abandoned. Instead, a 120-gallon solar tank<br />
 
 
  with built-in heat exchanger and a single upper electric<br />
 
  element serves as both the solar preheating tank and<br />
 
  backup electric water heater within a single footprint. The<br />
 
  tank fits neatly beside the energy-efficient clothes washer<br />
 
  and dryer in each townhome’s laundry room.<br />
 
  Twenty-eight individual PV systems, with a total<br />
 
 
  installed capacity of 86.7 KW, were installed by Tod LeFevre,<br />
 
  P.E., of Hood River, Oregon-based Common Energy LCC.<br />
 
  PV Powered inverters, which are manufactured in Bend,<br />
 
  Oregon, were specified to synchronize the output of the<br />
 
  PV arrays with the utility grid.<br />
 
  On the roof, keeping the solar collectors and PV<br />
 
 
  modules at a low <b style="color:#fff;background:#996600">profile</b> was important to the streamlined<br />
 
  architecture of the development. The long side-to-side<br />
 
  layout of the Sol-Reliant collectors fits nicely with the roof<br />
 
  plan and individual PV arrays.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  —John Patterson
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>www.unirac.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>THE STANDARD IN PV MOUNTING STRUCTURES
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  SOLAR POWER <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b> BOOTH 546
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  SEE OUR LATEST SOLUTIONS COME TOGETHER AT
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  UniRac Inc. develops, manufactures and supports mounting
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  solutions for photovoltaic (PV) arrays.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  UniRac has established itself as a clear leader in its market
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  segment by developing an outstanding reputation for product
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  range, consistency, innovation and <b>partnership</b>.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  betterSOLUTIONS<br />
 
  FASTERinstallation
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Common Energy LLC • 541-308-0988 •<br />
 
 
  www.commonenergy.com • PV systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Mr. Sun Solar • 503-222-2468 • www.mrsunsolar.com •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar thermal systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Mosier Creek Homes • www.mosiercreek.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Surround Architecture • 503-224-6484 •<br />
 
 
  www.surroundinc.com • Architect
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Urban Fund Inc. • 206-623-1234 • www.urbanfundinc.com •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Developer
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PV & Solar Thermal Systems Components Manufacturers:
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  PV Powered • 541-312-3832 • www.pvpowered.com •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Inverters
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Rheem • 334-260-1525 • http://waterheating.rheem.com •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  SHW storage tank
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sol-Reliant • 888-765-7359 • www.solreliant.com •
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar thermal collectors
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Sharp Solar • 800-765-2706 • www.solar.sharpusa.com • PVs
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  UniRac • 505-242-6411 • www.unirac.com • PV mounts
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solahart systems<br />
 
 
  OG-300 certified by SRCC
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar<br />
 
  Water Heaters<br />
 
  built by Solahart<br />
 
  and backed by<br />
 
  Rheem!
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Hot Water Free from<br />
 
  the Sun™
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  is a trademark<br />
 
  of Solahart Industries<br />
 
  Pty Ltd
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>S</b>olahart has been<br />
 
  designing and building<br />
 
  solar water<br />
 
  heaters since<br />
 
  1953. The Solahart<br />
 
 
  brand is backed by<br />
 
  Rheem, the leading<br />
 
  water heater<br />
 
  manufacturer<br />
 
  in the world.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Simple and reliable<br />
 
 
  passive thermosiphon
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  systems
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  • Open and closed<br />
 
  loop systems for
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  installation in almost
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  any environment
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>For more information
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  on Solahart systems<br />
 
  and dealers, call
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>334-260-1525
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  or email us at
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>solar@rheem.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Hot Water Free from the Sun™
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Qualifies for New<br />
 
 
  Energy Tax Credit!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Rheem Water Heating </b>�<b>101 Bell Road </b>�<b>Montgomery, AL 36117-4305 </b>�<b>www.rheem.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Dealer inquiries<br />
 
 
  are welcomed!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Rheem SolarHPad  12/5/06  10:16 AM  Page 1
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Does Your Distributor<br />
 
  Leave You Hanging?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Does Your Distributor<br />
 
 
  Leave You Hanging?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Not groSolar. When Dan Leary of NexGen had a time critical<br />
 
  project, he relied on groSolar. In Dan's words: "I'd like to<br />
 
  especially thank you for tracking the many, many pieces and<br />
 
  ensuring that we were able to keep our crane date."
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  When you need the best product and someone to<br />
 
  make sure you're not left hanging, call groSolar.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Electric, Hot Water, and Air Heating — Call Us Today!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  groSolar provides project referrals to dealers in our network
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>NexGen is a groSolar<br />
 
 
  Dealer Partner<br />
 
  Photo courtesy of NexGen
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  GRO Home Power Ad #121 B.qxp  8/3/<b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>  12:26 PM  Page 1
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  energy use, allow us to do more in our homes with reduced<br />
 
 
  energy input—the very essence of efficiency. But don’t<br />
 
  expect technology to do it all. Habits and behaviors greatly<br />
 
  influence your energy consumption.<br />
 
  If you’re connected to the utility grid, implementing<br />
 
  these easy measures translates into lower utility bills. If<br />
 
  you’re planning an off-grid home, smart appliance and<br />
 
 
  building design choices will both minimize renewable<br />
 
  energy equipment costs, and reduce or even eliminate your<br />
 
  reliance on a backup engine generator.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>N</b>o matter where you live—an uptown loft, a
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  drafty old farmhouse, or a contemporary home—<br />
 
 
  addressing your dwelling’s energy efficiency<br />
 
  and reducing your household’s energy use<br />
 
  should be done before you invest in any renewable energy<br />
 
  (RE) gear.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  You can reduce your use—without giving up modern<br />
 
  comforts—by putting technology to work for you. New,<br />
 
 
  energy-efficient appliances and heating equipment, along<br />
 
  with advances in building science and awareness of our
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>40
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>by Paul Scheckel
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>EFFICIENCY DETAILS
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  If you’ve been<br />
 
  dreaming about<br />
 
 
  lowering your<br />
 
  electricity, space or<br />
 
  water heating bills,<br />
 
  but are daunted by<br />
 
  the seemingly high<br />
 
  up-front investment<br />
 
 
  in renewable energy<br />
 
  equipment, fear no<br />
 
  more. Simple, energy-<br />
 
  smart strategies can<br />
 
  help you reduce both<br />
 
  the size and cost of<br />
 
 
  that renewable energy<br />
 
  system you’ve been<br />
 
  dreaming about.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>FOR A CLEAN ENERGY CHANGE
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>41
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  INEXPENSIVE ENERGY FIXES
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 1: Know Your Loads
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  The first step on the renewable path is to get<br />
 
  familiar with how much energy your household<br />
 
  uses and identify where your energy dollars<br />
 
  are going. Take a look at a year’s worth of your<br />
 
  energy bills. Determine how much energy is used<br />
 
 
  for space and water heating, air conditioning,<br />
 
  and other electrical loads.<br />
 
  Depending upon where you live, you may<br />
 
  find certain seasonal trends that lead to increased<br />
 
  energy consumption. For most of us, space<br />
 
  conditioning consumes the most energy and<br />
 
 
  generally warrants the most attention when it<br />
 
  comes to efficiency efforts. Water heating is<br />
 
  typically the second largest home energy user.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Electronics<br />
 
  5%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Cooking<br />
 
  5%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Refrigeration<br />
 
  8%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Space Cooling<br />
 
 
  11%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Water Heating<br />
 
  13%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Lighting<br />
 
  12%
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Other<br />
 
  10%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Space Heating<br />
 
  31%
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>5%
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Washer/<br />
 
  Dryer
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Point-of-use energy monitors<br />
 
  allow you to determine<br />
 
  which of your appliances<br />
 
 
  are efficient, and which of<br />
 
  them aren’t. In addition,<br />
 
  whole-house electric energy<br />
 
  monitors can conveniently<br />
 
  report instantaneous and daily<br />
 
  kilowatt-hour consumption<br />
 
 
  via a handy display. Both are<br />
 
  excellent tools to help put<br />
 
  electric use into perspective<br />
 
  and will help you track your<br />
 
  overall reduction efforts.<br />
 
  However, you probably<br />
 
 
  already have a meter provided<br />
 
  by the electric company that<br />
 
  can also give you useful<br />
 
  information (many will<br />
 
  display both instantaneous<br />
 
  power and total energy)—you<br />
 
 
  just need to read it.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Point-of-use energy monitor.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Electric appliances also can account for a sizable portion<br />
 
  of your overall energy consumption and have a large impact<br />
 
  on a renewable electricity system’s size and cost. For 120-volt<br />
 
 
  electrical appliances, measuring energy use with a digital<br />
 
  power meter, such as the Brand Electronics, Watts Up?, or<br />
 
  Kill A Watt, will help you determine actual consumption and<br />
 
  prioritize which appliances need to be replaced with more<br />
 
  efficient units (see Access).
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Typical Household Energy Uses
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 2: Adopt RE-Ready Habits
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Simply being aware of what appliances are in use, and what needs to be<br />
 
  used and when, can help you adjust habits to minimize household energy<br />
 
  use. Learn to read your electric meter so that you can see how much power<br />
 
  you’re using at any given time or how much energy was consumed over a<br />
 
 
  period of time.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The most efficient practices are those that don’t require any extra energy<br />
 
  input, such as hanging clothes to dry on a clothesline. The next tier of<br />
 
  efficiency is to install the most efficient technology and minimize use. For<br />
 
  example, wash clothes in a front-loading washer with a high “modified<br />
 
  energy factor” rating, dry for only a few minutes (or not at all) in the clothes<br />
 
 
  dryer, and hang until completely dry. Take advantage of passive cooling<br />
 
  techniques to minimize or even eliminate the need for air conditioning. In<br />
 
  many climates, opening the windows at night and closing windows and<br />
 
  shades in the morning to keep the sun out, along with using ceiling or floor<br />
 
  fans, can be an effective cooling strategy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy www.eere.energy.gov
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>42
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 3: Take Control
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Lowering the thermostat<br />
 
  is one sure way to reduce<br />
 
  heating costs. On average,<br />
 
 
  you can expect to save<br />
 
  about 2% of the energy<br />
 
  you use to heat (or cool)<br />
 
  your home for every<br />
 
  degree you lower (or raise)<br />
 
  the temperature setting.<br />
 
 
  Use a programmable<br />
 
  thermostat and set it to<br />
 
  lower the temperature<br />
 
  10°F when you’re sleeping<br />
 
  or away from home—or if<br />
 
  there’s no danger of pipes<br />
 
 
  freezing, you can turn off<br />
 
  your furnace completely.<br />
 
  (And no, it will not take<br />
 
  more energy to reheat the<br />
 
  house than you saved by<br />
 
  keeping the thermostat turned down.)<br />
 
 
  Wrap your water heater in an insulating blanket and set the<br />
 
  temperature as low as possible. Typically, a 1°F adjustment in<br />
 
  your water heater’s temperature will result in a 1% change in<br />
 
  energy use. You can use a timer to turn an electric water heater<br />
 
  off when you don’t need it, but you will gain more in efficiency<br />
 
  by using conservation strategies such as low-flow showerheads
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Call in the Energy Experts
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Expert energy auditors can help you identify the<br />
 
  best way to spend your energy improvement<br />
 
  dollars. You can find such experts through<br />
 
  your state’s energy office, the Residential<br />
 
 
  Energy Services Network, or the U.S. EPA’s<br />
 
  growing Home Performance with Energy Star<br />
 
  program (see Access).
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  An energy auditor will examine every room<br />
 
  in your home, using tools such as an infrared<br />
 
  camera to check for insulation voids inside<br />
 
 
  a wall or a “blower door” test to pinpoint<br />
 
  air infiltration. A typical audit can take from<br />
 
  two to four hours depending upon the tests<br />
 
  performed, and auditors may charge a flat rate<br />
 
  or by the hour. Always ask what specific tests<br />
 
  they will perform, how they charge for services,<br />
 
 
  what the cost will be, and how the results<br />
 
  will be presented to you. An average home<br />
 
  might save up to 30% on energy costs if all the<br />
 
  auditor’s recommendations are followed.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  INEXPENSIVE ENERGY FIXES
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  and insulating water heater tank wraps. If you’ll<br />
 
  be away for more than a few days, simply turn off<br />
 
  your water heater entirely.<br />
 
  Timer controls and occupancy sensors work<br />
 
  well on lights that tend to get left on, and multiple<br />
 
  lighting circuits help put light only where you need<br />
 
 
  it. Switched wall outlets or power strips allow you<br />
 
  to turn things off (such as the entire entertainment<br />
 
  center or office peripherals) with ease.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  GOOD GADGETS & QUICK FIXES
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 4: Plug In to Power Strips
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  A “phantom load” occurs when an appliance that appears to be<br />
 
  off still consumes some electricity. Examples include appliances<br />
 
  with clocks or indicator lights, remote controls, and plug-in<br />
 
  power adapters. Although a few watts of standby energy use<br />
 
  per appliance may sound like small potatoes, the combined<br />
 
 
  energy use of these small loads adds up fast. Phantom loads<br />
 
  in a typical American household use about 1.2 kilowatt-hours<br />
 
  per day—the equivalent of some superefficient off-grid whole-<br />
 
  house PV systems! Make efficiency easy to practice by using<br />
 
  switched outlets or power strips to control these loads and<br />
 
  make the switch on the strip easily accessible.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 5: Bright Lighting
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Wherever you can, replace incandescent<br />
 
  bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFs).<br />
 
  CFs provide the same level of lighting,<br />
 
  at about one-quarter of the energy use of<br />
 
  incandescents. Although their up-front<br />
 
  cost is higher, their reduced energy use<br />
 
 
  paired with their longevity translates into<br />
 
  long-term energy and cost savings. Use<br />
 
  compact fluorescent bulbs everywhere<br />
 
  except inside your fridge, where the cold<br />
 
  temperature, short on-times, and frequent on-and-off cycling will reduce the<br />
 
  lifetime of the bulb and offer little savings. In the fridge, remove the 40-watt<br />
 
 
  bulbs it probably came with and replace them with a single 15-watt (or lower)<br />
 
  incandescent bulb.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  For electricity-free lighting during the day in windowless or dark rooms,<br />
 
  consider installing light tubes, which bring in natural light. (Skylights can<br />
 
  serve the same function but may also bring in unwanted heat during certain<br />
 
  seasons.) In areas where excess heat is not a concern, clear roofing panels can<br />
 
 
  provide a fairly inexpensive solution to provide additional daylighting. My<br />
 
  (unheated) garage, porch, and chicken coop each have a few clear roofing<br />
 
  panels that really brighten these areas during the day.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 6: Seal Leaks & Deal with Ducts
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Similar to appliances and electricity, the tighter your home, the less<br />
 
 
  fuel you’ll need to keep it warm. Start by identifying and sealing air<br />
 
  leaks, which can be found around chimneys, window frames, the top<br />
 
  of the foundation walls where wood meets concrete, and plumbing<br />
 
  and electrical chases. Sealing your home against air leaks is the most<br />
 
  cost-effective improvement you can make to reduce heating and<br />
 
  cooling consumption while increasing your home’s comfort.<br />
 
 
  Unless they are properly designed, sealed against leaks, and well<br />
 
  insulated, heating and cooling ducts can account for tremendous<br />
 
  energy loss to the unconditioned spaces through which they travel, like<br />
 
  attics and basements. If you have forced-air heating or cooling, be sure<br />
 
  to seal and insulate ducts everywhere you can.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 7: Go Low-Flow to Save on Heating
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  In most homes, heating water is second only to space conditioning in energy<br />
 
  use. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can help lower your household<br />
 
  water consumption and water-heating demand. So can using only cold water<br />
 
  for clothes washing and laundering only full loads. If you have a private water<br />
 
  system, conserving water will also reduce your pumping energy requirements<br />
 
 
  and the load on your septic system.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Solatube
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  gwmullis
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Wagner Furlan
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>43
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>44
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 8: Improve Insulation
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Take a look in your attic. Depending upon<br />
 
  your climate, if there is less than 1 foot of<br />
 
  insulation, it will be worthwhile to add more.<br />
 
 
  Walls are a bit harder to examine. One trick<br />
 
  to inspect wall insulation is to either find or<br />
 
  make a small hole in the wall, and then poke<br />
 
  a wooden skewer into the hole. By wiggling<br />
 
  the skewer, you might be able to pull out a few<br />
 
  fibers of insulation. This is also a quick way to<br />
 
 
  determine the depth of the walls and, therefore,<br />
 
  the thickness of the insulation.<br />
 
  Insulation won’t work well if it’s not properly<br />
 
  installed. Avoid gaps and compressions,<br />
 
  especially around plumbing pipes and electrical<br />
 
  wiring, and be sure the insulation material<br />
 
 
  is in contact with all sides of the cavity into<br />
 
  which it is installed. The best time to add<br />
 
  insulation to walls is when you’re making other<br />
 
  improvements or renovations. Make sure air<br />
 
  leaks are sealed before adding insulation.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  INVEST IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 9: Get New Views
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Replacing older, single-pane windows with new<br />
 
  double- or triple-glazed units can save energy if<br />
 
  they are installed to include air-leakage control<br />
 
  around the frame. However, you can get almost<br />
 
 
  as much savings by adding storm windows as<br />
 
  you can with new double-glazed windows, at<br />
 
  a fraction of the cost. Again, pay close attention<br />
 
  to air-sealing when improving older windows.<br />
 
  When it comes time to buy new windows, pay<br />
 
  more for more efficient units. Over the long-<br />
 
 
  term, the up-front cost will pay for itself in<br />
 
  efficiency gains and reduced energy use.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>On Your Way to Renewables
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  With renewable energy, a little advanced planning can add up to<br />
 
  significant savings. Here are two quick tips to get you on the right track:
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  ✔ <b>Design right.</b> Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an<br />
 
  old one, proper design and planning can offer savings once you’re ready<br />
 
  to install your RE systems. Orient additions or new buildings to true<br />
 
  south and reconsider rooflines and gables that interfere with solar access.<br />
 
  Provide an unobstructed south-facing roof surface that allows plenty of<br />
 
 
  solar collection area.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  If you’re planning to install a PV or SHW system, consider incorporating<br />
 
  a chase between the roof and the basement to allow easy access and<br />
 
  plenty of space for running cables and insulated plumbing. And don’t<br />
 
  forget to construct your roof to handle the additional weight of collectors,<br />
 
  if necessary. Purchase a long-lasting roofing material too, and then, if you<br />
 
 
  know what equipment you’re planning to use, consider pre-installing rack<br />
 
  stanchions before the new roof goes on.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  ✔ <b>Double up.</b> If you identify what you want ahead of time, you can<br />
 
  piggyback projects with little or no extra cost. When we had some<br />
 
  driveway work done, I had the backhoe and crew already on site dig<br />
 
 
  trenches for conduit between my house and a future wind turbine site,<br />
 
  as well as for piping between rain collection barrels. It took less than an<br />
 
  hour of backhoe time for all that work and now I’m a step ahead on two<br />
 
  future projects.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy Pella.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  David Lewis
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>efficiency </b><i>details
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>45
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>Access
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Paul Scheckel is a senior energy analyst for the Vermont<br />
 
  Energy Investment Corporation and author of The Home<br />
 
  Energy Diet (New Society Publishers, 2005,<br />
 
  www.nrgrev.com).
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Digital Power Meters:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Brand Electronics • www.brandelectronics.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Kill A Watt • www.p3international.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Watts Up? • www.doubleed.com
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  Energy Efficiency & RE Incentive Information:
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.dsireusa.org
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Energy Star • www.energystar.gov • Information on
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  household energy efficiency and energy-efficient household<br />
 
  appliances
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) •<br />
 
  www.natresnet.org • Professional home energy raters
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  directory
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) •
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  www.energytaxincentives.org
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tip 10: Seek the Star
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Energy Star labels indicate a generally high level of efficiency<br />
 
 
  for different classes of appliances, from dishwashers and<br />
 
  refrigerators to furnaces and air conditioners. Qualifying<br />
 
  products are compared to minimum federal efficiency<br />
 
  standards, and savings vary by product. For example, Energy<br />
 
  Star-labeled refrigerators must use at least 15% less energy<br />
 
  than the current federal maximum allows.<br />
 
 
  While the Energy Star label helps you instantly identify<br />
 
  more efficient products, be sure to compare energy use among<br />
 
  labeled products by reviewing the yellow Energy Guide tag<br />
 
  and choose the appliance that uses the least amount of energy<br />
 
  in its class.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy www.eere.energy.gov
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                <br />
 
               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
     
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
       
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                    <br />
 
 
                                   
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
             
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                   
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                  <br />
 
 
                                          <br />
 
                                         
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                   
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                        <br />
 
                            <br />
 
                              <br />
 
 
                     
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                            <br />
 
                                <br />
 
                            <br />
 
                              <br />
 
 
                     
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                              <br />
 
                            <br />
 
                       
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
             
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                   
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                              <br />
 
                           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
                                <br />
 
                               
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
           
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>What’s the Secret to High<br />
 
 
  Performance Solar Heating?
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>For your FREE information kit, call today!
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>1-800-288-0667<br />
 
  www.viessmann-us.com
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  “Viessmann has been a leader in innovative hot
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  water heating technology since 1917, with over 30
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  years experience in solar heating. Their high-
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  quality, state-of-the-art solar collectors, like all their
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  products, provide you with some of the cleanest,
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  greenest, most reliable energy available.”
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Innovative System Technology
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Viessmann provides solar collectors,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  hot water tanks, controls – everything<br />
 
  you need to collect the clean, powerful<br />
 
 
  energy of the sun.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  •  All parts are designed and manufactured
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  by Viessmann to integrate perfectly,<br />
 
  ensuring maximum performance.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Quality and Reliability
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Premium-quality materials mean
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Viessmann high-performance solar<br />
 
  systems are reliable and built to last.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  •  All solar system components are
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  designed for fast and easy installation<br />
 
  and maximum system performance.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Comprehensive Product Line
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Vacuum tube and flat plate solar
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  collectors are available individually or<br />
 
 
  as fully-integrated system packages,<br />
 
  including matching tanks and controls.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Viessmann offers all the components
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  you need for solar hot water, pool or<br />
 
  supplemental space heating.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>Easy Integration
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Viessmann solar systems integrate
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  easily with virtually any existing<br />
 
  heating system.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  •  Unique mounting hardware allows
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  easy freestanding installation or on<br />
 
  flat or sloped roofs.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  C
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  M
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Y
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  CM
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  MY
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  CY
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  CMY
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  K
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar06-HomePower-US.ai  4/4/<b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>  1:47:48 PM
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  home power 121 / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  48
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Unsure how much energy a PV<br />
 
  system will generate at your site? Use<br />
 
  the PVWatts performance calculator<br />
 
  to find out (http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/<br />
 
 
  codes_algs/PVWATTS). This calculator<br />
 
  estimates electricity production based<br />
 
  on the peak sun-hours at your location.<br />
 
  Arm yourself with this information to<br />
 
  ensure that your economic analysis is<br />
 
  founded on accurate production figures.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Tap into Incentives.</b> Once you get<br />
 
  an idea of system sizes and costs,<br />
 
  check out your incentive options<br />
 
  at the Database of State Incentives<br />
 
  for Renewables & Efficiency (www.<br />
 
 
  dsireusa.org), which offers the<br />
 
  most comprehensive compilation of<br />
 
  federal, state, and utility incentives<br />
 
  for RE systems and building efficiency<br />
 
  upgrades. Click on your state on the<br />
 
  interactive map to find out what’s<br />
 
 
  available, or peruse the summary<br />
 
  tables to see incentives broken down by<br />
 
  category.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Estimate Energy Production & Costs.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Before investigating incentives for<br />
 
 
  your project, you’ll need an accurate<br />
 
  estimate of your energy use and<br />
 
  potential savings from RE or from<br />
 
  energy-efficient upgrades. FindSolar’s<br />
 
  “My Solar Estimator” (www.findsolar.<br />
 
  com/index.php?page=rightforme) is<br />
 
 
  a handy resource for both home and<br />
 
  business owners interested in investing<br />
 
  in solar electricity. The online calculator<br />
 
  can quickly give you an idea what a<br />
 
  photovoltaic (PV), solar hot water,<br />
 
  or solar swimming pool system will<br />
 
 
  cost, and estimate the financial and<br />
 
  environmental benefits. Plug in your<br />
 
  location and some info from your utility<br />
 
  bills, and the estimator will display<br />
 
  available incentives, and also give a<br />
 
  rough estimate of your system’s cost<br />
 
 
  and return on investment (ROI).
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Many federal and state tax<br />
 
  credits, rebates, and utility<br />
 
  incentives are available for<br />
 
  residential and commercial<br />
 
  renewable energy projects.<br />
 
 
  To better the bottom line<br />
 
  and find the best financial<br />
 
  fit for your project, here<br />
 
  are your best Web bets for<br />
 
  discovering—and cashing<br />
 
  in on—your own RE<br />
 
 
  returns!
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Alex Mathers
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b><i>Cashing In on Renewable Energy
 
</i></b></p>
 
<p>
 
  businesses, the Solar Energy Industries<br />
 
  Association’s federal tax manual (www.<br />
 
 
  seia.org/manualdownload.php) will<br />
 
  help you and your accountant more<br />
 
  easily understand and navigate the new<br />
 
  federal incentives.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Finance an RE System.</b> Buying or<br />
 
 
  building an energy-efficient home, or<br />
 
  making an existing home more efficient<br />
 
  can call for a larger-than-normal initial<br />
 
  cash outlay. Fortunately, financing,<br />
 
  both through government-insured and<br />
 
  conventional loan programs, is now<br />
 
 
  available to support your efforts. In<br />
 
  many cases, lenders can approve a<br />
 
  larger mortgage payment based on the<br />
 
  projected savings on monthly utility<br />
 
  bills, or roll the costs of proposed<br />
 
  improvements into the mortgage. Use<br />
 
 
  this site to find qualified lenders and<br />
 
  a certified home energy rater in your<br />
 
  area: www.natresnet.org/consumer.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  —Resource recommendations<br />
 
  by Andy Black • andy@ongrid.net;<br />
 
  written by Erin Moore Bean •<br />
 
 
  erinmoorebean@gmail.com
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  If you’re thinking about investing<br />
 
  in PV, read OnGrid Solar’s Payback<br />
 
  and Other Financial Tests for Solar<br />
 
  Electric Systems (www.ongrid.net/<br />
 
  papers/PaybackOnSolarSERG.pdf)<br />
 
 
  to acquaint yourself with the nitty-<br />
 
  gritty of PV payback, then check with<br />
 
  your state’s energy office, utilities,<br />
 
  or energy commission for any public<br />
 
  information or guides. If need be,<br />
 
  consult a tax professional to best<br />
 
 
  apply any available incentives. For
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>50
 
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>If you’re thinking that only Californians and Southwesterners<br />
 
  can reap the rewards of solar energy, it’s time to think again.<br />
 
  Progressive and workable incentive programs, strong net-<br />
 
  metering support, increasing utility rates, and ample year-<br />
 
  round solar resources are giving home and business owners<br />
 
 
  in several Northeast states plenty of opportunities to plug<br />
 
  into affordable renewable energy.
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>by Jon Sharp, Ray Furse & Robert Chew
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar Success<br />
 
  in the Northeast
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy SolarWrights
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>northeast </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>51
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  our dollars spent.” According to the Energy Information<br />
 
  Administration, average retail rates for electricity in New<br />
 
  York have risen about 22% in the past four years—from 13.5<br />
 
  to 16.6 cents per kilowatt-hour.<br />
 
  Consumers are experiencing similar trends in other<br />
 
 
  northeastern states. Connecticut Light & Power Company<br />
 
  recently requested a 4.6% hike in retail electricity rates<br />
 
  starting in 2008—this in a state whose residents have<br />
 
  suffered a whopping 90% increase in rates over the past<br />
 
  seven years.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Thankfully, these states also have initiated renewable<br />
 
  energy goals—of which solar comprises a varying share—<br />
 
  as well as differing funding solutions, paperwork, and<br />
 
  procedures for installation oversight. SolarWright’s founder<br />
 
  Robert Chew, who has both written and advised on subsidy<br />
 
  program legislation, feels that Connecticut’s incentive program<br />
 
 
  for photovoltaics is a good model for the Northeast. Its<br />
 
  performance-based approach takes into account the PTC (PV<br />
 
  USA test conditions) rating of modules and inverter efficiency,<br />
 
  which better reflects real-world PV system production.<br />
 
  By requiring that approved PV installation professionals<br />
 
  install systems that are receiving financial incentives, the<br />
 
 
  Connecticut Clean Energy Fund is balancing the necessary<br />
 
  increase in installation capacity to handle this fast-growing<br />
 
  market with maintaining high installation standards. In
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Solar Energy<br />
 
  in Any State
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  How will solar work for you and what might the payback<br />
 
  be? Before calling an installer, you can get some<br />
 
  preliminary information using one of several online<br />
 
  calculators. (See “Cashing In on Renewable Energy” on<br />
 
  page 48 for Web site resources.)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Consumers are advised to independently research the<br />
 
 
  support that is available in their own state and to keep<br />
 
  that in mind when discussing energy solutions with<br />
 
  contractors. For the most up-to-date information about<br />
 
  RE incentives, visit www.dsireusa.org.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  After California and New Jersey—states with longer<br />
 
  histories of support for renewable energy—the Northeast<br />
 
 
  has become the third-largest market for photovoltaic<br />
 
  systems in the United States. Solar thermal technologies<br />
 
  have enjoyed a parallel surge in popularity—in particular,<br />
 
  rooftop collectors for domestic hot water or radiant<br />
 
  heating.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  SolarWrights, our Rhode Island-based renewable energy<br />
 
 
  company with offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New<br />
 
  York, and Vermont, has seen an annual sales volume<br />
 
  increase from less than $100,000 in 2000 to more than $5<br />
 
  million and is experiencing continued rapid expansion. Jim<br />
 
  Grundy, president of Elemental Energy in East Montpelier,<br />
 
  Vermont, reports, “We’ve had a five-fold growth in sales<br />
 
 
  since 1999.” In New York alone, the number of applications<br />
 
  for PV system incentives has increased by a factor of 3.5<br />
 
  during the past three years.<br />
 
  So what’s behind the northeastern rush to renewables?<br />
 
  Favorable economics, says Jonathan Klein, a consultant<br />
 
  specializing in emerging technology trends. Klein says<br />
 
 
  that “solar energy still requires substantial subsidies” to<br />
 
  compete with subsidized fossil-fuel generated electricity,<br />
 
  and “stretching subsidy dollars means focusing on the<br />
 
  customers who require the least amount to make solar<br />
 
  power a profitable investment.” These customers, he says,<br />
 
  are the “small” utility customers—homeowners and small<br />
 
 
  businesses—who end up paying the highest rates for<br />
 
  utility electricity.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  And in the Northeast, it’s these small customers<br />
 
  who pay some of the highest retail electricity rates in<br />
 
  the nation. Paired with progressive incentives, solar-<br />
 
  generated electricity quickly becomes an economically<br />
 
 
  viable energy solution for these customers. In fact, when<br />
 
  states are ranked in order of the subsidies required to<br />
 
  make solar energy break even with utility electricity costs,<br />
 
  six northeastern states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire,<br />
 
  New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine—appear<br />
 
  in the top eight, the other two being California (No. 1) and<br />
 
 
  Nevada (No. 3).
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Solar electricity is particularly helpful to the notoriously<br />
 
  creaky Northeastern electrical grid. As more and more PV<br />
 
  systems are installed, the combined generation capacity<br />
 
  will help stabilize the utility infrastructure,<br />
 
  and reduce brownouts and blackouts during<br />
 
 
  summertime peak loads.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>Tech Trends
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Mary and Jack Brennan had eyes for the<br />
 
  future when they had a 9.7-kilowatt grid-<br />
 
  tied PV system installed at their Guilderland,<br />
 
 
  New York, home. “We strongly believe in<br />
 
  preserving the earth for future generations,<br />
 
  and ‘going green’ is a portion of what we<br />
 
  can do to help the environment,” says Jack.<br />
 
  “Plus, our already-high electric rates will<br />
 
  probably go even higher…[so] our PV system<br />
 
 
  will reduce the amount of utility electricity<br />
 
  we need to purchase and eventually reduce
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>PV System Comparison:<br />
 
  New York vs. California
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Area
 
</b></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>PV<br />
 
  System<br />
 
  Size<br />
 
  (KWp)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>AC Output<br />
 
 
  (KWH Per<br />
 
  Year)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Average<br />
 
  Utility Rate<br />
 
  ($ Per KWH)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>Electricity<br />
 
  Value<br />
 
  ($ Per Year)
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Capitol region of New York
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  5.0
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  5,839
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $0.159
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $930
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Southern California
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  3.9
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  5,839
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $0.140
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  $817
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Ratio of CA : NY
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  78.0%
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  100.0%
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  87.9%
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  87.8%
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  The system size advantage goes to the smaller system in California, but the energy value in dollars<br />
 
  is greater in New York, making the point that solar electricity is not only effective in the sunniest<br />
 
  parts of the United States, but also in the Northeast due to high retail electricity rates.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Owner Name:</b> Robert & Lisbeth Chew<br />
 
 
  <b>Location:</b> Bristol, Rhode Island<br />
 
  <b>Average Peak Sun-Hours:</b> 4.46<br />
 
  <b>System Type:</b> Grid-tied PV<br />
 
  <b>System Size:</b> 4 KW<br />
 
 
  <b>Average Annual Production:</b> 4,960 KWH
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Although this hundred-year-old home in<br />
 
  Bristol is not governed by the stricter rules of<br />
 
  the historical district that begins one block to the west, its<br />
 
  new owners wanted to respect traditional aesthetics while<br />
 
 
  installing a modern PV system. The steep pitch of the south-<br />
 
  facing roof threatened to make a typical PV installation stand<br />
 
  out, so careful array design and module selection was key.<br />
 
  The Chews opted for a rectangular design that followed the<br />
 
  home’s roof lines, and chose SunPower SPR-200 modules,<br />
 
  with their less obtrusive flat-black appearance.<br />
 
 
  Twenty modules feed into two SunPower SPR-2000<br />
 
  inverters. During its first twelve months of operation, the<br />
 
  system produced just over 4,960 kilowatt-hours. This has<br />
 
  delighted Robert and Lisbeth, as it has effectively freed<br />
 
  them from paying a monthly utility bill. Rhode Island’s net-<br />
 
  metering regulation zeros out excess PV production annually,<br />
 
 
  which means the Chews can build up credits during the<br />
 
  sunnier months, and then use them in the winter. The Chews<br />
 
  say the array has the added benefit of shading the roof,<br />
 
  making their upstairs office cooler in the summer, reducing<br />
 
  the use of a window-mounted air conditioner and further<br />
 
  decreasing their need for electricity.
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>52
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  <b>northeast </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  Rhode Island, the utility National Grid has worked closely<br />
 
  with industry leaders to develop a streamlined and effective<br />
 
  interconnection application process that may also serve as a<br />
 
  valuable model.
 
</p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <i>Solar Support
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  It hasn’t escaped the notice of savvy politicians that solar<br />
 
  technology is simply good business: It is one of the most<br />
 
  labor-intensive fields in the energy industry, and is on track<br />
 
  to create more than 30,000 new jobs in the United States by<br />
 
 
  2015. These are not low-wage temporary positions, but quality<br />
 
  careers in manufacturing, engineering, and installation.<br />
 
  According to a Solar Energy Industries Association report,<br />
 
  “each megawatt of installed systems supports 32 jobs, a<br />
 
  quarter of which are local installation and sales positions.”<br />
 
  The success that solar is seeing in the Northeast should<br />
 
 
  put to rest any doubts about its effectiveness and value.<br />
 
  The region receives more sunshine than Germany, which
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  boasts the most installed PV of any country in recent years.<br />
 
  Solar installers and energy professionals agree that, unlike<br />
 
  the “boom and bust” environment created by quickly<br />
 
  established—and quickly snuffed—subsidy programs in<br />
 
 
  the ’70s and ’80s, interest and investment in renewable<br />
 
  energy is here to stay.<br />
 
  Although occasional predictions of “breakthroughs”<br />
 
  in module efficiency appear in the press regularly, it is<br />
 
  unlikely that this will result in significantly decreased<br />
 
  consumer prices in the near term. More likely, increased<br />
 
 
  manufacturing capacity will bring down the price of tried-<br />
 
  and-true silicon-based modules. Many industry experts<br />
 
  are forecasting continued equipment-cost reductions in the<br />
 
  years ahead. As the installed cost per watt of PV declines,<br />
 
  financial incentives will likely be scaled back and ultimately<br />
 
  eliminated. But that is not necessarily a bad thing: It would<br />
 
 
  simply mean that solar technology is finally coming into its<br />
 
  own as an economically viable, clean energy choice.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>To respect the traditional aesthetics<br />
 
  of their historic neighborhood, Lisbeth<br />
 
  and Bob Chew installed an unobtrusive<br />
 
  rooftop PV system that followed their<br />
 
 
  home’s roof lines.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>RE on the<br />
 
  East Coast
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Owner Name:</b> Pine Point School<br />
 
  <b>Location:</b> Stonington, Connecticut<br />
 
 
  <b>Average Peak Sun-Hours:</b> 4.46<br />
 
  <b>System Type:</b> Grid-tied PV<br />
 
  <b>System Size:</b> 72.6 KW<br />
 
  <b>Average Annual Production:</b> 80,000 KWH
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  At Pine Point School, children learn the <i>four</i> R’s: reading,<br />
 
  ’riting, ’rithmetic—and renewables—with a 72.6-kilowatt<br />
 
  rooftop solar-electric array that provides 40% of the school’s<br />
 
  electricity needs. The system was funded in part through a<br />
 
 
  special grant from Connecticut’s On-Site Renewable Energy<br />
 
  Generation program, with the balance of costs funded through<br />
 
  the solar developer. The school purchases the solar electricity<br />
 
  at a reduced rate through a green power purchase agreement<br />
 
  with the system owner.<br />
 
  Under this agreement, common for large commercial<br />
 
 
  projects, the system developer owns the PV system and sells<br />
 
  renewable energy to the host at a reduced rate, adjusted<br />
 
  annually depending on the cost of electricity provided by the<br />
 
  local utility. This allows Pine Point School to avoid budgeting<br />
 
  the large cost of purchasing the system. As retail rates for<br />
 
  utility electricity continue to climb, the school will benefit by<br />
 
 
  having reduced its grid usage.<br />
 
  “This is the first small-scale project in Connecticut to<br />
 
  incorporate a creative power purchase agreement between the<br />
 
  system developer and the host site,” says Lise Dondy, chief<br />
 
  operating director of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <i>www.</i><b>homepower</b><i>.com
 
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>northeast </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>53
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Pine Point students are proud of their solar-electric school.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Owner Name:</b> Mark & Lisa Nelson<br />
 
 
  <b>Location:</b> Westerly, Rhode Island<br />
 
  <b>Average Peak Sun-Hours:</b> 4.64<br />
 
  <b>System:</b> Evacuated tube solar hot water<br />
 
  <b>System Size:</b> Viessman V300, 30-tube collector<br />
 
 
  <b>Average Annual Production:</b> 9.0 MBtu (2,638 KWH)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The Nelsons chose a solar hot water system to offset their<br />
 
  use of an oil-fueled boiler that provides both space heating<br />
 
  and domestic water heating. With two children and frequent<br />
 
  guests, their boiler was running much of the time, which was<br />
 
 
  especially annoying in the summer months. By switching to a<br />
 
  solar hot water system, the boiler rarely needs to run to heat<br />
 
  water for their household.<br />
 
  The Nelsons’ roof, which faces 40 degrees west of true<br />
 
  south, offered a particular design challenge for a typical flat-<br />
 
  plate solar hot water system. Finally, it was decided that an<br />
 
 
  evacuated tube system would be a better match because it<br />
 
  is easier to rotate the tubes toward the south for maximum<br />
 
  solar exposure. A 20-watt PV module powers the system’s<br />
 
  circulation pump. Because of this, the system can continue to<br />
 
  function in the event of power outages. At 80 gallons of 120°F<br />
 
  water per day, their hot water use is a bit higher than the<br />
 
 
  62 gallons typically used by a family of four. But the effect of<br />
 
  installing the system has been that they rarely rely on using<br />
 
  their oil-fueled boiler in the summer—the system provides<br />
 
  about 70% of their yearly hot water needs.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  “Pine Point wants to reduce its carbon footprint,” says Pine<br />
 
  Point head of school Paul Geise. “In doing so, it hopes to serve<br />
 
 
  as a model for other schools in Connecticut and throughout the<br />
 
  country. There’s no doubt that in the last year there has been<br />
 
  a sea of change in the public’s perception of the environment,<br />
 
  most notably regarding the topic of global warming. Pine Point<br />
 
  is committed to being a good steward of the environment, both<br />
 
  institutionally and through its work with students. That spirit<br />
 
 
  and commitment have been most tangibly demonstrated with<br />
 
  the installation of a photovoltaic system that will supply well<br />
 
  over a third of the school’s electricity.”
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Homeowners Lisa and Mark<br />
 
  Nelson installed a Viessman<br />
 
  collector on their home’s<br />
 
 
  rooftop to provide hot<br />
 
  water for their household.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy John Koulbanis, SunPublishing Co. (2)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy SolarWrights (4)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Owner Name:</b> Cheryl Wheeler & Cathleen Joyce<br />
 
 
  <b>Location:</b> Swansea, Massachusetts<br />
 
  <b>Average Peak Sun-Hours:</b> 4.51<br />
 
  <b>System:</b> Solar pool heater<br />
 
  <b>System Size:</b> 9 Aquatherm 1500, 4 x 8 ft. collectors<br />
 
 
  <b>Average Daily Production:</b> 0.2 MBtu per day during<br />
 
  summer (58.6 KWH)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  When folk singer Cheryl Wheeler and her partner Cathleen<br />
 
  Joyce built an in-ground saltwater swimming pool, they<br />
 
  wanted to heat it with solar energy and extend their swimming<br />
 
 
  season. But they had already filled the south roof of their barn<br />
 
  with a 4-kilowatt PV array, and no other south-facing roof<br />
 
  space was available. That called for innovative problem-<br />
 
  solving from the installers. The barn’s shallow-pitched north-<br />
 
  facing roof offered a solution. The unglazed collectors were<br />
 
  mounted at a low pitch on the roof, and still produce a<br />
 
 
  significant amount of hot water for pool heating. The pool’s<br />
 
  filter pump circulates pool water to the collectors, where it is<br />
 
  heated before its return trip to the pool.<br />
 
  Over the years, Cheryl and Cathleen have become strong<br />
 
  proponents of renewable energy and often promote its<br />
 
  concepts to concert audiences. At home, both walk the walk<br />
 
 
  by driving Toyota Priuses, and relying on a PV array for<br />
 
  electricity and a solar thermal system for water heating.<br />
 
  Cathleen says that “the pool heating system has met all of our<br />
 
  goals,” with the pool easily reaching the preset temperature<br />
 
  of 88°F on sunny days. Although the temperature drops on<br />
 
  cool mornings after the cover is taken off, water coming from<br />
 
 
  the collectors arrives 8°F to 10°F hotter than when it leaves the<br />
 
  pool, allowing them to extend the swimming season by eight<br />
 
  to twelve weeks each year.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Jon Sharp and Ray Furse are regional managers for<br />
 
  SolarWrights, in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Litchfield,<br />
 
  Connecticut, respectively. Robert Chew is the founder and<br />
 
 
  president of their employee-owned RE firm, based in Bristol,<br />
 
  Rhode Island.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b><i> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
</i></p>
 
 
<p>
 
  <b>54
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>northeast </b><i>solar
 
</i></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Installing in the<br />
 
  Northeast
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
 
  PV and solar thermal system siting, design, and<br />
 
  performance issues in the Northeast can vary greatly<br />
 
  by location, as the terrain includes coastal plains in the<br />
 
  east, and the Appalachian range and foothills in the west.<br />
 
  PV mount design should take into account high coastal<br />
 
  winds and special wind regions: canyons through which<br />
 
 
  wind may be funneled at high speeds, and the upper<br />
 
  reaches of isolated hills and ridges.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Heavy snow loads typical in higher altitudes or caused<br />
 
  by lake-effect snows will require consideration. Roof-<br />
 
  mounted systems installed at very low tilt angles may<br />
 
  need to be hand-cleared, or will suffer decreased output<br />
 
 
  until the snow melts. In snowy regions, pole-mounted<br />
 
  systems should be designed to keep the lowest modules<br />
 
  out of the snow.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  As with other structures, ground-mounted systems must<br />
 
  take into consideration the depth of the frost lines to<br />
 
  avoid frost heave. And the subsoil rocky ledge of western<br />
 
 
  New England may require “pinning” or other special<br />
 
  installation methods for pole and ground mounts.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Finally, all PV systems must use durable materials<br />
 
  that can withstand the elements for 25 years or more,<br />
 
  especially the corrosive effects of salt air near the coast.<br />
 
  Your local installers and the manufacturers of system<br />
 
 
  components are excellent resources for dealing with<br />
 
  special considerations in your climate.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Courtesy SolarWrights (3)
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>Cathleen Joyce and Cheryl Wheeler enjoy sunny days for more<br />
 
  than just one reason: a solar pool heating system (above)<br />
 
 
  extends their swimming season and a solar hot water system<br />
 
  (below right) heats household water.
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b><tt>MK_HMEv1_07.qxd  3/27/07  11:56 AM  Page 1
 
</tt></b></p>
 
<p>
 
  all-electric vehicles (EVs). General Motors unveiled an electric<br />
 
  car in 1990, inspiring California’s clean-air regulators to<br />
 
 
  demand that all the major car companies start producing<br />
 
  zero-emission vehicles. Thousands of leased electric cars hit<br />
 
  the roads, but a weakening of the clean-air mandate in 2003<br />
 
  allowed automakers to cancel the leases and destroy the cars,<br />
 
  as documented in the 2006 film, Who Killed the Electric Car?<br />
 
  EVs are powered solely by an electric motor and a large<br />
 
 
  bank of batteries—not by a gasoline engine. When the driver<br />
 
  steps on the accelerator pedal, a controller sends electricity<br />
 
  from the batteries to the motor, making the vehicle move.<br />
 
  Regenerative braking systems use the electric motor to<br />
 
  convert some of the car’s kinetic energy into electricity that<br />
 
  gets fed back into the batteries as the vehicle slows down.<br />
 
 
  The plug is the best thing—and the worst thing—about<br />
 
  EVs: On one hand, you get to plug them in (which is<br />
 
  generally a cheaper and lower-emissions source of energy<br />
 
  than gasoline), and on the other hand you have to plug them<br />
 
  in to recharge their batteries after 30 to 200 miles of driving,<br />
 
  depending on the car, driving conditions, and the battery type<br />
 
 
  and size.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  While the car companies were making EVs, they also began<br />
 
  building hybrid gas-electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius,
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>L</b>ast summer, Google.org (the philanthropic arm of the
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Internet giant) launched a plug-in hybrid car project and<br />
 
 
  Web site called RechargeIT.org, proclaiming, “Recharge<br />
 
  your car. Recharge the grid. Recharge the planet.” It could just<br />
 
  as well have added, “Recharge your home.”<br />
 
  Plug-in cars, some that rely solely on electricity and some<br />
 
  that marry an electric motor with a gasoline motor for better<br />
 
  mileage and fewer emissions (plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles<br />
 
 
  or PHEVs), are slowly making their way into the mainstream.<br />
 
  And it’s not just because they replace most or all of the<br />
 
  gasoline used to fuel the typical car with cleaner, cheaper,<br />
 
  domestic electricity. The ability of electricity to flow into a<br />
 
  car’s batteries and also to be pulled back out and returned to<br />
 
  the electrical grid has caught the imagination of consumers<br />
 
 
  and environmentalists alike. That return trip—commonly<br />
 
  called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology—could power some<br />
 
  of a home’s electrical appliances during a grid outage, or<br />
 
  could be used by the electrical grid in ways that will increase<br />
 
  the storage of and our access to clean, renewable energy.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  An Electric Evolution
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  The story of plug-in hybrids has been unfolding within the<br />
 
  past two decades or so, beginning with the battle over modern
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>home power 121</b> / october & <b style="color:#000;background:#ffcc99">november</b> <b style="color:#000;background:#ff66ff">2007</b>
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>56
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>by Sherry Boschert
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Fueling<br />
 
  the Future
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
 
  Courtesy General M
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  otors Corp.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  <b>plug-in
 
</b></p>
 
<p>
 
  Honda Civic, and the Ford Escape. Hybrids are gasoline-<br />
 
  dependent vehicles with internal combustion engines that<br />
 
 
  also have an electric motor and a small bank of batteries. The<br />
 
  electric-drive components work with the engine, providing<br />
 
  boosts of power or increasing the overall fuel efficiency of the<br />
 
  vehicle. The most popular hybrid, the Toyota Prius, typically<br />
 
  gets 45 to 55 miles per gallon.<br />
 
  Hybrids on the market today aren’t designed to be<br />
 
 
  plugged in. Instead they use the gas engine and, to a much<br />
 
  lesser degree, the drive motor via regenerative braking, to<br />
 
  recharge the batteries. Depending on a hybrid’s design, the<br />
 
  gasoline engine may shut down when the electric motor<br />
 
  can meet propulsion needs—saving energy and reducing<br />
 
  emissions—and automatically restarts when more power is
 
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  demanded. The fuel efficiency of hybrids depends on whether<br />
 
  they are “full” hybrids that include all the hybrid features,<br />
 
  or “hollow” hybrids that claim the name but incorporate<br />
 
  minimal features, such as stopping the engine while idling<br />
 
  but not using regenerative braking. Hollow hybrids may<br />
 
 
  add merely 1 mpg in efficiency, and are often more about<br />
 
  increased power than increased fuel efficiency.
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  Plug-In Promises
 
</p>
 
<p>
 
  People are realizing that hybrids can be improved by adding<br />
 
  more batteries and an AC charger that can be plugged into the<br />
 
 
  grid. With overnight grid charging, a plug-in hybrid like the<br />
 
  Prius can travel 100 miles on 1 gallon of gasoline and about<br />
 
  33 kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity. And PHEV drivers<br />
 
  still don’t need to think about finding someplace to recharge<br />
 
  the car if they want to drive long distances. If the owner<br />
 
  forgets to plug in overnight, it’s no big deal—a plug-in hybrid<br />
 
 
  then operates just like a conventional hybrid.
 
</p>