Six Easy Steps to Estimate Cost of a Solar Power System - parts 2 and 3

Step 2: Anticipate the future

In 2005, average residential electricity rates across the USA ranged from about 6 to nearly 16 cents per kilowatt hour depending on where you lived. Average retail and commercial electricity rates have increased roughly 30% since 1999 and the upward trend will likely continue especially as costs for the coal and hydropower used to generate that electricity rise as well. So think about your home electricity needs and present and future cost in relation to one another.

Step 3: How much sun do you get?

The Florida Solar Energy Center has conducted a study to examine how a 2-kW photovoltaic system would perform if installed on a highly energy efficient home across the continental USA (

The study accounted for all factors that impact a PV system's performance such as the temperature effect on the photovoltaic cells, the amount of sun peak hours in various regions, and the efficiency of inverter to convert solar derived energy from DC to AC.

As the study implies, solar photovoltaic systems work just about anywhere in the US. Even in the Northeast or in "rainy Seattle", a pv system can pencil out if designed and installed properly. In New York or New Jersey, a one kilowatt system should produce about 1270 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, in Seattle, a one kilowatt system should produce about 1200 kilowatt hours per year. In the Southwest, of course, those ratios will be much greater.

Solar contractors in your area can help determine the best size for your solar photovoltaic system.

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Six Easy Steps to Estimate Cost of a Solar Power System - step 1

Solar power energy systems are not inexpensive. That said it's important to compare them within context of other types of home improvement projects. Home buyers and realtors view a solar photovoltaic or solar hot water heating system as a significant value-added improvement – similar to adding a deck or remodeling your kitchen. Plus unlike a deck or kitchen remodel, you also gain one-up on your power bills. Here are some foolproof ways to estimate the cost of a solar photovoltaic or solar thermal system and to figure out if a solar energy system makes sense for you.

Six Easy Steps To Estimate Cost of a Solar Power System

Solar power energy systems are not inexpensive. That said it's important to compare them within context of other types of home improvement projects. Home buyers and realtors view a solar photovoltaic or solar hot water heating system as a significant value-added improvement – similar to adding a deck or remodeling your kitchen. Plus unlike a deck or kitchen remodel, you also gain one-up on your power bills.

Solar power systems often get an additional financial boost as well: many jurisdictions and utilities across the USA offer attractive financial incentives to drive down the upfront capital costs associated with a solar power system.

Here are some foolproof ways to estimate the cost of a solar photovoltaic or solar thermal system and to figure out if a solar energy system makes sense for you. Let's start with a home photovoltaic (PV) system.

Step 1: Estimate your home's electricity needs

To get started, it's good to have a sense of how much electricity you use. You'll have a better point for comparison if you find out how many kilowatt hours (kWh) you use per day, per month, per year. Your utility bill should include that information.

Of course, the utility bill will also display your costs and many utilities include a graph that displays how your monthly energy use/cost varies throughout the year. That helps you estimate where your highest energy use is and at what time of year.

New Home Construction

If you are constructing a new home, then you'll need to estimate your demand based on the type of equipment you plan to install and your home's square footage. The pross call this "your load".

To figure out your anticipated load, create a table to record the watt use for each appliance. Each appliance – be it a water heater, electric light, computer, or refrigerator – should have a nameplate that lists its power rating in watts. Or you can get the information from the manufacturer's website.

Some labels list amperage and voltage only; to obtain watts multiply the two together (amperage x voltage = watts). In another column, record the number of hours each appliance is expected to operate. Then multiple the watts and hours together to estimate watt-hours used per day. Since it's hard to anticipate all electric loads (it may get tedious scouting out every toothbrush and mobile phone cell charger), you might want to add a multiplier of 1.5 to be safe.

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Home Wind Power - How Easy is it to Use Wind Power at Home?

For some reason, there is a misconception that home wind power is something that is too expensive for the average family to have. This is totally wrong, because it is possible for anyone to make their own power for around $200 or less.

Now, to answer the question, "How easy is it to use wind power at home?"

The answer is...very simple! Building a windmill is not as hard, or expensive, as you may think. Like I said before, the price for building home own windmill will be around $200. This is a very cheap one time investment. It is small if you take into context the amount of years you will be saving money on your energy bill.

Home wind power is also easily attainable because of the fact that with the right plans, making a windmill can be very easy. It can actually make quite a fun family project. If the instructions are followed, the whole process can be done in only a matter of days.

But where can you get these plans? There are actually several products available online that offer amazingly detailed and easy windmill plans. They also will tell you how to get the materials, and even get some of them for free.

Many of these home energy programs will also give you access to plans to make your own solar power as well. They will reveal many tips on how to save energy in your home and really bring down you power bill significantly, if not eliminate it altogether.

On my website I review the top 3 home wind power programs available. You can find it listed below. I encourage you to look into home wind power because the growth of this type of renewable energy is growing rapidly.

Want to reduce your power bill by 80% or more?

Learn how to make your own Home Wind Power.

My website, explores how to make your own energy while helping the environment and saving yourself money.

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Modern Alchemy: Wind to Water

The Perth SWRO plant in Western Australia utilizes a combination of clean wind power and the highest efficiency ERD available for one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly desalination plants in world.

A Thirsty Nation

The ongoing population growth in Australia’s coastal communities combined with the worst drought in a century have unhappily converged creating the necessity for the Australian government to find water sources that are both located near to the large coastal communities that need them and that aren’t subject to the whim’s of changing weather patterns.

The Solution

Facing impending water shortages, in April 2005, Western Australia's (WA) Water Corporation made a decision to form a public-private partnership with global water treatment company Degrémont. Degrémont has a 25-year operation agreement with the government owned Water Corporation. The first train (of 12 trains) of the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant (PSDP) is on target to start producing fresh water in November 2006.

The144,000 m3/d Perth SWRO plant, located at Kwinana, will be the largest SWRO plant in the Southern and Eastern hemispheres and is expected to augment the water supply for Perth by more than 17%.

A Novel Plant Design that’s Earth Friendly

As part of Water Corporation and WA’s very progressive stand of not producing additional greenhouse gases, electricity for the plant will be generated by a novel 80 MW wind farm located in WA’s Midwest region. The wind farm, already commissioned, is expected to contribute 270 GWh/year into the general electrical grid, offsetting the Perth SWRO Plant estimated electrical requirement of 180 GWh/year. Once in operation the Perth SWRO plant will have the distinction of being the worlds largest “green-powered� desalination plant.

The plant, with 12 SWRO trains with a capacity of 160,000 m3/day and six BWRO trains delivering a final product of 144,000 m3/day, will have one of the world’s lowest specific energy consumptions, due in part to the use of Energy Recovery, Inc.’s (ERI's) PX Pressure Exchanger‚ energy recovery devices (ERDs). The ERI PX is an isobaric chamber type of ERD which recovers energy in the brine stream and delivers it to water going to the membrane feed at a net transfer efficiency of up to 98%, which makes it the world’s most efficient ERD commercially available.

The Perth plant will also have one of the most comprehensive environmental monitoring programs in the world, continuously monitoring the seawater intake and brine outfall as a condition of its continued operation.

The combination of unheralded environmental protection and monitoring, low specific energy consumption, and the use of a renewable energy make the PSDP a world model for providing water in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner, almost magically converting wind to fresh water.

Cost-Effective Design and Solution

At A$323 million (387 million including integration assets) for the 144,000 m3/day Perth plant it is also one of the most cost effective projects of its size (compare to an estimated A$869 million (1.153 billion with integration assets) for the planned 125,000 m3/day Australian Gold Coast SWRO project). The Water Corporation has demonstrated that by using a well planned alliance approach with a desalination plant can be environmentally responsible, well designed, and very cost effective all at once.

ERI PX Details

The Water Corporation and Degremont team selected ERI’s PX technology for their optimized design because they offer significant benefits to SWRO plant designers and operators including the highest available net energy transfer efficiency and the lowest lifecycle costs. Additional benefits include maximum design flexibility, reduced high-pressure pump costs and operational flexibility.

Among the commercially available isobaric ERDs, the PX Pressure Exchanger isobaric ERD also provides the following added advantages:

• Highest available Net Transfer Efficiency – up to 98%
• No bearings, seals, valves - maintenance free operation
• Total design flexibility – for changing conditions
• No wetted metal parts that are subject to corrosion
• No required complicated computer controls
• No vibration, lateral loads, or pulsation
• No potential metal fatigue issues
• Dependability and long life design
• Installed redundancy for maximum on-line time
• Only 80 kg per each PX-220, no special skid or foundation requirements
• Housed in standard SWRO pressure vessels, no special tools required
• Smallest footprint by a factor of 6-10 times
• Local support and service in Europe, Australia, Asia, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and the Americas.

Today, PX technology has emerged as the industry standard solution for seawater desalination, with over 5,400 PX’s installed in plants worldwide, significantly reducing the cost to produce over 4.5 million m3/day of fresh water, and saving customers an estimated 502 MW of energy or $264 million a year in operating costs, and reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 4 million tons over a 20 year life of a plant the size of Perth.

About the Author: Shawn Meyer-Steele writes articles relating to Energy Recovery Inc., a Water resources Company that provides affordable Seawater Desalination with the PX Pressure Exchanger which reduces energy costs up to 98%.

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Will We Run Out of Oil in 60-years?

Not long ago, a think tank engaged in a horrific scenario, a world that ran out of oil. Could that happen? Actually, considering the demand it appears even if we do not actually completely run out, we can expect some massive disruptions along the way as the world demand in places like China and India increase.

As this occurs or if the World runs out of oil in let's just say 60-years, one Online Think Tank conversationalist stated; "Oil's going to run out in 60 years, after having maintained prices over a 1000 dollars per barrel in the last 30 years before it was used up".

Indeed, and perhaps it will, although I don't believe we will even need oil in 60-years, if new technologies are allowed to come to market. Nano technologies will help usher in hydrogen fuels for transportation due to the ability to hold the hydrogen in the automobile tanks made of that material. Meanwhile, lighter cars made out of the same will be lots more efficient.

Also increased efficiency in solar cells will help us to utilize that energy source to power up batteries and keep the energy grids humming. Think about ocean wave energy, which is very efficient, 750 times denser than air that turn wind turbines.

Things are happening, it is a matter of getting some of the political debris and bureaucracy out of the way and allowing re-investment as things change for those companies so heavily invested in other current infrastructures, and yes the price will go up, the market will adjust and some industries will become obsolete as new technologies take hold. That is just the way it is.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Blog Content Service. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; Article Source:

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Why wind power will not rule?

In the world of green energy resources, there are many resources to choose from. The goal is to find the best renewable energy resources, to harvest and exploit in a way that will be both efficient and clean. There are three renewable energy sources that are both completely clean (no carbon emmition), and also renewable. these are solar energy (using the sun solar power), wind energy - using the wind to operate wind turbine, and the energy of the earth - using the movement of the sea or the heat from the heart of the earth.
In the battle for the best renewable energy resource, the two that are constantly growing, building new technologies and give more renewable energy information, are the solar power and wind power. many renewable energy companies are straggling to put their technology on top, to gain more influence and more renewable energy credit. who will eventually win?

I think that in spite of the fact that wind power technologies are advanced, and currently wind turbines base power plants are more efficient and cheap than solar panels, It will not turn out to be the leading technology of the future.

The reason for that is the huge difference in terms of energy between the these two resources.
The sun energy is by far more intense, and more reliable than wind energy. The sun is technically the sole provider of energy to the living world, and we only use a minute part of the energy that arrives to earth.
Moreover, wind energy is not always available and require more specifications than solar panels.

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3 Advantages of Homemade Wind Power

It seems like something from a science fiction movie. Energy prices are ever increasing, the environment is going downhill and the cost of everything is going up. We have no control over our own budget anymore. What can we do?

Well one thing we keep hearing about is alternative sources of energy. Sources that are renewable. However most of it is just talk without any real solutions. What we really need to do is to look at the situation as an individual rather than a group.

As individuals we can incorporate things into our homes that utilize renewable energy sources like the wind and the sun. They can be huge money savers and they don't cost a small fortune to build. In fact a couple hundred bucks and some elbow grease can build you a wind power unit for your home. Just look at these advantages homemade wind power will give you.

Money Saver - Wind power can save you money on your electric bill by supplying you with electricity that you don't have to pay for other than the initial small investment. It's like paying for the electricity once but you get to keep using it over and over.

Wind Is Green - The wind is a great way to help our environment because there are no harmful emissions generated in turning it into electricity.

Wind Is Renewable - There is no end to the end. It just keeps blowing and we keep reaping its benefits.

The advantages of wind power far outweigh the small investment it takes to implement it. In fact, it pays for itself over and over. We should all be taking advantage of this renewable, clean resource to ease our bank accounts and environment.

Find out how you can save money by harnessing the wind here: HOMEBUILT WIND POWER

Article Source:

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EU - 20% renewable energy by 2020 video

This video shows the commitment of the European union for achieving their 20% renewable goal until 2020.

The idea is to promote many green energy enterprises and technologies, to fight global warming and secure the European future. They show great progress in renewable energy fields like: solar power, wind power, hydropower, geothermal, biomass and more.
Interesting video.

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Affordable Renewable Energy for Everyone

Debra Lynn Dadd

Have you ever wanted to power your home or office with renewable energy, but thought it was too expensive? Or you didn't want to deal with installing and maintaining equipment?

Now there is a way that everyone can use solar, wind, and other renewable energies, at a fraction of the cost. Even renters can power their homes with renewable energy.

Renewable energy certificates (aka green tags, green energy certificates, or tradable renewable certificates) make it easy and inexpensive for anyone to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of their electricity use.

Each certificate represents the delivery of a specific amount of renewable power (usually one megawatt-hour) into a regional or national energy "grid." This replaces the non-renewable fossil fuels that would have otherwise been used with non-polluting energy from solar, wind, biomass, and other renewable sources.

While the renewable energy you pay for may not flow through the wires in your own home, the resulting overall benefit to the environment is the same as it would be if you installed solar panels or wind turbines directly on your own property.

The certificates are purchased in addition to paying your regular energy bill. So it doesn't cost less than standard electricity, but it’s a small premium to pay to keep toxic pollutants produced by the burning of fossil fuels out of the environment. And it supports the market for renewable energy as a whole, which ultimately will bring the price down for renewable energy and make it more generally available.

These certificates are available on the internet, but not widely known. Green energy certificates are currently being marketed to big businesses that use a lot of energy and can make a big impact with their purchase, but anyone can buy them.

I recently purchased renewable energy certificates to offset the electricty I use in my own home and home office. Though my purchase is only 15 MWh per year for my 1500 square foot house, every little bit helps establish the market for renewable energy. It prevents the emissions of 20,700 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to planting 1,500 trees or removing 2 cars from the road for one year. I pay only $40 a month (in addition to my regular energy bill) for solar, and other renewables cost even less.

For more information on renewable energy certificates, including a list of websites that offer them, visit

About the Author
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership has recognized consumer advocate Debra Lynn Dadd for her purchase of 100% solar renewable energy certificates for her Florida home office. She is the author of Home Safe Home (Tarcher/Penguin), publishes free email newsletters, and has posted links to 1000s of green products at

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Do you know how to Research Alternative Energy Stocks ?

Let us say you have decided to look into the possiblities of alternative energy.
Perhaps even put some money into it, but you don't know where to start?
Perhaps you have even started researching this field and want to get further information on alternative energy stocks.

Or you may be doing some writing on the topic.
In any of these cases, you want to access good information quickly.
These stocks are going through the ceiling.

Even though 2005 was a static year for most investments, alternative energy stocks such as solar energy have grown. This growth outpaced the stockmarket indices last year, and, though growth is expected to slow,it is still expected to be substantial. The technology for alternative energy is still in its infancy and great developments are still expected. The problems of fossil fuels makes more and more peope realize that alternatives need to be found.

Recently, we have seen weather changes, shortages in oil, increases in prices at the pump and many other problems that make the public think more and more about alternative energy. Investments in this technology will alleviate these problems while bringing a profit to investors.
Invesing in alternative energy stocks is investing in an unlimited resource, since you are investing in the technology, not the resource itself.

How do you get the information you need about alternative energy stocks? The best single place is the internet. Information changes daily, so new information is made available constantly.
There are websites that can give you comparative performances between the various alternative energy stocks.

Look at all of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these stocks and decide.
Just be alert to the fact that some websites are sponsored by the stock they are touting.
In other words, trying to influence you to buy their stock.
And receive your investment.

Even if you see a strong expected growth pattern, you need to be careful that it is not a stock that will fizzle out quickly. You're in this market to make money, not lose it.
So don't just examine the fact sheet about a stock; make sure you know the history of the company and its principals.
There are even some mutual funds that specialize in alternative energy stocks. That makes the decision easier for you.

In theory, if you found the right start up alternative energy company, you could be investing in the next Microsoft.

It has become clear that alternative energy is going to be the primary source of energy for the future.

We know now that we cannot continue to power the earth by poisoning it.

Or help our economies by destroying them.

Alternative energy is the investment for today.

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