How Hybrid Cars Work

Hybrid cars are products of the world’s latest technology. They were invented as a result of the problems confronting modern society, like oil price hikes and environmental hazards that are undeniably causing harm to both humans and Mother Nature. As a vehicle run by a combination of electricity and gas, a hybrid car can help save fuel and money and reduce air pollution. Here is how it works.

In a hybrid car, it is not only the engine that is connected to the transmission—the part that passes the power on to the wheels and pushes the car forward—but also an electric motor. Both the engine and the electric motor can power the vehicle. The former runs the car and the latter functions when needed to increase power. This type of hybrid is called parallel. The other kind is the series hybrid, where a gas engine powers the generator. The generator then charges the batteries and powers the electric motor. The gasoline engine doesn’t power the car on its own. The electric motor operates when the car moves below a certain speed and the gasoline engine functions only when that speed is exceeded.

In addition, the engine of a hybrid is smaller than that of the common car, so the car is lighter and more efficient to manage and, hence, less fuel-consuming. And not only that, when a hybrid car is in motion, it recharges the battery. When it is running slow, or not moving at all, or when it brakes, it also recharges itself. Logically, the more electricity the car uses, the less fuel it uses. This is why hybrid cars don’t use as much gas as conventional cars.

This can help you reduce the number of trips to the gas station, saving time, money, energy, and guilt about being an earth pollutant.

Hybrid Cars provides detailed information on Hybrid Cars, New Hybrid Cars, Electric and Hybrid Cars, How Hybrid Cars Work and more. Hybrid Cars is affiliated with Diesel Performance Products.

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Man-made Global Warming is Tulip Bulb Mania

Global warming research has become a very big business throughout the world. Each year billions of dollars are spent studying climate change. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), now has an annual budget that has reached more than $136 million. The Bush Administration has spent more than thirty billion dollars on federal programs involved in global warming in the last six years. In total, global warming proponents are estimated to have been funded by more than fifty billion dollars during the last decade.

This huge money stream is flowing directly into the pockets of the advocates of man-made global warming. It is a river of money that can only be shut off if it is discovered that man does not cause global warming and that climate change is really out of our control. In effect, the same people that benefit from the huge research funding pool would have to be motivated to shut it off.

The truth is that the business objective of the man-made global warming bandwagon is an increasing flow of scientific research grants and bureaucratic jobs. The worse the man- made global crisis, the better for the global warming business. In addition, the news media loves stories of fear. This makes man-made global warming a big business for television, magazines, and books as well.

Various "experts" on man-made global warming appear regularly on television to remind everyone of the upcoming global climate catastrophe in the next century. Unfortunately, its not in the interest of the media to cast doubt on man-made global warming. It is a very good business for them. The fact is that very little news media coverage is given to research that brings into doubt the so-called scientific man-made global warming consensus.

Therefore, it is not surprising that we have not heard much from the news media on the recent blockbuster report (December 2007) in the prestigious International Journal of Climatology (Royal Meteorological Society), of professors: David H. Douglass (of the University of Rochester), professor John R. Christy (of the University of Alabama), Benjamin D. Pearson and professor S. Fred Singer (of the University of Virginia). In this report the scientists found: "that observed patterns of temperature changes over the last 30 years disagree with what greenhouse models predict and can better be explained by natural factors, such as solar variability". Their conclusion was that climate change is "unstoppable" and cannot be affected or modified by controlling the emission of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, as is proposed in current legislation.

Dr. S. Fred Singer, said: “The current warming trend is simply part of a natural cycle of climate warming and cooling that has been seen in ice cores, deep-sea sediments, stalagmites, etc., and published in hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals. "Our research demonstrates that the ongoing rise of atmospheric CO2 has only a minor influence on climate change. We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control CO2 emissions are ineffective and pointless — but very costly."

The news media has also not made us aware that data (2005) from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars' south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row. This means that both the Earth and Mars have been experiencing similar degrees of global warming. Of course, the problem for the man-made global warming crowd is that there are no humans on Mars for them to blame for that planet's warming.

In a National Geographic story on February 2007, Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the Sun. He reasons that "The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars."

The man-made global warming industry should remind us of the tulip bulb mania in Holland in 1636. The history books tell us that in 1593 tulips were brought from Turkey and introduced to the Dutch. The novelty of the new flower made it widely sought after. After a time, the tulips contracted a non-fatal virus known as mosaic, which altered them causing different colors to appear on the petals. The color patterns came in a wide variety and increased the popularity of the flower.

The increase in popularity of the tulip led to a rise in its price. Soon everyone began to deal in tulip bulbs. It became a very big business. Eventually things became so crazy that people were selling everything they owned, including their homes and livestock, to buy tulip bulbs. At the time, the consensus expectation was that the tulip bulb would continue to grow in value forever.

In 1636, tulips were listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange which further accommodated the tulip speculators who had become the primary market for tulip bulbs. The price of a tulip bulb at the height of this mania was $76,000. In the next six weeks tulip bulbs would drop in value to less than one dollar.

Today, man-made global warming is similar to the tulip bulb mania in Holland in 1636. It is an issue that has been hyped into a huge business. The absurd consensus in Holland in 1636 was that tulips were so unique that they would continue to increase in value forever. The current global warming crowd wants us to believe that global warming is controllable and man-made. There is no conclusive evidence that global warming is man-made and all contrary evidence is dismissed and ridiculed. We are told that we must act now to save the planet or our world will be lost to a multitude of catastrophic events in the future.

The inconvenient truth of all this is that, like the Holland tulip bulb in 1636, man-made global warming hype has entered the world of the absurd. We may think the price of $76,000 for a tulip bulb in Holland was silly. However, how silly is it when compared to the global warming hype of today? Indeed in the future people will look back with humor on a decade when tens of billions of dollars were spent in an attempt to convince society that the warming of Earth was due to man and not a function of the Sun.

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Reusable Bags or Plastic Bags – The Choice is yours

One environmental alarm to the World...

The Americans throw almost 100 billion plastic bags every year, and only 1 to 3 percent is recycled.

The disadvantages of plastic bags

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They clog waterways, spoil the landscape, and end up in landfills where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.

Plastic bags pose a serious problem to the animal kingdom. Birds and marine creatures often mistake plastic bags for food. We lose thousands of marine animals as they die after swallowing or choking on discarded plastic bags. Also, production of plastic bags requires millions of gallons of petroleum that could be used for transportation.

The problem with plastic bags doesn't begin when they become waste. Damage is also caused during their production. The bags are made from petroleum derivatives, which come from oil, a non-renewable fossil fuel. Their production causes air pollution from factories, along with all the other problems associated with the use of oil.

But you can switch to couple of things to help your environment:

1. Recycle your plastic bags: If you do end up using plastic bags now and then, be sure to recycle them. Many grocery stores now collect plastic bags for recycling.

2. Switch to reusable shopping/grocery bags: These reusable bags are made from renewable materials conserve resources by replacing paper and plastic bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes, styles and materials. When you are not using these bags, you can roll or fold them as they are small enough to fit easily into your pocket.

Nowadays, many stores, including grocery stores and book stores are selling reusable bags at the check out as an alternative to plastic bags. You can also find some "green" websites and stores that sell environment friendly reusable grocery bags.

Reusable bags are a growing trend, and rightly so. It is estimated that over 500 billion plastic bags are used by consumers worldwide each year and these plastic bags take thousands of years to decompose. As the plastic decomposes in landfills, it releases toxic particles which are absorbed into the ground and are carried into streams and rivers, poisoning fish and plants. The toxins also soak into agricultural land where they enter our food chain.

Reusable bags made from environmentally friendly resources such as cotton or other natural fibers can help reduce the impact of plastic on our environment.

Choose your reusable grocery bags and let others know that you are doing your bit to help the environment.

About the Author: D'Costa is well known professional in Online Marketing and web promotions.

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Digester Technology Developments for Cheaper Renewable Fuel

A very popular idea currently gaining publicity is a very old concept: the methane digester. The methane given off during the decomposition of the manure is captured and burned, providing either heat or power, for electrical generation. These promise a minor revolution in small and medium scale energy generation from methane, with a scale smaller than wind turbines, but still significant in terms of national adjustments to high oil prices.

However, digesters have been criticized for being inefficient and unstable in operation. But, the technology of anaerobic digestion has been largely ignored until the last run on oil prices about 5 years ago (about 2003), when for the first time for as long as anyone can remember the oil price exceeded the production cost for fuel produced as methane by digestion.

Five years has been scarcely long enough for some half a dozen to one dozen AD plants to be designed, constructed and commissioned. These should be considered to be a first generation of a new breed of reactors using this technology. This is a bit like the people who criticized the motor car for being slow while the law (in the UK certainly) required all automobiles to be preceded by a man holding a flag to warn pedestrians.

Many did criticize the automobile at that time, but do you want to do so for digesters, as I think that you will be looking as silly as those flag wavers were just ten years later, when the motor car became an established mode of transport.

There are many ways in which the efficiency of Anaerobic Digester bio-reactors are being improved, and the first is by using sophisticated ultrasonic technology to break up the particles and so allow breakdown of a bigger proportion of the organic content. 

In some of the other processes being developed the excess liquor from the process is used to re-wet incoming biowaste as it contains useful bacterial populations. This method can produce a faster reaction then the original start-up. 

It is important because on-farm Digester (Anaerobic Digestion) projects can provide needed services to farmers; develop local, renewable electrical generation; enhance environmental quality; and generate income for the community.

Other researchers have identified the fact that if you have fluctuating temperatures, then you will not be able to establish an optimum microbial population. The digester stirring system must be efficient and operational at all times to ensure that the cold, newly introduced sludge, is mixed with the warm older solids and the bacteria. This sounds easy but in a large tank with a fairly viscous sludge mass it can be surprisingly onerous on the mixing technology.

Anaerobic digestion consists of a series of reactions which are catalyzed by a mixed group of bacteria and through which organic matter is converted in a stepwise fashion to methane and carbon dioxide. Polymers such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and starch are hydrolyzed to oligomers or monomers, which are then metabolized by fermentative bacteria with the production of hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and volatile organic acids such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate. Clearly, this is a complex reaction which e can be greatly improved by better knowledge gained by further academic study which can now take place given the raised awareness and importance of this technique. This will most likely yet result in big advances in how man designs and runs its new digesters.

In the developing world another angle for them is selling carbon credits from the renewable energy created by anaerobic digestion on the worldwide market. Those credits should be a source of income for as well as providing a way to readily obtain seed capital for these projects from the banks.

However, the process also produces a solid and a liquid digestate in the slurry. The use of the process would not be sustainable without an environmentally safe method of disposal, and better still preferably a 'beneficial use' of the output from digesters. 

The market for the digestion processing outputs is still undeveloped just about everywhere. However, there are some positive signs reported that the outputs will be genuinely useful, and indeed a source for additional revenue for the operators of these plants.

The adoption of manure digesters at animal operations is much more advanced in Europe than in the U.S. But, there are many successful AD plants in operation throughout the U.S. 

Northern Concrete has one such installation and has reported on its digestion process. They have said that the feedstock (animal byproduct) goes into a holding area until it is ready to enter the digester. It sits in the digester for 22 days and is released as useful by-products like methane and a grassy sawdust-like product that can be used as fertilizer, animal bedding or after further processing for floor boards.

There is certainly other evidence of progress in selling AD outputs. Another operator (Pro-Gro Mixes of Tualatin, Ore.) is thought to have contracted to market the solids material or digested fiber to the wholesale nursery and landscape industries, reportedly. It is understood to be selling between 1,000 to 3,000 yards of digested fiber, under the FiberLife brand, per month in the Willamette Valley. 

There is also potential for the methane to be burnt in efficient turbines, rather than today's ubiquitous reciprocating engines. Here the heat from turbine exhaust is used to maintain the optimum digester temperature and sustain bio-gas production. The resultant bio-gas is collected from one such system and cleaned, then used to fire the turbines. The results have reportedly been way above expectations, with a significant increase in production, higher yield and fewer rejects being recorded. The digester in question is thought to qualify as a small-power production facility, which means it follows a funding schedule, enabling projects to gain rapid approval.

About the Author: Digesters can be considered for a wide variety of agricultural and
industrial and commercial sites. From agricultural
community scale Anaerobic Digesters to supermarkets with
waste food, to municipal authorities with organic waste in their
collected waste streams. All should now be considering the installation
of a digester of one type of another. For more information visit the Steve Evans Renewable Energy Hub Page
web site, compiled by Steve Evans.

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Ranting and Raving about Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is not a new concept. While it may appear to be a rather fashionable topic of conversation in certain circles, renewable energy initiatives have been with us since the dawn of man. There is some debate about the accepted definition of renewable energy, but it can be loosely defined as a form of energy that is essentially inexhaustible. Furthermore, the resource is continually replenished by various natural processes identifiable in the natural world.

One key distinction to make when discussing the concept of renewable energy is that of sustainability. One could make the argument that, in the long term, fossil fuels are a renewable energy resource. While the logic stands on its own, this is a failed notion. The central difference between fossil fuels and other forms of renewable energy is that fossil fuels are being depleted at a rate faster than they can be replenished. For this reason, fossil fuels cannot be considered truly renewable. They are simply not sustainable, due to the accelerated rate of consumption.

Some of the more popular renewable energy resources include sunshine, water, and wind. Solar energy refers to the energy that is collected from sunlight. This form of energy is captured using a photovoltaic array, more commonly known as a solar panel. The solar radiation is captured by the photovoltaic array and converted to direct current (DC) electricity. From there, the direct current electricity must be converted to alternating current (AC) for use in most applications. The converted electricity is then stored in a battery for use at a later date.

There are also various forms of energy that exist in water. One of the most commonly acknowledged is that of hydroelectric energy, but there are a number of others including tidal power and ocean thermal energy conversion. Hydroelectric energy generally employs the use of a dam, wherein the energy of the water flow is captured and used to power a turbine. The turbine then generates a supplementary form of electricity. Tidal power attempts to make use of the natural energy potential of tidal activity in the oceans and seas. In simple terms, the high tide is captured and fed through a turbine to generate electricity. Ocean thermal energy conversion attempts to exploit the variances in water temperature, from the warmer surface water to the cooler deep water, resulting in a cyclic heat engine.

Wind power is one of the oldest accepted forms of renewable energy. It has been used for centuries as a source of power, dating back to the creation of the sailboat. The innate potential of wind power was realized a number of years later in the form of a wind mill. In this instance, the kinetic energy of wind is used to drive a turbine which, in turn, generates electricity. Wind energy possesses immense potential for sustainable energy generation, and a number of large-scale development projects are currently underway throughout the world.

One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is to discover a way to reduce our reliance on unsustainable resources, like fossil fuels. Most, if not all, modern industrial societies rely far too greatly on fossil fuels and increasingly, this is becoming an undeniable reality. Wars of conquest are being waged to secure what is left of the world's oil reserves. If only the resources of the powerful nations were channeled into developing sustainable energy alternatives, as opposed to driving a war machine bent on dominating the oil markets. Our modern way of life is going to undergo some difficult times in the very near future, if this reality continues to be ignored. Ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish.

About the Author: Jim Fritz is a committed environmentalist, and a life long member of various environmental organizations. He is also a member of the editorial team at – an enlightened source of information about the latest developments inrenewable energyenvironmental educationsolar consumer goods and more.

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Renewable energy growth continues

As the cost of our power supplies continue to rise, more and more people are building an interest in the forms of renewable energy that are available, than ever before. People from all walks of life are seeing the many benefits it can offer. What should be an indicator that we need to continue moving forward is that many of the underdeveloped countries out there use more renewable energy than the rest of us.

While it is great that we have technology on our side, we need to always keep in mind what these products are doing to our environment. Global warming has always been a huge concern. The problem seems to continue to get worse though with the various types of pollution that are placed into the air. But people are beginning to realise that they cannot keep on using coal, oil and natural gas, without there being repercussions.

This global warming is believed to be the key factor in the strange things that go on around us with the weather. Desert areas have seen rain and snow in recent years. Areas that get substantial rainfall are now in a drought. Several natural disasters including hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes continue to destroy everything in their path.

As the governments of the world, as well as members of society, continue to embrace and learn about what renewable energy has to offer it is likely that will start to come back into balance. There are plenty of major corporations out there leading the way as well. They want to set a very good example for others in the hopes that they will walk along the same path.

As the cost of fuel for our vehicles continues to increase everyone is worried about it. As a result it makes searching for an alternative form of renewable energy that can be used in place of it. Some of the vehicles out there known as hybrids do all this to help. They use solar power the majority of the time and only switch to gasoline as a backup until more solar energy can be collected.

By diversifying the various methods we use for renewable energy, we can balance out our desire to move forward as a society with the best of everything with our responsibility to protect the environment. There are many pros and cons to each of the renewable energy sources, but the benefits certainly outweigh the negativity.

There is no way around the fact that we cannot replace the fossil fuels we consume. The more we do so, the less there will be available for future generations. We can act on what we known and go with renewable energy or we can act selfish and continue to deplete what we have and leave the future generations to figure it out on their own.

About the Author: Video renewable energy information is available at Renewable Energy Power, and if you are looking for something to cover the costs take a look at Earn Extra Income Online Now.

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The Clean Fuel Society

It isn't clear where current energy trends are going. Perhaps they may stabilize or as more and more people suggest the days of the carbon fuel fuel economy are quickly being done away with. Without CO2 based propulsion, researchers, businessmen, and engineers are on the look out for the next universal fuel. This fuel will be the first fuel in the age of the "clean fuel." Clean fuel refers to a non CO2 based fuel, which is renewable. The problem so far is that a universal fuel has yet to be found. Here are some of the possibilities:

1. Solar
2. Wind
3. Electric
4. Air
5. Hydrogen

Solar Cars have long been the source of hope for green energy enthusiasts, mainly because the fuel The problem is that an efficient prototype available for mass markets has yet to be fully developed. There are some universities and other engineers working on workable solar car prototypes, but these prototypes have been relegated to the sphere of university projects despite the advances.

Wind energy may not seem to be a good propulsion system for a car, but it is however a great source of primary energy to infuse the electric grid with. Wind Energy is a solid clean energy instead of carbon derived fuel, which is juicing up the grid now. This will truly move us into a purely clean fuel society.

Electric Cars are not only a reality, but they are beginning to take the world by storm. Starting with Tesla and now others are beginning to jump on the band wagon. The sticking points in preventing mass consumption of electric cars have been a proper infrastructure to support the integration of electric stations and other support. This has begun to change recently as more and more smaller countries have begun to lay the foundations for turning over their carbon infrastructure to an electric one.

Air Cars are another burgeoning possibility that has become very real in the last few years. They essentially work off of compressed air. The is released slowly, whose energy puts pressure on the pistons to propel the car. Air Cars are almost ready for the consumer market and when they are, they are assured of success.

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars have been around for a while, yet their technology has gotten to the point where they're actually ready for the consumer market. Fuel-Cells are essentially a combination between an engine and a battery. Hydrogen is converted into energy using ions in the fuel cell. The energy is then used to power the vehicle. As with other clean fuels, hydrogen has a way to go since it lacks an infrastructure for refueling. Despite this, countries have been pushing forward with incentives and plans to build hydrogen stations. California has already done this as well as other areas of the world.

Its not clear yet which clean fuel will be accepted as universal. Perhaps there won't be a clear universal clean fuel, but rather a serious of choices built around regional and geographical situations.

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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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Six Easy Steps to Estimate Cost of a Solar Power System - part 6

Step 6: Run the numbers

Although the cost for a solar PV system will depend on the size of the system you intend to install, your electricity rate, the amount of kilowatt hours you expect to generate, and the state/local rebates/tax credits that may be available, the formulas for calculating the returns are pretty much the same.

For those who appreciate having the formulas, use the ones listed below to do a quick ballpark estimate of how much a solar photovoltaic system might cost you.

Retail Price for Solar Photovoltaic System
+ Building Permits
- $2,000 Federal Tax Credit
- State or Local Tax Credit or Rebate
- Utility Rebate or Other Incentive
= Net Investment

Kilowatts of electricity generated from PV per year
x Kilowatt hours used per year
= Annual Kilowatt energy from the PV system

Annual Kilowatt energy from the PV system
x Current Residential Electricity Rate
= Annual $$ Saved

Yearly Excess PV Energy Produced
x $$ credit applied per watt
= Annual Value from Net Metering

Of course, a more accurate assessment can be made by a pro. Work with a solar power contractor to size and price the right system for you. As is true with any major purchase, don't hesitate to ask for several bids from different contractors.

Many solar power providers will provide you with a comprehensive estimate. Helpful information to know includes:

- Total cost to make the system operational (labor cost for design and installation and equipment costs)
- Equipment (Make and Model)
- Warranty info
- Permit costs, if needed
- Tax, where applicable
- Federal tax credits
- State or local jurisdiction tax credits or rebates
- Utility rebates
- Expected Renewable Energy Certificates or Net metering credits
- Expected operation and maintenance costs
- Projected savings

Solar Thermal (also called Solar Hot Water)

Solar thermal systems capture the sun's energy to heat water and are one of the most cost-effective renewable energy systems. They are used to heat hot water tanks and/or a heating system. A solar pool heating system is another type of solar thermal system designed specifically to heat a pool or hot tub.

Generally it's worth investigating the economic viability of installing a solar hot water system if you have an electric water heater with utility rates of at least 5 cents per kilowatt hour and have tax credits or rebates available. (It may even be worth changing out a gas-powered water heater if your costs are at least $8/million BTU).

The formulas for costing out a solar water heater system are similar to estimating the cost for installing solar PV system. Many solar energy professionals can help you determine what system might work best for you.

Heating Your Swimming Pool with Solar Power

Although few jurisdictions provide financial incentives for using solar energy to heat a swimming pool or hot tub, in general, using solar power to heat your pool is a "no-brainer" from a return on investment standpoint.

The electricity used to heat a pool during the swimming season often amounts to the same amount of energy that homes-without-pools consume over a year. Combining a solar thermal system to generate heat for the pool with a solar thermal pool cover to retain the heat generated can further maximize efficiencies and extend your swimming season.

Most installers recommend that a solar collector used to heat a pool is sized at roughly half the square footage of your pool surface area. Solar thermal panels typically last 10 – 20 years and come with a 10-year warranty.

How long it takes to break even on the cost of your solar power pool system depends on where you live. In California or other parts of the Southwest, you'll break even in 1 to 3 years but places as "far north" as Canada, a solar pool heating system pencils out over a slightly longer period of time.

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Six Easy Steps to Estimate Cost of a Solar Power System - parts 4,5

Step 4: Size your system

In general, solar photovoltaic systems sized between 1 to 5 kilowatts are usually sufficient to meet the electricity needs of most homes. One advantage of grid-tied systems is that you can use solar PV to supplement or offset some of your electricity needs; therefore you can size your system to match your budget and always add to the system later if needed.

Also as a side note, here's a rule of thumb to remember to help you estimate the physical space your PV system might need: one square foot yields 10 watts. So in bright sunlight, a square foot of a conventional photovoltaic panel will produce 10 watts of power. A 1000 watt system, for example, may need 100 – 200 square feet of area, depending on the type of PV module used.

Step 5: Know your rebates

Many states and local jurisdictions offer rebates, tax credits and other types of incentives to homeowners for installing residential photovoltaic and solar domestic water systems. To view a comprehensive database of the incentives available for renewable energy visit

At the Federal Level, you can take advantage of a 30% tax credit (of up to $2,000) for the purchase of a residential solar system at least until December 31, 2008.

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