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Ever consider making your home run on solar power?

I have! I love the idea of having a solar powered home. Clean, green and self sufficient electrical energy for my home. It's a great idea. I haven't done it yet!New York has nice trees, but can block sunlight.

I live in upstate New York. Mountains, trees and short days doesn't make it the best locale for solar power. I could set-up a moderate solar power array that could harvest some of the electrical juice from the great orb in the sky. Grid-tie it to my current electrical supply company and save a few bucks. To set-up something like this and offer savings more than just the kwh's of a few lights would possibly run into $5,000 to $10,000.

New York has a beautiful mountain range, but no good for direct sunlight. A noticable savings on my electric bill would be at least 10 to 20 kwh/day. Not enough to power my home, but offer some small savings. This would probably run around $10,000. Yeah I would be doing my part for the enviornment. That does mean something. Still tied to the grid and probably not even able to use that 10 to 20 kwh/day if the electric power goes down.

A back-up... that's a great incentive in this day and age. Now the whole process gets more overwelming. Solar power can be complicated and overwelming in it's more basic set-ups, running off-grid or as a back up when the power goes down means batteries, several batteries. Even more overwelming.

What's Involved with Having a Solar Home?

To use solar panels to power the standard AC equipment and appliances in our homes requires:

  • A solar array (collection of solar panels)
  • An inverter (changes DC from solar panels to AC for household use)
  • A charge controller ( directs current flow)
  • Deep cell batteries (storage of power when sunlight is plentiful-power feed when sunlight is low or gone)
  • Assorted electrical wires/cables and shut-offs
  • Electrical grid ( primary or back-up power. Also power transfer possibility as electrical credit when sunlight is plentiful)

What does this all come down to in dollars and "sense"?

Let's dig up a sample of what's out there to purchase.

There's a very attractive solar energy set-up I've chosen as an example. This sample is not anywhere near enough to power a standard household here in the USA, but an attractive and useful consideration.

The Sunpod 2760. It has an off-grid potential (batteries included). Rather quickly... its a fully contained, pre-engineered, factory built unit. About as "plug and play" as I've seen out on the market. No need for hiring of pro's for mounting and installation. Just basic wires/cables to connect and it's ready to go. It's delivered to your home by truck and placed where you want it (the model I'm referring to is ground based) complete with mounting. It comes with everything you need: 12 solar panels, inverter, charge controller, batteries, wiring, racking, frame, mount system.

The Sunpod 2760 with it's 12 solar panels supplies approximately 2.76 kwh. If you're unsure how that relates to your kwh use, you can check your electric bill. If your bill shows an average kwh for a given month that is the easiest way to compare. Maybe your bill shows an average kwh used per day. The solar systems usually consider an average expected number of hours in a day that you can harvest. 5 hours is often chosen as an average, some less some more. Considering 5 hours x 2.76 kwh = 13.8 kwh. So if your average daily use is considerably more than 13.8 kwh, this system would not be stand alone. Twice this amount or even more depending on the size of your house and what's "in it", is more likely. If you don't have an average daily use anywhere, just go this way; 13.8 kwh per day x 30 days = 414 kwh per month. Not a lot of power use!

  Looking at this from another perspective is watts = voltage x amperage. Changing this around to solve in terms of amperage we can say watts / voltage = amperage (watts divided by voltage equals amperage). Taking the kilowatts for the solar power system per hour and dividing that by a single phase 120 volt power gives us; 2,760/120 = 23 amps. Considering no loss of power in and through the system (which there will be loss) we have the equivalent of one 20 amp circuit breaker. Again, not a lot of power!

No, I didn't forget the dollar portion of this section of "dollars and sense". Approximately $17,000 for the Sunpod 2760. A sizable amount of money to save you about 10% - 20% off of your electric bill. This is an off grid type with batteries. If you wanted a strictly grid-tie kind with no batteries, you can save a few thousand dollars. But the grid-tie will not help you if your electric power goes down. The Sunpod 2760 can at least offer you some electric for basic things like a refrigerator, lights and a few minor things as well. I don't believe your water pump will have enough. You need water! There are larger systems than this one. This was just my example. Systems can run up to $50,000 or even more. This Sunpod 2760 can also be upgrade too. Connecting more panels and batteries and an inverter and a charge controller and and and. Here's a link to the Sunpod Solar Products if you would like to see a picture of the sample I've mentioned. THIS IS NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK. There's nothing in it for me if you click this link. Just an FYI.

Buying a solar power set-up is not an easy decision, obviously! Maybe the big business electric companies like it that way and plan to keep it that way as long as they can?

To sum things up. Solar power is NOT economical right now. Not extremely practical right now. It's green, probably as green as you can get right now. It's a magnificient process. Don't do it for economical reasons. If you do it, do it because you have to (living outside the electrical grid).Do it because you love the super green aspects of it, Do it because it's a safe form of back-up power when your electric goes out for a stretch (the batteries are a little questionable as far as green and safe, but there is no other option right now).

This article, blog whatever one chooses to call it is not a sales pitch, not a product promotion, not an affiliate marketing manuever. It's just me telling what I've looked into and chose to pass on. If any reader has questions that they would like ask, call me at the toll free Lights and Wiring number of 1-888-678-1455 or email me at I would be happy to help out.

Keep Life New,

Gregory Stokes