Solar Electric System

homeimprovementdivaApril 23, 2008

We currently have oil forced air heat. We are building a new home and are thinking about putting up solar panels. I just got pamphlet from Trinity Solar but haven't had a chance to talk to anyone. I'm also still trying to figure out the state and federal tax incentives and I'm getting confused. Would it be worth it to put in electric forced air so we could use the solar panels for that as well vs. what we are paying for oil? We are also looking to put in a heated inground pool in the next year or two so we would have that solar too. We live in CT and the new home is going to be a 2700sf one floor ranch.

Any suggestions on usage or install companies would be greatly appreciated.

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You should take a look at solarguy's website which has a wide variety of information about solar heating. Photovoltaic solar panels are still so expensive that they rarely are used to power electric heat. Federal tax credits, state rebates, and power company rebates can lower the effective cost by up to a half. Even still, if you finance the cost, you might find (as I did) that the payback period is infinite. Geothermal heating systems are much more cost effective today. As electricity costs climb and photovoltaic systems become cheaper (through new technology and mass production), photovoltaics should become more cost-effective.

Solarguy's site:

Solar electric calculator:

Solar rebate and tax credit site:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Thank you so much for the great info. That is VERY helpful! I will check out the sites mentioned. We are just so sick of the cost of oil that we don't even want to contribute to using and paying for it and were trying to come up with another alternative for heating the new house. We don't want to use gas b/c of the dangers. I know some people say it's not that dangerous but we've had 3 explosions in our state recently within a week of each other and I don't like to worry about breathing that stuff in. I will put my thinking cap back on and start my research over.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 1:07PM
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Solar Thermal systems are 4 times more efficient than Solar Electric. Working with 120 degree temperatures and infloor heating. Two types of collectors are flat panel and vacuum tube, vac tube is becoming more popular because they are more efficient, but has draw backs. In freezing climates you need to use a flat plate heat exchanger which is very costly. A drainback system works best, the system is a closed loop, nonpressurized system with a fixed amount of air in the system. Craig Tarr at is very knowledegable on the subject and teaches, sells, installs systems in the midwest. While there are few incentives or rebates on Solar Thermal now, the industry is pushing for this in the future.

Hope that helps!

The sun shines each day with enough energy to sustain us the entire year, why do we waste such a resource?

Dan Martyn
ASPE Member

Here is a link that might be useful: Energy Concepts

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 12:32PM
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Solar Water Heating is the way to go. You could use it for heating the house in the winter and heating the pool in the summer. Solar water heating could connect into your existing forced air system. It would still need oil as a backup system in case you have a stretch of bad weather, but can reduce your heat bills by 50%. It could then be redirected to heat your pool in the summer. Year round it would be able to heat your domestic hot water as well, saving you a ton of money.

Having a pool for a place to send the extra heat in the summer makes you a great candidate for either a pressurized system or a drainback. It would all depend on which type the installer you select is comfortable installing, I have found people tend to have a favorite, although both are great.

You can see more about it at the Alternative Energy Store (full disclosure, I work there).

We do primarily just domestic hot water, but can give you some ideas for space heating as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Alternative Energy Store

    Bookmark   May 17, 2008 at 8:04AM
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