Recommend good solar feasibility site??

joel_bcMay 5, 2004

In my neighbourhood, some of us want to look at the feasibility of using photovoltaic and flat-plate water heating -- with big questions about year-round use. Do you know of any Web sites that go into some depth of explaining the practicalities involved for various latitude zones (we're at about 50 degrees north)?

I realize that climate factors such as the annual cloud-cover situation also come into play. Would like to look into the daily light hours first, though.



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No response? Is the problem that solar is still technologically inefficient in many northern regions (a tech/latitude issue), or just that the info I requested is not really on the Web, but instead in books?

I thought maybe, with the growing p.v. cost efficiency, the first of the above options might have been eliminated.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2004 at 9:54AM
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there is a discussion group at this very comprehensive site that may be able to help (and maybe not!)



Here is a link that might be useful: CREST

    Bookmark   May 8, 2004 at 8:19PM
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I'm at 43 deg latitude . .. and going solar as soon as they can get here to do it. Yes; northern latitudes can easily make good use of solar. I am doing PV for now; but plan on solar heat collecting as well. Try the link below; not only great info there but also good links to others. You should be able to get solar data for your area; there has been data collected for MANY years at many locations with average sun hours / day; including corrections for tracking in none, one, or two axes . . . . try a search for "WBAN" . .. don't know what that means but they've got TONS of data.

Just for funs and giggles; my system will generate about 1 1/2 times what I use in a year . .. twice what I use in a good year. I'll have the backwards moving meter most of the year. I'll also have the comfort of backup without generators, the noise, the fuel, the maintenance. Right now; New York State has some amazing incentives / rebates / tax credits that can roll over . . . . your locale may have similar things as well. Again; the link below can lead you to applicable programs where YOU live . . . .


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Power magazine

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 6:12AM
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Thanks, Bob. Hey, Bob, you're "down south" in New York. You folks bask in the sun there in December, don't you?


    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 10:52AM
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Like Einstein said; it's all relative . . .

We bask in more snow than anything else . . . we caught 7' in 36 hours during a lake effect blast this winter . . . .

Seriously though; the sun hours available here were higher than I expected . . . . . lived in this are for many years and it's certainly not the sun capital of anywhere . . . you too may be surprised how many sun hours you really have where you are . .. .


    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 8:50PM
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I've put a link to a site that answers my question -- at least as far as where the relative position (in sun hours) of my area is with respect to other areas of America. I'm just above the U.S. border, so my situation is like north-eastern Washington or western Idaho.

The info seems a bit on the conservative side, but when contemplating investment, I suppose that doesn't hurt!

Bob, if you don't mind my asking, about how much did your system cost -- and is the energy cost savings, plus the sale of power into the grid, repaying your investment?


Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Hours Maps

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 11:10AM
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I attached a link for solar heat collectors. They are sold out of Victoria, so they should be somewhat local for you. They are pricy, but a superior product to standard flat plate collectors.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 2:19PM
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Joel . .

Right around 30 . . . This is for a 2.8 kWh system, the whole shooting match including back-up batteries, and installation. Throw in incentives / tax credits; you're about 20 or so.

I did not do it for financial reasons; and right now as a strictly financial decision it doesn't fly. I'm doing a good thing for everyone first of all. Secondly, in power faliures I will not have one . . . . and in fact will not even know it. The money I get from selling back to the grid will help offset the basic monthly charges you pay JUST to be connected. As laws change, and prices go up; it will be increasingly closer to being a viable financial decision. There are other parts of the world; and I believe the state of Maine; which currently require that juice generated by people like me will be reimbursed at MORE than going rates; instead of a fraction thereof. This is due to it being considered "green" power. . . . again; legislation can make a huge difference . . . .

Bottom line: It is NOT currently a viable financial choice unless you are building somewhere that you have to run power lines / poles to get to. It WILL be so in the future . . . when will that be ? Dunno . . . . how fast will energy prices rise, legislation go through, supply of PV panels ease up ? . .. . .


    Bookmark   June 8, 2004 at 5:46AM
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Just to go back in the direction of my original question, here's a link I found. It's about the "Maine Solar House" which sits somewhat above my latitude. For anybody who's interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maine Solar House

    Bookmark   June 16, 2004 at 10:17AM
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