Solar panels within a widows walk?

bnicebkindOctober 7, 2004

While we were designing our home, and we talked to 5 different builders and several architects, I talked to each of them about installing a widows walk with solar panels to the top of the house, and i got the same response from ALL of them. An odd look as though i were from Mars, and they mumbled something about solar was not yet far enough along to seriously contemplate doing this... ( the same look I got when I talked about framing the house in steel, by the way)... and so the coastal design of the house was done without it, and being in florida where hurricane threats have become a reality...and millions of people without power, and I am once again re-looking at this, ( I do not know if it is too late as they are working on the roof now), but how feasible is this, and how large would it have to be to actually power the house? Can anyone explain to me HOW this would work?

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RCMJr

.

Firstly, ANY solar panel must face as directly towards the sun as possible to get good output . . . that's both up and down; as well as facing pretty much solar south. If you don't; your output will be reduced to varying extents. A widows's watch does not lend itself to good orientation.

To even guess at what size is required, you must have some idea of how much you use / expect to use. You must also be efficient in your house design . . . every appliance must be carefully considered. No offense; but sounds like you have no clue what you use / expect to use; and with the roof going on you may have already missed some opportunities to implement things that would make it feasable. I scrutinized every single thing that I used here; right down to bath fans. All fluorescent is pretty much a given if you're serious about it. In Florida, I'd guess central air is pretty much a given; that's a HUGE load . .

I live in central New York state; and have recently gone solar. My house is extremely efficient . . . and I require two arrays of panels; each 10' square. Mine are mounted on poles; roof mounting can be done also depending upon orientation and shading. My worst months of winter I use almost 300 kWh . . summer months are ~ 175 kWh. I remain connected to the grid simply because in the summer months I generate much more than I actually use; so I sell it to the utility as opposed to just doing nothing with it.

I applaud your desire to consider doing it; but you need to do a lot more homework to be able to even guess what size arrays you would need. A couple panels in the widow's watch won't do much more than a couple small lights or such.

I'll try to answer any specific questions you may have if you'd like . . .

Good luck

Bob

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 6:12AM
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bnicebkind

Thank you for your answer. I know so little about it, and the builders have no interest in solar here. i think you need a builder who is seriously willing to think outside of the box, to do something like this. architects included. We have missed the window on the widows walk with solar as the roof is beyond the point of doing this. We are looking into other ways now. thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 10:05AM
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