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Solar Energy for Dummies ?

Posted by joanntx (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 19, 06 at 23:50

We will be adding a new den and dining room to our 30 year old ranch style house in Texas. We would like to see if we could add solar panels to the roof and I would like to conserve rain water. Any suggestions on books to educate ourselves so we don't make mistakes - can't afford to....readings need to be for the lay person.

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RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?

Try, and look for your region. This is sponsored by the State of Texas, with many members in the different regions. I like Home Power magazine for general information, but design is specific to the region. In Texas this is 5 regions.

RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?


I'll ditto on looking at HomePower magazine . . . a good source of info for sure. I'd also suggest that it's a good place to find out who does such types of systems in your area. They can best tell you what works well in your particular area, as well as any info about and possible incentives / rebates etc. It helps them sell you something; so they will surely be up on that stuff. They can also help you decide WHAT you want to get out of it . . . supplemental power to reduce your electric bill, supplemental heat, back-up power during outages, etc.

I have a complete 2.8 kW grid-tied system; I chose to also have battery back-up. When the grid is down, and I got panels and sunshine available; I didn't want to still be sitting there with nothing. For me, it made sense to include battery back-up. Saves draining the heating system / pipes in the event of a long outage. Your situation / goals may be different . . . .

I'm in central New York state, which is NOT the sun capital of the world . . . and PV and solar heat collection works here . . and if my memory serves me right for when I lived in Austin; there's LOTS more sun available in the Lone Star state . . . .

Good luck with your pursuit . . . .


RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?

Many thanks to all. I have a lot of reading ahead!

RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?

Note that not all Texas electrical providers offer systems whereby you can run your excess electricity back into the grid for credit. Therefore, find out whether your provider does this before deciding how to choose a solar electrical system. For us, it wasn't at all cost effective.

RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?

I found plenty of info from "solar power information site"

They have books as well as a LOT of info on the site there itself. I hope you find this helpful in your purchases! I built a water heater from one of the books listed there, and can't wait to see how well it works come winter. (I live on east coast USA)


Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Power Information

RE: Solar Energy for Dummies ?

I would suggest taking a look at solar group purchasing. There are a few companies offering pretty extensive discounts on home solar. Don't remember names by trying googling "group solar discounts".

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Energy Facts

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