Magnetic Refrigerators
Magnetic Refrigerators
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric have teamed up to create a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold, also known as the magnetocaloric effect (lowering or raising the temperature of the material by changing the magnetic field).
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
The Building Technologies Office is ushering in the next generation of heat pump systems, which warm and cool your home by moving heat from one space to another. A fuel-fired, multi-function residential heat pump that can reduce primary energy consumption by 30 percent.
Clothes Dryers
Clothes Dryers
The same concept behind heat pump technologies that keep your home comfortable can also be used for another important application: drying your clothes. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric are developing a new type of clothes dryer that uses a heat pump cycle to generate hot air needed for drying.
Smarter, More Connected Homes
Smarter, More Connected Homes
We live in an increasingly connected world -- the same is true for our homes. New electronic devices and appliances can now be linked to the Internet to provide real-time data that makes it easier to understand and lower energy use.
Next-Gen Insulation
Next-Gen Insulation
Insulation is one of the most important ways to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. The Industrial Science & Technology Network is developing new foam insulation made with environmentally friendly and advanced composite materials that ensure heat doesn’t escape from the attic, walls and other areas of the home during cold winter months.
Advanced Window Controls
Advanced Window Controls
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pella Windows are working on new highly insulated windows that use sensors and microprocessors to automatically adjust shading based on the amount of available sunlight and the time of day to ensure proper lighting and comfort, saving consumers energy and money.
Reflective Roofing Materials
Reflective Roofing Materials
Cool roofs coated with materials containing specialized pigments reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs. Expect these types of roof systems to get even “cooler” due to new fluorescent pigments developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and PPG Industries that can reflect nearly four times the amount of sunlight of standard pigments.

Energy-Saving Solutions

From heating and cooling to electronics and appliances, it takes a lot of energy to power our daily lives. Our homes use 37 percent more energy today than they did in 1980. But without energy efficiency -- through technology innovation and federal energy conservation standards -- this number would be a lot higher. In fact, even though our total energy use has grown, our energy use per household is down about 10 percent, despite that our homes are larger and contain more devices.

Save Energy Systems

22 July 2019

The Homeowners Guide to Installing Your Own Solar Panels

Installing solar panels can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly utility bills. But, many homeowners are hesitant to switch to solar energy solely because of the steep costs of installing a new system. As of this year, it’s...

The post The Homeowners Guide to Installing Your Own Solar Panels appeared first on HomeSelfe.


Installing solar panels can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly utility bills. But, many homeowners are hesitant to switch to solar energy solely because of the steep costs of installing a new system. As of this year, it’s...

The post The Homeowners Guide to Installing Your Own Solar Panels appeared first on HomeSelfe.

Installing solar panels can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your monthly utility bills. But, many homeowners are hesitant to switch to solar energy solely because of the steep costs of installing a new system. As of this year, it’s estimated that installing solar panels can cost between $14,000-$40,000 depending on the size of the system. This price includes the cost of the product itself in addition to the installation. Therefore, homeowners have the option of lowering the total cost of this project by handling the installation on their own.

Installing solar panels may seem like an intimidating project, but there’s no need to worry. Follow this DIY guide:

An Important Note on DIY Solar Panel Installation

There are many DIY projects that homeowners can complete entirely on their own, but solar panel installation is not one of them. Installing solar panels involves the use of electrical wiring, which is not safe to work with unless you are an experienced electrician. Furthermore, a number of states, including Florida, require homeowners to hire licensed technicians to install solar panels. For these reasons, it is best to let a professional handle the majority of the installation work. But, you can still cut costs by purchasing the equipment and mounting the panels on your own instead of hiring a professional to complete these tasks. Then, call an experienced professional when you’re ready to connect the system. This strategy will help you save as much money as possible while also ensuring you are not exposed to electrical hazards.

Purchasing Materials For DIY Installation

There are four main parts of a solar panel system that you will need to purchase prior to installation: the panels, batteries, controller, and power inverter. Start by choosing the right solar panels for your home. Thin-film solar panels are the least expensive, however they will wear down faster than other options, so they’re not the best choice for homeowners who want their system to last as long as possible. Polycrystalline are budget-friendly as well, but they aren’t ideal for homes that are located in hot climates. If the temperature regularly climbs above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in your area, it’s best to choose monocrystalline solar panels.

If you own a small home, it’s best to go with amorphous solar panels, which are designed to provide power to small-sized spaces. Although these are more expensive than thin-film solar panels, they are far more efficient, which makes them the better choice.

Next, select the right batteries. There are two main battery choices: lithium-ion and lead-acid. The former is more expensive, but more durable as well. If you don’t want to worry about replacing the batteries on a regular basis, choose lithium-ion instead of lead-acid.

The next step is purchasing a power inverter for your solar panel system. Central inverters have been around the longest and are known for their durability, which makes them ideal for homes that are regularly exposed to extreme temperatures and harsh environmental conditions. A string inverter is a slightly less expensive option. This inverter links a group of panels together so they operate as one single unit. Although string inverters are less expensive, they are typically only used on homes with flat roofs.

If you have a little extra room in your budget, consider purchasing microinverters. This type of inverter lasts the longest, but they are also the most expensive. However, a microinverter will continue to provide power to your home even if one panel is broken, which gives it a competitive edge over the other inverter options.

Finally, purchase a controller that is compatible with the rest of the materials you have selected. Now, you have successfully completed the first step in the DIY installation!

Install Your Own Solar Panels

Mounting the Solar Panels On Your Roof

There are two ways to mount solar panels on the roof of your home. Homeowners have the option of mechanically attaching solar panels, which means the panels will attach tightly to the roof. Using this method, the panels are attached directly to the roofing material, so they will lie flat against the roof. If your solar panels must withstand high winds or hurricanes, this is the right mounting option for you.

The second option is a ballasted mount, which involves attaching the solar panels to concrete blocks before placing them on your roof. There are several benefits to this option. First, there’s no need to puncture or penetrate your roofing materials with this option since the mount simply sits on top of your roof. Second, solar panels with this type of mount can be placed at an angle, so they can be positioned to absorb as much direct sunlight as possible. But, this option is not ideal for people who live in windy areas. Ballasted mounts cannot withstand high winds, so they could blow completely off of the roof when exposed to powerful winds.

Contacting A Professional to Connect the System

By now, you have purchased all of the materials you need to install a solar panel system and mounted the panels on top of your roof. The next step is contacting a professional to help you connect the system and finish the installation.

According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, large national companies typically charge more for their installation services than smaller, local companies. For this reason, it’s best to find a local solar installer company. Make sure the company is licensed to perform this work, and ask them for references prior to signing a contract. You should also choose a company that offers a warranty so if something goes wrong with the installation, you are covered.

Follow these simple steps and you will get to enjoy the many benefits of living in a home with solar panels!

The post The Homeowners Guide to Installing Your Own Solar Panels appeared first on HomeSelfe.


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