The Sun As Threat To Your Photovoltaic System

The sun as threat to your solar array?, you might wonder if my brain suffered from working in the sun. Still the sun can cause your system to fail if you don't take the necessary precautions. So what am I talking about?

The sun can really damage your solar system, in fact the energy conversion losses in the form of heat can do that job. But there are creative methods to turn this potential killer into a bonus to your free energy supply.

Did you ever notice a very substantial loss in the Efficiency of Solar Panels in Summer?

Boy This is Frustrating!!!

Let assume that you invested heavily and a 1000 Wp Photovoltaic System is your proudly covering your roof. Summer comes and you can't wait to see all those free Watts chew chunks of your energy bill.

During the most beautiful long summer days your systems seems to vigorously under perform. 70 - 80 % or 700 - 800 Watts is what you get out. Since you have been monitoring your system prior to the summer heat you have seem it churn out that 1 kW so you know its possible, yet when the circumstances seem ideal it just will not deliver.

What is wrong

If your panels are easily accessibly you can feel the problem. Touch them on one of these perfect summer days! Boy, they are hot. Yes they are and there you have your answer. Heat, solar radiation, heat from the energy conversion process and heat because of resistance.

Whenever a high current is running through a conductor, or a conducting semiconductor it will cause it to heat up. Just think of the processor in your computer. Add the suns radiation on an absorbing surface like the dark colored solar panels and you will understand why it gets hot. A semiconductor, what your panel actually is, has the characteristic of being increasingly less effective as the temperature rises.

Check outputs when the panels are cool.

You can check that when a cold front passes. there you will have a few minutes of intense sunlight followed by clouds, you will see peak outputs during those sunny intervals. When the arrays are cool.

What lesson is there to be learned

Well we can approach it as an unwelcome yet unavoidable problem, and to counteract this unwanted effect to some extend optimize the ventilation under your panels or see it as an opportunity to achieve an even greater energy efficiency. I suggest you do both.

But allow it get your mind spinning as well. Heat means energy. Spray you panels so they cool down and you will end up with a higher output and warm water. There are a great many ways that you could use this access heat. Cooling, Heating water or your pool, driving a stirling engine to name a few. There are no right or wrong ways, try to be creative about the idea and who knows what comes up.

The fact remains that the heat we generated as by product of our electricity production can be a serious threat to your system. The temperature of a semiconductor has to stay within certain boundaries. If not it will not only diminish the efficiency of your solar array but will potentially destroy it.

Yes, now we are real energy producers with the same problems the big guys from the electricity companies have. How do we keep our systems cool.

In our blog you can find an entry where we discuss another threat to our system. Although the result is heat, it deals about partials shadows falling over your string.

Right, the sun as potential killer of solar systems, but only if we can't find ways to either eliminate that energy or put it to use. Since we have to do something the latter sounds the best to me.

Hans is author of many writings and studies about wind turbines and turbine development and expert in Solar Energy and Photovoltaic Systems He actively involved in the development and generation of new ideas as well as in investment opportunities in the field of renewable energy resources. He can be found at

Solar Power is Catching on in Louisville, KY

Lack of Kentucky state incentives for renewable energy did not deter Tim Darst and Angela Lincoln from investing and installing in a grid-tied photovoltaic (P.V.) system for their home in a Highlands neighborhood. Tim is an active member of the Coalition to Advance Regional Transportation (C.A.R.T.) and an accountant by trade.

His wife Angela teaches at a local Catholic high school where she routinely incorporates lessons on sustainability. Both Tim and Angela work hard at reducing their energy consumption by utilizing public transportation, using high efficiency appliances, and engaging in conservation practices. The pair first contacted SunWind Power Systems, Inc.
for a comprehensive energy audit prior to making the choice to go solar. The audit identified several more areas for improvements in efficiency. SunWind Power then designed a system based on their monthly average usage of 375 kilowatt hours and was able to size a P.V. system to meet Tim and Angela’s needs. The system consists of 11 solar panels manufactured by Evergreen, an American based company. The panels were mounted with a Unirac, a rack custom engineered to handle wind load for the region. Each panel has a capacity of 180 watts, and the system capacity is 2.0 kilowatts. The couple is very satisfied with their system.

Sunwind Power Systems provides energy solutions for residents in Kentucky and Indiana. The company will be moving ahead on efforts to install their own grid-tied solar water heating system and wind turbine on the property after recently reaching an agreement for net metering with their local utility cooperative, Harrison R.E.M.C. More information can be obtained at

2008 is the Year of Solar Energy, According to New Changewave Survey

"Keep your face to the sunshine..." -- Helen Keller

No matter where you look, alternative energy is the topic du jour. Driven by the economics of record-high crude oil, the spotlight is shifting to non-traditional renewable energy sources, particularly solar power.

But while solar stocks were some of the biggest gainers for much of last year, recently the solar power industry has taken big hits - with several key leaders such as First Solar (FLSR) SunPower (SPWR) and Evergreen Solar (ESLR) down as much as 50% off their 52 week highs.

To find out what's going on with solar energy and the other renewable energy sources, we recently surveyed 182 respondents working directly in the alternative energy industry.

Solar Leads - Solar energy continues to show the most momentum of all alternative energy segments, according to industry respondents. Not only has it shown strong gains since our previous survey in February 2007, but it also leads in each of the following areas:

* Most Rapid Economic Growth - Past 12 Months: When asked which alternative energy sector has experienced the fastest growth over the past year, solar energy (49%) topped the list - up a whopping 14-pts since our previous survey in February. In comparison, Biomass - including biofuels and bio-products - came in at 41%.

* Most Rapid Economic Growth - Next 12-24 Months: Going forward, respondents see solar energy (58%; up 20-pts) as experiencing the most rapid growth in the industry for the next one-to-two years.

* Most Momentum - Next 5 Years: Over the long term, solar energy also retains its strength, as 31% of respondents (up 5-pts) say it will be the top sector for the next half decade.

In sum, solar energy leads all of the other major alternative energy categories in terms of rapid economic growth. Solar energy is also seen as experiencing the biggest technology breakthroughs (27%; up 2-pts). But perhaps most importantly, solar cells are expected to be affordable enough to achieve a competitive return on investment within seven years (by 2015).

"Demand for solar cells is unquestionably robust, the price of oil is trending higher, and solar tax credits will likely be extended," according to ChangeWave Analyst Josh Levine. The forces are all lining up exceptionally well for the solar industry. It's the right time for investors to be exposed to the sun and invest in solar stocks."

According to solar industry experts, the sector's growth is being propelled forward by global photovoltaics manufacturers like First Solar (FSLR), SunPower Corp. (SPWR) and SunTech Power Holdings (STP) - companies that have developed superior business models and excelled in project management.

Levine adds that the next big challenge for the solar industry is the scaling of production facilities for mass production at the gigawatt level. "The next generation of leaders will be those companies that are best equipped to leverage the latest innovations in materials research through manufacturing know-how," he said.

Clearly, solar energy has the momentum in our latest ChangeWave survey. We'll continue tracking solar energy and other non-traditional energy sources in the alternative energy industry for new opportunities in 2008

About the Author:

The ChangeWave expert research network is composed of 15,000 highly qualified professionals. Members are surveyed weekly on a range of topics, and ChangeWave converts the findings into proprietary reports. Visit our website for additional ChangeWave Solar Findings and ChangeWave Technology alerts.

Shedding Some Light on the Myths of Solar Energy

As new concepts and theories for residential energy production emerge, many sceptics voice their opinions claiming these new ideas simply don’t life up to the hype. Solar power is one such idea which has generated a considerable amount of cynicism.

With this article I aim to shed some light on some of the common misconceptions regarding the use of solar roof panels as a viable means of residential energy production.

“Solar panels will take too long to pay for themselves”

Year after year we are seeing our energy bills going up by ever increasing percentages. The promise of cheaper fuel bills from nuclear power never came to fruition so the need to consider renewable energy sources such as solar power is now a viable alternative. In the current economic climate, investment in cheaper bills for the future is a sound financial idea as remaining reliant on non-renewable energy sources such as coal, gas and oil can only become more expensive as they become scarcer and therefore more expensive.

On average UK homes consume around 3000 units of electricity each year and typical solar energy panels will produce around 1500 units each year (estimated average under UK conditions) which is half of the average yearly consumption. It’s difficult to state exactly how long it would take for residential solar panels to pay for themselves as many variables are involved. These variables include the initial cost of each solar panel, the type of installation plus the cost of installing the system, the price your electricity supplier charges and whether or not your energy supplier will pay you for any extra units which are fed back in to the grid. It is also worth checking with your local council as many grants are available which could cover up to 50% of the cost of installing home solar panels. What we do know is that non-renewable energy prices will continue to rise. It is no longer a question of ‘can I afford solar panels?’ It’s more a question of ‘can I afford to not have solar panels?’

“Britain is not sunny enough”

This is a common false statement regarding the use of solar panels in the UK. Most people assume solar energy panels need direct sunlight in order to function. In actual fact they only require light from any source rather than direct sunlight as they absorb the electromagnetic radiation found in photons. This means that a solar roof panel will even work at night by absorbing photons from star light and street lighting; however, this happens on such a minimal scale you’d never notice. The output of each solar panel is considerably higher on sunnier days as strength of light (or the shear amount of photons) is a major factor, as is the angle the solar panel to the sun.

“Solar panels are useless during the short winter days”

Although there is some truth to this statement, residential solar panels are far from useless during the winter months. The daylight hours are significantly shorter meaning each solar panel will generate less power over the course of a full day. The truth of the matter is that hour for hour; each solar energy panel is on average equally as efficient as it would be throughout the summer. Prior to the installation of solar panels one should consider how much sun light will be hitting their solar panels during the winter months. Your roof may be in the shadow of nearby trees or a chimney stack may reduce the efficiency of the solar panels by leaving all or part of the solar panel in permanent shade whilst the sun is lower in the sky.

“If I don’t generate enough solar power, I’ll have no electricity”

This simply is not the case. Your home will still be connected to the national grid, so anytime you need more electricity than the solar panels are providing, you’ll get it as normal from the mains. It is unlikely that a household will be able to produce 100% of it’s electricity as a result of installing solar roof panels as we have become far to reliant on electrical appliances. Saying that, it has been proven in the past that once a household begins generating its own electricity using solar panels, its occupants become far more conscious of the way in which they use it and day by day will use far less electricity.

“It takes more energy to manufacture a solar panel than it will ever put out”

The energy payback of solar panels varies depending on which type of solar panel is fitted. Currently, the microcrystalline-silicon solar panels have an estimated energy payback of less than 4 years where as the ‘thin-film’ solar panels have an energy payback of around 3 years. Future developments in renewable solar energy coupled with increased production are expected to halve the energy payback time of both microcrystalline-silicon PV solar panels and thin-film solar panels.

“Modern solar panels are still not efficient”

Solar energy has come along leaps and bounds since the development in the production of the first practical solar cells in the 1950’s. These had a sunlight energy conversion efficiency of around 6%. By the late 1980’s scientists had developed solar cells with an efficiency of 17%. By 2000 solar cells had an efficiency of 24%, rising to 26% in 2002, 28% in 2005 and 30% by 2007. Increased efficiency coupled with lower production costs means residential solar energy systems are cheaper and more efficient than ever before.

You may ask yourself one question regarding the above figures, “If solar panels are getting more efficient and cheaper year after year, maybe I should wait a few more years?” Although there is some logic to this idea, the truth of the matter is waiting a few extra years could well prove to be a false economy. At the moment the British government are offering a variety of grants to financially assist those seeking to run a greener home, including the installation of domestic solar panels which could save you up to 50% of the installation costs. Government grants like this may not be available a few years down the line.

About the Author:

Solar Roof Panels
Energi Plc

What you ought to know before going solar in a new house?

We encourage everyone to go into solar, but you have to look at some general considerations before you’ll buy and use your solar system...

New home
The best opportunity to go solar is when you move to a new home. This will give you the chance to design and orient the way you are going to use solar power at your place. A green oriented home build in a way it can admits the sun power at the winter for decreasing heating costs and rejecting overhead sun rays in the summer to reduce the cooling bills. Your architect should consider these principles when remodeling the house. A mere 5 degrees alternation in the home orientation can save thousands of dollars.

Connecting to solar grid

It is common in the US to buy electricity from renewable energy resources, including solar power, wind farms, plants oil, geothermal energy and more. The electricity grid usually allow you to get your energy from such sources, and moving to such green energy suppliers is a good way to go green. This is a way to use clean energy without buying the equipment. However, using your own equipment, however expensive, can save you money in the future, and give you independence

Your own power.

If a after building your home energy efficient you still have high bills, and your area is sunny enough, you might consider producing your own electricity with PV panels. The technology is being developed all the time, and new solar panel are available that can integrate with your roof, without much visibility.

Generating your electrical energy from the sun with a PV panels is much easier than it appears. Don’t let somebody tell you it’s complicated – it really isn’t. Just little knowledge will get you started on ordering the right components. For installation, you can hire an experienced solar installer, or if you have some basic electrical skills you can even do it yourself.

Just don’t forget that there are some building rules and regulations you have to follow.

why the politician intervention in the solar energy industry just worsen the progress?

The election time in the US is coming and the roller-coaster of oil prices, producing an enormous pile of promises and declaration about green energy in general and solar energy in particular.
Some states, like California did made a progress toward more renewable and sustainable energy market.

However, we must understand that all of these talking and promisses will not help to the future of solar power industries.
The reason for this is that the solar companies still don't have an efficient enough technology to completely replace the current energy resources.
In order to develop the right technology, the industry must work in a free competitive market, in which only the really economical reliable solutions will prosper.
Today, the competition become more about getting governmental grants and funds and less about building a better technology.
Companies today need to support more academic research and developing a better panels and batteries, and less politicians.

Politicians are interested in votes and not in technology and hence, will support the technology that will be beneficial for them in the short run and not in the long run..
So we must close our ears from listening to these promises, and invest in companies who plan a better future, with new technology and not a better present with current technology.

Investment in Solar Technology

During the 1970s in a number of countries around the world, a push began to install solar energy panels on private residences. Many experts contended that solar energy, including solar energy incorporated into residential property, was to be the proverbial wave of the future. In reality, the early movement towards solar energy somewhat sputtered during the latter part of the decade and into the 1980s. A primary concern associated with solar homes centered on the fact that many consumers ended up finding that the installation and utilization of solar power systems into their homes was not proving particularly cost effective.

Since the advent of the 21st century, there has been a significantly profound renewed interest in solar energy generally and in solar homes specifically. The "rebirth" of the trend towards the construction of more solar homes and towards the retrofitting of existing residential properties with solar systems has occurred for two primary and essential reasons.

First, an increasing segment of the media has become concerned with the impact that carbon based energy sources are having on the environment, on the planet. As a consequence, there are an ever growing number of people who are making a concerted effort to make their living spaces far more environmentally friendly. From recycling to the use of alternative energy resources such as solar power, more men and women all of the time are becoming committed to establishing and maintaining homes that are more environmentally friendly.

Second, the costs associated with petroleum, coal and natural gas as primary sources of power have increased dramatically over the course of the past several years. The net result of this tremendous cost increases has been to make alternative energy resources - including solar power - far, far more cost effective. Therefore, many people are now turning (or returning, as the case may be) to solar homes because these types of residences have become cost effective in the current marketplace.

While many people are hoping that the costs associated with petroleum, coal and natural gas will drop sooner rather than later, most industry experts and financial analysis predict that this probably won't be the case. Therefore, research and development is becoming more intense when it does come to alternative energy resources such as solar homes. Moreover, consumer demand for alternative energy resources, including residential property that relies on solar power, is increasing markedly. These are companion long-term trends that are expected to continue into the future.

With this in mind and understood, many financial experts and analysts are suggesting with increasing regularity that making investments in such alternative energy resources such as solar homes is a wise course to take. These analysts maintain that the days are long gone when an investment in solar home technology was considered speculative at best. Rather, investments in such alternative energy resources such as solar homes is considered to be a sound course which will allow for the realization of significant profits in both the short and the long term.

Copyright (c) 2008 R Douglas Allen

R. Douglas Allen is general partner of Blue Lion Capital Management, a private equity company specializing in clean technology and alternative energy.

You can learn more about Blue Lion Capital Management and Mr. Allen by visiting this site:

For Media Inquiries email Mr. Allen at: rdouglasallen at

New Solar Technology - Holographic Tuning

With the renewed emphasis on renewable energy, new technologies are emerging. Holographic tuning is one such technology and could revolutionize solar cells.

Holographic Tuning

Traditional solar panel systems are not particularly efficient and can be more than a bit of an eyesore. Since the panel systems only convert a small amount of the sunlight that hits them, there really isn’t any alternative to placing the bulky beasts on your roof. Or is there?

Holographic tuning, also known as Holographic Planar Concentrator, is a new technology with one goal in mind – cheaper and small solar cell collectors. The technology is based on a unique theory in which solar cells are holographically tuned to attract and focus different spectrums of sunlight on solar cells. The cells are tuned to attract certain spectrums that can be converted without excessive heat production. This allows the cells to make the maximum amount of energy while maintaining a very small size.

Current silicon cell technology is restricted to only a few spectrums and is highly inefficient as it fails to covert up to 85 percent of the sunlight into power. To make things even better, the process is being designed to “tune” the solar light onto both sides of each cell, thus doubling the energy output.

The primary advantage of holographic tuning is it will revolutionize the solar panel as we know it. Instead of large, bulky panels that aren’t particularly attractive, holographic tuning panels will look similar to regular bedroom windows, but with five or six horizontal rows of black rectangles, the cells. The prototypes are actually very striking and are a major improvement over current solar panel systems.

Prism Solar Technologies is the leading company in the holographic tuning field. The company is a subsidiary of Direct Global Power, and is pursuing the advancement of the technology through an exclusive rights license from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Prism Solar Technologies intends to begin manufacturing of the new holographic tuning solar panels this year. Keep an eye out for these attractive, efficient solar panels.

Rick Chapo is with, a directory of solar energy companies. Visit us to read more articles on solar power and renewable energy.

President Bush Goes Solar

Environmentalists throughout the world are still in shock. Who would’ve every thought President Bush would push solar energy?

The Initiative

As you undoubtedly know by now, the President George Bush announced it was time to start weaning ourselves from our oil addiction during his State of the Union speech. As with anything in politics, there is much gnashing of the teeth as to whether the President, an avowed oil man form an oil family in Texas, really means to do anything. The answer, of course, is really almost irrelevant if people would stop to consider the fact that solar power was even mentioned in such a speech. Clearly, a baby step has been taken, if not a giant leap. So, what is the President’s grand plan?

From an overall perspective, President Bush has issued an Advanced Energy Initiative to begin changing our energy habits to cleaner, non-foreign supply, based fuels. As is his habit, the President has a Solar America Initiative as part of the larger initiative. This is where we find the key solar components.

With the Solar America Initiative, the administration has set a goal of accelerating widespread acceptance of clean solar technologies throughout the U.S. by 2015. Yes, it is a bit murky in regards to the exact goal, but the Energy Department recently clarified matters.

According to the Energy Department, the goal is to generate 5 to 10 megawatts of electricity in United States by 2015. While this may sound impressive, 10 megawatts of energy is barely enough to power two million homes. In comparison, California alone intends to put one million homes on solar in the next ten years. Put another way, the Solar America Initiative isn’t particularly impressive.

While the President appears to be paying lip service to solar energy in this Initiative, it should be noted that he is due more than a small bit of credit. First, he has put solar power and other clean energy on the political table. Second, the administration has taken major steps in other legislation to provide tax credits for solar power and renewable energy platforms. Those steps, not the Solar America Initiative, are going to make a major impact on the promotion of solar energy in the country. For that reason alone, the President should be applauded.

Rick Chapo is with, a directory of solar energy companies. Visit us to read more articles on solar power and renewable energy.

New Solar Tech for 2008

Our planet is warming, and we are helping make it happen by adding more heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuel (oil, coal, and natural gas) alone accounts for about 75 percent of annual CO2 emissions from human activities. Deforestation—the cutting and burning of forests that trap and store carbon—accounts for about another 20 percent.

The United States currently produces 70 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil, but only two percent from renewable sources. Since the burning of fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide—the leading cause of global warming—but renewable energy does not, increasing the share of our electricity generated from renewable resources is one of the most effective ways to reduce global warming emissions.

There is a new wave in solar power tech. We are at the forefront of new innovations. However, these new designs will not be available until the beginning of 2008. REnU Polycrystalline or multi-crystalline solar cells in its core technology has already been proven to last in the field of over 25 years. It is on a par with current locked rates and fixed price guarantees.

Vertical integration of this system will produce clean power during peak sun hours. Interconnecting this solar system with electricity grids will offer excellent net metering in excess of generation.

There is no system purchase, no installation cost, no maintenance fees, no permit hassles, no performance worries, rate increases, and MUCH, MUCH, MORE advantages and benefits.

Rethink renewable energy and become part of the solution by installing a more environmentally friendly electricity-generating asset. Check out the short video on my website at (upper right portion of the page).

Make your reservation today before our unique source of solar grade silicon manufacturing plants become active. You lock in the current rates of your electrical bill or the lowest rate. When the manufacturing plant reaches maximum production, solar systems could be installed on up to 100,000 homes per year. If you wait until the plants are completed, there will be tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of customers who will get their system before you.

Installation on select residential customer homes will be available as soon as panels are available. The wait could be much longer depending on when your local franchise is established and the distance of their location. (1 year minimum contract) To be a part of the solution to bring solar power to homeowners, please visit

Scientists agree that if we wait 10, 20, or 50 years, the problem will be much more difficult to address and the consequences for us will be that much more serious. Our atmosphere has limits too. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for about 100 years. The longer we keep polluting, the longer it will take to recover and the more irreversible damage will be done.

By investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and increasing the efficiency of the cars we drive, we can take essential steps toward reducing our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels that cause global warming. Using energy more efficiently and moving to renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy) would significantly reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases.

For years we have heard so much about the causes of climate change, that we’ve missed the fact that there are simple, practical solutions that can slow this growing problem. Technologies exist today that can cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and make a real difference in the health of our planet. And these solutions will be good for our economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and enhance our energy security. Kini at