How Much Solar Is Needed To Power My Entire Home?

July 20, 2020

Every year, more people are having solar panels installed on their roofs. The cost of panels has come down significantly, meaning they pay for themselves far faster than in years past. Here’s what to consider when figuring out how many solar panels you need to supply 100% of your home’s energy usage. The Size of Your Home Isn’t Important The size of your house isn’t necessarily relevant to how many solar panels you need to completely power your residence. Rather, what matters is how much energy you use per year. To figure this out, you need to look at a year’s worth of energy bills and add up the kilowatt-hours used each month and find out how much wattage the panels you’re purchasing produce. The Direction of Your Roof Which way the solar panels are pointed will also determine how many you need. Southern-facing roofs receive more sunlight than ones facing north in South Central Texas. Where You Live While solar power is viable across the contiguous United States, it’s more efficient in the southeastern states than in areas like New England. This means that you don’t need as many solar panels if your house is in California as compared...

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Science Project: Make Your Own Solar Panel From Soda Cans

July 10, 2020

Looking for an innovative science project? Below is a DIY solar project featuring empty soda cans that might fit the bill. Having photovoltaic (PV) systems installed at your home is the simplest and most effective way to harness solar electricity, and GVEC Home® offers professional solar installation services. But if you prefer building something from scratch, you might love this practical approach to generating heat with a central solar thermal panel. Using scrap parts and empty soda cans, you can create a solar panel capable of heating a small area. Here’s how it’s done. Assemble and Prep Your Cans Here is a list of materials you will need for this project: Aluminum/soda cans Silicon adhesive Plywood (15mm/0.6in) or sheet metal to make the frame Matte black spray paint Polycarbonate sheet (3mm/0.12in) or tempered glass Tubes for air intake and output Exhaust fan(s) and/or air pump(s) Depending on the size of the unit you want to make, you may need to cut up between a few dozen to hundreds of soda cans. The cans are your solar panel cells. Start by cutting the top off of each clean, dry can with a hole saw or a can opener. Then, cut a...

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Deconstruction of a Solar Panel

June 20, 2020

To many people, solar panels may seem magical. You install them on a roof or on the grounds of your property, and they supply your home with of electricity for day-to-day use. Understanding the materials used this magical tech is pretty fascinating in its own right. Let’s deconstruct a solar panel to see how it works. Photovoltaic Cells Photovoltaic or PV cells are the most important part of a solar panel. These critical components absorb photons from sunlight. PV cells work in conjunction with semiconductors built into the panel to transform those photons into electrical energy. PV cells form a central layer of the solar panel, and it’s important to make sure they aren’t blocked by debris atop the panel. The more direct sunlight photovoltaic cells harvest, the more efficient they are and the more they can save you on electric bills. Toughened Glass A layer of toughened glass covers the PV cells to form the outermost portion of the panel. This layer of glass is designed to protect photovoltaic cells from elements such as rain, sleet, snow and even hail. If cracks form in the glass portion of a panel, it’s time to seek professional repair. Aluminum Frame An...

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Interesting Items that Run on Solar–Or that Will in the Future

June 10, 2020

Renewable energy is hot—hotter than it’s ever been and among products in current energy markets. In this dynamic environment, no product is more on-the-move than solar. This amazing form of power is widely regarded as essential to the future of the renewable sector. Solar is abundant, readily available and powering a greater share of the market—of life—every year. Solar-power technology is also surprisingly versatile and adaptable for a range of products and uses beyond electricity generation. Here are some interesting items that run on solar or may in the future. Solar Powered Keyboards, Laptops and More Some keyboards are already powered by solar and available for purchase. It’s a good bet these products will become more sophisticated and numerous as time goes by. And although solar-powered laptops aren’t quite a thing yet, they very well could be in the future. But how, you might wonder, could solar run such a complicated device if users usually sit indoors while using it? Admittedly, solar technology isn’t quite to a point where it can power an indoor laptop on its own, but research into and development of power-generating solar materials continues in a never-ending cycle; don’t be surprised if such products start popping...

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How Does Tesla Powerwall Work?

May 29, 2020

Tesla Powerwall is a battery storage product that allows you to store energy generated by solar panels. It allows homeowners to continue using electricity generated by solar panels even during the night. Powerwall will also safely and seamlessly power your home in the event of a power outage—with no blinks or intervention needed from you. Here are the key things to know about Powerwall and how it may fit into your home’s energy-use portfolio. Tesla Powerwall Specifications Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that uses liquid to control heat. Tesla is one of the few companies in the world that produces residential energy storage products. The first generation of this product was released in April 2015. Powerwall 2.0 was released in late 2016. GVEC Home® is a South Central Texas contractor with offices in Gonzales, La Vernia, Schertz, Cuero, and Sequin. We’re a Tesla Powerwall Certified Installer with years of experience installing and servicing solar panels. Residential Battery Size Tesla Powerwall only comes in a size of 14 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Each battery has 13.5 kWh of usable capacity. It’s a modular system, so you increase capacity by adding more Powerwall units. You ”stack” up to 10 Powerwalls. Managing Your...

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Benefits of Maintenance for Your Solar Panels

May 10, 2020

Keeping your solar panels well-maintained is important in limiting costly repairs while also ensuring that your panels work efficiently. Reaching out to a professional on a yearly basis is a great way to stay proactive and ensure that your solar panels will last for many years. Here are a few of the main advantages of keeping your solar panels maintained: 1. Peace of Mind Choosing to have your solar panels maintained is essential in preventing small problems from developing into a large-scale issue. You will have the peace of mind to know that your system is in excellent condition by getting a professional inspection. These proactive maintenance services can play a key role in extending the lifespan of your solar panels and saving you a lot of money in the future. 2. Maximize Efficiency Over time, your solar panels may not operate as efficiently due to the buildup of dirt and grime. However, a solar panel technician can easily remove these particles to ensure that your system operates as efficiently as possible. Cleaning your solar panels on a yearly basis is a great way to maximize the return on your investment as it can greatly increase efficiency. 3. Improve Safety...

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Earth Day Tips: How Solar Panel Systems Contribute to a Healthier Planet

April 20, 2020

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22. By some estimates, the event is marked by over 1 billion people from 192 countries across the globe, making it the most observed occasion on earth. We think a solar panel system from GVEC Home Solar services is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Solar panel systems contribute to making Earth a better, greener place to live. Reasons to Celebrate Solar on Earth Day 2020 Here are some reasons to consider investing in an eco-friendly home solar panel system from GVEC Home for Earth Day 2020. Sun Power as an Energy Source The sun is a powerful source of energy. Depending on how your solar panel system is set up, including its direction (southerly facing is optimal), you can reduce energy bills by 70% or more. If you install Tesla Powerwall battery storage solution with your solar panel system, you can even use solar panel energy at night. Doing so will provide a round-the-clock alternative energy solution, helping further decrease energy bills through your GVEC Home solar investment. Reduce Reliance on Non-Renewable Energy Solar panel systems help reduce reliance across the grid on non-renewable energy sources like coal and natural gas. While...

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Why Does My Power Still Go Out During an Outage if I Have Solar Power?

April 6, 2020

When there’s a power outage, your solar panels will stop working. There are a few reasons why, and there’s also a way to keep power flowing during an outage if you have solar panels installed. Technical Reasons Solar Panel Systems Stop Working in Outages The first reason your solar panel system stops working is technical. Solar panels adjust current and voltage as the sun moves across the sky, and output varies throughout the day. In a grid-connected system, any power produced by the panels must be a) used immediately; b) stored in a backup battery storage system; c) put onto the grid-at-large where it can be used by others; or d) wasted. If solar panels were connected directly to a home’s electrical system, it could cause problems such as blinking lights, damaged appliances and more. Safety Reason The other reason power goes out in homes with solar panel systems during an outage is related to safety. GVEC repair crews couldn’t safely work to repair damaged lines during an outage with power still flowing along the grid through connected solar panels. The reason is that these systems, if still powered up, can create a phenomenon known as backfeed. Backfeeds can cause...

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Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days or at Night?

March 18, 2020

While the climate of South Central Texas is mostly warm and sunny throughout the year, we do have our cloudier and cooler days. If you have been considering going solar, you might be wondering if solar panels only work when it’s sunny and warm. Here is what you can expect from your solar panels, whether it’s sunny, cloudy or nighttime. Sunny Days Give the Best Results Solar panels are made up of numerous solar cells. Their job is to absorb light that will be converted into usable energy. They are most effective when there is plenty of sunlight available. When the sun shines on them, they produce the most energy. The electricity produced does not go to waste if your home cannot use it all. Depending on your solar system setup, the electricity is either sent back to the electric grid and bought back by your electricity provider or to a battery storage system, like Tesla Powerwall, for use when your panels aren’t producing. Solar Panels Don’t Take Cloudy Days Off You might be surprised to hear that solar panels continue to work on cloudy days. If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day, you know that the...

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How Long Do Solar Panels Last and When Should They Be Replaced?

March 10, 2020

When you’re considering going solar, it’s important to understand what’s involved with this process and what you as a homeowner can generally expect. As a rule of thumb, solar panels will generally last 25 to 30 years. Even after they have gone through that entire life cycle, solar panels will continue to produce electricity, but the amount they produce may be diminished from when they were originally manufactured. However, it’s not uncommon for solar panels to function for many decades as long as they aren’t damaged by the weather or any other external factors. This is possible because solar panels don’t have any moving parts, and they rarely break internally. Solar panels should be replaced when they degrade to a point where they no longer offer efficient electrical generation for your home. With a return on investment average of six to eight years, this is usually long after your solar panel system has paid for itself in savings on your electricity bill. At this point, you should think about replacing your solar panels. How Can I Ensure My Solar Panels Last as Long as Possible? Call GVEC Home® if you suspect your solar panel system is damaged or producing less...

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