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Understanding Solar Energy

What is a renewable energy system?
A renewable energy system uses sunlight, wind and/or water power to produce electricity to power your home. A basic system is comprised of four basic components: solar modules and/or wind generator, charge controller, batteries and an inverter. Energy is collected at the home site by the solar panels, wind generators, or hydro-electric generators and then stored in batteries for later use. When you need electricity in your home, this stored power moves from the batteries through the inverter, which converts the power from DC to AC. Any DC or AC appliance can be run on an alternative energy system, including computers, televisions and stereos.

What size solar electric system do I need to run my home?
The recommended size of your system will depend on your power consumption. If you want to completely replace your current electrical purchases from the utility with a solar electric system, the first step is calculating your power requirements. Solartech Technologies has a fully engineering staff to assist you through this process.  If you design an energy efficient home, you could cut your electricity usage dramatically, reducing the size system you need. In the real world, the majority of home systems range from 4 kW to 7 kW. Where you live, if you are on the grid or off, and how you live, will dictate the size of your system and its ultimate cost.

How much does it cost?
System size and cost are directly related to the number of appliances used and the length of time they are used. Simply put: the power collected must at least equal the power consumed. By analysis of the expected electrical loads, the experienced engineers at Solartech Technologies can size the system to provide what the homeowner needs and can afford. This can be significantly less than the cost of providing a new line from the utility grid or running a large generator continuously.  Beyond the initial cost of the system components, there are no monthly electric bills.

How difficult is the system to install and maintain?
The new, state-of-the-art alternative energy systems are remarkably simple and reliable. Those homeowners with average mechanical abilities can easily install and maintain their own system.

How long will a solar electric system last?
Solar modules have been tested in controlled settings and in the field, with results showing module lifetimes in excess of 20 years. Other system components have varied lifetimes. Batteries can last 2-15 years, depending on care. The electronic components, being the most sensitive, will last anywhere between 3 and twenty years.

What about solar charging for RVs?
RV adventurers know the value of a mobile power system. Owner installed kits are available for all size systems, both DC and AC. Solartech Technologies can provide custom sizing, custom mounting structures, and experienced installers for your top-of-the-line system.

Can I use renewable power to pump water from a remote well?
Self contained remote power systems for well pumping and remote communications have long been a cost effective and reliable solution for basic requirements.

New advances in solar pumps have pushed the range of these energy efficient systems to even greater depths. State tax incentives and the offset savings on electrical infrastructure offer an added value. Careful analysis of the options available matched with the site conditions will provide the best return for your money. The solar professionals at Solartech Technologies can help you do just that.

If you have a question not covered above, please send an e-mail to Solartech Technologies. Or call us at 210-340-1957.

You might also want to check out our links page for a list of renewable energy resources on the web.

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