Submitted by Charles Frost on Sat, 02/24/2007 - 21:24.
Who Says That Solar Panels Have To Be Ugly???
I was asked to post a photo of my house in Cleveland Heights where I put up some solar panels (solar shingles) last summer:
Here is a description of the installation that I put together:
The 60 Uni-Solar SHR-17 solar shingles that make up
the photovoltaic (PV) array on the south facing back
roof gather the sunlight and change it into electricity.
They currently cost about $125 dollars each, for a
total cost of about $7500. They each generate 17
watts of electricity. It is generated as direct current
(DC) for a total of 1020 watts (just over a kilowatt).
Cleveland gets an average of 4 hours of sunlight per
day, so each day this 1 kw system has the potential
to generate 4 kilowatt hours of power. That works out
to almost 1500 kwh per year. If I were to cut down all
of the trees in my back yard, and get my neighbors to
cut down all of their trees too, than I might be able to
generate as much solar electric power as I consume.
The direct current (DC) electricity from the solar
array travels through wires in armored cable from the
back roof to the garage. In the garage the wires
enter the Sunny Boy 1800u inverter ($2000) after
passing through a DC disconnect/fuse box.
The inverter converts the DC power from solar panels
to AC power (alternating current) which is what the
house uses. Any electricity that the house doesn't use
goes back to the elecrtic grid by way of the same
electric power lines that normally deliver electricity
to the house.
The total cost of the parts of the system were about
$11,000. The cost of the installation labor might cost
about $2000, depending on the installer.
With the current local rate for coal generated electricity
being about 13 cents per kwh, the economic payback
for this sized building integrated PV system would be
about 66 years. This would, of course, be for a house
with no trees on the south side.