How to Run Your House Solely on Solar Power

The real question might be, why wouldn't anyone want to convert the family homestead to function off the sun's rays? Sounds like quite the formula for happiness, right?
The truth is, deciding to go solar has some pretty big benefits -- but they're somewhat offset by potential drawbacks.
Solar power is free, after the initial investment of setting up the system. Solar power is also efficient (although its actual level of efficiency is debated by some experts) and free of pollution. But once you decide to go fully solar -- off the grid -- you've got to cope with foul weather that might put a damper on your plans.
If you stay on the grid (the traditional electric system), you can still use traditional utility-provided power in situations where you can't make enough power or don't have any power stored. The goal is often to eliminate the need for fossil fuels entirely, but this option might be enough to convert some skeptics who are hesitant to make the leap. The terminology might also be off-putting, since "going off the grid" is sometimes associated with tax dodgers and serial killers. Rest assured, a wholehearted solar home is entirely wholesome.
Planning to run your house completely on solar power requires considerable financial, mental and emotional investments. The infrastructure is a little more complicated, the calculations must be more precise, and a mistake can leave you without enough juice to get by. At least there's already a light to guide you along the way.
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wrote:

Solar power ? Pollution Free ? Bullshit...
Just like with the Hybrid Electric Vehicles the "pollution" is concentrated into the batteries for a properly installed solar power system...
The solar power panels do not last forever, the batteries have to be maintained regularly and replaced, and you have to have a room full of them somewhere unless you are willing to totally ration power down to almost nothing when it is stormy and cloudy weather...
Solar power is a viable option in places where you would be looking at having to pay for miles and miles of distribution cables and utility poles to be installed to connect to the closest power source or if you have a small island and would be looking at underwater cables which are very expensive...
Solar Panels, Combiner Box, Charge Controller, Battery Racks, Batteries, Inverter, System Grounding...
You would not want to put all your eggs in one basket if you are going "utility independent" you would also want a wind turbine and an emergency generator with a large enough fuel tank...
You need the other power sources when you are not connected to the power grid because of weather, system component failures, maintenance which requires powering the system off, etc...
The cost benefit analysis of choosing solar power over a utility provider must be based on the initial connection charges and maintenance of any wiring which is on your property which can be burdensome if you have long runs of utility poles to reach your house... The cost of a solar grid of the correct size and capacity to power a typical house with no grid connection needs a lot of roof or ground area as well as a provision for batteries for system power storage capacity... The controllers which operate these systems are not cheap, nor are the correctly sized back up systems like wind turbines and emergency generators all of which must be sized for the full system load so when you are maintaining your "utility independent" system you don't have to be in the dark while doing so...
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On Tue, 26 Jun 2012 15:57:21 -0700 (PDT), Evan
Re: How to Run Your House Solely on Solar Power:

Well put.
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But only a loon would use batteries when the grid is available, so this is the pathological case and not indicative of the cost or environmental impact of solar in general. There are millions of solar systems in increasing numbers around the country and almost none have batteries.

I can see one additional source, but let's not go crazy here.

Again, the pathological case.
The cost of a solar grid of the correct size

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On Tue, 26 Jun 2012 14:40:51 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Going off the grid kills your option to sell extra power back to the power company. I can't think of a sane reason to go off the grid either.
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On Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:45:16 -0400, Metspitzer wrote:

Well, there's limited panel life and the maintenance of keeping them clean to think about.

Panel efficiency is really rather poor, isn't it (only a very low percentage of energy is converted into electricity)? Optimal efficiency requires tracking the sun's rays, but even then you need large panel area to get useful output.

Other than the 'cost' of producing the panels.

And that little thing that some of us like to call 'night'. :-)
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Metspitzer wrote:

Run your home off sunbeams?
I'm reminded of the observation by Samuel Johnson, limited by my failing memory:
"A woman in the pulpit is like a dog raised up on its hinder legs. It is not surprising that the act is done poorly; what is surprising is that the dog would want to do so at all."
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