The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for your Home, 2E

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The perfect source for solar power?fully illustrated.

Solar Power (photovoltaics) is now a one-billion-dollar industry, and it's poised to grow rapidly in the near future as more pressure is placed on limited fossil fuel resources and as advances in solar technology drive down the costs of residential solar systems. This book helps readers understand the basics of solar power and other renewable energy sources, explore whether solar power makes sense for them, what their options...

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Overview

The perfect source for solar power—fully illustrated.

Solar Power (photovoltaics) is now a one-billion-dollar industry, and it's poised to grow rapidly in the near future as more pressure is placed on limited fossil fuel resources and as advances in solar technology drive down the costs of residential solar systems. This book helps readers understand the basics of solar power and other renewable energy sources, explore whether solar power makes sense for them, what their options are, and what's involved with installing various on and off-grid systems.
—Fully illustrated
—Covers every conceivable solar-power topic and concern, including updated information on the increasing number of state rebate and incentive programs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592576432
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Ramsey is the author of more than 20 books for homebuilders and buyers, including construction and business guides and homeowner remodeling and repair books.
David Hughes is the founder and president of Affordable Solar Group, LLC, one of the nation's largest designers and distributors of renewable energy systems and services.
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Table of Contents


Saving Your Energy     1
Looking into the Sun     3
Finding the Energy     4
Using Renewable Energy Sources     6
Solar Energy     7
Wind Energy     8
Hydro Energy     9
Bio Energy     9
Geothermal Energy     9
Other Energy Sources     10
Here Comes the Sun!     11
Changing Technologies and Attitudes     14
Estimating Your Home's Energy Needs     15
What's Home Energy?     16
Where Does the Energy Go?     18
How Much Does Home Energy Cost?     22
Considering a Solar Power System     24
Fifty Ways to Cut Your Home Energy Bills Right Now!     27
Understanding Heat Transfer     28
Auditing Your Energy     28
Do It Yourself     28
Professional Energy Audits     30
You've Been Audited, Now What?     31
Building and Retrofitting for Efficiency     34
Solar Power Incentives and Paybacks     39
Energy Policy Act     40
The Feds Step In     41
Rebates     43
State Tax Incentives     44
Selling YourExcess Power     44
Renewable Energy Credits     45
Your Right to Light     46
Financing Your Solar Home     49
About Financing     50
Home Energy Rating     51
Energy-Efficient Financing     52
Fannie Mae     52
Freddie Mac     53
Farmer Mac     54
Department of Energy (DOE)     54
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)     54
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)     55
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)     56
State Energy Financing     56
Utility Financing     57
Solar Vendors     57
Building Your New Solar Home     59
Building Codes     60
Beginning the Construction Process     60
Solar Design     63
Orienting Your Solar Home     64
Energy-Efficient Design     65
Thermal Envelope     66
Doors, Windows, and Appliances     66
Heating and Cooling     67
Controlled Ventilation     67
Contractors and Suppliers     68
Retrofitting Your Home for Solar Power     71
Solar Climate      72
Your Current Home     74
Planning Your Solar Power System     75
Pricing Your Solar Power System     76
Replacing Appliances     77
Upgrading Insulation and Weatherstripping     78
Solar Landscaping Savings     81
Saving Money with Landscaping     82
Summer     82
Winter     82
Trees Clean the Air, Too     83
Considering the Climate     83
Designing for Solar Advantage     85
Shading     85
Wind Protection     87
Planning Your Landscape     87
Selecting Trees and Shrubs     89
Shapes     89
Growth     89
Buying     89
Solar Energy Applications     91
Solar Electric Generation and Storage     93
Understanding Solar Electricity     94
Batteries Not Included     95
Net Metering     96
System Components     97
PV Modules     98
BIPV Modules     101
Selecting Batteries     102
Charge Controllers     104
Selecting Inverters     106
Waveform      107
Frequency     108
Voltage     108
Power Rating     109
Inverter Types     109
Battery-Charging Inverters     110
Intertie Inverters     110
Building to Code     111
What Else Will You Need?     111
Selecting Your Solar Power System     112
Selecting System Components     112
Sizing Your System     113
Installing Your Solar Power System     115
Racking PV Modules     116
Azimuth and Declination: What's the Angle?     117
Wind and Water Power     119
Harnessing the Wind     119
Selecting a Wind Power System     121
Using Water Power     125
Harnessing Water Power     125
Estimating Hydropower Output     128
Solar Water Heating     131
Cutting Hot Water Costs     131
Solar Water Heaters     133
Making Your Swimming Pool More Efficient     136
Heating Your Pool with Solar Energy     137
Solar Space Heating     139
Passive Solar Basics     140
Working with the Sun     141
Orienting Your Solar Space      144
Storing Solar Heat     145
Distributing and Controlling Solar Heat     146
Cooling with the Sun     147
Solar Power Systems     149
Supplemental Power Systems     151
Using Supplemental Power     152
Genverter Systems     152
Components     154
Cost     154
Outdoor Solar Lighting     156
DC Appliances and Lighting     157
Remote Power     159
Grid-Tie Systems     161
How Net Metering Works     162
The Interconnection Process     166
Understanding the Interconnection Agreement     167
Getting Permits     168
Installation     169
Off-Grid Systems     171
What's a Standalone System?     172
Efficiency Is a Virtue     173
AC or DC?     174
12, 24, or 48 Volts?     175
Systems with Batteries     176
The Full Off-Grid System     177
Monitoring Power Production     178
Emergency Power Systems     181
Planning for the Worst     182
What's an Emergency?     182
What Do You Need?      183
Calling for Backup     185
UPS     185
Generators     186
Battery Banks     188
Other Renewable Backup Systems     189
Portable Power Systems     191
Taking to the Road: Solar RV Systems     192
Taking to the Water: Solar Power for Boaters     195
Cooking with Solar Power     195
Portable PV Systems for Remote and Apartment Living     196
Designing Your Portable Solar Power System     197
Solar Power Projects     201
Buying Solar Systems and Components     203
Solar Power Sans Batteries     203
Solar Equipment Resources     205
Finding Good Suppliers     206
Asking the Right Questions     208
Taking Delivery     209
Hiring the Brightest Solar Contractor     211
Considering Contractors     212
Building Permits     212
Licensed Contractors     213
Selecting Your Contractor     215
Calling for Bids     216
Hiring a Hard-Working Contractor     218
Working with Your Solar Contractor     218
Builder Beware!     220
Solar Codes      220
Solar Standards     221
Doing It Yourself-Or Not     223
Can You Install Your Solar Power System?     223
Should You Install Your Solar Power System?     225
A Typical Installation Process     227
The Right Tools     228
Working with Inspectors     229
Getting Adequate Insurance Coverage     230
Maintaining Your Solar Power System     233
Monitoring Your Power     234
What Should You Be Monitoring?     235
Maintaining Your Solar Power System     236
Keeping Track of Maintenance     237
Troubleshooting Solar Power     238
Making Your Life More Energy-Efficient     241
Expanding Awareness     242
Living Off-Grid     243
Composting Toilets     243
Greywater Systems     244
Living Like Grandpa     245
Driving into the Future     246
The Next Best Thing: Fuel Cells     247
Parts of a Fuel Cell System     248
Understanding How Fuel Cells Work     249
Technology Marches On     251
Appendixes
Solar Glossary     253
Solar Resources      277
Index     309
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