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Renewable energy is the future of energy and covers a range of natural energy

sources including wind, wave and solar. These types of energy are available without resorting to burning fossil fuels or creating nuclear reactions. Renewable energy production methods are by definition sustainable with the aim of having no negative impact upon earths environment. MIB has concentrated on solar power in particular as part of our business services as we believe this offers the most cost effective renewable energy solution for non-utility clients. Solar power is the ability to capture energy directly from the Suns rays as they re ach the ground or building roof. There are two forms of solar power available today for the small business or the residential user both are fundamentally different from each other and both give significant cost savings. Solar energy collection systems, more commonly referred to as solar water heaters, are incorporated as part of the hot water system to preheat the water before conventional heating, such as gas or oil completes the heating cycle until the desired operating temperature is reached. These systems generally do not replace the house water heater but rather they aim to reduce the overall running costs and increase efficiency. Savings of 75% on monthly fuel costs are possible with this type of system even when other heat reduction methods such as improved insulation materials are not also installed. Solar Electricity or Photovoltaic (Solar PV) systems are the second solar collection method available today. These systems provide electrical energy directly from the suns rays. They MIB Engineers do this by using special semiconductors or cells that convert the light energy striking them 20333 STATE HIGHWAY 249, SUITE 200, HOUSTON, TX 77070 into electrical current. The cells are arranged into modules (panels) and these in turn are www.mibengineers.com mounted in arrays, usually on the property roof, to give the required power. Both types of solar systems, Solar Heating and Solar PV, have a common drawback, that MIB Engineers without the light from sun during day they 249, areSUITE ineffective. This means 20333 the STATE HIGHWAY 200, HOUSTON, TX 77070 that during the night or during overcast days www.mibengineers.com when electrical power or heat is required by the user, some other energy source must be used and there are several ways that this problem is overcome. The remainder MIB of this Engineers paper discusses only Solar PV systems and their use. For more information on Solar 20333 Heating contact MIB Engineers. STATEsystems HIGHWAY 249 The majority of Solar PV means to store the energy that isnt used immediately by the system load or to provide a supply when the sun is not available. There are two principle ways that this is done, firstly by using batteries on the premises which is called off grid solar or secondly by using the electricity supply company local grid connection which is called grid tie. The majority of residential systems installed today are grid tie systems mainly because costly batteries are eliminated.
SUITE 200 HOUSTON, TX 77070 systems must use some www.mibengineers.com PH:713-259-3301

MIB Engineers
20333 STATE HIGHWAY 249 SUITE 200 HOUSTON, TX 77070 www.mibengineers.com PH:713-259-3301

A basic Off-Grid Solar PV system layout is shown on the diagram below: A typical off-grid solar system

The diagram above illustrates the basic elements of a system that is independent of the electricity grid. This type of system is common on boats, RVs and remote buildings for example hunting cabins or wilderness refuges, that need rudimentary electricity for lights, radios and small appliances. A typical grid tied solar system

The most common type of residential installation is shown in the above block diagram. This type of system does not have any form of storage on the property, instead any excess power is fed back to the electricity company. These systems must use special meters to MIB Engineers allow a net billing or payment 20333 by the consumer. The exact type of meter arrangement can STATE HIGHWAY 249, SUITE 200, HOUSTON, TX 77070 vary from state to state. This type of system does have a major drawback because in the www.mibengineers.com event of a grid supply interruption the consumer cannot operate his system. Additional systems using combinations of Solar PV, wind turbines and generators can be designed and built but these more complex systems are beyond the scope of this short discussion. Solar arrays are generally placed on the property roof as this generally gives the most unobstructed view of the sun. This arrangement results in an added benefit of shading the roof below which can significantly reduce the heat load particularly with single story buildings in the summer months.

MIB Engineers
20333 STATE HIGHWAY 249 SUITE 200 HOUSTON, TX 77070 www.mibengineers.com PH:713-259-3301

System Economics There are several incentives to consider when choosing Solar PV installations. The most compelling reason is that a location that requires electricity has no existing supply of power and connection to the utility company will cost thousands of dollars. The only viable alternative in these situations is wind turbines or engine driven generators. The justification for Solar Power becomes more difficult when the case must be made and an existing utility supply is already available. In the case of older properties the decision may be more difficult. Installed costs for off grid solar are approximately (2011) $12/watt of peak generation capacity. Average homes are in the 3-4Kw range yielding an total installed cost of around $36-48k. Grid-tied systems are about 20% less costly because no batteries are required. Provided that applicable federal and state tax credits are utilized this initial cost can be reduced by up to 35% or higher and the remaining cost would normally be financed over 20 or 25 years. When the effects of net metering are taken into account the consumer would expect no net outlay per month for electricity or even a slight profit. The costs of Solar PV are usually spread out over a period determined by the project financing arrangements. The figure below indicates how the costs of a typical off-grid Solar PV system are modified over time from the installation.

Costs in Year 1

Costs in Year 20

(based on 1993 do not include finance charges)

The costs of solar equipment continue to reduce from year to year and it expected that viability of residential and small commercial systems will continue to improve. Accurate system costs can easily be calculated and presented to each client before installation begins, as many factors including array placement, current electricity usage and local credits and tariffs vary with every installation. MIB can assist customers with cost benefit analysis for each installation.

MIB Engineers
20333 STATE HIGHWAY 249 SUITE 200 HOUSTON, TX 77070 www.mibengineers.com PH:713-259-3301