October 14, 2019 Home
Solar power is in the news a lot these days. There are many more products in stores that run on solar power. Solar panels and other equipment are available at building supply stores.
This article looks at three aspects of solar power: adding power to the electric grid; installing your own small scale solar unit; buying solar-powered products.
Solar power supplies the electric grid. Throughout the USA, electric companies are building more and more solar arrays. These large scale solar arrays provide electricity directly to the grid. Over the last few years, costs of constructing and maintaining solar facilities have become cheaper than operating fossil-fuel plants. There are several medium size solar arrays in operation in Powell Valley Electric Cooperative’s area. These include one near Hancock Elementary School and one outside Clinch School.
Install your own small scale solar panels. If you have a barn or shed or outbuilding that is far from your house or electric meter, you can install a solar powered unit at low cost. I now have light and power in two sheds. I can work in my shed at night without the cost of an additional meter and monthly fee.
What do you need? A location for the panel that gets a good amount of sunlight and is not too far from the barn or shed. Cost? About $100 for a 100 watt panel, $20 for a controller, and $70 for a deep cycle battery (with battery trade in). You also need electric cable to connect these pieces and connect to electric boxes for lights. For an additional $25 for an inverter, you can install a 110 outlet to run small devices such as a fan or radio.
The pieces of the system are available at stores like Harbor Freight and Walmart – or online. If you are interested in setting up a system in your barn or shed and want help with installation, call 276/378-6760 for more information. Since I do not have technical skills, I relied upon this assistance to make sure my system runs properly.
Buy solar-powered products. If you go into a building supply store or a Target or Walmart, you can find a large selection of solar powered devices. These include: outdoor lighting, Christmas lighting, motion sensor lights, fountains, fans. Technology is moving along rapidly, so the variety of products available will continue to increase.
Everyone needs to learn more about our electric cooperative. For more information, go to pve.coop.