Wiring a home for solar electric power is a skill that must be done with care to ensure the safe operation of electric devices and appliances in the solar powered home. Only a person with the skills and equipment to safely wire a home should tackle this type of job alone, but if you are planning or designing a solar home, it is very helpful to understand the process of getting the solar power from the photovoltaic collection panels and battery storage units to the outlets and appliances in your house.
Homes that use solar power use 120 volt or 220/240 volt alternating current (AC); so do homes that use fossil fuel generated power sources. There is, however, some differences in the wiring required and some additional equipment that is not required for the home that plugs into the costly and resource-depleting electric power grid. If you are designing a home, you'll need to keep in mind these requirements and include these into your cost projections and budgeting. The investment will pay for itself over a period of years by saving you money. As the cost of traditional power increases steadily, it may not take long to recoup your initial investment and begin realizing substantial savings each and every year that you live in the home.
When planning a solar home, you want to insulate the home very well. Purchase windows that are double paned and well sealed. Make certain they are installed in such a way that drafts do not seep around the window frames. Make sure door jams do not leak air as well. Attic and ceiling insulation is important as well. The less heat and cool air that is lost to the outside, the less energy is require to replace the comfort-controlled air, placing less demand on your solar electric power system.
You'll need to include in your home a battery meter and a start-stop switch for the solar power generator. You'll also want to plan more electric outlets than in a non-solar home so that you can easily light task areas rather than light entire rooms. You may want to have a few low voltage outlets for saving energy for devices that require very little energy like your telephone answering machine, fans and others. While you are planning for electric outlets, don't forget to place a few outside so you can use your solar electric power system for power tools or other outside activities.
While planning your unique home, don't forget outlets outside. Summer is when solar electric homes have lots of extra free power, so you may want an electric lawn mower and weed eater or fountain pump. You might want light and power in a shed or detached garage, for power tools, or an emergency battery charger to start the car. Special 12 volt DC motion sensor lights at each entrance, the woodshed, or the outhouse will light up for you even if the inverter (your AC power source) is in idle mode. Even an outhouse should have its chandelier! Plan ahead and wire for all these needs while you build.
Homes that are fully powered by solar electric energy do not usually allow for 220 volt AC appliances which operate from a 240 volt AC section of wiring. If you decide you simply must have 220 volt appliances in some cases, you'll have to remain somewhat dependant on traditional power. However, almost every appliance can be obtained in 120 volt models. The choice is, however, entirely up to you and if you only use your solar electric power system to provide most or all of your home's 120 volt AC needs, you'll be saving a lot of fossil fuels. But why not go all the way and power the entire house with solar power?
Planning ways of wiring a house for solar electric power can add fun to your home planning. You'll be saving non-renewable resources and saving money for yourself at the same time. Mother Earth will thank you.About the Author: Anita van Wyk strives to make make more people aware of the benefits of using solar energy through her website http://facts-about-solar-energy.com/
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