Homeowners trying to save money by lowering thier utility bills are buying and installing solar systems. With just a little basic understanding of home remodeling and a local licensed electrician everyday DIY guys and gals are putting solar to work.
Here is a story of how one homeowner took the initiative and installed his own homemade ground mount DIY solar panel system so he could freely cool his home. That is one way to cut the edge off global warming and the recent hot temperatures.
Harnessing the sun a Floridian homeowner turns to solar power to beat the heat. TBO Hayley Mathis – Lisa and Lauren Daughrity remember a time when they used to hang their clothes to air dry instead of using the dryer and always had to monitor how much they ran the air-conditioning.
Now thanks to Lisa’s husband Bill, she and daughter Lauren, 16, can beat the Florida heat with a cool house and enjoy having dry clothes in an hour. Bill Daughrity, a retired computer programmer and landlord, decided he wanted his family to enjoy luxuries like air-conditioning and dryers while also cutting down on his electric bill, so instead of just turning off lights when leaving a room or keeping the air-conditioning at a constant 78 degrees, Daughrity took it a step further and installed solar panels in his yard.
“It’s great. Now I can run the dryer and the AC freely,” Lisa Daughrity said.
After spending last summer researching the advantages of solar panels on the internet, Bill Daughrity bought a 44 solar panel kits and various supplies to install them, such as grid-tied inverters and steel, from around the country. Formulating plans to sidestep the normal solar installers, Bill carefully thought through the whole process.
Daughrity filed for a permit that allowed him to install the solar panels himself and spent two months mounting the panels on a 30 degree tilt in order to get the maximum amount of power throughout the year.
Together, the solar panels generate 4,000 watts, each running at 205 watts, more than enough for Daughrity to power his house.
Energy from the sun goes through the solar panels to the grid-tied inverters that convert the energy to run the air-conditioning, refrigerator, televisions and other electric appliances. Any excess solar energy generated goes back through the inverters and back onto the power lines.
On a cloudy day, the solar panels produce less power, but Daughrity said he uses the excess energy that the solar panels produce on sunny days.
“Right now I’m producing more solar electricity than I use,” said Daughrity. When there is a power outage, the solar panels will still convert energy but the inverters will automatically shutdown out of safety to electricians who may be checking the power lines.
Daughrity installed a switch on the solar array that will disconnect his inverters from the main power lines so he can still power his house while not running the risk of hurting someone. “This would be good for power outages if you want to keep running the refrigerator and so on,” he said.
Daughrity said the total cost for purchasing and installing the solar panels himself was about $32,000. However, the federal government gave Daughrity 30 percent back of what he spent on the panels. So he spent about $22,000 out of pocket for the solar system. “There are incentives to go green,” he said. “I have a lot of money invested in our solar installation. It will pay off in about 12 years.”
Daughrity said a bad economy and high electric bills was his incentive to install the solar panels. During the winter, his electric bill went as high as $250 a month. Now Daughrity has gotten his bill down to as low as $27 a month.
“It saves us a lot of money that can go towards other things,” he said. Although installing solar panels and inverters is costly, Daughrity said even a few solar panels can make a difference. “Anything anybody can do to help offset the fuel we burn has got to help,” he said.
Daughrity said he bought 44 solar panels from a local dealer and miscellaneous equipment from Northern California to build his custom solar system.