General - F.A.Q.

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There are four main types of solar energy technologies:
1. Photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert sunlight directly to electricity by means of PV cells made of semiconductor materials.
2. Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, which concentrate the sun's energy using reflective devices such as troughs or mirror panels to produce heat that is then used to generate electricity.
3. Solar water heating systems, which contain a solar collector that faces the sun and either heats water directly or heats a "working fluid" that, in turn, is used to heat water.
4. Transpired solar collectors, or "solar walls," which use solar energy to preheat ventilation air for a building.

Solar energy takes advantage of the sun’s rays to generate heat or electricity. It is an infinitely renewable resource and unique for its ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean, and consistent manner. Can’t beat the sun for being oh-so-cool!

In layperson terms, photovoltaic cells are comprised of a semiconductor material such as silicon. Added to the silicon are the elements phosphorous and boron which create conductivity within the cell and activate the movement of electrons. The electrons move across the cell when activated by the sunlight’s energy into the electrical circuit hooked up to the solar panel.

A 2kW solar electric system will cost approximately 5-10 Lakhs. That total includes the cost for all components – solar panels, panel mounts, and inverter – and labor associated with installation. It does not however, reflect all the avoided costs, such as the tax breaks and the credits received through net metering.

Both devices, either breaker or fuse, are designed to trip (turn off) in the event of an electrical overload, i.e. 20Amps of electrical load on a 15Amp circuit would cause a trip. The only difference is that a breaker is mechanical and may be reset, whereas, a fuse is one time only and must be replaced. Please Note: Modern breakers are much more efficient and offer greater levels of protection.

Surges are created by lightning or from the local power station. Sometimes, a surge of electricity can flood out to the residents from the power station. A surge protector helps to protect your electrical devices from a power surge. Usually, surge protectors are used for electronic devices such as computers and flat screen televisions. If you appreciate your electronic devices and want them to perform efficiently without having to worry about replacing them, you may want to consider protecting your devices with a surge protector.

Most electrical wire is made of copper. Copper is predominately used in residential construction with the exception of the service cable and single purpose high-amperage circuits such as sub-panels, electrical ranges or air conditioners. Since copper is a better conductor than aluminum, the aluminum wire must be larger to safely carry the same current as copper.
Some houses built or remodeled between the early 1950s and late 1970s were wired with aluminum . This wiring can be identified by the letters AL or the word ALUMINUM stamped on the plastic covering or cable. Don't confuse the brand name ALCAN with solely aluminum wiring. Alcan makes both copper and aluminum wiring for residential purposes.
There are basically three reasons why aluminum wiring may be of concern:
1. It has a tendency to oxidize which increases the wire's resistance resulting in the wire overheating at the receptacle
2. It is more malleable (softer) than copper and therefore easily nicked
3. Because of its high thermal expansion, it has a tendency to change shape at the terminal screws and thus become loose or creep off

Research by the scientific community over several decades has found no conclusive evidence to indicate the fields from transmission lines such as these cause or contribute to adverse health effects. Sparker Energy Solution continues to monitor research in this area. If you would like more information, please contact us or review online reports from a number of reputable scientific organizations online:
- World Health Organization EMF Fact Sheets
- International Agency for Research on Cancer

You could install a photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric system yourself. But to avoid complications or injury, you will probably want to hire a reputable professional contractor with experience in installing solar systems. PV systems have few moving parts, so they require little maintenance. The components are designed to meet strict dependability and durability standards so they can stand up to the elements. However, they are fairly sophisticated electric systems, so installation usually requires the knowledge and experience of a licensed electrical equipment contractor.

Not completely. Conventional electric or gas water heating systems are still necessary as a supplement to the solar water heating system, largely because the sun might not shine in a particular area for several days at a time. However, because solar water heaters are designed provide hot water directly to the tank of a gas or electric water heater, they reduce the need for the water heater to run on conventional fuels. And this in turn reduces your gas or electric bill. Depending on where you live, solar water heaters can provide up to 80% of your home's annual water-heating needs.

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. The cost of a solar system depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the system and the particular system manufacturer, retailer, and installer. However, any solar rebates and other incentives available in your area will reduce that total cost. For solar water heaters and space heaters, you will also be taking into consideration the price of the fuel used to back up the system. In most cases, you will have to add in the cost of supplemental natural gas or electricity to get a fairly accurate estimate of how much you can expect to pay for a solar system.

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