Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Solar mounting systems pros and cons.

I have been giving this a lot of thought lately about what is the best way to mount solar panels. Do you use the roof, a pole, or ground mount? So I thought I would lay out the pros and cons of each system. You can be the judge.

Roof mount

1. The roof keeps the panels out of the yard.
2. It's the cheapest way to install the panels.
3. Less likely to have to get a zoning permit.
4. Looks nice.

1. Reaching them to clean them.
2. They get hotter on the roof. Which heat is the enemy.
3. Harder to keep clean especially in the winter.
4. Harder to fix.
5. More dangerous to install.
6. Panels are at fixed angle.

Pole Mount

1. Easier to work on.
2. Panels stay cooler.
3. Less snow build up.
4. Can change the angle of the panels.
5. You can use a tracker on it.

1. More work to install.
2. Cost more than a roof system.
3. Takes up a portion of the yard.

Ground mount (very similar to pole with some exceptions)

1. Easier to work on.
2. Panels stay cooler
3. Less snow build up.
4. Lower to the ground.

1. Cost more to install then pole mounted.
2. Uses more yard space then a pole.
3. Panels are fixed like a roof system.
4. Most labor intensive of all the mounting systems.

Here are few examples of the pros and cons of the different solar mounting systems. I personally like using the pole mounted system. The panels work better, it's easier to install the equipment on and the way we install them it's a nice and clean installation. Most of the systems that I have installed currently are of this type. Some of the customers were questioning the installation before it went in. But once we were done they were happy with the look after it was done.

For more information about renewably energy systems for your home I recommend subscribing to Home Power Magazine. This is a great resource of information.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Living off the Grid is not right for everybody.

It always seems when I turn around there is always an article in some newspaper about how some guy has been living off the grid for 20 years. I always think to myself that it is so cool. I would like to do that too. But then I get to thinking are you nuts.

Now I am the type of person that could do that but I'll be straight up with you, I am freak-in lazy. Living off the grid takes major dedication. It is not for the average person. For example you need to have some kind of mechanical ability. Batteries have a lot maintenance issues and are very dangerous. They give off toxic gases that are not good for you.

I know that if I lived of the grid and the first time the system failed and my wife couldn't get any water that would be the end of living off the grid. Beside off grid living is not for the poor. The stuff that is used to make this happen is very expensive.

Now the average guy, which I am an average guy, on the other hand can still enjoy the benefits of being close to being off the grid without all that dangerous stuff and monkeying around with batteries.

The first thing is you really need to take a good look at your power usage. You need to figure out how you can reduce to around 500- 600 kWh a month of power usage. That seems to be that magic number for an affordable system. I blogged about this very issue awhile back.

Well how do I know what I use a month? I tell people that then need to get some type of monitoring system for your electricity usage. I really like the TED system

With this monitor you can dial your energy usage right in by the minute. Helping to obtain that desired power usage level.

Next thing I would tell them get an energy audit done. This generally is a cheap way to find out where your energy is going. Once the auditor has come and done a report for you Then you can focus on fixing some of those energy issues.

Once you got your energy usage under control then we can figure out a good renewable energy system size. By reducing it will save you thousands in a new system.

After your new system is installed you can live virtually off the grid without all the hassles of being off grid.

Now back to the guy off the grid, those guys are few and far between and generally are so far back in woods some where it doesn't make sense to be on the grid. If you are that person call me I can help you out with that off the grid system.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm not just talking renewable energy. I'M DOING IT!!!

Every since I started doing renewable energy people have asked me, "Jeff what do you have at your house?" For a long time I said nothing. But just this year I decided it was time to do something. Because if you are going to try and sell this stuff to others without doing it yourself, seemed kind of hypocritical. Why should I get you to buy a system from me if I don't do myself. If it such a great idea why not use it yourself. So I decided I was got to pull the trigger on a system for here.

I really wanted a wind turbine at my home but because where I live that does not allow me to have one. So I decided to go with solar. By now I was not sure about this decision to go with solar, because I was like everyone else. Oh that won't work here because it is so cloudy all the time. But my first system in Glen Lake changed my mind. It was working so well that I decided to go for it. Since that project I have done several others.

Well two weeks ago I started with installing the roof mounted racking. This racking is on the West side of the garage, not the South side like typical installations are done. My ridge line runs North and South so I can only place them on the West or East side of the roof.

Once the racking was done I installed all the Enphase micro-inverters.

With the micro-inverters it allow each panel to work independent of the other panels. Which in case of a panel failing, that allows the system to continue to work. I also can monitor each panel individually. Also since I have some shades throughout the day this does not effect the whole system just that one panel. Here is a link to my system that you can see throughout the day.

The next day I installed the solar panels and connected all the panels to the inverters.

Street view

Next Spring I am planning on installing 6 more panels on the East side of the garage roof. This will almost allow us to have a net zero everyday for electricity.

I have been very pleased with the out come of my system so far. We have not recieved an electric bill yet. But since I monitor our house pretty closely with the TED I know how well the system is working. We have actually had some very low days of kilowatt usage since the installation. I hope to have something up on my website soon to show how well the system interacts with my house and solar. So keep checking back from time to time.

If this something you are interested in doing at your home or business feel free to give me a call with your questions or if you would like an estimate to install a system for yourself. We live solar everyday and we love it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's been a little busy lately.

I was talking to a customer the other day and he asked why I have not blogged in awhile. I told him that I have been a little busy lately and have not had time to do it.

So I have a little time this morning to share a few things that I have been working on.

I just finished up a 5kw solar system in the Kingsley area.
I am still battling with Consumer's Energy on how this is to be hooked up to the grid. Their diagram and the one that I submitted and was approved for, are not what they wanted. Now it looks like I have to redo the whole service.

I also have started another solar project in the Midland area which is with Consumer's Energy also. Which I am sure that I will have the same problem there also.

I have been giving out a lot of price on windmills and solar project. I have also been doing a lot of expos and shows. The next show will be August at the Buckley Old Engine Show.

That's all I got for now I hope to have links up for these solar project in the near future.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Car or renewable energy. Which is the better value?

I just finished up the Habitat for Humanity Home and Garden Show here in Traverse City. I had a pretty steady flow the whole weekend. But the common theme seem to be "Boy that is expensive!"

So I got to thinking about this statement. It has been something that I've wanted blog about for awhile.

Lets take my truck, the one that I would use to bring material to your project. I am going to use rough numbers for this example when I compare the $16,500.00 solar package that I had listed for the show, which is still available for this price until the end of the month.

I purchased a new 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD it cost around $30000.00. I managed to pay it off in 3 1/2 years. But since then it still continues to cost me money, a lot of MONEY!!! I will be using 4 years for the example not 5 years because I have not owned it for 5 yet.

Fuel: $ 20,800.00 ($100 to fill up average over 4 years)
Oil Changes: $990.00 ( I have 110000 miles and I change the oil every 5k miles)
Repairs $ 4000.00 (Brake job twice and a transmission replaced)
Tires: $1800.00 (3 set of tires every 30k miles)
Misc: $500.00
Insurance: $6000.00
Total $34,090.00 ( That does not include the truck and the interest that I paid for the loan.)

Now this is not typical of someone that may have a car and this is just to illustrate how the solar package that I am currently offering is a great deal compared to a vehicle.

But if I didn't have to have this vehicle I could have bought about 4 solar systems. Lasting me 20 plus years with little or no extra costs. Which would eliminate my electrical cost to the power company for years to come.

If you do the math for a vehicle and how much it costs. Which people have no problem spending that kind of money. When in about 7 years they will turn around and buy another and start all over again with the cycle.

So what sounds like a better value to you in the end?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wind or Solar what do you think is better?

I blogged a while back about the pro and cons of wind and solar. I said I would write another blog about what is right for Michigan. Well I am not quite ready for that. But I am willing to show you some data that I have so far.

I have two project that I installed in the area one is a 2.4kw wind turbine and one 2.1kw solar system. Each project has their issues. The wind turbine gets no Northeast or East wind. The solar panels have some shadowing from the trees that are near them.
As you can see the sources are about the same size, kilowatt rating and the both have some issues not making them perfect.

Since the solar project has only been operational since January 16 of this year. It is not fair to make a quick judgement one way or another which is better just yet. I would like to see at least a years worth of data before I make the call which is better.

But what I do have is some data from Jan 16 for both units and you are going to be surprised.

The solar project since it has been installed has generated 421kWh since it was put into service.

The wind project from the same date to present has generated 328kWh.

The solar has out produced the wind by 93kWh or 22%. But keep in mind this has been a weird year so far especially for the month of March where we had a lot of sun which is very unusual for us. This is why I can not say one is better then the other yet. Once we have a years worth of data this will make it more true to life I believe.

The one thing that I am seeing in the numbers is that the sun is more consistant where the wind is not. But there are days that the wind has out produced the solar by a lot. Something that the solar will not be able to do because the wind can blow for 24 hours straight where the sun can not shine for 24 hours.

But stay tune I will keep you up to date as I get data throughout the next few months. You can follow the solar output here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why are there three blades on a windmill?

Well some of you know that I was in Norman, Ok for training of the Bergey wind turbine. But I am now back and it was worth the trip to their company.

There was a lot of discussions about all the various types of turbines available on the market. Everything from vertical turbines right on up to the different turbines with one blade on up to the old fashion Aeromotors.

So because of these discussions that we had I am losing one of the turbines that I have in my line up. Let me go into more detail about why I am not going to use this particular turbine and various others.

I am going to start with the vertical axis type first, like the Windspire for example. Bergey actually tried to make this type of turbine work back in the 70's and was unsuccessful because they could not get the rpm's needed to generate power. But what they did find out that they could get torque which works great for pumping water, not good for electricity making. Also the blades are in a constant battle with each other in the wind never achieving the rpm's needed without a lot of wind speed.

Next is the one bladed machines. Which they are technically what you need to make a wind turbine generate a lot of power. But they are so lop sided that there is to much to go wrong. The other thing is you need a lot of wind to get it started. But once that happens it spins very fast and that's where things go wrong.

Two bladed machines are the next better choice. Again they are plagued with their technical problems. The problem with them is the blades get teetering back and forth causing alot of strain on the blades and the hub bearing. As the blade passes the tower it causes the blade to unload the wind blowing against it. Because the wind has to move around the tower. So the bottom has less force and the top blade has all the wind's force causing this teetering effect on the blades.

Three bladed is what turbine manufactures use because it is reliable and it helps get rid of some the other issues that other turbines with other blade configurations have. It is easier to balance the load on the hub with three blades. Like the two bladed turbines the three bladed turbines can counter act the teetering effect much better. Because there are always two blades in the wind. With the turbine being horizontal all the blades are in the wind at any given time not like the verticals which are not.

Now on to the reasoning of why I have decided to drop one of the turbines that I currently have. It's because it is a multi-bladed turbine. Since it has more then three blades the turbine will actually slow down, producing less power but more torque. Just like the Aeromotors in the old pictures of farms with windmills that you see with a lot of blades. Those turbines were designed for more torque in less winds to pump water out of the ground. Not for speed to generate electricity like we are today with the new wind turbines.

You may say just because I went to Bergey and they talked about these different blade styles. How are they correct? Well here is my take on that, they have been around thirty years and they are one of the very few left from the energy crisis back in the 70's. So to me that gives them a lot of credibility in my eyes. There are a lot of companies today that are trying to get rich quick and I'm not one of them. I believe you get what you pay for.

My mission is, "To seek out the best turbine, producing the most power, that can be reliable, and at is most reasonably price possible."

Stop back in the next few days and I will have more to say about my trip to Norman, OK and the Bergey product. I will also be talking about the turbine that is replacing the Skystream and Raum wind turbine too.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Win the Smart Strip Game:

Here is how the game is going to be played. I am leaving town around March 14th, to go to Norman, OK for training on the Bergey wind turbine that I sell and on the way home I will be stopping in Freeport, IL to meet a wind turbine dealer that I know there that has installed the new wind turbine that I have been thinking about carrying. I will be posting some video of this turbine and also blogging about it when I get back to Traverse City.

The game is simple:

1) You have to be a Fan on the J.D. Stratton Electric Facebook page to win.

2) You will need a Twitter account to follow me at or go to my blog there is a Twitter feeder there you can use it to follow along too. I have my Twitter account linked to my Fan page, but to be safe I would do one of the other two items just in case.

3) As I am going through different towns along the way I will tweet where I am in my trip. I will be driving to OK one way and to IL a different way.

4) You will have to write the towns down each day, in order, as I tweeted them. When I reach Norman, OK, the first person to post on the JDSE Facebook page the towns in order will win the first Smart Strip for leg number one.

5) I will be there for three days. Don't stop following because I'll be tweeting while there at the training at Bergey's facility. Once I leave there I will start the second part of the game and starting the tweeting again for that leg of the trip.

6) Please pay attention there will be a bonus Smart Strip given away at some point through out my trip for one lucky person. Might be a question, something I posted, or even a video that I have up loaded.

7) Once I've announced that I am back in Traverse City. The second person to post on the J.D. Stratton Electric Facebook Fan page will win the other Smart Strip for use at their home or business.

8) Here's the catch! The winners of the Smart Strips have to give a testimonial on how well the strips have been working out for them after a month has past. Which I will post on my blog and website. You most be willing to do this to win.

9) Only one Smart Strip per winner or household.

Anyone can play along, so tell your friends and family members to signup to become a fan and to follow along. This should be a lot of fun!


Snake Oil Medicine Salesmen Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon.

I met with my neighbor last night to talk about a possible solar panel system for her house. She had gotten a quote from another guy that is trying to do the same thing as I am. The reason she had gotten a quote from another guy was because she thought that I only did wind turbines, but I don't. I started out to do solar first but just fell into the whole wind turbines by accident.

But my question to her was is this guy even qualified to do something like this? The guy was a roofing salesman for a roofing company in Traverse City. How can a roofing company install solar panels without being a licensed electrical contractor is my question. That would be like me coming over to your house and trying to sell you shingles. I'M NOT QUALIFIED AND/OR LICENSED TO DO IT!!!!

None the less I was able to beat their price by $6000, their price was for $25,000. I quoted her the a little bit smaller system (just .2kw difference) on a tracker. Which is better because it is off the roof and it moves to follow the sun giving her 25% more power. Their system mounted on the roof and faced to the West that's ok, BUT it really needs to be pointed South.

So buyer beware of the Snake Oil Salesman coming to your door. There are somethings you need to be asking these guys:

Solar installer questions:

1. Are you a licensed Electrical Contractor or who do you use and are they licensed and insured?

2. How many systems have they installed?

3. Are you insured to do this type of work?

4. Do you work with the power company?

5. Do you handle all the permits? If they ask you to get them you need to say bye bye.

Wind turbine installer questions:

1. Are you a licensed Electrical Contractor or who do you use and are they licensed and insured?

2. Are you a licensed Building Contractor or who do you use and are they licensed and insured?

3. Do you have a licensed Engineer that you use? Because wind turbines are a structure and when getting a building permit you need a stamped foundation drawing.

4. How many wind turbines have you installed?

5. Are you insured to do this type of work?

6. Do you work with the power company?

7. Do you handle all the permits? The only permit that I do not get is the zoning permit, but will supply all the paper work needed to get that permit.

These are some basic questions that you need to ask your potential renewable energy installer. This is a big investment and if it is not install correctly your going to waste a lot of hard earned money.

So many times since I have started doing this type of work so many guys have since moved on. I know of three companies that all started about the same time as me and they have since disappeared. But I'm still here. I have since taken over one of the companies customers because he is not in business.

My thing is not just the installation but it's the service after the sale. So many are about the sale and not coming back after the installation. I generally try and make two visits a year to all my installation that I have done because it is important to me that you are happy with the product you bought from me. So many of my customers have become good friends.

So beware of the Snake Oil Medicine Salesmen, one day there here, the next day their gone, never to be seen again with your hard earned money.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Words from the Woman

Greetings from the inside! This is Andrea. I'm Jeff's wife, and the co-conspirator involved in these experiments. I have been teasing Jeff that "the other half" ought to have a chance to voice the impact that trying to be more energy conscious has had on me.
Jeff has graciously given me a moment on this forum, so....

The LED lights weren't so great. Good idea - poor execution. Made our hallway look like an art museum. Not the look I need when heading for the bathroom at midnight!

The CFL lightbulbs have taken some getting used to - but I love the energy savings. The first generation bulbs cast a brownish light, but these current ones warm up to a yellow, and offer plenty of light. They are even in our bedside lamps.

Jeff put in a programmable thermostat (over my boisterous objection!) - but he's right. It does make a difference to have the thermostat set low during the day, and turn on before we get home.

We've got smart strips in a few places in the house- the most efficient one is the one of the TV. Turn the TV off, and it turns off all the accessories (DVD, VHS, video games, whatever) - but leaves the chargers and the cable box on. Really cool - and makes me happy knowing that all that stuff is off.

Last but absolutely NOT least - my favorite JDS purchase for the house: the little electric meter reader. This little gadget is about $100 - and one small piece is attached to your outside electric meter. The larger display is somewhere in your house - ours is in the kitchen. It's free standing, so you can put it wherever you want. This little gadget tell me how much energy is being pulled into the house at any given minute. You can change the read out to show kilowatt hours, or how much money is being spent at that moment. It has become a game I play - to see how low I can get the house while still enjoying life. Currently I can get down to 0.2-0.3 KW/hr while doing computer work, or watching TV, but still going about my life. It is surprsing to see it suddenly spike to 8 or 10 KW/hr - until you realize that you hear the furnace running, the refrigerator cycling, or some other high energy user.
If you have kids that are inconsistent about turning off lights or using too much water - try this gadget! Knowing how much you energy you are using is the first step in changing behaviors to get more efficient.

Thanks to my host for letting me have this space. Let us know what you think as you try some of your energy ideas.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LED bulbs at my home.

Well the other day I was at the Home Depot here in TC and I was walking through the light bulb section. I noticed that they were now carrying LED bulbs. But the problem was they were very expensive, $30 - $50 each. So yesterday I was in Menard's and they had LED bulbs too and they were much cheaper, $14. So I purchased two and put them in the hall recessed can lights.
Currently we have compact fluorescent, CFLs, lights in all our recessed cans. But because I am trying to reduce my energy usage before I install solar, I am looking for additional ways to cut that energy usage. Keep in mind I am looking at a PAR 30 flood bulb which is typically used in recessed can lights.

So after installing them in the hall we were very disappointed in how they were not very bright. They don't have the lumen s that the CFLs have. So I went to the Feit's website to try and find out how many lumen s the bulbs that I have purchased were. But they had nothing listed about them. Only that they were for accenting things. Well that made since because of how dim they are. So I noticed that I should be using their Performance LED bulbs.Well here is the problem with using the Performance LED bulb, it uses 13 watts not any change in power usage between a CFLs which is the same wattage. So really there is no savings in changing the bulbs to LED. Until they get the wattage down then I will continue to use CFLs. I follow a company on Twitter and they make LED lamps in Pennsylvania and their bulbs were 14 watts, actually a little larger. I am going to take the bulbs back sense they really are not going to work in my application.

But the positive side to the LEDs was they were instant on. There was no warm-up time like the CFLs. The LED's color wasn't that bad either. It was a typical bright white like some car lights. The bulbs that I have are 3 watts which is good for energy savings and they also had a 30000 hr rating that is a long time. But if you can not see what you are doing where is the savings.

So after my little test over-night I am going to say wait before running right out to buy these LED bulbs. The technology has not caught up yet. If they are the same wattage as CFLs there is no energy savings.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not just talking about being "Green". But we're doing it.

I have been pecking away at getting our house's energy cost under control. I want to get everyone up to speed. So far these are the items things that I have done.

1) I did the light bulb thing. Changed at least 95% of our light fixtures now have CFLs in them. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw that they now have LED bulbs but they were at least $30 - $50 each not quite in my budget. But that will be the next item we will be using. I will give it a few more months and they will be cheaper.
2) We replaced all the windows except the two in the basement which we will probably have them done in the Spring.
3) I replaced all the toilets with Dual Flush toilet flush controls. This serves to purposes first we cut down on water usage and second the well doesn't run as much saving power.
4) We had an energy audit done. Which once I am done with everything I will have him come back to do the inferred camera again.
5) I just went through the attic and foamed all the regular fixture boxes and exhaust fans. The recessed can lights I built foam boxes around them.
6) Installed a new attic hatch that I bought from Advanced Insulation Systems here in Traverse City. Which this alone made a huge difference.
7) I will be insulating the area above the shower which has little or no insulation.
8) I installed the new wires for the solar panels and then sealed up the chimney chase which was wide open all the way to the basement.
8) I will also be installing a new door coming in from the garage. Since the old one has a huge gap at the top.

At this point I have only spent less then $650.00 if that, to get all this done, not counting the solar panels and windows.
Here is a list of costs:
Steel Door. $100.00
Insulation (roll and foam). $38.00
Insulated attic hatch cover. $200.00
Light bulbs. $100.00
Material to make the recessed can covers. $75.00
Toilet Dual Flush. $125.00
My time and the willingness to make a better home for my family and help us save money. Priceless

So that is where I am at with this whole process. I have the solar panels in the garage ready to be mounted on the garage. Just waiting for the rack to show up. I also need to make some aluminium brackets to mount them on. Which I will be picking up the aluminium later today to do that.

So I am excited that thing are moving along. I will keep blogging about this experience as I move along with this project.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Important News

As of yesterday I have decided not to carry the Skystream anymore. The reason is the price continues to go up at least every three months and I believe for its size you are not getting your moneys worth. I have been finding out that most people need a wind turbine that is at least 3 to 5kw in size, not 2.4kw. I am not saying a system of this size will not work for some people, but I believe for the amount of money that you are spending you might as well go to a bigger wind turbine. If I get asked from someone that they would like one. I will be more than happy to install it for them.

I do have a new wind turbine that I maybe using to take it place soon. But before I make that announcement I will be going to take a look at it in March. I will be visiting some sites with a dealer in Illinois that has installed 4 of them. I need to see how they are doing in really world situations. So stay tune I will have an update later at the end of March.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Survey says !!! Looking for a new tag line.

I just started a new survey looking for a new tag line. There also is a place to put your own comment if you have an idea for one. Click here to take survey

Have you had your energy audit yet?

I just dropped off a quote for a new solar energy system for a couple that uses about 700kWh a month, pretty average. This person had me quote a 3 panel system mounted on the roof, no problem. This system will generate about 72 kWh a month or 1/10 of this persons power, with perfect sunny conditions. But here is the thing the guy was surprised that it was not going to produce more power then that. I told him that this would be considered a starter system, if someone doesn't have a lot of money but wanted to start somewhere so this is what you would do. Because the system is capable of being added on to in the future. This is what I have decided to do at my home. I will be installing just 2 panels and adding on from there.

Before I decided to do this I got an energy audit from Empowerment Energy Analysts first. Well I have received my report and now I am in the process of doing some of the recommendations. This weekend I started building boxes to go over the top of the recessed can lights that are in the house and I sprayed foam on the regular light fixture boxes to block any heat from escaping through the holes. So that is where I started to try and reduce our energy costs. I am looking to reduce our energy cost even further. We currently use about 500 -600 kWh a month. I need it to be around 400 -450 kWh a month which is going to be hard because we have an electric dryer and stove. But I was informed that I need to put up a clothes line in the backyard and in the Summer we won't have to run the dryer as much. So that alone will help us cut down on energy usage.
The problem is that most people are not willing to give up their luxuries or gadgets that use electricity to achieve this .

So lets take the guy that I dropped the quote off to and use his energy usage as the example. To take the same 220watt panels to get the 700kwh that he uses, you would have to install 29 panels on the roof. Now the average cost to install a system of this size is around $45000.00 roughly. Now if he were able to reduce the amount of power that he uses down to 500 kwh a month. He would need 18 panels at 220 watts. The cost to install that would be about $25000.00 roughly. As you can see by dropping just 200 kwh a month the solar system drops in price by almost 1/2. So this is why it so important to get your energy usage under control. You end up saving thousand of dollars by doing so on a renewable system.

So the moral of the story is get an energy audit, get your power usage down to a more manageable amount and then buy renewables from me. Then you will have a win, win situation every time.

Here are three companies that I know that can help you with your energy audits. (You maybe able to get yours for free or at a reduced rate from your utility company)

Empowerment Energy Analysts (231) 218-3521
Paradigm Energy Services (231) 237-9293
Northern Auditor, LLC (231) 492-5136

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grand Traverse Green 2010

If you have nothing to do Friday and Saturday. Please stop to the Hagerty Center and check out the displays there of companies that maybe able to help you with your endeavor to go green at home or business.

The doors open Friday at 5:00pm to 9:00pm and Saturday at 8:00am to 4:30pm. Cost is only $5 to get in.

My display will be setup at booth #4. I will have my windmill display setup there to view. I will have some Smart Strips there for sale for just $25, normally $28.99 on my online store. Also I will have something new that will also be available for purchase and order, is the Power Predictor, which is a do-ityourself solar and wind study test that you can purchase to see if your site right for wind or solar. Saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on expensive tests or installing a system and finding out that it does not work. The cost of the Power Predictor is $330 for the show and it is normally $350.00 on my online store.

So stop by and say hello, I saw you on your blog. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Solar in Winter.

Today is a good example why solar is a bad idea on the roof. The panels I installed over in Glen Lake are not working. Why you ask? It is because of the white stuff that falls from the sky, SNOW. Because we got a little snow over night it has covered the panels and now they are not going to work until that snow is removed. But since this system is so low to the ground it is easy to take a brush and just pull the snow off the panels. But even so I am standing on a snow bank to reach these panels. Just goes to show you how big this system is. The bottom of the panels are above my head when I am standing on the ground. If they were on the roof you would have to climb up there and risk the chance of falling off the roof. I have fallen of a roof before and it is no fun trust me. When these panels are exposed even when it is cloudy like today they can produce a significant amount of power for the day. Link to the solar data website.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Glen Lake Solar Project


The Glen Lake solar project is complete. Here is a picture of the solar panels in the up right position. You can access the solar panels data by clicking this link. The information on this link is in 5 min. uploads. But you can go back and see the history of the solar production. Enjoy!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 15, 2010

Solar anyone?


This is my solar project that I am currently doing out in the Glen Lake area. We are not done yet, we have a couple of more days before it is in full operation. We still have to install the mechanism that makes the tracker move back and forth following the sun. I also have to connect the wires in the panel and then it will be ready to go.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 11, 2010

Energy Audit

Back a few weeks ago I wrote a blog posting on how I was going to get a home energy audit done on our house. Well we just finished our energy audit yesterday. As soon as I receive the official report I will share it on my blog. But while we were doing the audit I produced a video to show how TJ Ewing did a home energy audit. It was quit interesting to see where the cold spots are in the house. The areas where we thought would be the problem were not there at all but in other areas of the house. If this something that you would like done for your house then you can find TJ Ewing on the web at Empowerment Energy Analysts or call (231) 218-3521. Also if you buy a renewable energy system from me, you will receive a home energy audit after the system is installed showing you how you can maximize that new investment in your home.

Hybrid Renewable Energy

This is my hybrid system that I have at home. So I do have a wind turbine and solar already here at my house. This small system has been working really well for me. I have been really surprised how well it keeps the two batteries charged up. Now I have not let this system run for a long period of time to see how long it would last before the batteries ran out. But I will try this, this Summer and get back with you on well it did. Hope you enjoy my small video and if this something of interest to you feel free to give me a call. (231) 715-1170