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Solar Energy
Q & A
Solar Energy FAQs
Is it possible to power a household entirely by solar power?
Can the excess power be sold to others?
How durable are solar panels?
How long will they last and do they come with a guarantee?
How do I clean them?
How efficient are they?
Do they loose efficiency over time?
Do the solar panels store energy?
Is there more than one type that can be used?
How much do solar panels and solar energy systems cost?
Can I build and install solar electric systems myself?
How can I conserve energy and lower my utility bills?
I'm not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a system, but want solar energy, what can I do?
How can I put an inexpensive starter solar system together? Practical Use, Charging Time
How can I get more information or order?
How do I order a free solar bumper sticker?

Q. Is it possible to power a household entirely by solar power?

A. Yes, many people power their remote homes completely with solar energy in a stand alone solar system, however certain high load appliances are sometimes powered by an alternative means. Usually, they also adopt a conservation lifestyle. In the suburbs, people often choose a utility grid connected solar system in which they can actually sell energy to the utility during the day and buy back at night. This reduces the need for costly storage batteries. The house's complete energy needs can be supplied or a portion.

Solar energy powers 90% of Engineer Otto Van Geet's home.

Q. If so, can the excess power be sold to others?

A. Yes, in a grid connected system, you can actually turn your meter backwards, selling energy back to the utility!

Q. How durable are solar panels?

A. They are very durable. All of the solar panels CrystalBay Solar carries are water proof and our high quality Unisolar crystalline silicon panels are unbreakable. We don't recommend that you step on them though!

Q. How long will they last and do they come with a guarantee?

A. Solar panels are built to last a life-time. Our larger solar panels have a 20 Year or more Limited Warranty. Our small solar panels and gadgets have a 30 Day Limited Warranty with a Lifetime Warranty on the solar cells.

Q. How do I clean them?
A. Rinse them off occasionally to keep leaves and debris off.

Q. How efficient are they?

A. They are very efficient when placed at a southern exposure to the sun. They should receive full sun between the hours of 10 to 3 for best efficiency, and should not be shaded. Even the shade from a small branch can lessen the efficiency. Our UNI-SOLAR® panels, however have Bypass diodes connected across each cell, enabling the modules to produce power even when partially shaded.

Our UNI-SOLAR® products are based on a sophisticated multi-layer amorphous silicon thin-film solar cell developed originally by Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. This spectrum-splitting cell is constructed of three separate p-i-n type, amorphous semiconductor solar sub-cells, each with a different spectral response characteristic. This allows the cell to convert the different visible and near infrared wavelengths of sunlight with optimal efficiency. The United Solar spectrum-splitting multijunction design now holds all the world's records for amorphous silicon solar cell efficiency, including the highest stable efficiency measured by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for a small-area amorphous silicon solar cell -- 13 percent.

Our Kyocera Solar Electric Modules (available in our Solar Electric Products Catalog) have conversion efficiency over 14% with 25 year limited warranty.

Q. Do they loose efficiency over time?

A. Keeping the panels clean from leaves and dirt should keep them operating efficiently. Our Uni-Solar panels Manufacturer's 20 Year Performance Warranty guarantees no less than 80% of rated power.

Q. Do the solar panels store energy?

A. No, the solar panel will charge rechargeable batteries or you can connect it directly to power a 12V appliance. You can run any battery operated device with the battery once it has been charged. You can also power your conventional household AC appliances with a solar electric system and an inverter. Our Solar Electric Design Guide explains this method in detail with handy load usage sizing charts.

Q. Is there more than one type that can be used?

A. Yes, we carry various types. Our UniSolar breakthrough technology Triple Junction silicon solar cell offers a durable, unbreakable solar electric module at affordable prices. Three semiconductor junctions, with spectrum splitting capability, stacked on top of each other provide higher efficiency. Available in 2.8 Watt to 64 Watt solar modules.

Our small PV panels are durable, lightweight, affordable, and built to last. 36 single crystal silicon cells in series with a built-in blocking diode in the circuit prevent current from reversing flow to the panel at night. CrystalBay Solar carries many different types and sizes of solar panels to suit your needs. We also carry architectural Solar Roofing Shingles and unique flexible solar panels! (Available in our Solar Electric Products Catalog.)

Q. How much do solar panels and solar energy systems cost?

A. We have small solar panels from $39 to $99 and larger panels into the hundreds and thousands of dollars. Your complete solar energy system cost would depend on your unique needs, how well your conserve, your system components, and your energy demands. We have small Solar Kits adequate to power RVs, boats and small vacation homes from $369. Full house systems cost several thousand dollars.

Q. Can I build and install solar electric systems myself?

A. Our Solar Electric Kits are designed for easy, self installation, however if you are designing a grid connected or full house system, it's advisable that you have an experienced, licensed electrician do the work. Our solar lights, solar house fans, other small stand alone solar powered appliances and solar gadgets are easy to set up on your own with no permits required. Depending on the building codes in your area, you will probably need a permit for larger projects such as grid connected solar electric systems. It's wise to check your local building code if in doubt.

Q. How can I conserve energy and lower my utility bills?

A. Energy conservation is important for many reasons. If you are designing a solar electric energy system, replacing your high energy consumption appliances with energy efficient ones will reduce your energy consumption allowing you to meet your needs with a small and less costly system. If you are grid connected, your energy bills are no doubt through the roof. Conservation will help lower your costs and utilizing solar panels will help you harvest the free energy from the sun! Your solar electric system will pay for itself over time in reduced utility bills. You benefit and the environment benefits when you generate clean, renewable energy.

Other ways to lower your utility bills and energy consumption are to replace your old refrigerator with a new energy efficient model, dry laundry outdoors, and replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent. A set back thermostat also helps reduce heating and cooling costs.

Q. I'm not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a system, but want solar energy, what can I do?

A. Start with smaller solar panels and DC appliances and our solar energy kits, or use a power inverter to run your AC electronics. You can connect our DC house fans directly to our solar panels significantly lowering your cooling costs and generating free energy from the sun to cool your house! We also have solar lighting that you can use indoors and out as well as many other renewable energy powered large and small electronics.

Q. How can I put an inexpensive starter solar system together?

A.-- Getting Your Feet Wet with Solar Energy --
There are three easy ways to get started with Solar Energy with our affordable 8 watt Super Solar 500 Panel:

  1. Use the Super Solar 500 Panel to directly power small 12V DC appliances
  2. Use your solar panel to charge a rechargeable 12V deep cycle battery and use the battery to power your 12V appliances
  3. Use it to charge a deep cycle battery and connect an Inverter to to run your AC conventional electronics.
-- Practical Use --
We use our Super Solar 500 or 707 panel to power small 12V recycled computer fans for personal cooling. This is easy to do: simply clip the positive and negative wires onto the 12V DC fans wires with the attached alligator clips. (Positive to positive - red to red; negative to negative - black to black.)
You get instant energy when the sun's shining on your panel.

We also use the Super Solar 500 panel to charge a deep cycle marine/RV battery. You can get one at a local store or order a deep cycle battery from our site. Mount the solar panel on a house or other structure or just place
it on the ground or on an art easel. The sun and your solar panel charge the battery during the day. In the evening, we connect it to an inverter and plug in a 27" T.V., light or fan or other electronics.

You could also plug an existing water fountain or pond pump into your solar/battery/inverter system or connect a 12V DC pump.

-- Technical - Charging Time--
Charging time depends on the capacity of the battery, how much energy remains in the battery, and intensity of sunlight. Charging Time=Battery Capacity divided by Solar Panel Output.
So your battery will take longer to charge with a smaller PV panel -- If you're impatient you can get a larger
panel to charge it quicker. It's good to get a battery with a power indicator built in or get a voltage meter.

Note: Remember you can not power a conventional AC appliance directly with a solar panel. As solar panels are DC (Direct Current), you would need a power
inverter or you could connect it directly to DC electronics.

-- Starter System Cost Estimate --
The nice thing about this little PV Starter System is you can purchase the solar panel and build from there. Our Super Solar 500 Panel is on special for only $79 (reg. $99.99). You can add these optional components: Deep Cycle Rechargeable Battery about $39 and up; Power Inverter about $59 and up; your current electronic devices or 12V electronic devices; Recycled PC Fan about $5.95 and up, etc.

Q. How can I get more information or order?

A. We think you will find the information and links on our site very helpful. Also, our Solar Energy Design Guide and Solar Energy Products Guide are very useful for people serious about designing their own solar energy system. Most of our products are online. You can order online by secure server with a charge card or ATM. Small items under 3 pounds ship USPS Priority Mail in the USA. Larger items ship ground. International customers: please contact us for shipping rates.

Q. How do I order a free solar bumper sticker?

A. You can show your support for green energy with our cool CrystalBay Solar Bumper Stickers. Click here to see them and order.

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"Of the available energy that reaches us here on earth, enough power is released in a quarter of an hour

to power all mankind's needs for a whole year."
Solar is the smart, clean way to power your life.

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Questions or Comments?
Contact us at info@crystalbay.net

Solar Natural Living
POB 2635
Fair Oaks, CA 95628


CrystalBay Solar carries large and small solar electric panels .
Solar Electric Panels
CrystalBay Solar has solar panels of various sizes. They can be mounted on your roof, a pole, parking cover or placed in a sunny south facing location.

Solar Shingles harness the free energy from the sun!
Solar Electric Roofing Shingles
Solar Shingles are an elegant and efficient way to use solar energy when reroofing or building a new home.

Solar Traveller Kits, for RV, marine and small cabins.
Solar Traveler Kits
For RV, marine and small cabin homes.

Our Solar DC House Fans are powered by the sun's energy!
Solar DC Fans and Cooling
CrystalBay Solar carries large and small DC fans. Power them by connecting directly to a solar panel. We also have a unique DC Ceiling Fan and Solar Evaporative Air Conditioner.

Solar Centurion - This unique solar security light has a motion sensor, solar panel and battery built in.
Solar Lights and Radios
CrystalBay.net has several solar powered lights, lanterns and radios with built-in flashlights. These unique items are designed with solar panel and rechargeable battery built in so you just charge them in the sun and they're ready to go!

Click to see larger CrystalBay Solar bumper stickers.
Show your support for clean, renewable energy with a FREE CrystalBay Solar bumper sticker!
Several designs available.
No purchase necessary



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