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Frequently Asked Questions



























HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY DOES MY APPLIANCE USE?

This is a general guideline.   A lot depends on the weather, the humidity, how old the appliance is, the size & type, whether it is Energy Star compliant, etc.   The following averages are watts per hour use:
 
Appliance Watts Appliance Watts Appliance Watts
Central Air Conditioner NA 5,000 Electric blanket 200 Hedge trimmer 450
Electric Clothes Dryer NA 3,400 Shaver 15 Weed eater 500
Oven 3,000 Waterpik 100 1/4” drill 250
Hair Dryer 1,538 Well Pump (1/3-1 HP) 480-1200 1/2” drill 750
Dishwasher 1200-1500 Laptop 60-250 1” drill 1000
Coffee Machine 1,500 Plasma TV 339 9” disc sander 1200
Microwave 1,500 LCD TV 213 3” belt sander 1000
Popcorn Popper 1,400 25” color TV 150 12” chain saw 1100
Toaster oven 1,200 19” color TV 70 14” band saw 1100
Hot Plate 1200 12” black and white TV 20 7-1/4” circular saw 900
Iron 1,100 Stereo 10-30 8-1/4” circular saw 1400
Toaster 1,100 Satellite dish 30 Refrigerator/ Freezer**  
Microwave 500-1500 Radiotelephone - Receive 5 20 cu. ft. (AC) avg modern regrigerator uses 180 watts/hr**
Room Air Conditioner NA 1,100 Radiotelephone - Transmit 40-150 16 cu. ft. (AC)  
Vacuum Cleaner 500 Lights   Freezer  
Water heater 479 100 watt incandescent bulb 100 15 cu. ft. (Upright) avg modern freezer uses 200 watts/hr**
Sink Waste Disposal 450 25 watt compact fluor. bulb 28 15 cu. ft. (Chest)  
Espresso Machine 360 50 watt DC incandescent 50 Cell Phone - recharge 2-4 watts
Dehumidifier 350 40 watt DC halogen 40 MP3 Player - recharge .25-.40 watts
Blender 300 20 watt DC compact fluor. 22

* TV’s,VCR’s and other devices left plugged in, but not turned on, still draw power.


** Energy Star appliance
 

Humidifier 300-1000 CFL Bulb (60-watt equivalent) 18
Video Game Player 195 CFL Bulb (40-watt equivalent) 11
Standard TV 188 CFL Bulb (75-watt equivalent) 20
LCD Monitor 80-150 CFL Bulb (100-watt equivalent) 30
Desktop Computer (Standard home/business) 80-120 Heaters***  
Desktop Computer (Gaming) 400-1000+
Laptop Computer 40-120
Portable Fan 100 Engine Block Heater NA 150-1000
Ceiling Fan 100 Portable Heater NA 1500
Can Opener 100 Waterbed Heater NA 400
Curling Iron 90 Stock Tank Heater NA 100
Stereo 60 Furnace Blower 300-1000
Cable Box 20 Clothes Dryer - Gas Heated 300-400
Clock Radio 7 Well Pump (1/3-1HP) 480-1200

* The daily energy values listed here are for the most efficient units in their class and the information was obtained from Consumer Guide to Home and the General Electric website.


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IF A SOLAR PANEL IS RATED AT 300W,  HOW MUCH POWER WILL IT ACTUALLY PRODUCE?

  • If the Solar Panel is rated 300 watts. Does it mean it will generate 300 watts per hour all day long while the sun is shining? 

 ANSWER...NOT QUITE. 

There are several factors that determine the amount of electricity a solar panel will produce.  

Solar panels don't generate the same amount of electricity  throughout the entire day - in the mornings and evenings (when the sun is low in the sky) they will generate less power than in the afternoon (when the sun is shining on them directly). This is why you'll sometimes hear 'watts peak' (Wp) used instead of watts when someone is talking about a solar panel's capacity. 300 watts (300W or 300Wp) refers to the panel's peak capacity.   Besides time of day, there are other factors that affect solar panels electrical production. 

All of these factors combine to determine the amount of direct sun on the solar panel. These include angle to the sun, weather, shade from trees/buildings, dust/dirt/grease on the panel, line loss (the amount of electricity the electrical wire "absorbs" when transmitting the energy),  etc.   When solar panels are tested and rated, they use optimal "in lab" testing which can never really be duplicated in the real world.  Practical experience has shown that in optimal conditions, a  high quality 300 watt solar panel will produce about 285 watts of electricity per hour.  (in other words 90%-95% of the rated power.)  Poor quality solar panels... will produce much less, sometimes only half of their rated power. 

AS A GENERAL RULE OF THUMB, IF YOU AVERAGE THE DIRECT SUN ON A SOLAR PANEL FOR A YEAR (SUMMER, FALL, WINTER, SPRING)... IT IS ABOUT  6 HOURS IN THE UNITED STATES.  Of course it is much higher during the summer (8-10 hrs) and less during the winter (3-5 hours).  This can also vary according to Lattitude (how far north or south), and the weather for the area. (Lot's more sun in Phoenix than in Seattle because of weather and lattitude.) 

Besides, Lattitude, weather, shade trees, shade from buildings, dust/dirt, the angle of the solar panel in relation to the sun/horizon is also important.  For Sun on Solar Panelbest conditions, during the summer the angle should be around 25°  when the sun is almost directly overhead. And during the winter around 56° with the sun is low on the horizon. If you cannot adjust the angle of the panels for the seasons, then the best compromise is usually around 40º...or whatever angle your roof is to the southern horizon.   (For example in Hawaii, because space is limited, you will see solar panels mounted on the north, east, west  parts of the roof besides the south.)

Understand that there is also a difference between watts and watt hours.  (or killowatts and killowatt hours).  However, for general purposes, a device that produces 300 watts... will produce 300 watts per hour.  Or a device that uses 300 watts... will use 300 watts per hour.  (Note: a killowatt is 1000 watts. a megawatt is 1,000,000 watts)

 ​For example, a 4,000 watt (or 4 kilowatt, 4kW) vacuum cleaner uses 4kW of electricity when you have it turned on. If you run it for an hour, you will have used 4,000 watt-hours (or 4 kilowatt-hours, 4kWh) by the end of that hour. Similarly, if a 300W (0.3kW) solar panel generates power in full sunshine for an hour, by the end of that hour it will have generated 300 watt-hours (or 0.3 kilowatt-hours, 0.3kWh) of electricity.

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POWER MANAGEMENT--(How much "stuff" will your solar system run?)

The big difference between grid power and solar power... is that unless you have a massive solar system, with solar you have a limited supply of electricty...whereas with grid you basically have an unlimited supply of electricity.  

Most people try to match their solar system with their electrical needs.  They try to get the smallest (and least expensive)  system they can get to run the most equipment they can.  However, experience has shown that most people underestimate the amount of power requirements they have.  They guess on how much energy their well pump takes.  They guess how much energy their 20 year old refrigerator/freezer uses.  They guess how much energy their air conditioner uses.  

WE RECOMMEND USING A "KILL-A-WATT" METER.  One good way to actually know how much energy your appliance is really using, is by using a Kill-A-Watt meter. (approx $20-$29 online, or at Lowes, Harbor Freight, Home Depot). Basically, you plug your appliance into this meter, and then plug the meter into the wall... and it will tell you how much energy (in watts or amps) it is actually using.  Importantly, you can see how much energy an appliance takes on the initial start or "surge" of the applicance.   This meter can then help you determine what your "actual"  power usage is.  

 
 

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A GOOD CALCULATOR FOR WIRE SIZES/AMPS/LENGTHS....    

Click here for the calculator link


Calculator for Wire Size/Amps/Lengths
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SHIPPING

Our goal is to have your unit delivered to you safely and securely so that you will be able to use it immediately. The following information will help us achieve that goal:

Most of our solar units are shipped via large commercial freight trucks because of their size and weight. (batter

ies are heavy!) The units are shipped in heavy duty, reinforced, sealed shipping crates (see pictures), including solar panels. (Except on the 3300 where the unit is shipped Freight by itself and the solar panel is shipped via FedEx.)

These trucks have tailgate lifts where they can lower the unit to the ground so they can be unboxed and then image

moved. All units are shipped with insurance. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to call customer service. 208-745-7100.

1. DELIVERY LOCATION: Customers, when making an order, should make sure they click on the appropriate d

elivery location type and include any special shipping problems that might be encountered. (such as delivering to an apartment or a location where a large truck cannot make a delivery. Customer Service can help in this process. Please do not hesitate to call them.

2. For SPECIAL ORDERS, and units shipped out of the Continental US, a shipping quote will need to be obtained. It takes about 1-2 days for the shipping companies to give us a quote on unique shipping items.

3. WILL CALL. Units can be ordered and picked up by the Customer in Rigby, Idaho. Please call ahead to schedule a pickup when your order is ready.

4. UNITS DAMAGED DURING SHIPPING. Unfortunately, we have had units that have been dropped, crushed, and have had forklifts run through them. The good news is that this doesn’t happen very often. The bad news is that it does happen occasionally. Therefore, WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR UNIT… CHECK IT OVER FOR ANY DAMAGE THAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED DURING SHIPPING! If there is damage…DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING, until you call us and talk to customer service.

Take lots of pictures. Outside, Inside, etc. We will then instruct you to either receive the shipment…wherein we will work with you in repairing or replacing the damaged part, send a technician out to fix it, OR, have the shipper send it back (refuse shipment) , and/or send out a new unit. Please note that if a unit is damaged, the insurance will pay for it to be returned. If you refuse a shipment and there is no damage, then you will have to pay for it’s return.

 

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