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Tips on Energy Saving

Energy Savers Guide

  • Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home


    Energy Savers provides homeowners with tips for saving money and energy at home and on the road. By following just a few of the simple tips here in the Energy Savers guide section of the website, you can make your home more comfortable and easier to heat and cool—while you save money. We bring you the latest information on energy-saving, efficient technologies. We even give tips for using clean, renewable energy to power your home.
    Right in your own home, you have the power to save money and energy. Saving energy reduces our nation's overall demand for resources needed to make energy, and increasing your energy efficiency is like adding another clean energy source to our electric power grid.
    This guide shows you how easy it is to cut your energy use at home and also on the road. The easy, practical solutions for saving energy include tips you can use today—from the roof and landscaping to appliances and lights. They are good for your wallet and for the environment—and actions that you take help reduce our national needs to produce or import more energy, thereby improving our energy security.
    Some of the tips are simple to do. Others require more effort and investment, but promise big savings over the years.
    We encourage you to check out the tips and make improvements that will contribute to your energy bottom line and make our planet healthier and cleaner!
    • Save Money and Energy Today
    • Your Home's Energy Use
    • Air Leaks and Insulation
    • Cool and Green Roofs
    • Landscaping
    • Water Heating
    • Windows
    • Lighting
    • Renewable Energy
    • Transportation
    • Heating and Cooling
    • Appliances
    • Home Office and Electronics
  • Save Money and Energy Today with SensLights

    An energy-efficient home will keep your family comfortable while saving you money. Whether you take simple steps or make larger investments to make your home more efficient, you'll see lower energy bills. Over time, those savings will typically pay for the cost of improvements and put money back in your pocket. Your home may also be more attractive to buyers when you sell.
    The 113 million residences in America today collectively use an estimated 22% of the country's energy. Unfortunately, a lot of energy is wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances, or inefficient heating and cooling systems. When we waste energy in our homes, we are throwing away money that could be used for other things. The typical U.S. family spends at least $2,000 a year on home utility bills. You can lower this amount by up to 25% through following the Long Term Savings Tips in this guide.
    The key to these savings is to take a whole-house approach-by viewing your home as an energy system with interdependent parts. For example, your heating system is not just a furnace-it's a heat-delivery system that starts at the furnace and delivers heat throughout your home using a network of ducts. Even a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient furnace will waste a lot of fuel if the ducts, walls, attic, windows, and doors are leaky or poorly insulated. Taking a whole-house approach to saving energy ensures that dollars you invest to save energy are spent wisely.

    Tips to Save Energy Today


    Easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy.
    • Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.
    • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.
    • Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
    • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use—TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
    • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
    • Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow showerheads for additional energy savings.
    • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
    • Air dry clothes.
    • Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
    • Drive sensibly; aggressive driving such as speeding, and rapid acceleration and braking, wastes fuel.
    • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Your Home's Energy Use


    How We Use Energy in Our Homes
    Heating accounts for the biggest portion of your utility bills. Source: 2010 Buildings Energy Data Book, Table 2.1.1 Residential Primary Energy Consumption, by Year and Fuel Type.
    A home energy assessment (sometimes referred to as an energy audit) will show what parts of your house use the most energy and suggest the best ways to cut energy costs. You can conduct a simple home energy assessment by doing it yourself (DIY) or, for a more detailed assessment, contact your local utility or an energy auditor. Also, you can learn more about home energy audits and find free tools and calculators on energysavers.gov, the Residential Services Network or the Building Performance Institute.



    DIY Energy Assessment Tips
    • Check the insulation in your attic, exterior and basement walls, ceilings, floors, and crawl spaces. To determine the insulation R-values in different parts of your home, visit the Air Leaks and Insulation section.
    • Check for air leaks around your walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light and plumbing fixtures, switches, and electrical outlets.
    • Check for open fireplace dampers.
    • Make sure your appliances and heating and cooling systems are properly maintained. Check your owner's manuals for the recommended maintenance.
    • Study your family's lighting needs and look for ways to use controls—like sensors, dimmers, or timers—to reduce lighting use.
    Your Whole-House Plan
    Plan smart purchases and home improvements to maximize your energy efficiency and your savings
    Smart Meters and a Smarter Power Grid

    Use a smart meter to understand and adjust your energy use for greater savings
    Time-Based Electricity Rates

    Use appliances at off-peak hours to pay lower electricity rates
  • Sealing Air Leaks


    Air leaks can waste a lot of your energy dollars. One of the quickest energy- and money-saving tasks you can do is caulk, seal, and weather strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside.
    Tips for Sealing Air Leaks
    • Test your home for air tightness. On a windy day, carefully hold a lit incense stick or a smoke pen next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other places where air may leak. If the smoke stream trav-els horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
    • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
    • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
    • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
    • Inspect dirty spots in your insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
    • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
    • Cover single-pane windows with storm windows or replace them with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the Windows section for more information.
    • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
    • Cover your kitchen exhaust fan to stop air leaks when not in use.
    • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
    • Replace door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
    • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
    • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.



    Fireplace flues are made from metal, and over time repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to warp or break, creating a channel for air loss. To seal your flue when not in use, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. Inflatable chimney balloons fit beneath your fireplace flue when not in use, are made from durable plastic, and can be removed easily and reused hundreds of times. If you forget to remove the balloon before making a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of coming into contact with heat.
    Sources of Air Leaks in Your Home. Areas that leak air into and out of your home cost you a lot of money.
    The areas listed in the illustration are the most common sources of air leaks.
  • Heating and Cooling

    Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home—typically making up about 54% of your utility bill.
    No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment.
    But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can cut your energy use for heating and cooling—and reduce environmental emissions—from 20%-50%.


    Household Heating Systems: Although several different types of fuels are available to heat our homes, more than half of us use natural gas.
    Source: Buildings Energy Data Book 2010, 2.1.1 Residential Primary Energy Consumption, by Year and Fuel Type (Quadrillion Btu and Percent of Total)








    Heating and Cooling Tips
    • Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer, as well as when you're sleeping or away from home.
    • Clean or replace filters on furnaces and air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
    • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
    • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
    • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
    • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
    • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
    • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun's heat.





    Long-Term Savings Tips
    • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating and cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage.
    • For furnaces, look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. The national minimum is 78% AFUE, but there are ENERGY STAR® models on the market that exceed 90% AFUE. For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners. ENERGY STAR models are 14.5 SEER or more.
  • Energy-Efficient Roofs


    If you've ever stood on a roof on a hot summer day, you know how hot it can get. The heat from your roof makes your air conditioner work even harder to keep your home cool.
    Cool Roofs
    If you are building a new home, decide during planning whether you want a cool roof, and if you want to convert an existing roof, you can:
    • Retrofit the roof with specialized heat-reflective material.
    • Re-cover the roof with a new waterproofing surface (such as tile coating).
    • Replace the roof with a cool one.


    A cool roof uses material that is designed to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than a standard roof. Cool roofs can be made of a highly reflective type of paint, a sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles or shingles.
    By installing a cool roof, you can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50°F and save energy and money by using less air conditioning. Cool roofs make spaces like garages or covered patios more comfortable.
    As cool roofs become more popular, communities will benefit from fewer power plant emissions and less demand for new power plants. Cool roofs can lower outside air temperatures, reducing heat islands in urban areas.
    Nearly any type of home can benefit from a cool roof, but consider climate and other factors before you decide to install one.
    Green Roofs
    You may also consider installing a green roof. Green roofs are ideal for urban buildings with flat or shallow-pit roofs, and can include anything from basic plant cover to a garden. The primary reasons for using this type of roof include managing storm water and enjoying a rooftop open space. Green roofs also provide insulation, lower the need for heating and cooling, and can reduce the urban heat island effect. This roof type can be much more expensive to implement than other efficient roof options, so you should carefully assess your property and consult a professional before deciding to install a green roof.
  • Landscaping


    Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to keep your home cool in summer and reduce your energy bills. A well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce your energy bills—see landscaping illustration. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses. Research shows that summer day-time air temperatures can be 3°-6° cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas.
    A lattice or trellis with climbing vines or a planter box with trailing vines shades the home while admitting cooling breezes to the shaded area.


  • Water Heating


    Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 18% of your utility bill..
    There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater, insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient model.
    Water Heating Tips
    • Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
    • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
    • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F to get comfortable hot water for most uses.
    • Insulate your electric hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the thermostat. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
    • Insulate your natural gas or oil hot-water storage tank but be careful not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations; when in doubt, get professional help.
    • Insulate the first 6 feet of the hot and cold water pipes connected to the water heater.
    • If you are in the market for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider buying an efficient, water-saving ENERGY STAR® model to reduce hot water use. See the Appliances section for more information.
    • Install heat traps on the hot and cold pipes at the water heater to prevent heat loss. Most new water heaters have built-in heat traps.
    • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. Follow the manufacturer's directions.

    Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's best to start shopping now for a new one if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
    Keep Your Energy Bills Out of Hot Water. Insulate your water heater to save energy and money, or choose an on-demand hot water heater to save even more.

    Long-Term Savings Tips
    Buy a new energy-efficient water heater. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. You can find the ENERGY STAR label on efficient water heaters in the following categories: high efficiency gas non-condensing, gas condensing, electric heat pump, gas tankless, and solar.
    Consider natural gas on-demand or tankless water heaters, which heat water directly without using a storage tank. Researchers have found energy savings can be up to 30% compared with a standard natural gas storage tank water heater.
    Consider installing a drain-water waste heat recovery system. Drain-water, or greywater, heat recovery systems capture the energy from waste hot water—such as showers and dishwashers—to preheat cold water entering the water heater or going to other water fixtures. Energy savings vary depending on individual household usage.
    Heat pump water heaters can be very cost effective in some areas. They typically use 50% less electricity to heat water than conventional electric water heaters. If your water heater is located in your basement, it will also provide dehumidification in the summer months. However, this technology can pose some installation challenges, so you should consult with an installer before you purchase one.
    Average Hot Water Usage
    Faucets and appliances can use a lot of hot water, which costs you money. Look for ways to heat your water more efficiently and use less.
    Activity Gallons per Use
    Clothes washer 7
    Shower 10
    Automatic dishwasher 6
    Kitchen faucet flow 2 per minute
    Bathroom faucet flow .05 per minute
    Total daily average 64

    Source: Federal Energy Management Program Energy Cost Calculator, March 2010
    Solar Water Heaters
    If you heat water with electricity, have high electric rates, and have an unshaded, south-facing location (such as a roof) on your property, consider installing a solar water heater. The solar units are environmentally friendly and you can have them installed on your roof to blend with the architecture of your house.
    Solar water heating systems are also good for the environment. Solar water heaters avoid the greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity production. When shopping for a solar water heater, look for the ENERGY STAR label and for systems certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation or the Florida Solar Energy Center.
    Long-Term Savings Tip

    Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewable & Efficiency website to see if you qualify for tax credits or rebates for buying a solar water heater.
  • Lighting


    Indoor Lighting
    You have many choices in energy-efficient lighting. The most popular light bulbs available are halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Although they can initially cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, over their lifetime they save you money, because they use less energy.


    Lighting Choices Save You Money. Energy-efficient light bulbs are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
    Energy-Saving (also called Halogen) Incandescent Lighting

    Energy-saving, or halogen, incandescent light bulbs are about 25% more efficient and can last up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, and can be used with dimmers.


    CFL Lighting

    CFL Bulbs. ENERGY STAR®-qualified CFLs use about 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescents.
    CFL bulbs last about 10 times longer and use about one-fourth the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs. A typical CFL can pay for itself in energy savings in less than 9 months and continue to save you money each month.
    You can buy CFLs that offer the same brightness and colors as traditional incandescent bulbs. Some CFLs are encased in a cover to further diffuse the light and provide a similar shape to traditional incandescent bulbs.
    CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury and require special handling if they are broken. CFLs should be recycled at the end of their lifespan. Many retailers recycle CFLs for free. Visitepa. gov/cfl for cleanup and safe disposal steps.
    LED Lighting


    LEDs: A New Kind of Light. LED bulbs offer similar light quality to traditional incandescents, last 25 times as long, and use even less energy than CFLs. Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs for the highest quality and energy savings.
    LED bulbs are rapidly expanding in household use.
    ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only about 20%-25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. They come in a variety of colors, and some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors.
    In addition to standard screw-in bulbs, you'll find LEDs in desk lamps, kitchen under-cabinet lighting, and even holiday light strings.


    Indoor Lighting Tips
    • Replacing 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save you about $50 per year. For the greatest savings, replace your old incandescent bulbs with ENERGY STAR-qualified bulbs.
    • Visit ENERGY STAR to find the right light bulbs for your fixtures. They are available in sizes and shapes to fit in almost any fixture and provide the greatest savings in fixtures that are on for a long time each day.
    • When remodeling, look for recessed light fixtures or "cans" which are rated for contact with insulation and are air tight (ICAT rated).
    • When replacing incandescent bulbs from recessed light fixtures, use energy-efficient bulbs that are rated for that purpose. For example, the heat buildup in downlights will significantly shorten the life of spiral CFLs.
    • Consider purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures. They are available in many styles, distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures, and some offer convenient features such as dimming.
    • Controls such as timers and photocells save electricity by turning lights off when not in use. Dimmers save electricity when used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.
    • Keep your curtains or shades open to use daylighting instead of turning on lights. For more privacy, use light-colored, loose-weave curtains to allow daylight into the room. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
  • Appliances


    Appliances account for about 13% of your household's energy costs, with refrigeration, cooking, and laundry at the top of the list. Learn about:
    Kitchen Appliances
    Use your dishwasher, refrigerator, and other common kitchen appliances efficiently.
    Laundry
    Use your washer and dryer efficiently.
    Smart Appliances
    Learn about appliances that can automatically shift your use to off-peak hours, saving you money.
    Shopping for Appliances
    Purchase the most energy-efficient appliances.

    This chart shows how much energy a typical appliance uses per year and its corresponding cost based on national averages. For example, a refrigerator uses almost five times the electricity the average television uses. Visit Energy Savers for instructions on calculating the electrical use of your appliances. Source: Buildings Energy Data Book 2010, 2.1.16 Operating Characteristics of Electric Appliances in the Residential Sector
    What's a Kilowatt?
    When you use electricity to cook a pot of rice for 1 hour, you use 1,000 watt-hours (1,000 Wh) of electricity! One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kWh. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. The average residential rate is 11.04 cents/kWh.
    A typical U.S. household consumes about 11,800 kWh per year, costing an average of $1,297 annually.
  • Home Office and Electronics


    Many people work from home at least one day per week. Working from home saves energy and time by cutting out the commute, but it may increase your home energy bills unless you use energy-saving office equipment.

    Keep Your Home Office Efficient with ENERGY STAR. Laptops are far more efficient than desktop computers, especially ENERGY STAR qualified models.

    Shop for ENERGY STAR® Office Products

    • Computers
    • Copiers
    • Fax machines
    • Monitors
    • Multifunction devices (fax, scanner, and copier)
    • Printers
    • Scanners



    Use Smart Power Strips to Save Energy. Many electronics go into standby mode when you turn them off. Reduce wasted (vampire) power by plugging electronics into a smart power strip, which can turn your electronics off completely.
    Shop for ENERGY STAR® Home Electronics

    • Cordless phones
    • TVs
    • DVD players
    • Combination units (TV/DVD)
    • Home audio
    • Set-top boxes

    ENERGY STAR-labeled office equipment is widely available. It can provide dramatic energy savings—as much as 90% savings for some products. Overall, ENERGY STAR-labeled office products use about half the electricity of standard equipment. Find ENERGY STAR products and standards.

    Home Office Tips

    • Selecting energy-efficient office equipment and turning off machines when they are not in use can result in significant energy savings.
    • Using an ENERGY STAR-labeled computer can save 30%-65% energy than computers without this designation, depending on usage.
    • Spending a large portion of time in low-power mode not only saves energy but helps equip-ment run cooler and last longer.
    • Putting your laptop AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically) can maximize savings; the transformer in the AC adapter draws power con-tinuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
    • Using the power management settings on computers and monitors can cause significant savings.
    • It is a common misperception that screen savers reduce a monitor's energy use. Use automatic switching to sleep mode or simply turn it off.
    • Another misperception, carried over from the days of older mainframe computers, is that equipment lasts longer if it is never turned off.

    Long-Term Savings Tip

    Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; laptops use much less energy than desktop computers.
    Home Electronics Tips

    • Look for energy-saving ENERGY STAR home electronics.
    • Unplug appliances, or use a power strip and use the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance, to avoid "vampire" loads. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These vampire loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as DVD players, TVs, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
    • Use rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and digital cameras. Studies have shown they are more cost effective than disposable batteries. If you must use disposables, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.

  • Renewable Energy


    You have many options for using renewable energy at home, including solar panels and small wind turbines.
    Solar panels are the most popular form of renewable energy today. You can use them to generate heat, electricity, and indoor and outdoor light.
    If you live on at least one acre of land with an ample wind resource, you can generate your own electricity using a small wind electric system. You can also use a small wind turbine for pumping water, or to charge a sailboat battery.



    Small Wind Electric Systems. A small wind turbine system can provide additional electricity in your home, or even power your sailboat battery.
    You may have also heard of using a geothermal or ground-source heat pump to heat and cool your home. While not technically a renewable energy technology, this energy-saving technology makes use of the constant temperature near the earth's surface for heating and cooling. See the Heating and Cooling section for more information.
    In addition to using renewable energy in your home, you can buy electricity made from renewable energy like the sun, wind, water, plants, and geothermal from your utility company. Check with your local utility for more information.
    Renewable Energy Tips

    • Installing solar-powered outdoor pathway lights is one of the easiest ways to use solar energy at home.
    • Building a new home is the best time to design and orient the home to take advantage of the sun's rays. A well-oriented home lets in the winter sun in south-facing windows to reduce heating bills, and blocks the heat from summer sun to reduce cooling bills (see the Solar Heating and Cooling section).
    • Heating water is a great use of solar power (see the Water Heating section). If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, you can use solar power to cut pool heating costs. Most solar pool heating systems are cost competitive with conventional systems and have very low operating costs. It's actually the most cost-effective use of solar energy.
    • Installing small wind turbines, which range in size from 400 W to 20 kW, can provide some of the electricity for your home. Other uses of micro wind turbines (20-500 W) include charging batteries for sailboats and other recreational vehicles.


    Use Solar Power to Heat Water and More! Today's solar power is highly efficient. You can buy systems to heat your water, provide electricity, and even offload your home heating system.

    Long-Term Savings Tip

    If you've already made your home as energy efficient as possible, and you still have high electricity bills and have access to a good solar resource, you might want to consider generating your own electricity with a solar power system. Solar panels can be easily installed onto ground- or roof-mounted racks, and new products are available that integrate solar cells with the roof, making them much less visible than older systems.
    You should consider several factors if you want to install a solar power system, such as your solar resources, siting and sizing the system, the type of system (grid-connected or stand-alone), and electrical safety. Because of the complexity and need for proper installation, it's best to have a professional solar contractor install your system.
    Is a Solar Power System Right for Me?

    You could consider adding a solar power system to your house if your location has adequate solar resources. A shade-free, south-facing location is best. At least one of the following should also be true:
    • You live in a remote location and your home is not connected to the utility grid. Using solar power might cost you less than extending a power line to the grid. Your power provider will connect your solar system to the electricity grid and credit your bill for any excess power you produce.
    • You are willing to pay more up front to reduce the environmental impact of your electricity use.
    • Your state, city, or utility offers rebates, tax credits, or other incentives. Visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to find out about financial incentives in your area.
  • Utility Free Power Station



    1. Photovoltaic (“PV”) Panels Siemens Solar high-efficiency, single crystal silicon PV modules provide higher amp-hour per watt output than other technologies and include dual bypass diode protection. Modular PV panels permit expansion to accommodate increased loads.

    2. Adjustable Array Structure PV array tilt is easily adjustable from 30-60 degrees to maximize solar energy. Further adjustment of 0-30 degrees possible with special positioning bars.

    3. Control Center The control enclosure is a NEMA 4 powder coated steel box housing the power distribution components (DC Controller/distribution, Inverter and AC distribution), disconnects, system monitor and appropriate wire terminals. Enclosure is provided with rainproof vents and a ground fault protected electrical outlet. Optional remote monitoring equipment is available.

    4. Inverter/Battery Charger Trace microprocessor-controlled high-efficiency, sine wave inverter with three stage temperature compensated battery charger. Peak conversion efficiency of 96%, protection circuitry, LCD display with user and setup menus.

    5. DC Controller Solid state, low frequency, pulse-width modulated solar charge control with battery temperature compensation and automatic night time disconnect. Customer DC interface conforms to U.S. National Electric Code and provides easy access and flexibility for multiple DC load requirements.

    6. AC Distribution Panel Customer AC breaker panel conforms to U.S. National Electric Code, provides surge protection and flexibility for multiple AC load requirements.

    7. DC Combiner Box Provides PV circuit disconnects and lightning/surge protection for electronic equipment. 8. Ventilator Fan Designed for active ventilation of hybrid battery enclosure to prevent accumulation of hydrogen gas.

    9. Batteries Available in three battery types: economy flooded lead acid, industrial flooded lead acid and sealed lead acid. Flooded lead acid battery comes with recombiner caps to minimize water loss. Sealed battery available for maintenance-free performance. The control system maintains the batteries between 20% and 100% state of charge.

    10. Battery Enclosure Insulated, vented thermoplastic unit with lockable lid and drain plug. Designed to minimize battery temperature extremes, eliminate battery bank hot spots, prevent freezing and extend useful battery life. Industrial battery cells are secured within a grid and surrounded by a water jacket.

    11. Generator (Hybrid only) Industrial air-cooled, propane generator results in reduced maintenance requirements. Includes battery, alternator, remote start/stop contacts, self-contained protection and automatic safety shutdowns. Package includes weatherproof housing, vibration isolators on steel skid, flexible couplings, and replaceable dry element air filter. Available in three sizes. Other fuel types available.

    12. Structure Industrial grade, heavy-gauge steel coated with a durable polyurethane or optional galvanized finish. Available in four configurations: ground mount, road trailer, off-road trailer and breakdown kit.

    Hybrid and Stand-Alone Configurations

    Multitask Electronics™ Power Stations are available in two configurations: “hybrid” power stations that have a generator and “stand-alone” power stations, without a generator. The Multitask Electronics™ Hybrid Power Station uses a propane or diesel powered electric generator to supplement battery charging. The Multitask Electronics™ Stand-Alone Power Station is powered exclusively by the PV modules.

    Several factors must be considered when choosing between a hybrid or stand-alone configuration. Hybrid stations are sized to provide 25-75 percent of the load requirements by the engine generator, resulting in a lower first-cost for a given load. Stand-alone PV systems are sized to provide 100 percent of the load during the worst case solar conditions, and offer very low operating and maintenance costs. While the hybrid units do require fuel supply and engine maintenance, engine run time and operating costs are greatly reduced relative to diesel engine installations. Refer to the chart below for more detailed comparative information.

      PV Stand Alone PV Hybrid w/Gen Diesel Utility Extension
    Fuel Costs None Moderate High None
    Reliability Excellent Depends on Maintenance Depends on Maintenance High
    Relative Capital Costs High Moderate Low Depends on Distance
    Relative Operating Costs Low Moderate High Low
    Maintenance Low Moderate High Low
    Fuel Dependence None Low High Moderate
    Pollution None Low High Moderate

  • A Typical Solor Power System






  • Portable Solor Generator




  • Portable Solar Generator – DC & AC Out