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Build Your Own Solar Water Heater

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Things that Work! Model 4-1850 Home Power #67"

Digital Power Meters

20-CTR: Measures AC Power up to 10 kW, 100-250 vac single or two phase. New USB plug in meter, up to 1 gig of flash memory!

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4-1850WX: Special meter for Refrigerator Replacement All products are California

Programs. Detects Defrost Cycle, displays cost/kWh-hrs/yr. CEC eligible meters Other Models available. Check our website or call for details.

Brand Electronics

[email protected]

Ordering or Information call




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Best price under the sun, guaranteed, wholesale and retail prices available.

Many in stock for immediate shipping or pick up.

Mounting racks and other equipment also available.

Go to web site and click on the "Products" tab for spec sheets and details.


Solar Water Heaters-Vacuum Tube Superb Quality, Super Performance 604 740 9864 Canada 417 818 6057 USA Dealer inquiries welcome

604 796 2649 [email protected]

AAA Solar Supply, www.aaasolar.com 116

Abraham Solar, www.abrahamsolar.com 134

Abundant Renewable Energy, www.abundantre.com 80

AEE Solar, www.aeesolar.com 31

Aerostar Inc., www.aerostarwind.com 129

Affordable Solar Group, www.affordable-solar.com 10/11

AltE, www.altestore.com 14/15

Alternate Energy Technologies LLC, www.eaglesunsystem.com 43

Alternative Power & Machine, www.apmhydro.com 134

Ampair, www.ampair.com 34

Apex Solar, www.apxsolar.com 129

Apollo Solar, www.apollosolar.com 51

Apricus Solar Co. Ltd., www.apricus.com 16

APRS World LLC, www.winddatalogger.com 119

ART TEC, www.arttec.net 133

Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, www.backwoodssolar.com 35

Bernt Lorentz GMBH & Co. KG, www.lorentzpumps.com 3

Bogart Engineering, www.bogartengineering.com 117

Brand Electronics, www.brandelectronics.com 117,134

Butler Sun Solutions Inc, www.butlersunsolutions.com 124

BZ Products, www.bzproducts.net 129,133

C Crane Co., www.ccrane.com 129

Conergy Inc., www.conergy.us 2

DC Power Systems Inc., www.dcpower-systems.com 19

EasyFlex, www.easyflexusa.com 50

Electric Auto Association, www.eaaev.org 117, 134

Electro Automotive, www.electroauto.com 116

Electron Connection, www.electronconnection.com 101

Energy Systems & Design, www.microhydropower.com 124

Enphase Energy, www.enphaseenergy.com 65

Escuela de Energia Solar, www.escuelaenergiasolar.org 134

Free Fuel Forever, www.freefuelforever.com 134

Fronius USA LLC, www.fronius-usa.com BC

Fullriver Battery USA, www.fullriverdcbattery.com 94

groSolar, www.grosolar.com 4

Harris Hydro,, 707-986-7771 121

Heliodyne Inc., www.heliodyne.com 37

Heliotex, www.heliotex.com 33

Hydrocap Corp., 305-696-2504 113

Hydroscreen Co. LLC, www.hydroscreen.com 129

Innovative Solar Inc., www.innovativesolar.com 110

Intersolar, www.intersolar.us 120

Jan Watercraft Products, www.janwp.com 129

Kaco Solar Inc., www.kacosolar.com 36

LEDS Growing Green, www.ledsgrowinggreen.com 133

Liberty Enterprises Inc., www.iloveebikes.com 117

Magnum Energy, www.magnumenergy.com 27

Maverick Solar, www.mavericksolar.com 121

MidNite Solar Inc., www.midnitesolar.com 89

Midwest Renewable Energy Assoc., www.the-mrea.org 95

Mitsubishi Electric, www.mitsubishielectricsolar.com 44

MK Battery, www.mkbattery.com 73

Morningstar Corp., www.morningstarcorp.com 32

Northern Arizona Wind & Sun, www.solar-electric.com 124

Northwest Energy Storage, www.solaronebatteries.com 104

Northwest Solar & Clean Tech Expo., www.oseia.org 112

OutBack Power Systems, www.outbackpower.com 8/9

Pacific Renewables Group, www.pacificrenewablesgroup.com 134

Phocos USA, www.phocos.com 125

Power Battery Co. Inc., www.powerbattery.com 83

Power Planted LLC, www.powerplanted.com 133

Ready Reserve Foods, www.readyreservefoods.com 105

RightHand Engineering, www.righthandeng.com 133

San Juan College, www.sanjuancollege.edu/reng 125

Silicon Solar, www.siliconsolar.com 88

Simmons Natural Bodycare, www.simmonsnaturals.com 133

SMA America Inc., www.sma-america.com 21

Solar Converters Inc., www.solarconverters.com 111

Solar Depot Inc., www.solardepot.com IFC/1

Solar Energy International, www.solarenergy.org 81

Solar Pathfinder, www.solarpathfinder.com 127

SolarTech Power Inc. www.solartechpower.com 127

SolarWorld California, www.solarworld-usa.com 57

Solectria Renewables, www.solren.com 17

Steca Elektronik GmbH, www.stecasolar.com 110

Stiebel Eltron Inc., www.stiebel-eltron-usa.com 45

Sun Frost, www.sunfrost.com 127

Sun Pumps Inc., www.sunpumps.com 113

Sun Spot Solar, www.sssolar.com 127

SunDanzer, www.sundanzer.com 121

SunWize Technologies, www.sunwize.com 29

Surrette Battery Company Ltd, www.rollsbattery.com IBC

SustainableChoice.net, www.sustainablechoice.net 134

Terrapin Wind and Solar Co., www.terrapinsolar.com 133

The Taunton Press, www.taunton.com/Green 111

Thermomax, www.solarthermal.com 123

Trina Solar Ltd., www.trinasolar.com 5

Trojan Battery Co., www.trojanbattery.com 23

U.S. Battery, www.usbattery.com 100

Wattsun (Array Technologies Inc.), www.wattsun.com 124

Western NC Renewable Energy Initiative, www.wind.appstate.edu 113

WindMax Energy, www.magnet4less.com 133

Windstream Power LLC, www.windstreampower.com 117

Xantrex, www.xantrex.com 25

Zomeworks Corp., www.zomeworks.com 125

For easy online access to advertisers, visit www.homepower.com/resources/advertisers

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Choosing a Backup Water Heater

Solar water heating systems usually include some type of conventional water heater as a backup for cloudy weather or for when hot water demand is unusually high. But choosing the most cost- and fuel-efficient backup can be challenging, since the fuel types and efficiencies are like apples and oranges. Here's an easy method for figuring out your best choice.

Electric water heaters are easy to compare since they all use the same fuel source. Tank-style electric water heaters have an efficiency of about 90% because of the standby loss through the tank insulation, while on-demand (tankless) electric water heaters are rated at 100% efficiency—they convert all the energy to hot water. Electrical efficiency estimates are derived from heat energy transferred to the water and do not include utility or home generation and transmission inefficiencies.

Because of heat loss through the uninsulated flue pipe, tank-style fossil-fuel water heaters have lower efficiencies, ranging from 60% to 65%. On-demand gas water heaters offer more efficiency (at about 80%), and high-efficiency (HE) condensing tank-type gas water heaters are the most efficient at about 86%. (Note: At high altitudes, fossil-fuel water heaters lose some efficiency due to decreased oxygen levels in the air.)

But comparing one fuel source against another can be difficult—like figuring out whether you should replace your old natural-gas-fired tank-style unit with an on-demand

An electric on-demand (tankless) water heater.

An electric on-demand (tankless) water heater.

electric heater. To accurately compare fuel costs, it is easiest to convert the Btu content of each therm or gallon of fossil fuel into kWh (electric energy unit) equivalents—1 kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. Then you can factor in the efficiencies of the water heaters (see the table below). The second part of the table shows the fuel costs in dollars per kWh for each water heater type and for a range of fossil fuel costs. This allows a comparison of the fossil-fuel cost to the cost per kWh.

For example, the table indicates that the cost to operate a propane tank-style water heater is equal to about 17.2 cents per kWh at a propane cost of $3 per gallon. In this case, an electric tank-style water heater would be a better value if electricity cost 15 cents per kWh or less. At 90% efficiency, the electric tank will cost the equivalent of 16.6 cents per kWh.

Dollars aside, electric water heaters can also be supplied by renewable energy generated by PV modules, wind-electric systems, or hydro-electric turbines for pollution-free water heating—whereas fossil-fuel heaters cannot. Another possibility is heat-pump water heaters. They boast "efficiencies" of about 200%, delivering twice as much heat energy as the electricity they consume, but are expensive and require greater infrastructure (ground or water source) to attain those efficiencies.

—Chuck Marken

A typical tank-type gas water heater.

Kilowatt-Hour Conversions & Heater Fuel Costs


Btu kWh Per

Heater Fuel Content Heater Unit @ Type Unit Per Unit Efficiency Efficiency kWh Equivalent Heater Fuel Costs @ Cost Per Unit Fuel Cost Per Gallon or Therm


Btu kWh Per

Heater Fuel Content Heater Unit @ Type Unit Per Unit Efficiency Efficiency

Heating oil





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Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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