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Solar Heating Panels

Air Movement
Hot air rises and cold air falls. This concept of air movement, called natural convection, is important in any space heating project no matter what fuel is used. Wood stoves are superior to fireplaces in heating mainly because the stove causes a convection current of air throughout the room or building. Most fireplaces only radiate heat into the immediate area. Although this concept is ignored in designing many modern fossil fueled heating systems, it is an integral part of all successful solar heating installations. If a solar heating system works with natural convection, hot air rising and cold air falling, then the result in comfort level can exceed expectations.

The Installation
Almost everyone today only lives in half their house - the bottom half. We need heat the most when the weather is cold and we are sedentary (sitting or lying down). In any building with little air movement the air tends to stagnate or stratify. Air temperature rises approximately 1°F. per foot. The ceiling of an A-frame house can be 20 to 25° hotter than the floor. Any good space heating system is designed around the fact that we live near the floor and the heat is at the ceiling.

The cold air inlet to the heating system is the key to efficiency and comfort. To heat any given space, the cold air must be removed and circulated through the heater; therefore, the inlet must be ducted so it is on or near the floor. If the inlet is placed on the ceiling, the heater will tend to recirculate the hot air and leave the floor cold. The hot air supply may be placed at the ceiling or on the floor with little difference in performance. If placed on the floor, the hot air rises to the ceiling within a short distance. Since collectors are normally installed on the roof of the building being heated, it is best to place the hot air outlet in the ceiling to shorten the duct run. A system installed in this manner de-stratifies, or mixes, the air in a building like a ceiling fan, in addition to supplying solar heat.


The orientation of air collectors for heating in the winter is the same as given in Basic Design section. The collector should face within 30° of true south and tilted at an angle of latitude plus 15°.

Energy Storage
The main niche for air collectors in the solar industry is supplying 25 to 50% of required energy for space heating. Additional storage is not required in most cases. A normal, well insulated house has enough interior mass alone to store enough heat for three to four hours after sundown, if the temperature is raised 10°F. (i.e.., 68° starting, 78° ending). More massive construction, such as adobe or brick, can store even more thermal energy. Due to their complexity, large rock and water storage systems are rarely cost-effective. They often require extraordinary maintenance.

The best features of air collector systems are simplicity and reliability. The collectors are relatively simple devices. A well-made blower can be expected to have a 10 to 20 year life span if properly maintained, and the controls are extremely reliable. Since air will not freeze, no heat exchanger is required. By using packaged insulated flex duct, the installation can be accomplished by anyone with a little mechanical ability. All this adds up to a quick payback on the cost of the equipment and gives you years of warmth with safe clean solar heated air.


Solar Hot Water Heating Made Simple


The Sunbather

TANK: Glass Lined
INSULATION: 2" Polyisocyanurate, Foil Faced.
CONSTRUCTION: Welded steel frame with brown baked enamel aluminum skin.
GLAZING: Two layers of textured, low iron tempered glass.
PLUMBING: Two 3/4" M.I.P. fittings.
DIMENSIONS: 36" X 78" X 26" Deep
DRY WEIGHT: 150 lbs.
FULL WEIGHT: 450 lbs.

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Utility Interactive Photovoltaic System

Commercial Solutions Overview

Commercial Solar Unit - Denver ColoradoMore businesses in Colorado are investing in solar power, because it generates a solid financial return, is a valuable business marketing advantage in today's green economy, and offers genuine and substantial environmental benefits. Rising electricity rates, generous incentives from your utility and the federal government, and some of the best sunlight conditions in the US all contribute to the decision to install solar power.

Your installation of solar power can return a substantial portion of your initial investment within one year and generate lower electricity rates over the long-term. In addition, your company is protected against rising and uncertain electric rates.

Positive Energy can customize a PV system design to meet your aesthetic needs, site requirements and clean power goals. A solar system can be discretely mounted on the roof of your building, or visibly integrated into a building structure (such as a solar awning or a carport). It can even be mounted on a tracker that follows the daily path of the sun.

Commercial Incentives

All utilities in Colorado are regulated by the Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC), except municipal utilities such as the city utilities of Los Alamos and Farmington. The NMPRC has ruled that all regulated utilities must offer net metering for solar power systems. This means that utilities must pay you the same rate for your clean energy as they charge you for their energy.

In PNM and EPE (El Paso Electric) territories, in addition to net metering, the utilities will buy Renewable Energy Credits (called RECs) for 13 cents per kilowatt-hour from interconnected solar photovoltaic systems that are under ten kilowatts. PNM (only) will also purchase RECs from large PV systems (over 10 kilowatts) for 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. The utility will pay customers for every kilowatt-hour generated for 12 years if it is a small PV system and 20 years if it is a large system. After 12 years, there is likely to be another REC program in place. Large systems, however, do not have the same net metering benefit as small systems.

RECs are equivalent to green tags or carbon offsets, but are presently worth much more. The NMPRC requires that utilities must obtain a percentage of their electricity from clean renewable energy, including a portion from commercial solar systems. This is called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Larger Colorado utilities have set up incentives to encourage solar PV installations. They are not buying electricity when they purchase your RECs. Rather, they are buying the right to claim the carbon offset created when you produce electricity from the sun versus generating electricity from non-renewable sources.

What this means is that if you use either of these utilities, you receive about 22 cents for each kilowatt-hour of clean electricity that you produce, whether you send the power back into the lines or use it yourself, while you pay about nine cents per kilowatt-hour for energy you buy from the utility. You can actually receive a monthly check back from the utility! Over time, this REC payment adds up to about 30% of the total system cost if you buy a system in 2009.

Generating clean power for your business locks in your power rates and will actually reduce your costs today. Assuming a typical installed system price of $8.00 per watt, the average solar PV system today will cost about 21 cents per kilowatt-hour before incentives. Reduced by the federal tax credit of 30% <hotlink>, the net cost is 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Thus as a business owner, you may expect to receive at least 22 cents per kilowatt-hour for clean power you produce, significantly higher than the net cost of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.

PNM Incentives

PNM offers two programs:

-Small PV program is offered to residential and business customers with PV systems of ten kilowatts or smaller. For reference, a ten kilowatt system consists of about 45 modules and generates about 1600 kilowatt-hours per month.
-Large PV program is offered to residential and business customers with PV systems greater than 10 kilowatts but less than 1 megawatt. This is a new program, established in early 2009.

Comparison of PNM Incentive Programs

PNM Program

Small PV Program
System size up to 10 kW

Large PV Program
System size over 10 kW and under 1MW

Net Metering
Solar production nets against consumption at retail rates.
Any excess monthly generation over consumption is carried forward indefinitely.
Any accumulated excess generation is paid upon account closure at avoided cost, which is much less than retail rates.
Solar production nets against consumption at retail rates.
Any excess generation over consumption is paid monthly at avoided cost, which is much less than retail rates.

Solar REC program
Solar RECs are paid at $0.13 per kilowatt-hour for all production.
Solar RECs are paid at $0.15 per kilowatt-hour, up to consumption.
No REC is paid over monthly consumption.

How A Commercial Solar System Works

A grid-tied PV system is the essence of simplicity and reliability. Solar modules are wired together to form your solar array. The array is typically mounted on the roof of your facility. The solar modules convert sunlight directly into electrical power.

We carefully select the modules for your installation based on their quality and performance. We will usually select high-efficiency modules, either to maximize available output within limitations of available space, or to reduce mounting hardware and labor costs. We also evaluate the solidity and longevity of the module manufacturer.

We carry SunPower modules, the most efficient commercially available module in the world. We are the only SunPower Premier Dealer in Colorado. We also carry and install Evergreen and Solarworld, both of which are manufactured in the US, and Sanyo of Japan. .

A mounting approach is selected that best meets your site and facility requirements:

  • flat roofs - either penetrating or ballasted non-penetrating;
  • pitched roofs;
  • solar awning; and
  • ground mounts.

The power runs from your solar array through a DC safety disconnect to an inverter, usually located on an outside building wall. The inverter converts DC (direct current) power generated by the solar array to clean AC (alternating current) power that synchronizes with the voltage of your facility.

The output of your solar system runs through an AC safety disconnect and a solar REC meter that tracks the solar production. The REC meter tracks the power produced by your solar power system before it reaches the breaker panel, meaning that you are credited for your clean power generation whether you use it in your facility or send it into the utility lines. From the REC meter, the output enters a service panel where it then flows to serve your loads.

Any excess energy generated flows into the utility grid, spinning your standard revenue meter backward as a credit for future use. This is called "net metering." The revenue meter tracks the net amount you pull from the grid. You earn retail rates for the amount of solar production that offsets your consumption.

When your solar system generates less electricity (due to cloudy days, evenings or excess use), your utility company supplies you with the rest. The regular utility meter tracks the net power supplied by the grid. The typical utility-intertied system is batteryless and maintenance free.

If there is a power outage during the day the solar system automatically shuts down, meaning that even if the sun is shining you will not have power during an outage. This is because your PV system feeds into the same breaker panel that is served by utility power. In order to prevent your solar energy from backfeeding into the grid and injuring a utility lineworker, your inverter must instantly shut down. Once utility power is restored, the inverter checks for steady power and reconnects after five minutes.

Benefits & Costs Of Solar For Commercial

In today's uncertain financial world, investing in solar power makes more sense than ever. When you install a solar system, you are essentially "locking in" your utility rate at today's prices for the amount of your consumption covered by solar electricity. This clean source of locally generated energy provides a lifetime of security. The modules have a 25 year warranty, and we expect that a solar system installed by Positive Energy can be relied upon for at least 40 years. The return on your money will only grow over time, your investment is virtually risk-free, and installing solar power increases the value of your property. How many investments today can make these claims?


Off Grid Solutions Overview

Off Grid Solar Solution - Denver Metro AreaWelcome to a Wonderful Way to Live!

Off-grid home photovoltaic power has come of age. No longer is it difficult to assemble a power system that works. The creative challenge is to fit the system to your needs while making it simple, understandable, affordable, and able to grow as your needs change. Your investment in planning an integrated system pays off immediately and throughout the life of the system.

We can help you to design your power system and understand how to care for it. We can visit your site and advise on placement of panels, batteries and controls, wire sizing, etc. We can converse with your well driller and advise on pump selection. We can install your system to a fully Code-compliant, permitted and inspected professional standard, eligible for all available tax incentives. We can advise you about available financing options. We can support you in the years to come with troubleshooting, service, maintenance, upgrades, and answers to your questions.

By advance consulting, we can help you make decisions clearly and quickly. We'll take it step by step, at a speed that you are comfortable with. We are also available as advisors, for help with a land purchase decision, for a second opinion, or for system troubleshooting.

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