Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pick the best turbine for my needs?
The size of your system would be determined by your annual electrical consumption and how much of that energy you wish to produce yourself.
Are there lot size requirements to have a turbine?
Yes there are, although local ordinances vary from city to city,Hoskins International LLC will do all the research in advance of our site visit to ensure the placement and height of the turbine are acceptable under the current legislation in your area.
How soon can my system be installed?
From the time you make the decision to purchase and make your initial deposit, your system will generally be installed within 8-10 weeks.
Where does the electricity go?
Local utility companies allow residential and business customers to sign up for a "net-metering agreement" that allows the customer to send excess power back to the grid. Anytime the system generates more power than you are consuming, your meter will spin backwards and erase usage from previous days. Whatever rate you are paying in "your price to compare" is what the power company credits your account when you send power back to the grid.
What happens if utility prices rise?
The net-metering agreement operates independent of the cost of energy so for every kilowatt hour your system produces, one kW hour is then subtracted from your consumption. Because the net-metering agreement credits you whatever your price to compare is off of your bill, as the price of energy increases the value of the credits you receive increases identically.
Are the turbines noisy?
No, in a 22 mph wind our largest turbine produces 50 decibels of sound output. For comparison, the average human whisper is 45 decibels and a normal conversation is around 65 decibels. By the time a turbine is making a level of sound that is distinguishable the sound of the wind and the rustling of trees will be far more noticeable.
Doesn't a turbine need to be very tall to function?
The unique design of the turbine's blades allow it to catch more turbulent winds and winds that are rapidly changing direction. Because of this unique design feature they do not require as large of a tower to access uninterrupted winds. This allows our turbines to take advantage of natural eddys and wind amplification that can take place between large buildings, natural geologic structures and tree lines, this makes them ideal for tight urban settings where large towers would be impractical. The reason our horizontal cousins require high towers is because they need clean uninterrupted wind to contact the entire rotor blades surface in order to spin efficiently.
What are the costs involved?
The scope of service that you are paying for when you contract with Hoskins International LLC includes but is not limited to:
System design - preliminary code research, city licensing, engineering drawings, setback surveys, utility protection, and stamped drawings from licensed PE (all 50 states)
What are the incentives for going green?
The first incentive received is your 30% uncapped federal tax credit. Any dollar amount you spend on a renewable energy system, you will receive 30% back with your income taxes the following period. If you purchase this year, you will have your return Jan-Apr 2012 depending on how quickly you file your taxes. This tax credit is available every year until 2016, you are only eligible for it once a year though..
What is solar energy?
Solar energy takes advantage of the sun's rays to generate heat or electricity. It is an infinitely renewable resource and unique for its ability to generate energy in a quiet, clean, and consistent manner. Can't beat the sun for being oh-so-cool!
How do solar photovoltaic cells work?
In layperson terms, photovoltaic cells are comprised of a semiconductor material such as silicon. Added to the silicon are the elements phosphorous and boron which create conductivity within the cell and activate the movement of electrons. The electrons move across the cell when activated by the sunlight's energy into the electrical circuit hooked up to the solar panel.
How much does a solar electric power system cost?
A 2kW solar electric system can cost approximately $14,000. That total includes the cost for all components – solar panels, panel mounts, and inverter – and labor associated with installation. It does not however, reflect all the avoided costs, such as the tax breaks and the credits received through net metering.
How much will I really save on my utility bills from a home electric solar power system?
Of course this is a relative question. It depends, in part, on how much electricity you use and how efficient the appliances are that you operate. That said expect to generate excess electricity in the summer (when days are long) which can potentially offset the energy you use from the grid in the winter. A combination of energy efficient appliances and light bulbs can help reduce your homes energy bill by over two-thirds.
How much maintenance do solar energy panels require?
Solar photovoltaic panels require little maintenance – no need to wash or dust. It is, however, important to place panels where they will remain clear of shade and debris. Thus you will have to wipe them off if too much snow or leaves fall on them.
Will I need a building permit to install a solar energy system in my home?
Yes. You'll need to obtain building permits to install a solar photovoltaic or solar hot water system. Similarly, building, electrical, and plumbing codes also apply. That said, residential solar power systems do not use "radical" building techniques and most jurisdictions have building codes that fully embrace solar energy technology. Solar professionals will roll the price for permits into their cost estimate.
How long will it take to install a solar power system in my home?
Planning, configuring, and doing any custom ordering for your solar energy system can take up to a few weeks. However, the installation process itself can typically be completed in only a few days time, in many cases even less.
What components do I need to install a grid-tied solar electric system?
You will need a photovoltaic array to capture the sun's energy, an inverter to convert the direct current (DC) produced from the photovoltaic cells into alternating current (AC) used by your home, and a house utility meter – called a net meter – that can record both the electricity produced from your home's power system as well as any power you may use off the grid. These three system components are then connected through a series of wiring. The photovoltaic panels are secured to your roof with panel mounts or are installed on poles that can be adjusted for sun angle.
What does LED stand for?
LED stands for â€œLight Emitting Diodeâ€. Light Emitting Diodes, as the name states - are diodes. A diode is a semi-conductor device that permits current flow in one direction. Semiconductor diodes are a junction of two materials. One material has a surplus of positive charge (holes), and the other a surplus of negative charge (electrons). When one applies a forward voltage, the electrons and holes are brought together. They combine and release light energy - the 'light emitting' part of the name.
Is an LED a bulb?
LEDs do appear to be bulbs, but in fact are not. LEDs are tiny semiconductors encapsulated in plastic which protects their components and helps to focus the light.
What is the difference between an incandescent bulb and LED?
Incandescent creates light by the use of a filament. When power is applied, the filament glows and generates heat - which in turn produces light. LEDs are just the opposite. LEDs create light through a 'cold process'. When power is applied to semiconductors (usually gallium, asenic and phosphorous), they're stimulated by the movement of electrons, this creating photons. Photons are the light that is visibly seen by humans.
Do LEDs have a wire filament?
No, LEDs operate using entirely different components. LEDs are diodes - they only allow power to move in one direction. The anode (+) is where the current comes in and the cathode (-) is where the current goes out, much like the positive and negative terminals of a battery. Incandescent bulbs project light in every direction (omni-directional) as opposed to LED lights which project light in specified directions (such as 20, 50 and 120 degrees) due to their package design and layout.
Why do LEDs use such little power?
LEDs do not use a filament where a conductor is heated and light is created. Filament based lighting consumes more power than the light produced. LEDs produce very little amounts of heat and do not use filaments making them far more efficient in consumption and output.
Do LEDs produce heat?
LEDs produce very little amounts of heat. The heat noticed in some instances is due to on board components and other factors of the circuit. In comparison to incandescent, LEDs produce a fraction of the heat. If LEDs are hot to the touch, they are being overpowered due to improper circuitry.
Can LEDs be damaged if hooked up backwards?
Yes, they can. LEDs are diodes and only allow power to pass in one direction. To ensure that you will get the most life out of our LED devices, we add additional circuits to prevent this from occurring in both AC and DC applications.
Are LEDs affected by extreme conditions?
LEDs are geared for harsh environments. LEDs function from -40F to 180F. There is no delay or required "warm up time" for LEDs to function.
Do LEDs attract insects?
No they do not. Insects see entirely different spectrums of light and are attracted to ultraviolet light. A side note - flowers create "nectar guides", invisible to the human eye and ultraviolet light attracts insects to flowers for reproductive purposes. This is not to say that all bugs aren't attracted to LED lights, but most can't see the light that LEDs produce.
How long do LEDs last?
LEDs are rated by manufacturers to operate under normal conditions for approximately 10 years or 100,000 hours of continuous use. As LEDs get older, they tend to dim and fade but aren't susceptible to blinking like incandescent or fluorescent.
LEDs are more expensive than other lighting options. Why?
LEDs can operate as standalone devices, but when grouped or clustered they require additional steps to operate properly. LEDs need proper components such as a circuit board, driving components and some cases and housings to endure the elements. LED circuits can be designed rapidly, but to ensure that they operate correctly and for long periods of time they require testing.
Are LED's inherently directional?
No. One way to boost the luminous intensity spec (usually given in candelas of millicandelas) is to focus the beam more tightly. The same light flux, focused into a tighter beam, will give a higher luminous intensity spec. So indicator LEDs with 10 degree beam width are popular in part because they have higher specs compared to the same LED packaged to have a 30 or 70 degree beam width. It's more common to see illumination-grade LEDs rated in lumens, which doesn't take into account the focusing of the beam. Arrays built from narrowly focused LEDs will be narrowly focused; arrays built from other beam distributions will exhibit the beam distribution of their component LEDs. Narrow-beam LEDs and arrays can lose apparent impact when viewed slightly off-axis.
How do you get more light out of an LED?
LEDs are made by a process that deposits the junction materials on a substrate material. One of the limitations of LEDs is that imperfections in the material deposited on the substrate reduce the efficiency. Improvements in the manufacturing process have given us brighter LEDs, as have new junction materials. To a certain extent, you can also make the junction larger to get more light. But you can't extend that very far, mainly due to those imperfections. Their accumulated effect prevents a junction from growing much bigger than a square millimeter. So we won't likely see larger LED junctions without some advance in materials science to overcome that limitation. Since a single LED is a relatively low power device (by comparison with other light sources), constructing LED arrays is attractive.
Can LEDs be dimmed?
It's useful to think of an LED as a current-driven device. The light output is proportional to the drive current over a decent range. Things go a bit odd at the bottom end of the current range, where the LED may flicker or change color. So dimming by reductions in forward current isn't the most useful technique. Instead, pulse width modulation presents a technique to safely dim an LED from 0 - 100% of its' nominal brightness. By pulsing the LED with current, and varying the duty cycle of the current waveform, the LED rapidly transitions between on and off, and the relative times spent give the impression of being dimmed. Pulse width modulators are electronic controlling devices that also add significant cost to the unit or design.