An Insight Into Home Solar Panels

The trend of powering homes with solar energy is taking off and as it grows, people grow more interested in what solar panels are exactly and how they work. Some might even be wondering why solar panels are becoming so popular in the first place; this is because of the increasing concerns regarding climate change and the adverse effects of energy generated using fossil fuel. The following with discuss some of the basics of a solar panel.

What Are Solar Panels?

A solar panel consists of photovoltaic cells, also known simply as solar cells, which are assembled together. These cells are connected together to create part of a larger photovoltaic system that generates electricity. The size and number of solar panels required to power a home will vary according to the efficacy of the panel being uses, as well at the needs of the residents. A photovoltaic cell is an electronic device that has the ability to convert sunrays into electricity, without the help of an external source. They are able to do so through the photovoltaic effect.

What Is The Photovoltaic Effect?

The discovery of the photovoltaic effect goes as far back as 1839, when a French physicist by the name of A. E. Becquerel came across it in an experiment. However, it took a while for it to be developed into the sophisticated home solar panels that are used today. The photovoltaic effect leads to the creation of an electric current, or voltage, in a certain material when it is exposed to light. By using photons (light energy), the photovoltaic effect enables solar cells to generate electricity. Although it is sometimes confused with the photoelectric effect, it is a different process.

Effectiveness Of Home Solar Panels

Most people have questions regarding the efficiency of home solar panels.The efficacy of a residential solar panel depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • What types of appliances you use around the home. Using solar power will encourage you to make the switch from inefficient appliances to energy efficient ones, in fact.
  • Whether the temperature in your home can be naturally regulated or not. It makes good economic sense to weatherize your home.
  • Where you place the solar panels. As the southern face of your home receives the most sunlight, this is the ideal placement of a solar panel. It is important that the solar panel gets unhindered exposure to light, for it to be truly effective.
  • How much sun you get in your area, in the first place. You might want to take a look at the NASA ‘Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy’ website for further insight on this.

Given that a sufficient number of them are used, in the correct manner, there is no reason whyhome solar panels MA cannot be made a viable, energy efficient option for everyone. The initial cost of a residential solar power system can be hefty, but the long-term payoff is well worth it. With the right amount of research, you can maximize the benefits of green energy option.

5 Steps To Planning Your Own Home Solar System

If you are one of the many people considering a home solar system, then you need to carefully assess your situation first, so that you are able to pick an adequate number of solar panels and use them in the most efficient manner possible. A photovoltaic solar energy system is definitely a move towards the future of energy, which is eco-friendly and green. Moreover, it will considerably add to the real estate value of your home.

Calculate The Solar Radiation

As a rough estimate, it can be said that a residential solar system can generate 4 to 5 kWh/m2/day in most areas. In some cases, the power generated can be as high as 8 even. You can easily find out the exact output for your area by running an online search in many of the solar energy calculators, regarding your geographical location.  To break down the kWh/m2/day delineation so that it is easy to understand, the kWh is kilowatt per hour and the m2 is the surface area of the photovoltaic cell in square meters. On average, solar panels work at an efficiency of between 7 to 17 percent.

Determine Your Need

The next step is to assess how much you will be using every day. A good way to go about doing that is to look at your previous energy bills, so there is no room for error. The state averages for energy consumption vary drastically, so look for information particular to yours before deciding upon a final number. According to a residential energy consumption survey, by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2009, the following is the breakdown for how energy is used in homes:

  • 42% for space heating
  • 30% for electronics, lighting and other appliances
  • 18% for water heating
  • 6% for air-conditioning
  • 5% for refrigeration
  • Calculate the Number of Solar Panels

With the knowledge that you have gathered in the above-mentioned steps, you should now be able to gauge how many solar panels you need to power your home. Whichever manufacturer you are considering should be able to provide comprehensive literature regarding the sizes of the solar cells on offer, so you can make a decision easily. The following equation can be of help in making this calculation as well:

  • Surface area of the panel x Solar radiation in the area x 0.07 (7% solar panel efficiency) x Average days per month
  • Once you have made this calculation, divide your energy usage per month by the end product, obtaining the total amount of panels you require.

Consider Your Costs

The upfront costs of installing a photovoltaic system can be considerable, but many government run incentive programs allow you to significantly cut down on this cost. Apart from that, the long-term savings on utility bills are also  a blessing. With ever increasing costs of fossil-fuel energy, it makes good economic sense to invest in an independent source of energy. If you choose a grid-tied solar system, then you also have the option of selling surplus energy to a utility company in most states.

Plan The Placement

Perhaps the most crucial step, as without proper placement your home solar system is virtually useless. It must be placed so that it is exposed to an adequate amount of sunlight, preferably on the south-facing side of your home. The most optimal position in on the south of your roof, at an angle equal to the latitude.

Learning About Solar Panel Installation

There are many ways in which the modern house hold can reduce their power consumption and regulate their energy intake. One of the best ways is through alternative power sources such as solar power. Solar power can be harnessed through solar panels on your rooftop. Learning about solar panel installation for solar power means learning about solar panel system design. You will be able to play with site analysis for a better understanding of roof measurement and write about PV system sizing with solar panel installation for solar power education. You will then be equipped to practice solar site surveying and justify the elements of a site survey.

Another component to solar panel installation for solar power in Anaheim is taking courses in Site performance wherein you will learn to listen to clients and explain site factors which affect performance and motivate the use of online and manual tools for sizing a PV system. You will learn how to show how to conduct an economic analysis and organize the cost of a system.

When you study solar panel installation for solar power you need to have a thorough background in the many electrical components. You will need to be able to perceive the electrical integration and plan for safety of AC power and DC power. You will also need to be equipped to advocate knowledge of the major electrical components and record an assembly of the BOS.

Once you master this part of solar panel installation for solar power you will need to familiarize yourself with electrical regulations. This means you need to learn to relate to the specifications and wire sizing and rating for DC and AC and solve the utility integration. You will need to spell out the 120% rule and breaker sizing and translate the utility regulations and code regulations. You will also need to access the objectives for the following course in order to complete your solar panel installation for solar power education.

It is important that you learn about PV system components for solar panel installation for solar power. You should be able to compare arrays, modules, and PV cells and then contrast solar cells and modules. After this you can concentrate on the specifications for modules such as Voc and Watts and then focus on IV curves, parallel array circuits, and series. You will be able to illustrate how to utilize inverters and conclude efficiency in operations.

Putting the system together is the last step in mastering solar panel installation for solar power in Anaheim. You can then contribute to specifications for model and size and recount performance tools and online sizing tools. You should be equipped to redraw the mechanical integration after which you can create the mounting systems options for ground as well as for roof. Lastly learning about solar panel installation for solar power in Anaheim will allow you to critique the roof loading issues for performance.

Tips On Decorating A Small House

At least once in our lives we all need to move in a small space and this article teaches you to make the most out of what you have. The right décor can lead to a trendy and perfectly peaceful home no matter what the size is. Big houses do seem appealing but they are high maintenance, on the other hand small houses seem crowded but they are cosy and all negative feelings can easily be eliminated by thoughtful decor.

Nobody wants a cluttered house; it is probably the most stressful thing for interiors and can completely take away the tranquillity of your home. Setting and décor need to be done after considering the amount of space you have because adding too many items or items too close to each other in a small setting will lead to disorder. Here are some tips to follow before moving in to a small house:


A small space can be made to appear larger by creating an illusion using colours. One trick is to use the same colour throughout the house. This may sound quiet boring but since you don’t have much space in the house it will honestly look great and feel very inviting. To add variation different shades can be used which will also add beauty along with variety. Different shades can be introduced in a single room by painting walls in a certain colour but adding wall art such as large canvas prints in a darker shade of the same colour. Shades can also be changed for rugs or bed linen etc.

Dark colours make rooms look smaller while light colours make rooms look bigger thus focus on décor using light colours such as white, cream, sky blue or baby pink etc. and avoid too many darker shades even when adding variety. Wall colours are most important for home decorating and over all home location purposes.


Increased amounts of illumination will add grace and space to a small house thus go for items that will add light. Chandelier but in a very small size of course and a number of lamps will serve as beautiful sources of light at night. For bright sunlight keep curtains open and purchase them in a light shade and fabrics to allow light to fall through. Even putting up sunny pictures such as printing photos on canvas from a sunlit day can add to the trick.


Heavy furniture must be avoided at all cost but large furniture can be introduced but minimally, such as a single three seat sofa. Small furniture will easily fit in but that doesn’t mean to crowd the space up with it, limited items should be kept. Each item must be full or storage space such as a bed with drawers or a hollow coffee table with cabinets etc.

How To Save Space By Organizing Your Kitchen Tools

Kitchen is an important part of the house. It is where people fix their food, where you keep your food, and where the family spends time together. Unfortunately, most kitchens are tiny. Most people do not focus on the size of their kitchen, just as long as they have enough space for all the equipment needed. If you need extra space for storage and equipments, here are some tips you can do to maximize the space:

First, you need to install cabinets that are deep. Shallow cabinets are a big waste of space. You need to make sure that the cabinets placed will be able to accommodate for more things to be able to save the space. You can use some with racks of different shapes and purposes. If you install the cabinet, you can store the things you need inside and used it as a décor as well. Just make sure you are aware of where you place the items, so that there will not be any confusion whatsoever.

Second, when you buy the appliances, be sure to buy ones that are space-saving. Do not go for large ones if the room can’t accommodate the size. If your old appliances will not complement the size allotted for them in your new kitchen, you should try selling them and purchasing new ones that will fit.

Third, go big when you need to. For instance, it is a lot advisable to get a large sink. This is because it is easier to wash big pots and pans in a sink big enough to fit them. Otherwise, you will be having trouble washing the dishes; you might even need to take it outside.


Fourth, use a self-standing service island. It helps give a convenient place when you are preparing the food. Apart from the sink and counter area, this is a lot better. This is the best place to chop and slice fruits and vegetables. If you installed a large sink, this is an actual necessity. You can place the sink, refrigerator, and the stove should be placed in a triangle form.

Lastly, install some hangers. Hangers maximize space that pots and pans consume. You can place on over the stove. The back of the cabinets are another place to hang utensils. It will help clear some storage area for other things you can place in the kitchen. The utensils and cooking materials you need should be within reach, so always place the hangers somewhere accessible.

Formulate a plan before going on to design your kitchen. Keep these tips in mind so that you can have a more spacious kitchen despite a small space. Remember that there are three functions a kitchen should be able to perform. It should have adequate room storage, food preparation area, and cleaning area. Even if you have a small kitchen, you need to make sure that it is able to do all. The best tip, however, is to always keep things clean.

How To Locate & Destroy The Terrible Smell Inside Your Basement

There is nothing worse than your home smelling like the inside of a trash can. It’s even worse when the smell is coming from the basement because it’s very hard for it to escape and you soon can’t breathe when you walk in. We’re going to look at how you can get rid of those smells for good because once they are gone you won’t be afraid to walk downstairs.

Identify the source

If there is a terrible smell inside your basement the first thing you must do is put your detective hat on because you need to find it. Don’t you dare try to mask the smell because it’s only going to make it a hundred times worse. It’s hopefully coming from a box of junk or a dead rat, but it could also be something more serious like a damp patch.

Remove compromised objects

There might be a carpet on your basement floor. You might even keep a couch down there. They are both made of fabric that will attract bad smells and there is no way you will be able to use them in your home again unless you air them out. Take them upstairs and leave them in the garden if it’s not raining. The fresh air should hopefully make them smell great again, but if they are too far gone you will need to throw them out.

Give the place a good scrub

I doubt you spend a lot of time in your basement so it’s probably not had a good scrub for years. Maybe you’ve forgot that it’s still a big part of your home. It might be time to grab your waterproof elbow-length gloves and get down on your hands and knees. Make sure you use warm soapy water and you will scare the bad smells away. From now on you should think about giving your basement a good clean on a semi-regular basis.

Let some air inside

Open the windows and let as much fresh air get in as possible. If it’s nice outside you can leave the windows open for a long time, but make sure you close them when you’re not at home because you don’t want anyone getting in. If you don’t have any windows in your basement you can leave the door open. Leave your front door open too and the bad smells will not linger around inside your home.

Long-term ventilation solution

You can open the windows on a regular basis, but sooner or later you might decide to hook the basement up to your ventilation system. If you eventually convert your basement into a room you will need to do it anyway, so you should get it out of the way now. If it’s a condensation problem that is causing the terrible smells you could buy a dehumidifier. It will suck the water out of the air and keep everything nice and dry.

Create a great smell

Now that you’ve taken care of the bad smell it’s now possible to add a nice one of your own. You could use anything you want in order to create the nice smell. If you spend a lot of time in the basement you could keep some flowers in a vase. If you don’t spend any time in there you could hang up a few air fresheners you would use in your car. You should be able to walk into the basement to grab something without having to hold your breath.

Don’t let it happen again

If you have followed the advice it’s unlikely it will get so bad again, but at least you now know how to deal with it. Let us know what was causing your terrible smell because it will help people locate theirs quicker in the future.

Pure Linen – 7 Benefits You Get In Choosing Natural Sheets

When choosing bed sheets, oftentimes people consider design, price and comfort first. These are the most common considerations people look into when shopping for fabrics used for their home. There are however many more factors you should look into. With the many choices available in the market it’s important to be in the know of what you get out of the different types.

Many say linen is the best choice when it comes to choosing bed sheets. But do you know why this is so? In picking the natural alternative, these are the benefits you can experience:

Extremely Durable

Linen is said to be 30% stronger than cotton. Due to its durability linen can last for decades. When used properly and given proper maintenance, it won’t shrink or stretch. It can also keep its shape due to its fibre which is structurally sound. Unlike cotton, it also doesn’t turn yellow with time. In fact it becomes whiter with use and becomes softer with age. Linen is also stain and scratch proof.

Thermo – regulating

When it’s hot it can keep you cool, when it’s cold it can keep you warm – pure linen sheets can give these to you. Since linen is a breathable fabric it has a high heat conductivity and air penetrability.


Linen is naturally antibacterial. It’s resilient to fungi and bacteria and is not known to cause allergies. This is a good option for children whose skin are still delicate and for people with allergies and people with sensitive skin. Pure linen also has a natural pH balance which contributes to protecting the skin and help smoothens and softens it.

Anti – static

Linen being an anti-static material can reduce or limit the static electricity build-up on the fabric. This results to the fabric not wrinkling and not clinging to the body. It also contributes to the fabric being cleaner for a longer period of time.


When extra moisture is absorbed this gives you a comfortable and cool fabric. This is what happens to linens. They have a great capability to absorb moisture. As a result, using linen gives you utmost comfort that can provide a very favourable and pleasant feeling.

Promotes relaxation

Linen also promotes relaxation and even contributes to a deep and relaxing sleep. This is a result of the massaging effect produced through the microscopic breaks found all throughout the fabric.

Environment friendly

With many consumers being conscious about their carbon consumption, buying and using pure linen will lessen this trouble. Linens are environment-friendly since they are made from natural fibres found in plants. In using the flax seed nothing is also wasted. The other parts not used in the production in linen can still be used for other purposes. It is also a renewable resource that is fully biodegradable.

Aside from the upfront cost and the initial look and feel a fabric provides, you should also look at other factors to help you choose the right fabric for your home. In choosing linen and picking the natural alternative you get a lot more benefits that are long-term. In going natural, you get a highly durable material that gives you maximum comfort and functionality. All these while getting the value for your money and positively contributing to the environment.


It is no doubt that you almost always have culture shock especially when you move to a completely different culture to yours. Culture shock is usually frustrating and embarrassing so make sure that you are well-prepared to minimize this problem as least as you can. Learn about Japanese culture and survive this weird but wonderful country.


japanese hi-tech toliet

It may sound ridiculous but toilet is the first shock to foreigners if they have never heard about toilets in Japan. The two most common types of toilet both confuse foreigners. Squat toilets are traditional ones, with a shallow trough in the floor to collect the waste instead of a bowl like western- style toilet. There is a half-dome in the end by the wall, you must squat with your feet flat on the ground, facing that half-dome. Flush after you have done your business. Good news is, this kind is being replaced gradually.

However, you can also have annoying experience with the other common type, high-tech toilets. They have complicated functions like dryer, heating, massage, anus washing, automatically lid opening or flushing. You may get confused among these buttons. Many westerners end up wetting themselves trying to flush. Remember that bottom-spray button usually has a picture of a bottom and“おしり”. The bidet button is often pink with a picture of a girl sitting on a toilet and “ビデ”.  There can be buttons indicating the amount of flushed water, “大” is for a large amount and “小” for a small amount. In the worst situation, just do not push any button. Another option is asking a person who can give you the simplest instruction. There’s a lot of time to discover, do basic things first.


japanese bathroom

It is different as well. Most toilets are a separate room from the shower and the bathtub. Shower is usually installed in the bathtub but in this country, it is next to. The reason is that you are not supposed to wash yourself in a bath tub, it is for soaking and relaxing. Clean yourself with soap, rinse off perfectly before getting into the tub. The tub is meant for a whole family to enjoy soaking so do not drain it unless you are the last person to use it.

Public baths and hot springs are popular among Japanese for the comfort and relaxation. The areas for bathing are separated upon genders. Prepare a tower, fold it, put it on your head and soak in, this is an interesting part of Japanese culture.

Working culture

japanese business culture

In Japan, working hard is highly respected. You can find it stressful to work in Japan because it is not unusual for employees to work 60 hours a week. “You look so tired” is considered a compliment.  But don’t worry too much, as a foreigner; you are not pressured to work as much as your Japanese counterparts.

Unlike in individualistic cultures, community sense is so strong here, you are expected to work in harmony and hierarchy. Remember to pay high respect to your superior and get on well with your peers.

Japanese culture basics

When you think of Japan, the first things that come to your mind can be sushi, geisha, tea ceremony, ninja, samurai, anime, sakura (cherry blossom) or its electric industry. Those elements do play important roles in Japanese culture but there are a lot of more things to learn about.

Japanese values

First of all, if you want to know about Japanese culture, it is best to find out their values.

After the Second World War, Japan amazed the world with their rapid recover and development, which is thought reasonably due to their solidarity, conformism and discipline.

Japanese children are taught form the earliest developing process that human fulfillment and achievement come from close association. Early in their lives, they learn that they live in an interdependent society. They start from small to larger groups, family, school, playground, community and company. That’s how Japanese people unite to make strong solidarity. It’s also the reason why in interpersonal relationship, most Japanese avoid open competition and confrontation. In addition, discipline has contributed to Japan’s success. It is not much exaggerating to say that discipline is interwoven with psyche of Japanese citizen.

Those values have a profound effect on Japanese culture which is composed of language, music, cuisine, clothing, customs, folklore, arts, religions and literature.


Japanese cuisine is the combination of both native and foreign cuisine. It is not only about culinary but also about art. Japan is the home of some of the world’s most exquisite ingredients and dishes with best presentation and beauty. It can be said that this cuisine is a kind of ritual, always full of care for design as well as nutrients and taste. Best 10 dishes to try in Japan: sushi, ramen, unagi (river ell), tempura (deep-fried foods), Kaiseki, Soba (long, thick buckwheat noodles), thin slices of beef or pork boiled in water, Okonomiyaki (pancake with other ingridients), onkatsu (breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet), yakitori (charcoal grilled chicken).


Music is an important part of Japanese culture. It has a wide variety ranging from traditional to modern Western music. Traditional music has been used in daily life activities like planting rice, making sake (wine), cutting grass and parties. Modern music namely Western and American music is commonly sung as karaoke, a popular hobby in Japan.



The distinguishing character of Japanese arts is the inner beauty, spirit deep below the picture rather than the exterior. There are 3 main categories of paintings are flower and bird, landscape and people.

Calligraphy (shodo)

Calligraphy is an artistic way of writing Kanji (similar to Chinese) using brush and ink. It is a popular hobby among both children and adults. It is also regarded as an expression of the artists’ souls, thoughts and feelings.

Flower arrangement (Ikebana)

This is a way of arranging flowers so that they will look in a beautiful, simple and natural way. The goal is to find harmony between the vase, flower and branches.

Tea ceremony (sado)

This is a ceremonial way of preparing and enjoying tea which consists of a lot of rituals. Those rituals must be learnt by heart and carried out exactly under instructions.

Origami (paper folding art)

This art is folding paper without using glue or scissors. Crane is the most famous and popular origami in the world. It has become the symbol of hope globally.

Mammals of Japan

In April 1982, I began writing a column for The Japan Times newspaper, it was to be about the natural history, the wildlife, of this fascinating archipelago. I called that column about wild Japan Wild Watch. Twenty-nine years later, I continue to write the column and continue to cover topics relating to natural history and the environment here. My column is, I have been told, the longest published natural history column in any newspaper worldwide. Over the years I have also written articles, papers and books on a wide range of natural history, birding and travel topics relating to Japan and Asia. Japan is a fantastic country in which to watch birds and mammals against a backdrop of some spectacular scenery.

The Japanese archipelago, stretching from Hokkaido in the north to Yonaguni in the southwest, supports astonishing biodiversity. Roughly comparable in size to both the British Isles and New Zealand, and somewhat similarly located in a largely temperate region situated off a major continent, Japan nevertheless supports very much more biodiversity than either Britain or New Zealand. Some species are restricted just to Japan, such as the endemic Japanese Squirrel and the endemic Japanese Serow, others, such as the Eurasian Red Squirrel, range all the way from Britain to Japan.

Red SquirrelRed Squirrel

A wonderful country with a rich and ancient culture, it is also a marvelous place for naturalists. Throughout the year the range of species to look for is quite astonishing, from endemic birds and mammals of the main islands to endemic species of the Nansei Shoto, Izu and Bonin islands, alongside a tremendous diversity of Palaearctic and Oriental species.

Behind the façade of development, outside the bounds of the metropolitan areas, and beyond the supposed homogeneity of the Japanese people there is another wilder Japan. 


Common images of Japan involve shiny cars, the latest electronic goods, and regimented ranks of commuters in business suits. Japan is, after all, an intensely developed country with a population pushing 127 million. The Japanese people’s belief in their homogeneity is an interesting one, not supported by observation, and their reputation as “loving nature” is a surprising one when one travels the length and breadth of an archipelago showing few signs of that “love”. Yet, behind the facade of development, outside the bounds of the metropolitan areas, and beyond the supposed homogeneity there is another wilder Japan.

Siberian Flying SquirrelSiberian Flying Squirrel

Wild Japan is astonishingly diverse, and the reasons, though apparent, are little known amongst those who travel the standard tourist circuit of this ancient country. Another myth is that Japan is a small country. It is, in fact, larger than either Britain or New Zealand, and almost exactly the same size as Germany. But Japan’s most significant feature is that it is not just an island country, but a country of islands. Situated where the Oriental and the Temperate regions meet, Japan is situated on a significant natural history cross-roads.

The northern island of Hokkaido has a sub-Arctic feel, while in the far south, the Nansei Islands lie within the sub-tropical zone. In between, there exists just about every habitat that one could imagine, from coastal wetlands to high alpine meadows. Past lowering of sea levels connected the Japanese Islands to the Asian continent in three places, via Sakhalin, via the Korean Peninsula, and via Taiwan. Blakiston's Fish Owl

Blakiston’s Fish Owl

These land bridges allowed mammals to cross into what later became islands as the sea levels rose again. As a result, some of Japan’s more than 150 mammal species, such as the Asiatic Black Bear and the Badger, are widespread across Asia, while others, such as the Japanese Dormouse, are unique to these islands.