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The Gurnet Saquish SOLAR page is a comprehensive collection of videos, reviews, tips and hazards associated with installing photovoltaic or solar panels and the equipment necessary to convert and store the electric energy collected by a solar electric system.


The Residential Modular Construction Concerns & Fire Fighter Safety & Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems report prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services on November 3, 2010 addresses concerns, regulations and case studies of businesses and residences that caught fire due to issues with photovoltaic and wind powered electrical systems.  If you have a home with alternative energy read this report from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.


This new story claims that special spray paint can be used to turn metal sheets into solar panels.  Judge for your self when you read the story.  Or imagine panels that collect solar energy while you sleep when your read this story from  If you're not already on the page view the SOLAR page and learn more about off-the-grid living.


New England Solar
401 Huntington Road or PO Box 435
Worthington, MA 01098
PH (800) 914-4131 or (413) 238-5974, FAX (413) 238-0203
Hours:  M-F 9a-5p


The first step to building a solar electric power grid is to determine your energy needs and consumption.  There's such a thing as a "solar calculator" that can be used to "crunch numbers" and assist you in assessing your needs.
  Appliances that draw large amounts of electricity like washer/dryers, dishwashers, hair dryers, microwaves and power tools will require more panels and batteries and a more expensive inverter.  Refrigerators and lights require significantly less.  For most residents solar electricity is used to compliment propane appliances.

Once you determine your needs you'll need the following parts list:
  1. solar panels
  2. mounting hardware
  3. inverter
  4. batteries
  5. cabling

Banks of photovoltaic cells are sold as panels which can be mounted on the ground or on structure.  Panels at Gurnet and Saquish should be mounted with a South, Southeastern orientation to maximize the capture of solar energy.  That orientation is a specific direction measured by degrees from magnetic North.  To avoid losing panels or damage caused by storms many residents opt to mount them flush on a southerly facing pitched roof and give up potential energy gain in favor of solid construction.

In many cases panels are mounted on metal "rails" which fasten directly to the roof.  Extended rails can be installed to allow for the addition of other panels as budgets and power needs increase.

There are several major manufacturers of solar panels including Sanyo, voted most effecient, Kyocera, voted best overall, Mitsubishi and Evergreen, voted most environmentally friendly.  You can read those reviews below.  Generally speaking panels produce 190 watts of electricity and cost from $1,000-$2,000 each. 

At the time of this writing we'd like to recommend Kyocera.  Unfortunately, they no longer sell to the general public so both sales and service may be an issue although we understand that some panels are still available.  Evergreen are environmentally friendly but energy absorption may be low.  That leaves Mitsubishi and Sanyo.  Sanyo scored very well on energy absorption but more residents seem to have Mitsubishi and Kyocera panels.

Roof mounting kits can be obtained through panel manufacturers and on the open market.  Due to the harsh marine environment be especially mindful of galvanized and stainless materials.  Anything less will risk your investment.  Don't skimp on the hardware.


In order to transfer the energy collected by the photovoltaic cells and store it for later use you'll need an inverter.  Inverters vary widely in cost.  We understand that $600 is the minimum you can expect to spend for a quality inverter which will transfer the energy collected and store it in banks of batteries.  Mounting inverters should be done by licensed technicians.

Trying to gauge energy consumption can be difficult without precise measurements.  An energy calculator can be found in a kit available for sale HERE.  If you're looking to charge phones, keep lights lit, watch TV and make coffee with energy to spare then six batteries is a good place to start.  If you are powering tools, major appliances like dishwashers and clothes and hair dryers you'll need three times as many.  Sealed cell batteries are maintenance free but can be easily damaged if over charged.  Over charging can also burn out your expensive new inverter but there are other systems that can be installed to guard against that.  Generally residents prefer batteries which  require water twice a year as they can be more robust, less likely to fail from over charging and longer lasting.

Cabling can be overlooked.  Don't do it.  Make sure that the run from the inverter to the house isn't too long.  The longer it is the more power loss in the line and the less energy to the home.

Entry level power grid will power lights, small electric appliances, a refrigerator, television and computers.  It might include three Kyocera panels, an inverter and six batteries.  You can expect to pay about $5,000.  Once parts arrive installation should take about a day.

SOLAR DEALERS  Solar Buzz lists the location of solar panel sales and service providers in Massachusetts.  Click on the button to review their list of vendors.  As with any purchase do your homework, ask neighbors about their experience and look for familiar brands with a track record of success.  To learn more about the technology click here.

"The Daily Green" does a nice job of reviewing photovoltaic modules, (PV's), commonly known as solar panels.  Sanyo, Evergreen and Kyocera top their lists in terms of efficiency and value.
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