About Mike Norvell

Mike Norvell has been a member since November 30th -0001, and has created 11 posts from scratch.

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This Author's Website is http://www.brightenergycentral.com

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Step To Installing Solar

Warning... this is a long post, contains solar math that may assist you in getting the correct sized system for your home.  For those that want the bottom line: Here it is... Just take your avg kwh off your electric bill and divide by 150.. this is a rule of thumb for sizing a solar install that will come close to a zero power bill.

But, if you want a better understanding, then continue down the page!

First, the homeowner should have a basic understanding of how their current electric bill works.

All electric bills are made up from watts, and we get billed in kilowatt hours.

A kilowatt hour is simply, 1000 watts of accumulated power usage for 1 hour.  

A simple example would be a microwave oven.. An average microwave uses about 1,000 watts on high, so a microwave running for one hour would use 1 kilowatt hour of power.

Understanding Kilo Watt Hours

How about a dryer.. An average dryer on high heat (towels setting) ​can use about 3,000 watts..... so in an hour of running, a dryer could use 3 kwh..  

In fact, many people can go around the home and see what is using the most power, and how long does is run. We have a worksheet for just this task!

Got an older pool pump? Old style pool pumps can avg about 2,000 watts, or 2 kwh  per hour... But, pool pumps run about 6 hours a day, x 30 days a month.  so 2 kwh x 6 hours a day = 12 kwh per day, x 30 days a month= 360 kwh per month.

​A single speed pool pump can use a lot of kwh, now you know why.

 Other items in the home that are ran a lot consume a lot of power too. Some DVRs and Game Systems actually use power whether on or off, and they are consuming power 24 hours a day, 30 days a month. 

Two other items in most homes that have a big impact on the kwh are the AC & Hot Water heater. In other posts, we cover these items in detail, but together they can add up to over 50% of the total KWH consumption.​

Ok... now you have got an idea of how we end up with an electric bill, and there may be cost effective ways to make your home more efficient. ​Why make your home more efficient? Because it pays to do so, if you do it right!

Your entire goal of going solar is to become more efficient. By making the home more efficient, the solar pv project can actually  be smaller, and get you closer to a zero bill.

 And like we say, becoming more efficient does not mean you have to live in a tent....Just make better decisions on how to reduce your kilowatt consumption...

OK, so now lets look at how solar reduces your electric bill.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how KWHs are formed,​ you can do the math to see what is your basic usage. If your bill shows say, 1,500 kwh per month, then that is 50 khw per day. ( 1500 kwh divided by 30 days)

So, to get a net zero bill, we would need a system that could average a production of 50 kwh per day. ​

Here is a worksheet to download that has this detailed math! It really is simple when you look at it this way!

Now to understand the simple basics of solar panels. First, all panels make DC power.  Second, everything that plugs into the wall sockets in our home runs off of AC Power. So, the power from Solar Panels has to be inverted from DC to AC power.  No problem, that science has been worked out for years!

Next, solar panels need to be installed in the sun. In Fl, we have about 5.5 usable hours of average sunlight a day. Some days more, some less. Some days it rains.. But an average of 5.5 hours a day for the whole years calendar is a good average to calculate.

Back to the math......... 

Solar panels are based on watts, but they make DC watts. (remember inverting). So, if we have 4 250 watt panels, that would make a potential 1,000 DC watts. Simple?

Remember, 1,000 watts is a KW, so these same 4 panels in the bright sun for an hour could produce a kilo watt hour of power.  On an average day, you will get about 5.5 usable hours, so that means those 4 panels could make ( at max) 5.5 kwh per day, x 30 days a month = 165kwh total MAX production at the panels output. 

Solar does not work at night, so an understanding of Net Metering helps.

How Net Metering Works In Fla

Now, here is where some people mess up with the math... The DC output has to be inverted, travel thru wires, the meter, ect... the actual power that your home will get to use is not 165 kwh per month, more likely down to about 150 kwh per month.

Now, we see a lot of brochures that use very, very different numbers from this. But, this math we have shown is the very best you can expect on an annual average for Fl homes. 

​So, lets pull all of this together...  for a bill that used 1,500 kilowatt hours, divided by 150 kwh per kw of power produced, equals a 10kw system to zero out the bill.

​Now, we don't have to zero out the bill to be highly effective. In fact, if we can get between 70 to 50% of the bill we are pretty happy. We also should look at conservation in other area of the home to make up the difference.  

WOW>>>>>>>>>>> That's a lot to consider... But, i promise you, we go thru this math with every single customer. ​ Installing solar is a big project, so understanding the basics helps to project what a properly installed solar project will achieve. 

In fact, if you go over this page a few times, you will have a better understanding of the basics of solar math than many of the people that might show up to show up try to sell solar.  

​In fact, if you would like to get a free online consultation, then click on the button below... If you fill in the form, we can send you back a custom solar report based on your house.  If you like what you see, then you can go a step further and request a link for our screen share presentation, all from the comfort of your home.

This presentation should be about 15 minutes... long enough to answer your questions, and decide if you are ready to move to the next step, which is to have one of our techs come and do an onsite inspection of your home. This will allow us to finalize our bid, and to make sure that the roof, electrical and other components of your home are ​a good match to install solar.

Bottom line... we promise a respectful presentation, based on common sense facts. We will give you all the options, including several financing options.

In our experience, most homeowners can install their solar project for less than what ​they are currently spending on the power bill. 

Thanks for taking the time to go thru this. We know that an informed customer will make a better decision, and we work hard to show you that 3Guys Solar is the company to entrust your solar project. 

Solar Powered Attic Fans

Solar Powered Attic Fans Do A Great Job removing heat from Attics here in Fla. Our attics can average over 140 degrees, and make the AC Unit struggle to work against that heat.

Hot Air molecules trapped in an attic will expand up to 3x their normal size, getting even hotter as the pressure builds.

Convective heat will actually PUSH heat straight thru objects in the attic, such as the cooling ducts, the insulation and the sheet rock ceiling as well.

The biggest solution that Solar attic fans provide is to stop the build up of Convective Heat.

Convective heat pressure  is what makes an oven work, the door has to be closed to build up the heat inside.

Your attic is like a big oven, building up incredible heat.​

Column 2

Restricted Air Flow in Fla attics is a big problem. We average 9 months of high heat & humidity. This trapped heat pressure makes our homes so uncomfortable.

Solar Attic fans start working early in the morning, pulling air flow thru the attic so the pressure will NOT build. Simple in their design, but effective in doing one job very well!

We normally install Solar Powered Attic Fans along with Radiant Barrier, they make a great combination in Fla Attics.

​Solar Attic Fans Saves Your Expensive Insulation 

Heavy moisture and heat pressure will compress average attic insulation in a few years. Solar Attic fans pull the moisture and heat out of the attic, helping the insulation stay in great shape to protect your home. 

Check out the link for more info.. ask about the 30% Tax Credit.

Mike Norvell Sr

Mike Norvell Sr has been working in Fl homes solving energy efficiency problems for many years. Call today for an appointment to discuss making your home more comfortable.

Laser thermometer shows the attic temps


Is It Better To Install Solar PV Panels East or West

Solar PV Panels  East or West

Do Solar PV Panels Work Best East Or West In Florida

Every Day this question seems to arise. Just like the sun that comes up in the east, and sets in the west will happen every day. One of the best ways to help a homeowner feel confident in this answer is to meet with them at their home.

I love meeting with a homeowner early in the mornings to do an onsite evaluation. If there is no shade issues to contend with, the obvious answer is the south side is sunny first thing.

But so is the East side. By 9 AM, any dew left on the south roof can be seen steaming off the shingles. This is the result of cumulative factor of radiant heat present in even in the early hours. But as the day goes on, as the south side stays sunny, the east side starts losing ground around 12 noon to 1pm. It is still light, but the angle of the sun to a directly facing East Roof (90 degrees) is fading quickly.

The suns rays are now straight up, but over the next hour or so, the main difference is in the angle, or pitch of the roof. On a steeply pitched roof, the west side will begin to shade the east side. This is the point that the east side loses its advantage and the west side takes over.

Also a factor here is the temperature. During the entire morning, the temp was slowing rising. Since Solar PV Panels work better in cooler temps, the morning sun can produce a slightly better output per hour. 

So now the suns angle is favoring west, but of course the south side is STILL SUNNY. Depending on what season we are in, the west side roof may continue to be productive up until at least 6 pm, maybe a bit longer.

But here is the reality. During the times of season when the days are longest, we tend to have afternoon cloudiness and rainstorms. This would tend to negate the advantage of the West facing roof on those days. Solar PV needs light intensity, and clouds tend to block more light than heat. 

Dew Collects on Solar Panels

But in fairness, many mornings in Fla are very dewy (is that a word?) and until the panels would dry off there would certainly be a loss in production as well on the East Side.

This brings up another common question.. How to clean the panels..Best way is to wait for a dewy morning, and with a high pressure nozzle just hit them from the ground with a blast of water. However, if it is raining at least a few times a month, this will not be required at all.​

This simple test of how the sun moves on the homeowners roof proves that South facing roofs are best. So, Solar PV electric modules perform best when mounted on the south facing roof in Fla (not taking into account any shading issues). However, what happens if you do not have a south facing roof, or if you south facing roof is not suitable for solar? What if the house is not exactly facing due south? The simplest answer is Most are not.

Southeast and southwest roofs are the next best options, but east and west facing roofs are not all that bad. Any Degree of South facing improves the results. Just as any degree of North facing reduces the results. In fact, a properly angled  solar array facing east or west will only result in about 5-15% less energy produced here in Florida. But which is better?

For a definitive answer, most industry pros tend to look to the NREL website, and use the PVWATTS tool. If you want to spend a bunch of time there, then be my guest, but the bottom line is pretty simple.

South is best. Next is either South East or South West (almost equal), and then directly East comes in b​y only a very small percentage over directly West. Here is the Chart from NREL. For those of you that really only wanted an answer, I am sorry this took so long to make the point. But for the rest that like to know why something is better, I hope this has made some sense.

PVWATTS Comparison East West

The tool that is commonly used to estimate solar electric output is called PVWATTS, which was developed by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL). We can enter a variety of variables to determine how much solar radiation to expect at a given location over the course of an average year. NREL uses historical hourly weather data, array orientation, temperature, and other factors to determine the expected system performance.

So, the Bottom line is pretty simple, do what you can to get some southern exposure. But if the East roof has a great open space for panels, then use it with confidence. But if shading is a potential issue on one side or the other, then use either East or West that has the best roof surface space without shading. ​

I hope this helps. It's a rule of thumb guideline that is a great starting point to factor which side to best install solar.  But, remember this... This article is about solar pv, not solar thermal. The difference between light production and heat production is a totally different article.

But, I can sum that article up here. For any solar thermal, south is best, and then west. Period. The west side is always hotter in the afternoon, so installing solar hot water or solar pool heating will always be better on the South or West Side. Period.

Solar Hot Water Panel Facing West

Solar Thermal Hot Water Collector on South Facing Roof Is Best

Solar PV Electric Panels Facing South






Solar PV Panels East VS West, Is It Better to Install Solar PV Panels On the East or West Roofs

Installing Solar PV Panels on West Vs East Roofs in Fla. Does It make a difference to install Solar PV Panels on the East Vs West?

Orlando, Longwood, Altamonte, Leesburg, Fruitland Park, Lady Lake, The Villages, Central Florida, Eustis, Deland, Sanford. Lake County, Citrus County, Orange County, Seminole County.


When Should I Replace My Hot Water Heater

Electric Hot Water Heaters Cost More Every Year

Thinking about REPLACING YOUR Electric WATER HEATER?   Why NOT Replace? Water heating is typically the second largest energy expense in your home. It can account for as much as 30% of your monthly utility bill. As water heaters age, their efficiency fades and you may not have a complete failure, but a gradual loss of efficiency is inevitable. This can continue for years before the water heater finally fails.

Update:  For a family with only 3 or less people in the home, we can make a strong case for installing the New Hybrid Electric Hot Water System.....  

For larger families, This article will show that the rising cost of electricity makes a strong case for replacing that electric hot water tank with a Solar Hot Water System

That Electric Tank is Quietly Wasting Your Money

Unfortunately, many homeowners wait until their water heater fails before shopping for a replacement. However, over time, the cost of purchasing and operating a fully functional water heater can be much less than the cost of running an older, inefficient water heater. A family of five or more could be spending over a thousand a year on electric hot water.

Anatomy of a Water Heater Buying Guide
The best way to determine the right water heater for your needs is to look at the number of people in your home and the amount of demand you have for hot water. This includes dishwashers and washing machines. Homes with teenagers, oversized bathtubs, whirlpools and spas generate a higher demand on the water heater. Always anticipate your family's future needs when selecting your water heater. Solar 5 or more, should use 120 gallon tanks...

Household Size Demand Gas Electric
5 or more Regular 50 or 75 Gallon 80 Gallon
High 75 Gallon 120 Gallon
3 to 4 Persons Regular 40 Gallon 50 or 65 Gallon
High 50 or 75 Gallon 80 Gallon
2 or Less Regular 30 Gallon 40 Gallon
High 40 Gallon 50 Gallon
Solar    5 or more, should use 120 gallon tanks...

                            ​Again, For Smaller Families, we should discuss the                              Hybrid Electric Hot Water System!

The average life expectancy of a water heater is between 8 and 15 years. Don't wait for an emergency to occur before thinking about replacing yours. In addition to avoiding cold showers and a soaked basement, replacing your unit with a new high-efficiency water heater is much more energy-efficient than those manufactured 10 or 15 years ago.

Since water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, the money you save on energy can help pay for the cost of a new one. But, does it make sense now to go to Solar Hot Water?

Replace My Electric Hot Water Tank With Solar?​

Years ago, the cost of electricity was just a few cents per kilowatt. But now the average price per kilowatt in Florida is about 15 cents.  What this means is the old hot water heater was a pretty good deal when electric rates were so low, but now represent up to 30% of the total electric bill.

Yellow Sticker Hot Water Tank

The Yellow Sticker Test

Most Electric Hot Water tanks still have the yellow sticker on the side of the tank. This sticker is required by law to show the efficiency of the ​tank when it was new. The big number in the middle is the estimate of the annual operating cost a minimum amount of water per day. But this is based on the old electric rates, so most people have to add more to this. 

For example, if the yellow sticker says the annual rate number is based on 10 cents, and the current rate is 15 cents, then the number is 50% too low.  If the tank is over 10 years old, ​ average electric rate shown is about 7 cents per kilowatt. That would mean the sticker is off by double.....

Replacing the old inefficient electric hot water tank with solar becomes a simple math problem. ​ The basic electric tank uses at least 400 kilowatt hours a month, according to the big yellow sticker on the side. (And that's when it was new... who knows how much it uses years later) 

​This means that with most families of 3 persons, it is costing about 50 per month for electric, add about 15 dollars more per person from there. On average, a family of 5-6 is spending at least 75 dollars a month on an old hot water tank. They are probably running out of hot water too!

Bright Energy Central will do the math with you, and in most cases it becomes clear that it is cheaper to install solar hot water. The break even period is about 5 years, and then it is free. But, it's more than just cheaper.

Solar Hot Water tanks are much better insulated.​

Solar Hot water tanks are glass lined, with solid foam insulation. They are designed to keep water hotter without having to reheat.  Compare this to Electric tanks which constantly are reheating the same water due to poor insulation.​

​Solar Hot Water Tanks are Bigger

The average electric hot water tank ​is about 50 gallons. The average solar hot water tank is 80 gallons. That's a big difference when you are dealing with back to back showers. Anyone who ever tried to fill up a tub knows the old electric hot water tank won't keep up!

​Get a Free Quote on Installing Solar Hot Water

For a free quote on installing Solar Hot Water, contact us thru the form on the right. We will contact you shortly and give you a quote in writing. In most cases, it becomes clear the old tank really is costing you more money to keep it... See you soon!​

Can I Save Money With Solar Power


Over the last few years I have certainly seen a lot of Solar projects. Most of them have been in residential homes, but recently the Business world seems to be waking up to the pure financial sense of going solar.

Every Major business in the country is getting solar installed! In fact, more solar was installed in 2014 than ever in history!

The perfect time to jump in has finally arrived! If you do your homework, you will find that most homeowners can install a solar package for less than what they are currently paying in utility bills.

The reason I made sure to say "A Solar Package" is that it makes more sense to reduce consumption of kilowatt power than to create the same power.

Simply put, make the changes needed to cut your electric bill down as far as possible thru energy efficiency and THEN calculate how much solar power your home will need.

NOTE >>>>>>If you allow us to do a quick consultation with you over the phone, we can determine about 90% of what we need to know... If you have an internet connection, we can work with you quickly to get started in the RIGHT DIRECTION >>>>

​Now that we are on the same page, lets consider what uses the most electricity in your home. AC, Hot Water, Pool Pump, Laundry, Cooking.... The best way to be sure is to look at the stamped tags on the units in question, and just do the math.

But, to save time, here in Fla, there are 3 items that consume 70% of the electric bill. Air Conditioning, Hot Water, and Pools.

However, there is a growing number of sales agents out there that know that the general public has not kept up with the recent improvements in solar technology, and how much the prices have dropped in the last 4 years!

What this means, is that the average homeowner is not doing their homework, and signing up with the first pushy sales person that comes to the home. You would not buy a car like this!!

So, the bottom line of this post is to do your homework. Prices have dropped, while the Solar Equipment has greatly increased in efficiency.

Don't get stuck paying thousands of dollars more because you did not shop around...We hear from homeowners who did not shop around, paid too much, and bought OLD Equipment Inventory from a wholesale warehouse...

These people lose in every direction, paid too much, bought old, outdated panels and equipment, and will take YEARS longer to have the savings pay off.

What makes more sense to us is to teach the homeowner about the process, and together make a decision about what would be the best for that home!

We help you do the math, real documented math, about energy saving products for your home. Every home is different, so every solution is different, but one thing is always the same...... It is cheaper to reduce consumption of power than to create power.

Imagine that you have a bill of about 250 dollars... that would mean you are using over 2000 kilowatt hours per month... We would examine what appliances are using so much power, and seek to offer a package of options that would reduce the kilowatt usage by as much as possible... Its really that simple.

We have a "Calculator' that we have created over the last few years that does this math for us. The numbers are based off of real expected savings according to Fl Solar Energy Center, Dept of Energy, Duke Power, Fla Power and Light, and several others. The numbers are very conservative, and in a few minutes will show just how much you could be saving by being more energy efficient.

In fact, the break even for most homes to convert is about 150.00 and more per month. So, if you have an electric bill over 150 per month, and own your home, this program may be for you!​

That being said.... check out this other post about what kind of solar power is best for your home... Central Inverter or Micro Inverter... Roof Mount or Ground Mount. Should the panels face North, South, East or West...

What we recommend is to send us your contact info with an address. We can then look up your home, and with a few more pieces of info, we can do an online/over the phone consultation. THEN>>> if we are on the same page, then we can make an in home appointment.

​Sign Up Now, and we will send you a Free E Book today...                                                                                                         It will help you to make your home more efficient...