Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Think Of These Benefits When Switching To Solar Energy

As the cost of conventional sources of energy continues to rise solar power is now more than ever a clean and viable source of energy for the home and for business. Billions of dollars have been spent in the United States over the past couple of decades in promoting and developing this technology. In this article we look at some of the benefits of solar energy.

It is estimated that the cost of the equipment to power a home with solar energy is 90 per cent cheaper than it was in the 1970s. And with energy bills rising rapidly it is now an increasingly attractive source of electricity.

In most cases, using solar energy to provide electricity for a home involves installing special solar photovoltaic cells in the roof of your home. It is true that the initial investment is quite expensive but this money should be recouped in savings on electricity bills over time and significant savings can be made in the long-term.

In sunnier areas solar power can meet and even exceed an average home's electricity needs at certain times of the day. Excess electricity can be stored in batteries or in certain areas it can even be sold back to electricity supply companies.

Here are some of the main benefits of solar energy:

* It's cheap - Once you make the initial investment to have solar technology installed in your home it is a free source of energy. Once it has paid for itself you can make make significant savings on your energy bills. You may even qualify for government incentives to help cover the cost. What is more it will add significantly to the value of your home. Green homes are becoming ever more popular in today's environmentally aware climate so this investment will increase your home's value and make it easier to sell if you ever move on.

* It's clean - Solar is one of the cleanest and environmentally friendly sources of energy out there. If you want to do your bit to combat climate change solar energy is the way to go.

* It's easy - Solar energy systems require very little maintenance. Once the system is installed you will have a constant source of energy and you won't have to worry about adding extra fuel, paying bills and the other chores associated with conventional sources of energy.

* It's consistent - If you use solar energy you do not have to worry about power failures. Even if your traditional source of electricity fails you will still have a back-up. In addition, if you live in a remote area that does not have easy access to centralized sources of electricity solar is an excellent alternative.

* It's neat - Even if you live in a heavily populated area installing solar panels should be no problem. Since they slot easily into the roof of your home there is no need for them to take up precious garden space. Also, while the panels themselves are costly, they are very easy and quick to install.

* It's wire free - There are a number of stand alone solar-powered appliances available today that eliminate the need for wiring. For example, you can install solar powered garden lights that you simply place in your garden that run of the sun's energy. These even have light sensors so they switch off and on automatically depending on the light.

The use of photovoltaic cells in the home can be quite expensive. However, it is not the only way to make use of the sun's energy. In colder regions homes are increasingly being designed to make the best use of the sun's energy to provide warmth. This involves sensible design of houses by using methods such as having large glass windows on the south side of the home which will help warm the home during the winter. The home will need to be protected from too much sun in the summer so trees can be used for this.

Another option is to use the sun to provide hot water from the home. This method simply involves using thin water pipes, painted black, and running them through a 'greenhouse like' box that is exposed to the sun on the outside of the home. In warmer areas this can provide hot running water throughout the home for free.

Solar energy isn't for everybody. Where you live will determine whether or not it is the right choice for you. If solar panels are not viable for you, or you are unsure if you are ready to take the plunge, you should still consider buying solar appliances when possible. There are any number of solar appliances available today including video cameras, watches, radios, fountains and much more. These all eliminate the need for batteries and/or wiring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Advances In Solar Make DIY Solar Panel Kits A Very Good Option

Today, a very popular alternative energy source is solar power. Sunlight can be converted into energy with the use of solar power systems. The ways to generate energy vary and different methods are being followed to meet the needs of people everyday. Can you imagine living one day without electricity? That will be very hard and unpleasant.

In the past couple of years, people have talked about solar power and you can see a wealth of information online. The reasons why people became suddenly interested in solar energy is because of the ever increasing electric bills, depletion of fossil fuel reserves, and the environmental problems (i.e. global warming, the hole in the ozone layer, etc.).

These three concerns can be addressed by solar power and not only that, you can also save money in the long run after you’re initial investment on the installation of the solar power system. Energy requirements of commercial and domestic establishments can be handled by efficient power systems. Some places who don’t have easy access to conventional power sources usually opt for solar power. Luxury boats and recreational vehicles also make use of solar power. A small percentage of homes in the US also make use of solar power. You can now find solar powered generators, cookers, lights, garden fountains, etc. You can easily create your own solar panels through DIY kits that cost anywhere from $200 to $300. Once you’ve assembled the solar panels, you can now have renewable energy and the good thing about these power systems is that they require little maintenance.

Solar panels are bulky and ugly to look at especially if you place them on the rooftop. But with the availability of photovoltaic cells and shingles, the ‘size’ problem was effectively addressed. You no longer need to install bulky solar panels because the photovoltaic shingles are perfect for your home. The shingles are sometimes called photovoltaic tiles. The energy produced can be used for heating the house and water. You can even heat the water of your pool using solar power. The energy created by the photovoltaic cells and shingles is just like conventional electricity.

Are you familiar with solar water pumps? In remote places, the water pumps are powered by sunlight. Windmills are quite popular when it comes to powering water pumps but now, solar power has become a viable alternative as well.

When you use solar power, you can benefit as long as the system works properly and efficiently. Don’t cut off your existing electricity supply. Since solar power is not that efficient (especially if you’re using the DIY solar power systems), you need to use it in conjunction with the traditional energy source. Just in case something goes wrong, you can turn to the other alternative. By using solar power, you will notice a substantial decrease in the electric bill in the coming months especially if you’re using solar power indoor and outdoor. Take advantage of the special programs, grants, and loans offered by the federal government for people who want to try solar power. Rebates are also given to individuals who are able to consume a certain amount of solar power.

Solar power has many uses and it is not just limited for home or office use. Discover other ways to use solar power. Use it now to help address the three concerns mentioned earlier.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Use Of Solar Will Help Our Planet

You've probably heard a lot about solar energy and how efficient it is. Moreover, over the last few years, there have been several moves to see how effectively we can use solar power in an attempt to alleviate the energy crisis that the world faces. So, how does using solar energy fit into the bigger picture of protecting our environment? The point is that even small changes in the way we do things go a long way in terms of saving our environment.

Solar energy is a renewable energy source

The sun offers us a great source of renewable energy; it's been around for over four billion years and is likely to stay around for another five billion years, during its life it will supply us with a steady stream of energy. So, apart from the obvious fact of solar energy is in abundance, people who are environmentally conscious find that using solar energy is an excellent way to help protect the environment.
But what makes solar energy an attractive option is the fact that unlike polluting fossil fuels, its availability is not governed by the oil industry, an industry that is riddled with capitalistic individuals, and influenced heavily by several geographic and political factors that invariably affect the supply.
Solar Energy on the other hand is a clean environmentally friendly energy resource and a very viable alternative to existing fossil fuels that pollute our lands, water and air, threaten our health, and contribute substantially to global warming.

Solar energy transformed into thermal (or heat) energy can be used to:

* Cook food Using Solar Cookers
* Heat water in Houses, Office Buildings, or Swimming Pools.
* Heat closed spaces a Greenhouse, a House or even other Buildings.

Solar energy can also be converted to electricity by using:

* Photovoltaic devices or "solar cells" that transforms sunlight into electricity. These systems are often used in areas with no regular electricity supply. Some common devices that are sometimes powered by these solar cells include, street lights, road signs and some gadgets like watches and even calculators.
* Solar Power Plants are electricity generating plants that use thermal energy obtained from the suns radiation to super heat liquids that in turn become steam and rotate the turbines of a generator to generate electricity.

How can solar power rescue the environment?


For starters, switching over to solar power would help cut back our dependence on organic fuels. This in itself is a huge saving, reduced hydrocarbons and emissions in the air, mean fresh cleaner air. Some ripple down effects would be, controlling the global warming, less acid rain, no smog the list can go on and on, however, let me elaborate some of the better know environmental benefits.
Decrease air pollution

The most commonly obvious benefit is the fact that by using solar energy we are able to reduce the levels of pollution. As we reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burnt and switch over instead to solar power from our needs there is a corresponding decrease in the amount of pollution produced. Solar electrification in some rural areas also decreases the dependence of the electricity grid and generators that run on petrol or diesel.

Offsets greenhouse gases

Solar Cell (PV systems) generates electricity with absolutely no carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. This in turn plays a significant step in reducing the overall greenhouse effect that we face. Apparently studies show that approximately six tons of carbon emissions are offset through the use of a single Solar cell over a period of twenty five years.
Conserve energy

The world over, and especially the third world countries have begun to embrace the conservation and use of solar electricity through several conservation programs to help conserve power for urban areas, city lighting as well as commercial and industrial needs. While solar plants and other forms of decentralized solar generated energy is used to serve the basic power consumption needs in the majority of the developing areas.

Reduces discarding dry cell batteries


People in several countries around the world rely heavily on the use of small dry-cell batteries for various gadgets, like flashlights and radios. These batteries are primarily composed of lead acid and sometimes other materials that can be toxic to us. When the battery is improperly disposed off, they start leaking; toxic chemical contents seep into the surroundings and contaminate the soil, water or air around it. By switching over to the use of solar energy the dependence on dry cells batteries reduces drastically and consequently all issues associated with its disposal.

Low cost energy alternative

Using solar energy at home substantially reduces the need for dependence on electricity or gas. Solar panels placed on your roof top collect the solar energy and store them away in batteries for later use. This power can be used to power up lights around the house in the evenings or when it is dark. Solar thermal converts can be used to heat water that or even your home again offering substantial savings on those fronts. Solar cooking ovens could be used during the day for baking and cooking meals.

The use of "Solar Energy" a fresh, clean, free and abundant source of renewable energy will over the course of time reduce our dependence on other sources of energy that aren't as helpful to our environment. If you want to make a difference to the world you live in, this is a wonderful place to start.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cost Of Solar Panels Will Continue To Drop

The last example of this specific phenomenon was apparent was in the early 70's, when there was a crude oil trade embargo and hence, no gasoline. Substitute energies began to pop up here and there with many people jumping on the band wagon. But, gasoline soon returned in plentiful supplies and unconventional energy sources fell beneath the average consumers radar screen again. Now, in 2009, the common consumer is seeing petrol prices move higher and found a realization that global warming will be affecting finances soon. Substitute energy is back in the sentiments of the ordinary consumer and, maybe, this time for good.

Where did solar go?

Solar power for the home was a big seller during the energy crisis of the 70's. Many houses found tri-pods of solar panels on their roofs gathering what power they could. These units were found mostly in environmentally sensitive Arizona, but soon they were found across the World. Unfortunately, the solar power cell of the 70's just wasn't all that cost-effective and cost quite a bit to put in and maintain. As fossil fuel returned to the marketplace there was diminutive need for solar cells in a time of flagrant consumption. But the idea of solar energy was a good one and many trailblazers understood that it was a good idea that had yet to find its time. Solar panels never went away; they just slid back into the laboratory to await solar panel 2.0.

Solar is back and ready!

Today's solar panel is not your father's solar panel. Depending upon which type of energy you care to generate, electricity or hot water, today's solar panel has come a very long way in the form of Photovoltaics and will go further still. These cells, when combined into panel form, turn the suns rays (so-to-speak) right into power ready for use. They have also become exceedingly efficient, more environmentally sound and less expensive. Today's solar panel will sit almost anywhere and is quickly finding itself being turned into a panel the thickness of a nano particle. Solar power technology is running at extremely fast pace and driving costs down to an affordable level.

Who's using the panels?

As mentioned, it takes a change in the purse strings to see a marked change in a consumers behavior. With a technology and paradigm shift on the order of solar panels it requires a solid leap forward in panel efficiency, costs of panels , associated elements and an increase in existing costs of fuel. When these factors reach critical mass solar panels start to show up, not at the consumer level, but at the corporate and industrial level. This is simply because business moves its money where the costs-over time-are less. This is just good business. Solar panels are now, as in this past two years, become more cost effective for industry to use then to not use them over time.

Why solar panels now?

Solar panels are now being used primarily because fuel costs are just too high to ignore in favor of a new technology that is worth checking out. Companies have available empty roof space and the choice of trying something on a larger scale to see if it works versus continuing to pay higher fuel bills and environmental costs. The whole concept is extremely self serving. There is no environmental consideration involved. If the company doesn't use solar panels they have to pay fuel costs and air clean-up expenses along with variable fuel charges. They try out the solar panels and see if they work now. If they do, the company can; commit to a full solar panel program with even more efficient solar panels, significantly reduce fuel costs and almost eliminate air cleaning needs along the way. There is little environmental about it. Its just good business. After industry gets rolling, solar panel costs will drop like a stone and the consumer will jump on board because it's just good business.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Using a Solar Water Heater

When you decide to convert your main power source over to solar power you will need to make some adjustments to the appliances that carry the power source. When you use solar power to heat your water you may find that you will need to purchase a solar powered water heater in order to do that. You may be able to make adjustments to your existing one but what ever steps you take to turn it into solar power it will be worth it.

There are several different ways to heat your water using solar power. You can even make your own solar power source. The water runs through pipes before it enters your home. Heating water using solar power will occur before the water gets into your home as it passes by the solar source that attracted the light. You may also have a tank to store the water in that can heat the water up. In order to heat your water successfully you will need to have both a solar collector and a storage tank.

A flat plate collector is the most common collector. It is designed to be a thin, flat rectangular box that has a see through cover and it can carry fluid to be heated. This fluid could be the water or it may be a solution, such as antifreeze that will prevent the water from freezing. Next the water moves through the tubes to an absorber plate. This plate is painted black to attract and absorb the heat from the sun. When the collector gets hot, it will heat the fluid that passes through the tubes. As the water passes through the tubes it goes into the storage tank. The storage tank holds the heated water. It is usually well insulated so the water will stay warm longer. Then the water flows into the home on demand.

Solar water heating systems are divided into two groups: Active and passive. When the heating systems are active, that means that they rely on the pumps or other mechanical device that can move the water between the flat plate collector and the storage tank. Active is the most common because it is quicker and more efficient. The passive system relies on gravity to feed the water from the flat plate collector to the storage tank. This may be slow at times and may not be sufficient enough to keep up with the demand. Both ways are logical and may be more of a choice of preference for you. Another thought that you need to consider is that if your flat plate collector and your storage tank is not angled right it may be hard for the gravity to feed the liquid through.

Heating water using solar power is very affordable and can be installed with minimal effort. Choosing to heat your water using solar power is a wise choice and a first step in making a choice to help preserve our environment. We know how easy it is to use solar power to do a lot of things, including heating our water.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The basics on Solar energy and Solar Panels

The earth receives more than enough energy from the sun in an hour to supply the world’s energy requirement for the whole year.

Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of it is harnessed and the world still relies on power plants that burn fossil fuels. The good thing, though, is that there is a constant increase in demand for solar energy; and over the years of continuous development, solar panels are much cheaper today.

During peak hours, the maximum power density that the sun can give is about 1kW per square meter. In other words, one square meter of solar panel can produce as much as 100 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity in one year. That is enough to power 50,000 houses.

If a solar power plant is build on 1% of the total land area of the Sahara desert, it will satisfy the world’s energy requirement.

The efficiency of solar panels depends on several factors such as pollution, clouds, temperature and atmospheric humidity.

Solar power plants are very similar to other conventional power plants – with one significant difference: The majority of power plants draw their power from fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas.

When power plants burn fossil fuels, they produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Solar power plants or solar thermal power plants (or Concentrating Solar Power plants) utilize the power of the sun’s rays to generate electricity.

The process could not be any simpler. The solar panels receive heat from the sun, which will be reflected to the receiver. The receiver converts into steam the concentrated solar energy. The steam is stored on tanks which will be used to turn the turbines and generate electricity.

The whole process does not involve any burning of any fossil fuels. Thus, solar power plants do not contribute to global warming.

The increase in the use of solar energy will bring down the demand for oil.

Today, there are more than 10,000 households with solar energy systems and the number is constantly increasing. If the demand for solar energy as well as other forms of alternative energy, the demand for oil will drop and the cost fuel will likely to follow.

Residential solar energy system can turn your electric meter backwards. Given that you are connected on a power-grid, the excess energy that your solar energy system produces will go to the electric lines to be used by other homes. As a result, any excess energy you give will be reflected on your bills. Your electric supplier will even pay for the electricity you supplied.

Residential solar energy system can save you money.

While the initial cash out for installing solar energy system at home is big, the device will pay for itself in the long run. Not only you will save money on solar energy system, you also help the environment by not contributing to carbon emissions.

Solar energy systems are reliable and can last for a very long time.

PV cells are last from 25 to 40 years. Many manufacturers of solar panels give 25 years product warranty. This is the assurance that solar panels are very dependable.

In addition, solar panels require little or no maintenance and the can be installed on most places where there is sunlight throughout the year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Do Solar Panels Do? How Do They Work?

What is PV solar power? You have heard the term, but you are unsure as to its meaning. You are vaguely aware that solar power has something to do with making energy from sunlight. But what is PV solar power? Is it different from other kinds of solar power?

PV solar power is different from other types. Of the two main categories of solar power, active and passive, PV solar power is active. Let's look at it.

Solar Panel

Active solar power relies on solar panels. You may picture them as flat, rectangular boxes on rooftops.

There are two main types of solar panel. From a distance, both look like rectangular boxes. Both convert sunlight into energy, but in two different ways. The terms for the two solar panel types are solar thermal collector and photovoltaic module.

1. Solar thermal collector: This solar panel takes in solar energy from the sun and uses it to heat air or water.

2. Photovoltaic module: This second type of solar panel collects solar energy and converts it to usable electricity.

Meet the PV

To answer the question, what is PV solar power, we must know what the PV is. The short answer is that PV refers to a photovoltaic module. "P" is for photo and "V" for voltaic.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "photovoltaic" this way.

"of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances."

In simpler terms, "photo" refers to sunlight and "voltaic" refers to electrical energy. PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. Sunlight flows into the solar panel. Electrical energy flows out of the solar panel.

A PV solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic (light to volts) cells. These cells are electrically connected, and then covered with glass. The glass provides electrical insulation. It is also good protection from weather and other damaging forces.

When minimal energy is needed, such as that necessary to power a small appliance, a single PV solar panel is sufficient. When more power is needed, an "array" of solar panels is created by connecting panels to one another. If the power will not be supplied to the power grid, the solar panel(s) is connected to a charge controller, and battery. If it is intended for on-grid use, the solar panel array will be connected to an electrical inverter.

What Is PV Solar Power?

PV solar power is solar energy in the form of sunlight, which has been collected by a photovoltaic module, and converted into usable electricity.

Conventional silicon solar panels convert about 14 to 17 percent of sunlight into usable electricity. That isn't much. Late in 2006, however, a new solar cell was introduced. Solar panels that utilize the new cell can convert into electricity 22 percent of the sunlight they collect. Theoretically, the maximum that the cells of a solar panel can convert is said to be around 26 to 27 percent of incoming sunlight.

How does it work? Let's look at a very simple explanation.

Each photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits those cells, a certain part of the sunlight is absorbed by those silicon cells. The cells take in that part of the sunlight's energy. The cells then transfer the absorbed sunlight's energy to the electrons in the silicon. The electrons begin to flow, and this creates an electrical current. Metal contacts built into the top and bottom of the PV cells draw off that current and it is sent to the grid or battery. It is now usable electricity. The power grid sends it on its way, if you have used an on-grid connection. If you are using a battery, it is stored in the battery awaiting your need.

PV solar power is being used increasingly with great success, and while it is true that cloud cover can affect it, the cloudy country of Germany leads the world in successful use of solar panels.