Solar Power Energy for the Home
Alternate energy sources are becoming sought after by home owners around the world and solar energy systems are an ideal fit for many. As we become more aware of the impending troubles regarding our world's energy crisis we also become more open to the idea of producing our own renewable energy. Incorporating solar power into our homes is taking a sustainable step forward in our effort to becoming more energy efficient.
How Solar Power Works
Solar power works in a few different ways. It might be helpful for you to learn about the various types of solar power available to you and how this green energy works.
Concentrated Solar Power
CSP plants according to the U.S. Department of Energy, "generate electric power by using mirrors to concentrate (focus) the sun's energy and convert it into high-temperature heat. That heat is then channeled through a conventional generator."
This heat energy then has to be converted into electricity so that it can be used within our homes and businesses. CSP plants can produce a lot of alternative energy and do not require the same amount of space that is required of other energy producing industries such as the damns and quarry mines for coal.
CSP plants are built to help supplement the national demand for green energy. These plants require a lot of exposure to sunlight and are therefore generally most effective in southern sunny states. They are also expensive in comparison to other cheaper energy sources of energy such as oil and conventional electricity. Although the initial installation of solar energy CSP plants can be costly for the country, in the long run these plants are a much more energy efficient source than any other!
Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Power
Photovoltaic materials convert sunlight energy into electricity through the use of PV solar cells containing semiconductor materials. This form of energy conversion was actually discovered in as early as the 18th Century by Edmond Becquerel!
This type of solar power can be seen today in common everyday items such as solar powered garden and street lights. Today this style of solar cell is being made to resemble roofing shingles to better fit with home roofing design and architecture.
Photovoltaic solar power is measured by energy conversion efficiency with the average system measuring a 10% efficient system. This essentially means that although the sun produces a lot of energy, manufacturers are only able to capture a small amount of this energy. That being said, a 10% efficient system is said to be able to produce 180 kilowatt-hours per square meter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy,"a PV system could generate close to 36,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity over 20 years and close to 54,000 kilowatt-hours over 30 years. This means that a PV system generates more than $10,000 worth of electricity over 30 years."
Photovoltaic solar power cells can be implemented into any type of home, office or business energy system where ample sunlight is received and when installed and maintained properly can last up to 20 or 30 years! They do require unobstructed sunlight for most of the day to work efficiently. Photovoltaic solar power cells can be used in any climate as well! They will not collect snow, in fact they will help to melt it!
If you would like to implement a photovoltaic solar power system into your home it is highly recommended that you hire a professional. This is very important as many costly mistakes can be made if installed improperly. Make sure that when designing your home system that you do not purchase inadequate parts to save money. This can also contribute to further expenses down the road! A properly designed system that is properly maintained can last a much longer time and will ultimately save you a lot more money!
Solar Water Heating
Another source of solar power for the home is through solar water heating. These solar power heating systems work along side your current heating source whether it be electric or gas.
It works by using a "solar collector" to catch the sun's rays and then either uses that heat to directly heat your water or else it heats up a fluid within the system that will then heat your water.
Although this solar power system cannot replace your conventional heating system they can help supplement the energy used by such systems reducing your energy bill often significantly! They are often used for heating swimming pools however they can be a costly expense. This cost is all in the initial set up of the system as like all other solar powered systems. Again the majority of the set up cost can be recovered in the amount of energy saved each year!
If you would like to learn more about how solar power works, check out General Electrics web site for a very detailed look at the solar power process.
Solar power for homes
You can benefit from implementing solar power energy system into your home in many ways.
- Abundant Clean Energy - Probably one of the most important benefits is that solar power is an abundant source of clean energy. It naturally reduces air and noise pollution.
- Free Energy - Once the initial cost for implementing a solar powered system is recovered your energy is free!
- Preserves Natural Resources - By incorporating solar power you are doing your part in reducing the impact on the planets natural resources and fossil fuel consumption.
- Climate Protected - Solar power can be used anywhere where ample sunlight it available!
- Durability - Solar powered systems can last up to 30 years old!
If possible it is highly recommended that you try and implement a solar powered system into your home. They might be expensive but in the overall picture is it really? Remember that they do require a lot of sunlight so if you do live in a cloudier climate you may not have the same results. Even still it will play an effective roll in your energy consumption regardless.
Going green means that we use the natural resources at our disposal and make conscious efforts to conserve and save the environment, the earth and our lives. Go green with one of the best natural resources of renewable energy we have - solar energy.
Please visit the U.S. Department of Energy for an in-depth look at the solar power industry!
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