What If Everyone Used Solar Power Energy at Home?

Did you know that if we equipped half the houses in America with full-sized solar panels, there’s the potential that we could power the entire U.S. with solar power? The location of the panels would have to be strategically placed to maximize solar efficiency, but once in place, America could have 25 years of energy independence from foreign oil for electrical needs.

A great example of how this energy can impact local neighborhoods is Iwaki New Town, Japan. Their neighborhood has 46 homes fully equipped with solar power. These 46 homes provide 310,000 kWh a year, which can power over 90 households! Iwaki New Town’s climate is much like many cities in Southern and Western U.S. It’s sunny between 250-300 days out of the year, and there’s very little snow.

If we equipped every home in Florida, the Carolinas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, the U.S. would have over 70% of its electricity needs met with only the sun’s power. If you add less sunny states such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nevada and Utah, we could easily power 100% of America’s electrical needs with solar  alone. If every commercial business in America used this abundant resource regardless of their location, we could actually produce more electricity than what we would need.

Imagine that- other countries such as Canada and Mexico dependent on the U.S. for energy. Such benefits could be pumped back into maintaining those solar systems and increasing the incentives for homeowners to start using renewable energy.

Furthermore, the carbon footprint of solar power is infinitesimal when compared to conventional gas and electric systems. The only carbon footprint produced from solar panels is the tiny amount of carbon used in production. The myth that it takes more carbon to produce a solar panel than to run one is false. Once running, a panel has zero carbon emissions and lasts over 25 years. Just one large solar power plant producing over 1mW a year replaces over 1500 cars on the road in regards to carbon footprint-A YEAR. Over the course of 25 years of reliable renewable energy, this equates to over 37,500 cars for just one solar power plant!

The other perk to using the power of the sun is the recyclability of the the panels, inverters and batteries. Once a panel fails, it’s easily recycled to produce more panels. The glass and solar cells can be melted down and “recharged” to make even more panels. The same goes for the electrical components such as the inverter and battery. Metals within the inverter can be melted down to create more electrical diodes and pairings, and the batteries can be remanufactured to make more batteries. This is similar to what we do with cell phones that have been recycled. Recycling plants that recycle these parts could also be run on solar power, further reducing our carbon footprint as we recreate new solar energy systems and recycle old ones.

Best of all, as this type of energy gets more popular, the cost of these systems invariably goes down. Plus, as we recycle more of these systems, more parts become available and more homeowners can invest in the solar panels industry. It may seem like a huge cost, but when you consider the rising cost of electricity, how can we justify not using solar power?



Source by Philip Richards

Top 3 Ways to Harness Solar Energy

One of the greatest sources of free energy, both in the amount and power of that energy, is the sun, and here are the top 3 ways to harness solar energy.

Let’s face it, without the sun, there’d be no life, so it’s impossible to underestimate the importance of the sun to our planet. Not only does it sustain life as we know it, it also supplies thousands of times more power in a single day than we humans use in a whole year.

Which means we’re only tapping into a small fraction of the energy available to us, so we could do a much better job of harnessing the sun’s energy than we are doing. But, until we come up with new ways to use the sun’s energy, these are the top 3 ways to harness that energy.

1. Generating Solar Electricity

This is the way of harnessing solar energy that most people are probably familiar with, or, at least, the one they think of when solar energy is mentioned. That’s not to say people generally understand the details of how it works, but they’re at least aware that solar panels are used to generate electricity.

How it’s done is another matter. That would be via the use of a scientific discovery called the “photovoltaic effect”, which was the work of a French scientist named Edmund Becquerel, who noticed that sunlight reacted with certain materials such as selenium to generate a tiny charge of electricity.

This discovery has been refined over the years and today solar cells made from silicon are wired together in a metal frame to form a panel, which, when joined together with several more panels to form an array, can generate enough electricity to power a home’s electrical devices and appliances.

PV (a popular abbreviation for photovoltaic) technology is being embraced as one of the best ways for us to combat and hopefully defeat the effects of carbon emissions and global warming, and more people are taking advantage of its benefits for both themselves and the environment.

2. Using Solar Thermal Energy

Solar thermal has been around for centuries, although most people don’t realize that that’s the name given to it when they hear of such things as the ancient Greeks using glass and mirrors to generate heat from the sun centuries ago. This was early solar thermal.

Nowadays, the most common applications for solar thermal are to provide hot water and heat for homes and businesses and to heat swimming pools. Hot water and space heaters usually use a storage tank to hold the heated water, whereas solar pool heaters recycle the pool’s water through collectors which heat the water and transfer back to the pool.

3. Heating And Cooling From Passive Solar

When you open your drapes in the morning to allow the sun in, you’re using passive solar in its simplest form. Passive solar is any means by which we take advantage if the sun’s energy to supply heating and/or cooling to rooms and buildings.

Passive solar can be as simple as just shown, but is usually somewhat more complex as a technology and design feature. Passive solar systems are designed to store the sun’s energy in what’s known as a thermal mass, which is basically some type of material such as certain types of wood, concrete, etc., which retains the energy for later use as heat when the temperature cools.

Passive solar can also be used to provide ventilation via solar chimneys.

These are the most common ways currently used to harness solar energy, and combining these methods would be a great way to make a home almost completely energy independent. But, together or separately, they can go a long way to helping reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.



Source by Ray Boreham

3 Ways to Collect and Use Solar Energy

If you measure the sun’s power in terms that compare it to the energy produced by oil, the sun gives enough energy to the Earth in about 20 minutes to fulfill all of the planet’s requirements for a year! And in fact, solar energy already provides a great deal of power to the Earth by transforming through a variety of natural means, by heating surfaces, influencing weather phenomenon, and even through photosynthesis, which provides plants with the energy they require in order to grow.

So what are some ways that we on Earth can take better advantage of all this freely distributed solar power? Energy from the Sun can be processed in three primary ways:

1. Passive Solar Techniques

This refers to the ways that the sun’s light and heat can be used to advantage without any further processing needed. This category includes things as simple as allowing sunlight to stream through a window and into a home, warning the rooms naturally.

Some ways to take advantage of passive solar techniques would be use of energy efficient windows, and planning the best placement of concrete and ceramic floors so that they can collect and store more sunlight.

A building that has been optimized for passive solar may have additional windows placed on the south side, for instance, to take advantage of the most hours of sun per day. Even something this simple can greatly reduce home energy bills.

2. Collection of Solar Energy

Solar power can be collected and stored as heat energy. Solar Collectors take in solar radiation and then concentrate it into very defined areas, increasing the strength and heat of the energy. These can be used to heat or cool water or rooms, or to create power to enable air or liquids to transfer heat to a separate location.

Different types of solar collectors include:

– A set of pipes that fits into a copper or metallic flat plate that has been insulated inside a box under glass. The sun streaming through the glass produces heat in the plate, which is then directed into the liquid in the pipes. This is known as a “Flat Plate Collector”.

– A tube is a more efficient way of collecting solar energy at high temperatures. This type of solar collector is made from a series of tubes, which are then installed in separate glass vacuum tubes. These prevent the inner tubes from cooling, and ensure that more heat is sent into the fluid. At extremely high temperatures, a reflector may be used in order to concentrate the solar energy into the tubes.

– Heating water using solar power was the first use of solar energy, starting in the early twentieth century. These systems can be used year round (even in cold climates when combined with use of anti-freeze), and are now commonly seen in many countries.

– Solar powered air heaters mounted to a wall are used primarily to heat the ventilation air for buildings that have large open spaces. The air comes through holes in a dark metal container where it is heated and is then taken into the building.

– A newer form of solar collector involves the use of mirrors to run steam turbines that create electricity. These thermal power systems are becoming particularly popular in hot, dry climates where there is a great deal of both sunlight and open land.

– Evacuated tube collectors can also be used to power cooling systems by taking the high temperature heat from the tubes. This technology can help reduce the use of natural gas, which would ordinarily be used to run cooling systems.

3. Solar Cells

Solar energy can be turned into electricity through use of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. This method uses modules each consisting of an array of solar cells which are connected together inside a glass covered container. Any number of these modules can be used together in order to produce a larger or smaller amount of power, depending on what is needed for a particular application. PV solar cells are usually made from crystalline silicon or quartz. Other materials that can be used are amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium di-selenide.

The cost of making PV cells and solar panels (modules) has been decreasing recently with the development of new manufacturing techniques. These are widely used to provide power for remote stand-alone structures such as lighthouses and radio towers, and for heat and lighting in developing countries. The use of solar panels to supply energy for home use is increasing in developed countries as well, and many governments are encouraging their use by providing financial incentives to those who install solar panels for their residences. In addition, improvements in the process of constructing solar panels is now making it much easier for people to build their own, at a dramatic cost saving over commercial panels. It is now quite feasible for a homeowner to save a great deal on electricity by building and installing their own solar panels.



Source by Beth Warwick

10 Benefits of Solar Energy

Benefits of Solar Energy:

1. Solar energy is renewable. We never have to worry about running out of sunlight or using it all up. The sun is a consistent power source meaning it’s always going to be there every day.

2. Solar energy is environmentally friendly. Compared to fossil fuels which release greenhouses gases, carcinogens and carbon dioxide, solar cells don’t release anything into the air.

3. Solar panels are extremely reliable. There are no moving parts so you don’t have to worry about replacing anything. In fact, most people generate electricity for 1000s of hours with little or no maintenance.

4. Solar cells make no noise while collecting energy. There are no other renewable energy sources that are completely silent.

5. In the long run, solar electricity is cheaper than buying it from the power company. There is a start up cost, but then it starts paying for itself. Once you break even, everything after that is profit. Compare this to paying a monthly bill and getting no return on investment.

6. There is a huge variety of solar panel systems available. Some can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and some cost just a couple hundred. This means anyone can get into solar, there’s an entry point for just about everybody.

7. You’re not required to connect to the power grid. You can be completely self-sufficient and live off-the-grid. Imagine never paying another monthly bill or hook-up charge.

8. Sell excess electricity. If you build a large enough solar panel system, you can make your electric meter spin backwards! Most power companies will gladly buy or credit you for this excess electricity. Contact your local power companies for more details.

9. Government tax credits. Most governments will provide some kind of tax credit or incentive for people purchasing solar energy systems. On average, rebates usually cover 20-30% of the system cost. Contact your local representatives for more details.

10. Solar technology is constantly improving. Solar installations are increasing by an incredible 50% every year, most of which are small homemade systems. Learn how to make your own solar panels and use the benefits of solar [http://www.squidoo.com/renewableenergyforhome] energy to your advantage.



Source by Justin R

Solar Panels

In general, solar energy can be described as the energy that is received from the sunlight and converted by a mechanical source for home use. It’s cheaper and reliable for operations since the sun is readily available. On the other hand, solar panels are the mechanically built materials whose main purpose is to convert solar energy to electrical energy. They are built from an element called silicon. It is the core duty of the silicon element to covert the solar energy to electricity. The solar power can either be directly or indirectly gotten from the sunlight. When it’s cloudy the intensity of the solar power delivered perfectly, the photovoltaic solar materials deliver sun rays into electricity and the solar thermal receiver changes the solar power into heat solvents, such as oil and water. This type of power is used in, iPod chargers, charge batteries water heaters, cell phone chargers and spacecrafts.

How do solar panels work? They practically work on the photovoltaic invention. Its name is derived from the technology used, which is also known as PV, which is made from silicon element. They are basically semiconductors made from sand built into large computer chips. When sun rays falls on the PV materials, the PN junction in it with its metal conductor helps produce electricity. At this juncture, the PN junction is the positive and negative charges that assist to produce electric current. Solar energy is available in different systems, grid connection, inverters and power storage. In a different system, the PV takes up large space up the roof to produce more energy. It can also be built on land space and produce up to 5-9 Megawatts per hour. They can also be useful in street lighting.

How are solar panels made? They are basically made from three-dimensional points; the crystalline silicon production, the crystalline silicon panels and the amorphous silicon panels. This stand of the solar-energy production is what is used in the present. In the crystalline silicon production, for example, when the silicon element is melted and cut it is named the poly crystalline silicon. In its other mode when it is built and cut, it becomes mono-crystalline silicon. In both cases, they are about; a hundred percentage pure silicon. In the second case of the crystalline silicon panels, they are normally broken into pieces and then sliced, finally being polished with doping materials. This changes the state of electric charge inside them to cells. The amorphous silicon panels are made from silicon alloys combined with multilayer cells for energy production. This combination explains how the solar power is made.

What are latest technologies of solar panels? The newest technology of solar energy has emerged in a wide range of things. This starts with the green power alternatives which is common for home use. The other aspect of it is the Power cooling and heating systems in homes. The high-technology appliance and periodic lighting at home is the other good examples of solar-energy development. New personal computers development for smart homes is also left out of the latest ideas of the solar power.



Source by Yusuf Chy

Solar Energy Advantages Disadvantages

Many of us know that solar energy is a good thing, but few really understand why. Therefore, I compiled a comprehensive list of solar energy advantages and disadvantages that will enable you to make an educated decision whether on not Solar Power is right for YOU.

Solar Energy Advantages

1. Saves you money

  • After the initial investment has been recovered, the energy from the sun is practically FREE.
  • The recovery/ payback period for this investment can be very short depending on how much electricity your household uses.
  • Financial incentives are available form the government that will reduce your cost.
  • If your system produce more energy than you use, your utility company can buy it from you, building up a credit on your account! This is called net metering.
  • It will save you money on your electricity bill if you have one at all.
  • Solar energy does not require any fuel.
  • It’s not affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is therefore not subjected to the ever-increasing price of gasoline.
  • The savings are immediate and for many years to come.
  • The use of solar energy indirectly reduces health costs.

2. Environmentally friendly

  • Solar Energy is clean, renewable (unlike gas, oil and coal) and sustainable, helping to protect our environment.
  • It does not pollute our air by releasing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury into the atmosphere like many traditional forms of electrical generations does.
  • Therefore Solar Energy does not contribute to global warming, acid rain or smog.
  • It actively contributes to the decrease of harmful green house gas emissions.
  • It’s generated where it is needed.
  • By not using any fuel, Solar Energy does not contribute to the cost and problems of the recovery and transportation of fuel or the storage of radioactive waste.

3. Independent/ semi-independent

  • Solar Energy can be utilized to offset utility-supplied energy consumption. It does not only reduce your electricity bill, but will also continue to supply your home/ business with electricity in the event of a power outage.
  • A Solar Energy system can operate entirely independent, not requiring a connection to a power or gas grid at all. Systems can therefore be installed in remote locations (like holiday log cabins), making it more practical and cost-effective than the supply of utility electricity to a new site.
  • The use of Solar Energy reduces our dependence on foreign and/or centralized sources of energy, influenced by natural disasters or international events and so contributes to a sustainable future.
  • Solar Energy supports local job and wealth creation, fuelling local economies.

4. Low/ no maintenance

  • Solar Energy systems are virtually maintenance free and will last for decades.
  • Once installed, there are no recurring costs.
  • They operate silently, have no moving parts, do not release offensive smells and do not require you to add any fuel.
  • More solar panels can easily be added in the future when your family’s needs grow.

Solar Energy Disadvantages

  • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system, largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.
  • The cost of solar energy is also high compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. As energy shortages are becoming more common, solar energy is becoming more price-competitive.
  • Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency.
  • The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun, although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components.
  • The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air.
  • Similarly, no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem. See http://www.dsireusa.org for details on how net metering allows you to save electricity and money.
  • As far as solar powered cars go – their slower speed might not appeal to everyone caught up in today’s rat race.



Source by Anita Van Wyk

Solar Energy: Advantages of Solar Power

There are several benefits worth considering when it comes to solar energy and offers everything. There are many benefits of solar energy compared to oil. Not only will that solar energy benefit your portfolio, but also environmental benefits. However, there are two side of everything in this world, advantages and disadvantages, and there is a list of the disadvantages of solar energy to accompany the list of benefits.

Advantage: Solar energy is a renewable resource. This means that even if you do not use the power of the sun at night or on cloudy days and stormy, we can always count on the morning sun is reflected as a source of constant and consistent power.

Disadvantage: Solar cells and photovoltaic modules, which are required to use the energy from the sun is often very expensive when first order.

Advantage: oil, most of those currently in power in your house is not a renewable resource. This means that when the oil is gone, long gone and we have no power or energy.

Disadvantage: It cannot be used during a thunderstorm, on a cloudy day or night. This limits the amount of electricity can be saved for the next few days. Perhaps, maybe someday, we will use oil to power up our home electricity.

Advantage: Solar cells are absolutely no noise at all. You do not have a sound to extract usable energy from the sun. On the other hand, the huge machines to pump oil, therefore, very strong and very impractical.

Advantage: Harnessing solar energy creates no pollution. That may be the most important advantage that solar energy is much more convenient than oil. Burning oil releases greenhouse gases harmful carcinogens and carbon dioxide in the valuable air.

Advantage: Very little maintenance is required for solar cells in operation. No moving parts in a solar cell that makes it impossible to have critical damage. The solar cells tend to the attention of a good time with a yearly cleaning period.

Advantage: solar panels and solar lighting seems too expensive for first time buyer, but ultimately will save you money. After all, you must at all costs, to use the power of the sun. Unfortunately, to pay for expensive oil is a possibility and the cost is rising steadily. Why pay for expensive power when you can use for free?

 

Advantage: In general, solar panels and products like it are very easy to install. Sun, cables and power sources are not generally required to use the naked eye.

Advantage: Solar energy technology improving steadily over time, as human beings, we have start understand the benefits of this amazing technology. As our declining oil reserves, it is for us to find alternative sources of energy is still significant. Using solar energy, helps us to reserve the beauty of our world to our next generation.



Source by Mohamad Amin