Power Up With Solar Energy

Many people have toyed briefly with the idea of using Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), to capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells, and thus reducing their energy consumption. For others the big draw is reducing their carbon footprint. However while most persons have heard of solar energy and know that it’s an environmentally friendly way to reduce their electric bill, they are still not clear as to just how much use they can make of solar energy in their everyday lives. Contrary to popular belief, Solar panel electricity systems don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

There are many benefits of solar electricity; Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced; Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save nearly two tonnes of carbon per year.

In some countries Like Britain, persons actually get paid for the electricity they generate. The UK government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme pays persons for the electricity they generate, even if they use it. There is also the option to sell electricity back to the grid. If someone’s system is producing more electricity than they need, they can sell the surplus back to the grid through the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

How solar panels (PV) cells work

PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can either be mounted on your roof or on the ground. The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That’s the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.

Solar tiles and slates

Solar tiles are designed to be used in place of ordinary roof tiles. A system made up of solar tiles will typically cost about twice as much as an equivalent panel system. Solar tile systems are not normally as cost-effective as panel systems, and are usually only considered where panels are not considered appropriate for aesthetic or planning reasons.

With the incredible advances being made within the solar power industry, there are plenty of ways to save money – and the planet – at the same time. If you don’t want to undertake the expense and hassle of installing a full solar power system to provide electricity for your entire house, you can start with these 7 ways to use solar energy around your home today:

Solar indoor lights:

You can burn up a lot of expensive energy using regular lights inside your home. Solar indoor lighting is an environmentally-friendly and sustainable option in a world where it has become crucial that we seek out alternative energy sources. Instead of using overhead lights, use solar-powered desk and floor lamps to light up your home at night. Like the outdoor version, these indoor lights capture light energy during the day and store it in small batteries.

Outdoor Lights:

You can use solar energy to power your landscaping lights. Solar energy garden lights to light your pathways or gardens are inexpensive and can be purchased in many different styles at your local home improvement store. The solar cells located on the top of the lights gather energy from the sun and store it in small batteries inside the lights. At night, the batteries power the lights. While earlier versions of solar outdoor lights did not produce much light, recent advances in solar cell and battery technology gave way to some powerful solar powered floodlights. These lights are a great way to see first hand how solar energy works before you spend thousands of dollars on a complete solar system. Passive Heat Solar Tubes

You can purchase innovative greenhouse fiberglass tubes to drastically cut down on your heating bills. The tall fiberglass cylinders – which look like pillars, but are hollow – can be used as room dividers or attractive accents.

You simply fill them with water and place them where they will get a lot of exposure to bright light where they can catch and store energy from the sun to fill your room with heat and greatly reduce your heating bill.

Solar Chargers

Solar chargers for electronics. Yes, your cell phone, laptop, MP3 players and many other electronic devices can be charged with solar power. There are several solar-powered chargers on the market that either charge internal batteries, (like in cell phones) or charge C, D, AA, and AAA batteries for use in other electronic devices. These rechargers come with different size cords to be used with different items. Using solar power to charge the electronic items you use every day can take a chunk out of your electric bill each month.

Solar Water Heater

For a fraction of the cost of a complete solar-power system, you can install a solar-powered water heater system to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free. These systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t. Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank with an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. Same relaxing hot water…less money on your utility bills.

Solar Pool Heating

Many pools and hot tubs now use solar energy to heat the water. Solar power units are designed to assist the gas or electric heating units to save on your heating bills. Older model pools and hot tubs may not have a built-in solar energy system, but you can purchase solar power kits to convert your existing heater. You can even buy solar-powered skimmers to clean your pool and spa. The price you’ll pay for the kit will definitely pay for itself via energy savings.

Solar Oven

As mentioned earlier, the first harnessing of solar energy was to cook food in a specially-designed oven that captured the sun’s rays to heat food. These small ovens were originally built for camping, but they work great for outdoor summer cooking as well. Rather than mess with charcoal or propane tanks, solar ovens are inexpensive and easy to use without all the waste of conventional cooking techniques. These small ovens can cook food at a temperature of up to about 350 degrees and are fully solar-powered. A unique system of glass and reflective material absorbs the sun’s heat like a solar cell and then magnifies it so that it is hot enough to cook. Why not put away your electric or gas grill and use a solar oven for your backyard cooking? It’s economical and it’s friendly to the environment!

These are just a few of the many ways that you start using solar power around your home to see for yourself how well it works and how reliable it is before making the decision to install a full solar system in your home. Now that you know some of the wonderful things that can be done with solar energy, visit your local hardware store and start saving some money while reducing your carbon foot print.

 

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Many people have toyed briefly with the idea of using Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), to capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells, and thus reducing their energy consumption. For others the big draw is reducing their carbon footprint. However while most persons have heard of solar energy and know that it’s an environmentally friendly way to reduce their electric bill, they are still not clear as to just how much use they can make of solar energy in their everyday lives. Contrary to popular belief, Solar panel electricity systems don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting.

There are many benefits of solar electricity; Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation, your electricity costs will be reduced; Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save nearly two tonnes of carbon per year.

In some countries Like Britain, persons actually get paid for the electricity they generate. The UK government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme pays persons for the electricity they generate, even if they use it. There is also the option to sell electricity back to the grid. If someone’s system is producing more electricity than they need, they can sell the surplus back to the grid through the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

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How solar panels (PV) cells work

PV cells are made from layers of semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity is produced. Groups of cells are mounted together in panels or modules that can either be mounted on your roof or on the ground. The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). That’s the rate at which it generates energy at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer. PV cells come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most PV systems are made up of panels that fit on top of an existing roof, but you can also fit solar tiles.

Solar tiles and slates

Solar tiles are designed to be used in place of ordinary roof tiles. A system made up of solar tiles will typically cost about twice as much as an equivalent panel system. Solar tile systems are not normally as cost-effective as panel systems, and are usually only considered where panels are not considered appropriate for aesthetic or planning reasons.

With the incredible advances being made within the solar power industry, there are plenty of ways to save money – and the planet – at the same time. If you don’t want to undertake the expense and hassle of installing a full solar power system to provide electricity for your entire house, you can start with these 7 ways to use solar energy around your home today:

Solar indoor lights:

You can burn up a lot of expensive energy using regular lights inside your home. Solar indoor lighting is an environmentally-friendly and sustainable option in a world where it has become crucial that we seek out alternative energy sources. Instead of using overhead lights, use solar-powered desk and floor lamps to light up your home at night. Like the outdoor version, these indoor lights capture light energy during the day and store it in small batteries.

Outdoor Lights:

You can use solar energy to power your landscaping lights. Solar energy garden lights to light your pathways or gardens are inexpensive and can be purchased in many different styles at your local home improvement store. The solar cells located on the top of the lights gather energy from the sun and store it in small batteries inside the lights. At night, the batteries power the lights. While earlier versions of solar outdoor lights did not produce much light, recent advances in solar cell and battery technology gave way to some powerful solar powered floodlights. These lights are a great way to see first hand how solar energy works before you spend thousands of dollars on a complete solar system. Passive Heat Solar Tubes

You can purchase innovative greenhouse fiberglass tubes to drastically cut down on your heating bills. The tall fiberglass cylinders – which look like pillars, but are hollow – can be used as room dividers or attractive accents.

You simply fill them with water and place them where they will get a lot of exposure to bright light where they can catch and store energy from the sun to fill your room with heat and greatly reduce your heating bill.

Solar Chargers

Solar chargers for electronics. Yes, your cell phone, laptop, MP3 players and many other electronic devices can be charged with solar power. There are several solar-powered chargers on the market that either charge internal batteries, (like in cell phones) or charge C, D, AA, and AAA batteries for use in other electronic devices. These rechargers come with different size cords to be used with different items. Using solar power to charge the electronic items you use every day can take a chunk out of your electric bill each month.

Solar Water Heater

For a fraction of the cost of a complete solar-power system, you can install a solar-powered water heater system to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free. These systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t. Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank with an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. Same relaxing hot water…less money on your utility bills.

Solar Pool Heating

Many pools and hot tubs now use solar energy to heat the water. Solar power units are designed to assist the gas or electric heating units to save on your heating bills. Older model pools and hot tubs may not have a built-in solar energy system, but you can purchase solar power kits to convert your existing heater. You can even buy solar-powered skimmers to clean your pool and spa. The price you’ll pay for the kit will definitely pay for itself via energy savings.

Solar Oven

As mentioned earlier, the first harnessing of solar energy was to cook food in a specially-designed oven that captured the sun’s rays to heat food. These small ovens were originally built for camping, but they work great for outdoor summer cooking as well. Rather than mess with charcoal or propane tanks, solar ovens are inexpensive and easy to use without all the waste of conventional cooking techniques. These small ovens can cook food at a temperature of up to about 350 degrees and are fully solar-powered. A unique system of glass and reflective material absorbs the sun’s heat like a solar cell and then magnifies it so that it is hot enough to cook. Why not put away your electric or gas grill and use a solar oven for your backyard cooking? It’s economical and it’s friendly to the environment!

These are just a few of the many ways that you start using solar power around your home to see for yourself how well it works and how reliable it is before making the decision to install a full solar system in your home. Now that you know some of the wonderful things that can be done with solar energy, visit your local hardware store and start saving some money while reducing your carbon foot print.

 

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