Solar technology can be incorporated into traditional home and business designs so that it does not detract from the natural landscape and neighborhood elements. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into power that can heat water and run appliances. Solar energy is clean energy because it is produced without the help of fossil fuels that can pollute the air and water. It is sustainable because it uses the sun, a source of renewable-energy.
The solar concept has been around since the early 1800s when it was discovered by a French Scientist by the name of Edmond Becquerel. In the U.S., serious research on solar energy began during the early 1950s with the interest in solar taking a leap in 1958 when scientists used solar energy to power equipment on the Vanguard 1 weather satellite. Fast-forward to the 21st century and solar panels are everywhere—from the White House to businesses and private homes.
Although the interest in solar and its use has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, there are still questions about this type of renewable resource. Almost everyone is familiar with turning on a light switch and not having to worry about electricity being delivered to appliances and light fixtures. However solar energy is still “new” to the typical homeowner, which leads to the questions like “How much power does a solar panel produce?”
The amount of power generated by a solar panel depends on several variables. The performance information provided with the panels indicates the power the units produce under the best conditions. Size is one factor that determines how much energy panels produce. Panels may be wired together to produce more energy. A panel that covers about ten square feet or area might produce 100-200 watts of power. However, the power produced by a 100-200-watt panel depends on the amount of sunlight that hits the panel. Higher-quality solar panels produce more wattage. On cloudy days or when it rains or snows, the sunlight’s impact on the panel will be less. During the winter, the days are shorter and the sun shines less, meaning less solar energy.
Solar energy is a renewable power source because it uses the the radiant heat from the sun. It can be used in a variety of ways. Some of the most common ways that solar power is used in modern society are to provide indoor lighting, heat for cooking food and warming liquids like water for bathing or oil for energy conservation, and making saline water potable. The sun produces more solar energy in one hour, than the world uses within a whole year. However, without the use of a storage device; all of the solar power that is not used, is wasted. This is where the use of photovoltaic panels and batteries made from semiconductor materials come into play. There are no moving parts necessary to convert sunlight into electricity, nor any environmental pollutants created during the process.
Photovoltaic panels are designed to absorb the radiant heat from the sun. When the light hits the solar cells, the electrons are set free from their atoms. Once free, the electrons bounce around inside the cell generating electricity. The semiconductor material stores the generated energy and naturally releases it according to its functional design. There are two categories used to describe the techniques employed to harness solar power, and they are passive or active technology. These two categories describe how the technique captures, converts and distributes the solar power it obtains from sunlight.
Active techniques use devices like panels, pumps, and fans to convert the energy into functional usage, where as passive techniques rely on the design and layout of the materials with positive thermal qualities. Passive techniques are often less expensive than active techniques, but homeowner tax incentives for using solar electricity are making possible for the technology to pay for itself in five to ten years. And, because many homeowners are adding on additional spaces or making electrical upgrades to stay current with other technological advances, adding solar panels to the budget becomes more economical.
Geographical location and weather conditions can effect the reliability of solar power technology. However, when the design of a structure takes into consideration where windows, doors, and mirrors should be placed, then homeowners are still able to benefit from the suns rays. Those homeowners who choose to use photovoltaic panels on the roof of their home may be able to use them alone or connected to the grid of the area’s local power supply company.
Solar panels and solar energy are slowly becoming a mainstream craze among the general population. From the success of Tesla Motors with Elon Musk, to Solar City(also run by Elon Musk), our lives are being impacted by solar technologies on a regular basis. The ultimate question, however, comes in how efficient these solar panels are in producing energy for us to use in our homes?
The answer to that question depends on the model of solar panel that the individual chooses to use on their home. According to recent statistics, many of the solar panels that individuals purchase are of low quality. It is believed that roughly 14% of solar energy captured by these devices will ultimately convert to energy that can be used in the home. Although these numbers seem fairly low, this does not mean solar panels are inefficient at the task they perform.
One important factor to keep in mind when choosing a solar panel based on its efficiency rating is how these ratings are calculated to begin with. The efficiency rating simply means that for the particular size of the panel, the amount of energy that is stored is efficient. This could mean a small panel, for its size, is optimal in the amount of solar energy it can provide to a certain area. This does not mean, however, that a small panel will optimize the electricity contained within your home or produce the desired outcome.
Similarly, the efficiency rating based given to these units only pertains to 1 panel per household. The amount of electricity that a home can capture can be increased by the installation of multiple panels with tactical placement. As a rule of thumb, the unit(s) on your home should always face south in order to capture solar energy in the best way possible. Similarly, an installation expert should always be cognizant of the slope and angle that your roof architecture uses. Even a small degree in the installation placement can negatively impact the amount of solar energy captured by that particular device.
The overall consensus with solar panels is that they are an efficient means to power your home and appliances. Although the efficiency ratings for these devices may seem low, they provide more than enough power for your needs. Furthermore, solar panels will save your hard-earned money by reducing your monthly energy bill and overall consumption.
The topic of solar panels is one that is becoming quite popular of late as energy alternatives are being explored to help offset high costs of heating and cooling properties. So how do solar panels work? Let’s take a look!
Essentially, what solar panels do, in simple terms, is to collect light particles and break the particles up into their component parts. By removing electrons and pulling them away from the main atomic structures they are connected to, the electrons can then be used to generate electricity, and that is where the panels come in. The panels themselves are made from smaller cells called photovoltaic cells. These types of cells are used to both separate electrons from their main items when light strikes the panel and then, once the electrons are free, they would then need to be guided into the source area by these cells, where the electrons can be used as electrical current. This process has been refined and used over quite a span of years, and in present times is used in small scale items like outdoor lights for your yard and solar calculators and all the way up into equipment used in space travel! Presently, solar power is used by many consumers as a way to provide energy within their homes as well as a method of transportation, since some cars are now relying on solar power too! Should you be considering transitioning to solar power in your home, a good way to begin would be to assess the size of your home, your electrical needs and usage, and your present costs to heat, cool, and run appliances within your property. Once you have generated that information, you can meet with a consultant from a solar company to go over this data and determine placement for solar panels on your home’s roof and also contact your local energy company (many will provide a discount on your utility bill if you move ahead with adding solar panels). After this step is completed, installation of solar panels on your property generally take one to two business days and you will then be ready to turn the power on and get started in generating energy!
In the future, folks will not be as dependent on things like oil for heating and electricity. Solar energy will take up much of the slack, and it is actually something that you can use right now. This post can definitely help you out there.
The efficiency of your solar panels depends on their density. Panels that are more dense perform better, but they also cost more. Look at the density of various panels before deciding on one.
Be sure the solar energy system you choose can efficiently and reliably store the energy it produces. You may want to get a battery that stores the energy or sell it to the electric company.
If you install solar panels, be sure to have a backup system in place in case they malfunction. You might want to stay connected to the grid, or you might purchase a generator. If you decide to use a generator, test it regularly and do not hesitate to keep more than one generator in your home.
Before you buy a solar energy system, be sure you have a good idea about the finances involved. After you calculate what it costs to install the solar panels where you live, you may find you will never be able to recoup your investment. If you jump into solar energy without the proper research, you may end up with a costly mistake.
Install solar photo-voltaic panels on the roof of your home or just add a solar water heater to save lots of money on the power you use. Photovoltaic panels are most effective in regions that have a minimum of 5 continuous hours of sunlight. Heating through solar-powered water can cut swimming pool heating costs.
In the future, the cost and environmental impact of power should be significantly improved. What reason is there to delay until solar power is everywhere? Look into your options today and see how much money you could be saving as well as reducing your carbon footprint.