HOME SOLAR POWER
Tired of rising electric bills? Concerned about all the buzz around the “green movement” to preserve the environment. Feeling like you should jump in but just don’t know where to start? In order to start, you should at least get a grasp on the most popular alternative energy system… Home Solar Power.
THE SCIENCE OF SOLAR
The earth and all its systems that sustain life are powered by the sun. The energy from the sun, namely heat and light, is measured in the form of Zettajoules (ZJ).
Zettajoules is a measurement of the all of the sun’s energy (solar) that is available for use by the earth’s systems. Similar to radio waves, the sun transmits its energy through electromagnetic radiation. Really the only difference between the two is the frequency range. The earth’s protective atmosphere absorbs a small portion of the sun’s energy, and the rest comes to the earth’s surface in its primary form, heat and light.
This heat and light takes just over 8 minutes to actually radiate from the sun to the earth’s surface. Now without something to either harness or concentrate this heat, the sun’s energy is dissipated and transferred over the surface of the earth in the form of heat and light. There are several ways this harnessing and concentrating can be done.
CAPTURING AND CONVERTING THE SUN’S ENERGY
There are countless other tools and devices that are used to harness the sun’s energy, yet the most common seen these days across both large industry and residential homes are solar photovoltaic systems. Simply put home solar power. Solar electricity is done in the same manner as the focusing collector technology described above along with photovoltaic cells. Very thin pieces of semiconductor are the main ingredient in these cells. Photovoltaic cells have 1 purpose: harness the sun’s radiation and convert it into electricity.
Solar power can be used in a variety of ways. Anything in your home that currently runs off of electricity can be ran by solar electricity generated by a solar panel. Home solar power is becoming more and more common with rising energy costs and our unstable economic condition. This energy is one of a few alternative energy sources that are right in line with the “green energy” movement. Taking the energy from the sun and harnessing it for electric power is an obvious alternative to paying for electricity month in and month out, year after year. Besides the obvious, this is a smart precautionary measure to take for those who live in areas where power outages are very common due to weather.
SOLAR PANEL SYSTEMS FOR HOMES
There are several solar panel systems available for home use. The one time investment in this technology, whether it be a few hundred to several thousand will in the long term be a very wise investment. Once these panels are built and installed, their electrical output is continuous. Outside of cloudy days and of course the night, solar panels are a reliable, practical, and extremely affordable way to generate any level of electricity necessary to power a typical home.
To dig in a bit deeper, here are a few other solar energy harnessing tools. Focusing collectors, also referred to in the science world heliostats, contain a mirror that can be positioned directly at the sun and can generate temperatures up toe 4000 degrees Celsius! Mainly used in large research facilities, this device can be used as a solar furnace and is helpful in a variety of science applications. A practical use of these focusing collectors is to focus their energy into a boiler where water can be turned to steam and used for a variety of applications. For the purposes of this article it may be helpful to mention that these focusing collectors can be used to generate solar electricity as well.
Another common tool for harnessing this energy which is commonly used in homes and schools for heating is called a flat plate collector. A flat plate collector is used similar to an air-conditioning unit or industrial heater. Water is heated in pipes which radiate heat and can have an air source blowing over them directed through a ducting system for heated air.
As you can see, the term home solar power doesn’t always mean a system containing solar panels. The sun’s energy can be harnessed with numerous devices and converted to a usable energy in a variety of ways. Solar energy is so prevalent yet extremely underutilized. Continual advancements and use will drive a wider acceptance of this technology over the coming decades. It Just Makes Sense.