Solar energy, an alternative and renewable power source, has been proposed by many as a reat source of energy. Although it is not widely used today, solar energy has a great potential to be used in future. There are several ways to harness the sunlight. The use of solar panels or photovoltaic cell is the most common way to acquire the much needed solar energy. They are avery efficient in generating a clean and renewable source of electricity.
How Solar Energy Works
Solar panels gather and directly convert the sun’s energy into electricity. During daylight, the photovoltaic cells which are arranged in a grid-like pattern on the solar panel’s surface collect the sunlight and turn it into electricity, the charge controller regulates the amount of energy sent to the batteries to avoid being overcharged or with low energy, batteries store the energy to be used at night or when there is a blackout, the inverter is needed to convert the DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current) which is used in your home appliances.
A diagram showing how passive solar energy works. Source: energysavers.gov
Another way to harness the sunlight is by using solar thermal energy. This is commonly used for heating homes, providing hot water, heating swimming pools, and space heating. Usually, space and hot water heaters use a storage tank to store the heated water while pool heaters recycle the water by using collectors which heat the water and return it to the pool. The other way to harness solar energy is through passive solar. A good example is opening your windows or curtains in the morning to let the sunlight in. Passive solar also known as direct gain includes the building architecture that has a good thermal mass such as specific kinds of materials that can store the sun’s energy for future use. Basically, the solar energy advantages are numerous, is something to think about so that you can save cash and also the environment.
Various benefits of Solar Energy
Although solar energy has its disadvantages, these will surely be covered by its advantages as further researches are done to bring the use of solar energy to a higher level. Here are some solar energy advantages.
- Solar energy is a renewable energy source. Though we cannot harness it during night time, we can still rely on its availability day after day.
- Solar energy costs nothing. The energy from the sun is free so after giving up a little bit of money, the source of energy is practically free.
- Solar cells do not require much maintenance once these are brought up to their maximum efficiency.
- Solar cells are quiet collectors. They produce no noise, unlike any other energy sources.
- Solar panels are very reliable. With parts fixed and not moving, these can last longer than any other energy source.
BENEFITS OF SOLAR ENERGY
Together with its advantages, here are some benefits of solar energy.
- Solar energy is clean. It does not produce pollution at all. Solar power plants emit zero pollution and do not cause harm to the environment.
- The initial investment in the equipment can be expensive but once it is brought to its maximum efficiency, you will not need to worry about bills. You will find it lesser or even totally free.
- Because of the improvements in the solar energy technology, the costs are getting cheaper, making it more acceptable to be utilized as one of the most commonly used energy sources.
Indeed, there are many benefits and advantages that you can expect, aside from being cost effective this is also very friendly to our environment.
CALCULATING THE PAYBACK TIME ON YOUR INVESTMENT
Now you must be careful in choosing your solar system since there are many expensive devices that work unsatisfactorily. You must keep in mind that electricity rate prices on the payback time of the purchase are a direct function of the value of the energy generated by your solar panel. So the cheaper and efficient the solar system the faster the payback time on the system you chose. Evidently, you have to consider sunless locations. But you also have an alternative solution for this kind of trouble. The renewable energy legislation, signed into law on October 2008 encourages people to embrace alternative energy, including solar energy. So, if you have a roof or any small space to place a solar panel made by yourself in an easy way, you should consider enjoying your energy freedom.
Say goodbye to fat energy bills!