by Harvey Bond
(Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia)
Solar energy is a great resource that scientists have long explored as a means of providing energy to meet human needs. Thanks to advances in technology, there are now prototypes of various machines that run on solar power. These include solar powered cars, solar-heated homes, and solar-powered water heaters.
In fact, many of these machines have gone beyond the prototype stage and are being used in many green homes throughout the world, where their owners are determined to help save the environment by decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels.
There are many ways to harness the power of the sun to allow our turbines to run, our water to be heated, and our homes to be conditioned at just the right temperature. One such method is the use of the solar panel, which you can often glimpse as a black platform filled with shining grids that glisten in the sun. This array of thermal collectors is connected to an appliance that can run on solar power.
The ability of appliances to run on solar power rests in the power of the individual grids on a solar panel. Each grid, called a photovoltaic cell or photovoltaic module, is arranged in a strategic array that is meant to collect the most sunlight and use the consequent energy most efficiently. Such photovoltaic arrays are in wide use nowadays, and have enjoyed an upsurge in production as their manufacturing costs have since diminished.
Photovoltaic cells use semiconductors to utilize sunlight and turn it into electricity. You can see such cells in your solar-powered calculator, emergency telephones on the roadside, and even in some large industrial complexes. With the lower cost of maintaining and manufacturing solar panels, you can use solar energy to heat your water and provide insulation for your home.
If you are interested in using solar energy to heat your water and your home, then you might want to take note of the following tips. Remember, that even if using solar energy has decreased in price, it is still relatively expensive compared with other energy providing and utilizing technologies.
Always inquire in as many solar energy panels providers as you can. Look for a solar panel and heating package that can fit your needs and budget. Look for machinery that can allow you to heat water, your home, and even power your cooking apparatus. If you can use solar energy widely in your home, then you can save on your gas and electric bills.
Solar hot water systems can use sunlight in various ways to heat different sources of water in your home. You can have hot water through your faucet, or even route lines to heat your swimming pool. Inquire at your solar energy panels providers on what packages they have for water heating, and if their apparatus can heat swimming pools. Swimming pool water contains different minerals, so it may require various modifications in conventional heating apparatus in order to keep the minerals from precipitating out of the water.
There are many advantages of using solar energy to heat your house and water. Using solar power to power your heating apparatus also emits less pollution compared with the use of other energy-generating methods.
Because electric grids and gallons of fuel are difficult to transport to remote areas, such as deserts and islands, solar panels can be economical and practical, especially since deserts and islands will often have sun all year round. Solar panels are also more practical for transports such as boats or airline carriers, which need energy without having to transport gallons of fuel or carry heavy electronic grids.
Despite these advantages, solar power is still expensive compared with grid-based electricity. Current technology for photovoltaic cells is also limited: you will need a greater number of photovoltaic cells in order to gather enough solar energy to drive larger applications. This can entail higher purchases and maintenance costs.
More photovoltaic cells also require a greater land area, which can be difficult if you live in a suburban area, where land and lots are limited. Solar cells, moreover, produce a direct electric current, which must first be converted to alternate current, or AC, a change that results in an energy loss of about four to twelve percent.
Solar energy can still help save the environment, so if you are thinking about using it for your home and water heating, do as much research as you can. Make inquiries and compare prices. If you find a package that fits your needs and budget, then you can go right ahead and help save Mother Earth.