What is Solar Energy?
The global spike in energy costs has led many to find alternative and sustainable fuel sources. There are many options available today including wind, solar and hydropower. Of the three, solar is the fastest growing, and almost everyone can learn to capture its power to perform tasks like cooking; lighting, heating, and many other household chores. Two of the key reasons many invest in harnessing the sun is to get energy for heating water in homes and to generate electricity.
By definition, solar energy is energy derived from the sun. The energy can be used directly to heat, and light homes or it can be converted into electricity using solar energy technologies like solar panels. People are increasingly investing in solar energy to save on out-of-pocket costs and get rid of dangerous and expensive power lines.
Solar energy i.e. energy from the sun provide consistent and steady source of solar power throughout the year. As our non-renewable resources are set to decline in the years to come, it is important for us to move towards renewable sources of energy like wind, hydropower, biomass and tidal. The main benefit of solar energy is that it can be easily deployed by both home and business users as it does not require any huge set up like in case of wind or geothermal power. Solar energy not only benefits individual owners, but also benefit environment as well. Solar energy is one of the most widely used renewable energy source.
Learn more about solar energy:
- Disadvantages of solar energy
- How Can Your Business Benefit From Commercial Solar Panels?
- Facts of solar energy
- Pros and cons of solar energy
- DIY – Solar panel cooker
- Difference Between Active and Passive Solar Systems
- How solar energy works?
- How to build solar power panel
- How solar power panels work?
- What is Solar Energy and Solar Panels?
- 4 Surprising Signs Solar Panels Are Right For You
I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.
– Thomas Edison
Various Advantages of Solar Energy
There are many advantages that solar energy has to offer over traditional sources of energy like coal and oil. Not only it is completely renewable but is also protects the environment. Here are some of the advantages of solar energy.
It’s a renewable resource
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy as it can be used to produce electricity as long as the sun exists. Sunshine occurs naturally. As long as we are alive, we are always going to see the sun, which means it is infinite. This energy can be harnessed by installing solar panels that can reduce our dependence on other countries for consistent supply of coal to produce electricity. This makes it an attractive energy prospect for most countries that are looking to go completely green in the future.
Although solar energy can not be produced during night and cloudy days but it can be used again and again during day time. Solar energy from sun is consistent and constant power source and can be used to harness power even in remote locations.
If you are scavenging the internet in search of ways to minimize your carbon footprints, solar energy is the surefire answer. Solar energy will not only help you dial back on your carbon footprint, but also oversize your systems to ensure you live in a carbon-free house. Some states in the U.S. even allow individuals to invest in other people’s roofs to create a lot more solar energy.
Solar energy is an alternative for fossil fuels as it is non-polluting, clean, reliable and renewable source of energy. It does not pollute the air by releasing harmful gases like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide or sulphur oxide. So, the risk of damage to the environment is reduced. Solar energy also does not require any fuel to produce electricity and thus avoids the problem of transportation of fuel or storage of radioactive waste.
Cuts back on electricity bill
One of the most interesting things about solar energy is that it can help you minimize your annoying utility bills. You can accomplish this by installing solar panels in your home. Solar energy takes up energy consuming activities like heating water and heating homes. Solar energy has the potential to save you up to 20% of your energy costs, even after financing costs are factored in. And with the ever rocketing of electricity costs, you could save up to $60,000 in the next 30 years.
Can enhance the value of a home
If you are looking to sell your home in the future, suffice to know that installation of solar technologies can significantly increase its value. This especially manifests in areas where buyers are more likely to buy a home installed with solar panels like high populated cities where environmental degradation is taken seriously by the authorities. According to research findings, solar panels can add up to $20,000 to the value of a house. This figure represents the amount required to install a solar panel, which means you will be able to recoup your money when you sell the property. That represents a bright investment in your property.
Requires little maintenance
The cost of installing a solar panel can be high. But once it’s up and running, you will enjoy the benefits for many years, while injecting just a small amount for its maintenance. If your energy needs change and you desire to add more panels, it would be a lot easier. Initial cost that is incurred once can be recovered in the long run that range from 10 years – 15 years. Apart from this, solar panels does not create any noise or release any toxic substances.
Solar panels are easy to install and does not require any wires, cords or power sources. Unlike wind and geothermal power stations which require them to be tied with drilling machines, solar panels does not require them and can be installed on the rooftops which means no new space is needed and each home or business user can generate their own electricity. Moreover, they can be installed in distributed fashion which means no large scale installations are needed.
With the advancement in the technology and increase in the production, the cost of solar panels have come down slightly. Areas where cost of electricity is high, payback times can be even lower.
Can Be Used in Remote Locations
Solar energy can be of great boon in areas which have no access to power cables. It works great in remote locations where running power lines would be difficult or costly. Solar panels can set up to produce solar energy there as long as it receives the sunlight.
Comes with money back guarantee
Besides saving up a lot on your utility bills, you might get a big portion of your money back by installing solar panels. Most governments give tax credits to homeowners in a bid to encourage the use of solar energy. These tax credits mostly cover more than 30% of the installation cost. Lots of states also extend tax rebates to homeowners that utilize solar energy. To add to that, if your solar panel generates more than enough energy, utility companies allow you to sell back the energy to them.
Long Lasting Solar Cells
Solar cells make no noise at all and there are no moving parts in solar cells which makes them long lasting and require very little maintenance. Solar energy provides cost effective solutions to energy problems where there is no electricity at all.
Top 5 Common Examples of Solar Energy
Solar energy is growing fast, and more people are taking advantage of this free and renewable resource. Its efficiency also continues to increase, rendering it a lot more attractive to businesses and industries. Some common examples of solar energy include?
Solar water heating
Many are not fully aware that solar water heaters and solar space heaters are cost-effective and efficient ways of heating homes without having to go the expensive route of installing solar panels. Solar space heaters capture the sun’s energy and turn it into thermal energy with the aid of air or liquid medium. Solar water heaters, on the other hand, make use of water as a means of thermal transfer.
Solar heating systems are come as active or passive. Active systems make use of pumps in order to allow movement of water, hence, generation of heat. Passive systems, on the other hand, use natural circulation. One aspect that makes thermal heating systems stand above other heating systems like oil and gas pumps is the capability to heat an entire swimming pool at an insanely inexpensive rate.
Solar cells are used to power many things ranging from calculators to entire businesses. Although small cells have been used over the years to power tiny things like calculators, the past few years has witnessed large cells making inroads into the marketplace. Large cells have the capacity to power entire homes. They are cool sources of energy due to their friendliness to the environment. They are also long lasting; require minimal maintenance and are cost-effective in the long run.
Electronics these days come with features that can enable charging using solar energy. A common example is the solar powered charger that is able to charge any electronic from tablets to cell phones. Solar powered flashlights also exist today that are able to be charged just by exposure to sunlight. As more emphasis is being placed on solar energy, there is no shadow of doubt that solar will continue to be embraced by lots of people for products that can be powered by sunlight. A typical example where solar energy has successfully been used to power an electronic device is the Apple smart watch. Unlike a conventional watch, an Apple smart watch doesn’t need to be plugged in to recharge every day
Most homeowners enhance the aesthetic value and efficiency of their homes by incorporating outdoor solar lighting. Unlike conventional exterior lighting, solar lighting does not need sophisticated set up because the lights come with wireless technology and capture the sun’s energy during the day to alleviate the need for traditionally supplied electricity during the night.
While solar lights have not been as popular as solar panels, they are fast catching up with smart home thermostats and LED light bulbs as energy efficient products that can help bring down energy bills. On top of that, solar lighting comes with a whole lot of elaborate lighting arrays that can substantially enhance the outdoor appearance of any property. These lighting products are cheap ($20 per light) and easily obtainable at local retail shops. The low cost and ready availability aspects are the reason for the proliferation of street lights today.
Due to the huge array of gadgets available on the market today, most disregard the most vital use of solar energy, which is rooftop solar. While solar power has many uses including charging batteries and fly airplanes, it can also play a critical role of dialing back on carbon footprints and energy bills. A rooftop solar can save a homeowner thousands of dollars each year.
When exploring ways to change up to solar energy, make a point to do an estimate of your potential solar savings and ascertain the effects investment in solar technology could do for your home finances. Embracing tiny products and home improvement devices to enhance your home’s efficiency is a bright practice. However, in the long run, the best bet to lower your energy bills and improve your carbon footprint lies in the installation of a solar panel.
Image credit: pixabay
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