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Solar Energy Review

Solar Energy Review: Renewable Energy

Solar Energy Review – Solar energy is quickly becoming a new way for families that are off the grid to enjoy the same luxuries that many families with electricity do. As the cost of running electricity to rural areas continues to increase, and the cost of installing renewable energy systems decreases, this is now the most cost-effective option.

Solar Energy Review: Renewable Energy

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is a way to convert light energy into electricity by using a device or medium that harnesses solar power. There are 2 ways we can convert solar energy into electricity, we can either convert it passively or harvest solar power without the use of any mechanical device or actively by using a mechanical device.

There are 3 types of energy that we can get from the sun:

1. Solar Light Energy

Photovoltaics is a way to convert solar energy into electricity by gathering photons or small packets of energy inside the sun’s rays. We can use this kind of energy to gather the light of the sun and use it to power the appliances inside our homes. Solar panels convert light energy to electricity by means of interconnected photovoltaic silicon(solar cells) arranged in a module or through an array.

For a solar panel to work, it is installed where the sun has the most adequate light in your area. A solar panel only generates 12 volts of DC, therefore, an inverter is needed to convert DC to AC. AC is an electric current equal to 110/100/220 volts (depending on the country) and this kind of voltage is required to power up any appliances inside the home.

AdvantageDisadvantage
Less maintenance because it gathers electricity passivelyHigh initial cost. ROI will be achieved in about 1 to 5 years
Free source of fuel for energy gatheringMust be installed in places where 100% of the sun’s light is achieved. A cloudy location means a decrease in power output
Endless supply of fuelPower can only be gained during the day but we can install batteries so that we can still use solar energy even when the sun is not up
Long operational life as it does not have any mechanical device that may wear and tear due to repeated operations
Saves electricity bill

2. Solar Thermal Energy

Harnessing solar energy but it is converted to heat energy. Examples of these are using the sun to warm a home’s indoor environment, heat water, or a swimming pool. A solar thermal system is like a solar panel but its goal is to gather the sun’s heat. Instead of mirrors and silicon solar panels, it uses black colored panels with a heat collector, and instead of generating electricity, it is converted heat energy.

AdvantageDisadvantage
Unlike solar panels, it does not require adequate solar light to gather solar energyWill only function during the day when the sun is rising
It is used passively meaning less maintenance compared to a mechanical type of solar power systemsNot recommended on shady or cloudy locations
Endless supply of energy because the sun does not decrease nor deplete its energy rateThe initial cost is high but there are other options like recycling that can decrease the total initial cost
Saves fuel and/or electricity required to heat water or keep your indoor environment warm

3. Concentrated Solar Power

Concentrated Solar Power uses lenses or reflective mirrors to focus light energy into a small area to generate a very high temperature that powers boil the water and powers the steam turbine thereby generating electricity. Concentrated solar power systems are not similar to solar panels although it appears as if it is using a solar panel but it is not a solar panel but a reflective panel all aimed at a tower thereby generating heat high enough to make steam turbines work.

Solar cooking is an example of concentrated solar power. It uses a reflective cooker that gathers the sun’s light and then aims it at a specific location to concentrate light, therefore, generate heat. Concentrated Solar Power is also used to generate electricity. A dish or a parabolic trough may be used on homes but they all require a larger space and because concentrated solar power uses steam and a generator, the downside is it might be too loud for neighbors.

AdvantageDisadvantage
Limitless fuel sourceToo loud and not neighbor-friendly
Saves on the electricity billToo bulky if used at home, requires larger space
Must be in constant sunlight to acquire 100% power
Has a mechanical device and uses water to generate electricity therefore requires more maintenance
The sun is not available at night

Things to Know About Solar Energy

Solar Energy Review – Families that have yet to make the switch are often full of questions, and these are some of the things that they need to know before investing in this renewable energy source.

1. Batteries

Most homeowners are under the impression that when they go with this form of energy, they will not have any power at night time or will need a secondary source when it is cloudy. While it is true that there is less energy coming in from the sun on cloudy days, and none at night time, there is no need to install a set of windmills just yet.

Solar batteries are often installed at the same time as a stand-alone system. These work by storing solar energy that is not used during the day. The majority of homes receive more than they will use, and this excess amount of solar energy can be reserved in these to help keep the home powered when it is not receiving energy from the sun, such as at night time.

2. Energy can be sold

This is not available in every area, but it is popular in some. As homes receive more energy, it is stored in the batteries first. Often, these will fill up, including any extra batteries, and then the extra energy simply goes to waste.

Because of this, many people choose to keep an eye on them. Once most of them are full, and they have more than enough energy, they take some and sell it back to the grid for other individuals to buy.

There are some fees that can be associated with selling solar energy, but it is definitely worth looking into for families that frequently wind up with more energy than they will ever use.

3. Generators can be comforting

Having a backup generator just in case can, and does, give many families peace of mind. If the climate is a bit unpredictable, and there can be weeks of rain with little sunshine, there is a chance that the batteries can run dry.

In this situation, families that do not have a backup generator will be in a panic. Families that do have one handy, however, will be able to go about their day as they normally would until the sun comes back out and goes back to giving them the power that they need. Even if a generator is not used frequently, it is much better to be safe than sorry in this case.

4. Inverters can go down

Most people take the time to at least research the thought of investing in a nice set of backup batteries and a generator for this sole reason. Inverters help to take the energy and transform it, but these can easily go down when the grid goes down. If the power is knocked out and all a home has is a few panels and an inverter, that house is not going to have power just like the rest of the neighborhood.

Conclusion Solar Energy Review

Solar Energy Review: Solar energy is free and renewable however its primary cost is high. But if you think carefully, the one-time cost of solar panels for example is sufficient enough to save you at least 40% of your electricity consumption per month that will go on for years and years.

There seem to be so many components and things to consider when it comes to solar energy that it can be a bit overwhelming just to comprehend it all. These are the four most basic things that homeowners are encouraged to consider before they make the switch to a new power supply. They are also encouraged to read as much as possible on the subject or to schedule a free consultation with a business to make sure that they are well-informed about their decision.


References:

Complete Off-Grid Solar Kits

 

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