Why are Solar Panels Important?

December 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Solar panels convert the suns energy into usable forms. Solar panels can be a certain kind of device that attracts the sun to use the sun to power machinery that can transfer the heat from the sun into whatever they need.  We could use solar panels to convert the heat from the sun into the energy we need to power things that run.  Solar panels are common and can be seen in a lot of different products, such as calculators, satellites, or even space ships.  Solar panels are an effective way to redirect the sunlight and use it for electricity.

It all starts over one hundred years ago when a man got the idea to use the heat from the sun to power his machinery. The main focus was to use the steam from the hot sun light in order to start and maintain their machines.  This new revelation peaked the interest of several scientists who did not waste any time traveling to see how this discovery worked.  Since then, there have been groundbreaking products that have increased the convenience and the need to use a natural resource such as the sun in order to work machinery.

Solar panels can be different shapes and sizes but their main purpose is to convert the light in order to make electricity. Photovoltaic, or PV, is the process of converting the light into electricity. Photovoltaic cells are self generating and consist of a very thing film made of silver.  This film is placed on a semiconductor layer that can be found on an iron substrate. The photovoltaic cells are very important in producing enough sunlight and heat in order to successfully produce the energy that is needed in order to heat up water, heat homes and power electricity.

Solar panels can be found in all different shapes and sizes including round, square, and rectangle.  You can see them on top of buildings and houses or standing alone in fields.  Solar panels are in hand held devices and they are in energy efficient appliances.  The sun is a wonderful natural resource and can greatly cater to our way of life.  The study of natural resources like the sun is ongoing and the improvement that can be made in the future is anyone’s guess but you can’t go wrong when you use natural resources.

Because this new way of production was in trial and error stage, it was somewhat expensive to turn your home or business into a natural way to heat and power.  But since things have changed and newer material has surfaced and since we know more about the solar panels the cost is not as high, although it is still higher than using man made methods of producing heat and electricity.  In the long run using solar panels for all your electric needs will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to worry about paying for your power.  As long as the sun shines you will have power.  On days that are too cloudy for the sun to break through to the earth, your system should still be adequate enough to carry the electricity through another day.

Bright Future For Solar Energy

December 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

I was first introduced to solar energy in the movie, Race the Sun with James Belushi and Halley Berry in the lead. It was a story about low- income and under achieving Hawaiian students encouraged by their teacher to join the Solar Car race. In the movie, a car shaped like a cockroach and covered with solar panels used the sun’s rays as an alternative energy source to run the car.

Solar energy is the light and the heat from the sun. Solar energy is free and its supplies are unlimited. There are n air and water pollution caused about by using solar energy. But there is still some impacts on the environment although indirect.

Photovoltaic cells used to convert sunlight into electricity uses silicon and also produce some waste materials. There are also large solar thermal farms and these farms can also be harmful to the environment and desert ecosystems if not properly managed.

Solar energy can be used on different aspects. Solar energy can be used in agriculture. Greenhouses (which is entirely different from greenhouse gas) convert solar light to heat to be maximized in enhancing the growth of plants and crops. Greenhouses has been around since the Roman times and modern greenhouses were built in Europe in 16th century. Greenhouses are still an important part of horticulture nowadays,

Daylight systems are also being used to maximize the energy released by the sun. It is used to provide interior illumination replacing the artificial lighting. Daylight systems include sawtooth roofs, light shelf, skylights, and light tube. Daylight systems when they are properly implemented can reduce lighting-related energy consumption by 25 percent.

Solar energy can also be developed into solar thermal technologies which can be used for water heating, space heating, space cooling and process heat generation. Solar energy can also be used to distil water and make saline or brackish water potable or drinkable.

The solar water disinfection or SODIS involves exposing water-filled plastic polyethylene terephthalate or PET bottles. This process takes a long time, since the exposure time varies on the weather conditions. It requires a minimum of six hours to two days during days with overcast conditions. Currently, there are two million people in developing centuries use SODIS for their daily drinking water needs.

Also sunlight can be converted into electricity using photovoltaics or PV. PV has been mainly used to power small and medium-sized things like a calculator powered by a single solar cell. There are homes powered by photovoltaics. Using solar energy for water and space heating is the most widely use application of solar energy. While ventilation and solar air heating is also growing in popularity.

There are three main ways in using solar energy. The main way of using and converting solar energy is by using the solar cells. Solar cells convert light directly into electricity. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic or photoelectric cells.

Meanwhile, solar furnaces use a huge array of mirrors to concentrate on the Sun’s energy into a small space and produced very high temperatures. Solar furnaces are also called “solar cookers”. A solar cooker can be used in hot countries to cook food.

With all the benefits if using solar energy, there is still a downside for this alternative energy source. It does not work during night time. The cost of setting up solar stations is expensive, but the benefit of using solar energy when accumulated is so much more.

Solar Power for the RV

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Everyone likes to get away for the weekend and when you get a chance to there is a lot of fun in taking a recreational vehicle, or RV, to go camping in.  Your RV could be a pull behind camper or a camper that you can drive.  What ever you use RV’s usually run off of electricity from another source or they have battery powered lights.  When you use electric hook up in a camper you may want to consider turning your RV into a solar powered RV and never worry about electric hook ups again.  Enjoy your vacation anywhere without restrictions.

Once you hook up to a power source you are able to have the comforts of home by turning on and off the lights and using the bathroom. If you cannot access a power outlet you may use a generator to supply power to the camper.  These generators are nice in a pinch but you have the problems of running out of fuel to keep it going not to mention the noise that it makes.   If you want to turn your RV into a solar power RV it is simple to do and with little expense. There are a number of different products that you can buy to make camping fun and modern with little or no effort.

You can mount a solar panel to the RV camper in order to charge your energy in your RV.  This is done by purchasing a solar panel mounting bracket that your solar panel will set on.  You can buy RV solar panel kits that include both the mount and the panel. Once it is installed you can power your camper and batteries using the suns warmth that was already there and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to do so.  Run your solar panel wire to the battery compartment and you are ready to go.  Each solar powered kit offers different wattages and sizes so you can select the right one for your RV size and what you will be using.

When you are out on a camping trip you can feel good knowing that you can go anywhere you need to go.  Your solar panel on top of your RV will also withstand any type of weather and because a camper is so small it won’t take much solar power to operate the RV.  Another hot solar powered item to buy for your RV is called the Solar Power Ventilator. This provides the perfect ventilation system for small quarters, such as RV’s.  When it is hot in the summer or anytime that the sun is shining it doesn’t take long for the RV to heat up and become very uncomfortable.  The solar power ventilator will run all the hot air out and circulate the air with clean fresh air.

When you take the RV out you want to enjoy your time in the great outdoors without giving up the fact that you have to rely on a power source or go without power completely.  If you have to go without power you may find that it is inconvenient and hard to do, especially when you purchase an RV because of the way that it is convenient.

Motion Lighting Using Solar Power

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Motion lighting is very convenient security platform for homes. Solar motion lamps take the benefits to the next level with more efficiency and reduced utility bills.

Motion Lighting Using Solar Power

Motion sensor lamps can be an excellent choice for your home. These lamps offer the security of having a bright light shine into the eyes of any would be intruder, thus deterring them from staying on your property. There are several different types of motion lamps available for the protection of your family and home, but the best option by far is to use solar motion lamps.

Solar power is a clean and ecologically sound alternative to electric, battery and other sources of power. There is no pollution produced, no non-renewable resources used, and it costs far less than other power sources. Even if you don’t choose to use solar power for all your household needs, you can still help the environment by choosing solar motion lamps. Every small bit of solar power used decreases the world’s usage of less ecological methods.

Solar motion lamps work by collecting solar power during the day through solar cells located on the light. This solar energy is used to recharge a battery (usually a NiCad rechargeable battery), which in turn powers the lamp at night. Some models of solar motion lamps include solar panels that are strong enough to collect energy even in overcast conditions, making the lamp even more useful. Motion lamps also have settings to customize. You can set the duration that the lamp shines when it detects motion (any where from .5 minute to three minutes), as well as being able to position it so that it can detect motion up to 90 feet away. The trigger for the motion lamp is a passive infrared motion detector that is safe for use around all people and animals, and does not require additional high tech equipment. You also have the choice of mounting your solar motion lamps on a post (this will be provided) or on the side of your house or garage.

Solar motion lamps usually use a strong LED lamp. LEDs are an excellent choice for solar lamps because they use far less power than traditional bulbs and halogen lamps. Motion lamps are built with weather resistant materials, so they can be left on your homes exterior in all types of conditions.

Solar motion lamps are an excellent way to keep your home and property safe from intruders and other problems, all while being cheaper and more “green” than other choices. If you need just one or many, the solar powered versions of motion lamps are the easiest choice for your lighting needs.

The Cost of Solar Energy

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Solar energy is a natural source of energy that comes directly from the sun.  When solar energy hits the earth it spreads over the earth’s surface and provides warmth evenly.  If you could capture the sun’s rays into a particular area for a long period of time it would provide enough warmth for nighttime or on cloudy days.  Learning where to find solar energy can help you to get started today.  Solar energy does not cost anything because it comes from the sun.  The source that you choose may cost some but in the long run it should be your only expense, unlike gas or oil heaters that you continue to pay for monthly in order to have power or gas heat in your home. Solar power can provide heating, cooling and ventilation.

If you want to make your own solar power to capture the energy for heating its easy to do if you can find a solar collector, which is anything that attracts the heat from the sun in a concentrated amount, such as glass or clear plastic. Getting into your car that has sat out in the hot sun all day long can be extremely hot and you have to roll down your windows to cool it off inside.  That is because the glass has attracted the sun and the objects in your car, including your seats, have trapped the heat not allowing it to escape.  When you roll your windows down you are allowing the heat to escape causing your car to cool down. The same thing is true about greenhouses. The glass or clear plastic can attract the sun and not allow it to escape causing the greenhouse to maintain the heat for the plants to grow effectively.

In order to heat your home using solar energy, you need to know the information on a passive and an active home.  These two types of solar homes offer the homeowner options to choose from and your cost of heating may be down.  Solar energy does not only heat your home but it also heats your water and if you use solar energy lights it can light your home at night.

Passive homes do not use any equipment to heat the home.  Passive homes use windows that are made to allow the maximum amount of sunlight into your home.  The sunlight is controlled by keeping the doors closed in the hottest part of the day not allowing any heat to escape. At night thick curtains may be used on these windows so that the warmth stays inside during the night.  This allows the sun to naturally heat your home without any help.

Active homes do use equipment to help circulate the heat in the home.  Some of the equipment that may be used includes pumps, blowers and an alternative heating source in case the sunlight was not enough during the daytime.  In order to heat the home with sunlight these homes use special boxes on the outside that attract the sunrays to it.  They are made from a dark colored metal to help attract the sun more. The water or air that is carried in the pipes and ductwork is heated by this glass box that has captured the sunlight.  Then the heated water or air is then carried to the rest of the home.

In the long run, solar energy helps to heat the home naturally and without depending on a company to supply it for you. Solar energy can be found anywhere the sun is.

How do Solar Panels work?

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

How do solar panels work and what is solar power? You have heard the term, but you are unsure as to its meaning. You are vaguely aware that solar power has something to do with making energy from sunlight. But what is PV solar power? Is it different from other kinds of solar power?

PV solar power is different. Of the two main categories of solar power, active and passive, PV solar power is active. Let’s look at it.

How do solar panel work?

Active solar power relies on solar panels. You may picture them as flat, rectangular boxes on rooftops.

There are two main types of solar panels. From a distance, both look like rectangular boxes. Both convert sunlight into energy, but in two different ways. The terms for the two solar panel types are solar thermal collector and photovoltaic module.

1. Solar thermal collector: This solar panel takes in solar energy from the sun and uses it to heat air or water.

2. Photovoltaic module: This second type of solar panel collects solar energy and converts it to usable electricity.

What is PV solar power?

To answer the question, what is PV solar power, we must know what the PV is. PV refers to a photovoltaic module. “P” stands for photo and “V” for voltaic.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “photovoltaic” this way:

“of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.”

In simpler terms, “photo” refers to sunlight and “voltaic” refers to electrical energy. PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. Sunlight flows into the solar panel. Electrical energy flows out of the solar panel.

A PV solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic (light to volts) cells. These cells are electrically connected, and then covered with glass. The glass provides electrical insulation. It also protects from weather and other damaging forces.

When minimal energy is needed, such as powering a small appliance, a single PV solar panel is sufficient. When more power is needed, an “array” of solar panels needs to be created by connecting panels to one another. If the power will not be supplied to the power grid, the solar panel(s) is connected to a charge controller and battery. If it is intended for on-grid use, the solar panel array will be connected to an electrical inverter.

PV solar power is solar energy in the form of sunlight, which has been collected by a photovoltaic module, and converted into usable electricity.

Conventional silicon solar panels only convert about 14 to 17 percent of sunlight into usable electricity. Late in 2006, however, a new solar cell was introduced. Solar panels that utilize the new cell can convert 22 percent of the sunlight they collect into electricity. Theoretically, the maximum that the cells of a solar panel can convert is said to be around 26 to 27 percent of incoming sunlight.

In depth information on how do solar panels work

Each photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits those cells, a certain part of the sunlight is absorbed by these silicon cells. The cells take in part of the sunlight’s energy. The cells then transfer the absorbed energy to the electrons in the silicon. The electrons begin to flow, and this creates an electrical current. Metal contacts built into the top and bottom of the PV cells draw off that current and it is sent to the grid or battery. It is now usable electricity. If you have used an on-grid connection the power grid sends it on its way. If you are using a battery, it is stored in the battery.

PV solar power is being used increasingly and with great success. And while it is true that cloudy weather can affect the production of usable energy, the cloudy country of Germany is world leader in the successful use of solar panels.

Heating your Home with Clean Energy

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Heating your home with clean energy is easy. It doesn’t matter if you are building your home or renovating it, you can turn it into a solar energy home by making a few simple changes to your plan.  If the cost of electricity and gas become hard to manage you may want to consider heating your home with the power of the sun.  Solar energy is the heat that comes from the sun down to the earth.  When it reaches the earth it spreads evenly. If you desire heating your home with clean energy you need the sun’s heat to go to a concentrated area such like your home.  Below are the steps you need to take.

Heating your home with clean energy when building

If you are building your home you have several solutions to choose from regarding your heating source.  If you choose heating your home with clean energy from the sun you need to build your home facing in the direction that the sun rise’s.  This allows your home to get the most sunshine during the hottest part of the day. Buying solar powered glass windows allow the sun to come through and stay in the home without escaping back out.  After the sun goes down your home is kept warm by the sunlight that came into the home during the day.  You need to keep the door shut in order to keep the heat in. You also need to use insulated curtains so that the heat will not escape at night. Make sure you don’t allow too many windows on the side of the house that faces the evening sun as it may cause the home to cool down quickly.

Heating your home with clean energy when renovating

Renovating your home to use the sun as a natural heating source is fairly easy to do.  Although you can’t change the direction that your home is built in to face the morning sun you can still trap the sunlight that shines through and reduce the amount of time that you use any other source of heat.  You may want to consider building a sun room onto the side that catches the morning sun allowing it to heat up naturally and then install ceiling fans that will circulate the air into the parts of the house.  During the day this may provide enough heat to maintain the warmth in your home. When renovating your home, it will help to install solar power windows that are specially designed to attract the sunlight and allow it to come into the house but don’t allow the heat to escape.  This is a natural way to heat your home.

Heating your home with clean energy using sunlight is an excellent way to save money on your energy bill and it’s also  good for the environment.  It’s recommended to install a backup heating source in case the sunlight does not heat your home efficiently due to bad weather.  Your back up system can be used in conjunction with the solar energy, to still help cut down on the use of electricity or gas.

Free Electricity for Cooking

December 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Solar Power Tips

Free electricity for cooking? How would this work? Many people understand the concept of solar energy for heating a home. Fewer realize it can be used for cooking food and sterilizing water.

Cooking with free electricity

A solar oven is pretty much what it sounds like. It is used for cooking food and sterilizing water. Most people do not even know they exist, but they are an effective way to cook from both an economic and efficiency point of view.

The basic idea of solar cooking is to create a box-like structure that the sun heats up dramatically. If you have ever sat in a car in rush hour during the summer, you know that the sun can generate a lot of heat in a closed space. Instead of cooking you in your car in summer, luckily a solar oven focuses on food.

So, how do we cook with this free electricity? The box structure is created with dark panelling and then covered with a clear glass or plastic top after pots with food or water has been put inside the box. The structure is sealed. Much like a car, the sunlight beats through the clear top and heats the interior of the box. As the heat rises, it cooks the food inside. Yes, it produces more than enough heat to do the job. It really is as simple as that.

There are three general types of solar ovens. A solar box works as described in the previous paragraph. A panel oven uses reflective surfaces to focus the sun on a pot to create heat and cook the food inside. A parabolic version is designed to focus the sunlight into the bottom of a concave area upon which sits a pot. There are variations of these three forms, but all solar cooking designs are derived from these basic ideas.

While cooking with the sun using free electricity is a fun and efficient, most people will never apply it in their homes because of obvious design issues. At a cabin or when camping, however, it is a perfect solution.