The sun is a powerful source of energy. In fact, the sunlight that shines on the Earth in just one hour could meet world energy demand for an entire year!
There are several major benefits to using solar electricity over fossil fuel generated power:
- Solar power is a clean and green form of energy. In other words, when you use it you are not pumping carbon dioxide or other pollutants into the atmosphere. When fossil fuels like oil or coal are burned to generate power greenhouse gasses are formed which thicken the atmosphere and create global warming. And global warming is bad news. So solar power is a planet-friendly source of energy.
- Using solar power to generate electricity for your home or office puts you in control of your own energy production.By being independent from the national grid you are no longer vulnerable to national power outages or price hikes.
Solar as an Energy Source:
We can use solar energy to generate electricity. The process is called photovoltaics. The photovoltaic material that makes up solar panels converts sunlight directly into electricity. When sunlight strikes the material, electrons are dislodged, creating an electrical current which can be captured and harnessed. The electricity generated by the photovoltaic solar panel is channeled through a solar regulator to a battery or bank of batteries, thus acting as a charger and storing the charge in the battery. The regulator is there to ensure that the battery is charged properly at the correct voltage and is not damaged in any way.
More complex systems provide electricity to pump water, power communications equipment or highway construction signs, and a myriad of other small, off-grid uses. Solar power can provide electricity for small and/or intermittent electricity needs that are cleaner and cheaper to operate than extending a power line or using fossil fuels.
Rural solar electrification in the developing world, away from the electric grid, can also provide much needed electricity to replace or reduce the use of kerosene lamps, diesel generators, and wood fires for lighting, refrigeration, communication, etc.
Another way of utilizing the power of the sun is to capture its radiant warmth. Solar thermal (heat) energy is often used for heating swimming pools, heating water used in homes, and space heating of buildings. We can also use solar heat to cook with.
If you are interested in getting hooked up to solar energy, check out the systems and packages available at the Global Warming Store