Solar Energy – The Advantages and Disadvantages

Perhaps the greatest argument that could be leveled about having to use fossil and nuclear fuel is our dependence on it. Global warming, though a real serious threat, maybe something that we could only be very worried about.

Financial Considerations When Going Solar

Singly nothing much could be done about it as it will take serious political will if it is to be addressed effectively and for now, other countries are not cooperating. But the choice between traditional and alternative sources of energy, that is something most of us can choose to do.

First the advantages:

Solar energy is abundant and is free. We can count the sun to rise tomorrow and the day after that. Oil and natural gases, on the other hand, are non-renewable, once the source taps out, it is gone forever. Sure there are other areas that could still be tapped but sooner that could run out of oil as well.

Solar energy does not pollute the air. If ever, the heat coming from the sun cleans the environment and maintains the earth’s eco-balance. Not so with oil.

Oil, its derivatives and its byproducts are great pollutants. In fact, 22,000 pounds of carbon monoxide will need to be produced first for the oil to be processed and supply a home with electrical energy for a year.

Solar energy harnessing panels are silent operators. Except maybe for the mechanical contraptions that are built into the panels so it could track the sun, from the collection of the sun’s rays to its photovoltaic conversion, they give neither a peep nor a squeak.

It is a world of difference from the cacophony of giant drills and pumps that are used to extract oil from the ground.

The maintenance of the solar panels is very minimal. Except for the mechanical parts that are optional, almost no maintenance is needed.

Once it is installed nothing much will be the cause for worry. The energy that is derived is free. With oil, there is no telling what the next pump price would be and when.

Oil, being a commodity, heavily depend on its prices on market forces. Often with the right strategies, even market forces could be manipulated that could cause volatility in pricing.

The Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The cost. While solar energy is free, the cost of installation setbacks many households from installing it. Brand new solar energy generating systems are expensive.

Although it tends to pay off over time, initial cash-out could range into several thousands of dollars depending on the quality and volume of generated power a household or an establishment would require.

While solar energy technology has been around since the 1950’s it is only in recent years that its development was spurred.

While costs of the installation could also be subjective depending on the purchasing capacity of a customer, the benefits that could be derived out of it are enormous although mostly in unquantifiable terms.

For mass consumption, distribution lines are needed and this remains to be a big issue. Old antiquated distribution lines used to transfer electricity and other modes of fuel into the homes are clogged in many regions that to deliver solar energy power into the houses of consumers will require a different approach.

Be that as it may, the benefits from solar power far outweigh its disadvantages. It is an ideal source of energy that it may soon be the norm in power generation.

Solar Powered Cars for the Future

There is now a wide array of devices and structures powered by solar power. Solar-powered cars have also risen in prominence as people became more aware of the several benefits of the renewable resource.

You can save thousands of dollars in gas each month by choosing a solar-powered vehicle. You have to know the different available features and inclusions first. Here are some more details on how you can get the best type.

The Solar Vehicle

Solar Powered Cars for the Future

A solar vehicle is defined as an electric vehicle that is powered mainly by solar energy. The energy is acquired from solar panels on the surface or at the top of the vehicle.

PV or photovoltaic cells change the energy of the sun straight into electrical energy. Solar cars are not used as day-to-day transportation devices currently.

These are still used in engineering trials and demonstration practices, usually sponsored by private or government agencies.

Solar cars mix the technology in bicycle, aerospace, automotive and alternative energy industries. The design of the solar vehicle is limited by the energy amount placed in the car.

The majority of solar cars were made with the objective of solar car races. A few exceptions include solar-powered cars and utility vehicles.

Solar cars are usually fitted with gauges similar to conventional cars. The driver has to watch the gauges closely to see potential problems and keep the car running very smoothly.

Solar cars rely on PV cells to change sunlight into electricity. 51% of sunlight, in reality, enters the atmosphere of the earth.

Unlike solar thermal energy which transforms solar energy to heat for industrial or household reasons, PV cells can directly change sunlight into electricity.

The Solar Array

The solar array is made of hundreds of photovoltaic solar cells that transform sunlight into electricity. To build an array, the PV cells have to be packed together to form modules that are positioned together to create an array. The bigger arrays can create more than 2 kilowatts or 2.6 hp of power.

The solar array can be installed in various ways. Horizontal arrays can be installed in the form of a free canopy. Vertical arrays can be in the form of integrated sails or free standing to get the wind energy.

Adjustable solar arrays can be tilted around the travel axis to boost power when the sun is low and to the side. Integrated arrays cover the whole surface of the car with solar cells.

A remote array is done by mounting the solar array at a stationary region aside from the vehicle. The trailer array is done by retrofitting present vehicles with little stability.

Practical Use

The first commercial electro-solar hybrid car, called the Venturi Astrolab was introduced in 2006. Some companies in May 2007 also worked to change a Toyota Prius to utilize solar cells to create up to 240 watts of electrical power under the sun.

Golf carts are shown to have very practical uses if powered by solar energy. The Solartaxi was also recently introduced. This solar-powered car traveled around the globe, or 50000 km in just 18 months.

Solar Panels 101

Solar Panels 101

The solar panel is the most basic element of a solar power system. It primarily functions to gather sunlight during certain periods of the day to power different devices and structures.

Depending on the size, solar panels can power anything from RVs to huge plants. It is also important that you understand how the panels work and where you can apply these so that you can get the most benefits. Here are some more details and info about the material.

What are Solar Panels?

Solar energy starts with the sun. Solar panels are also known as photovoltaics and are primarily used to convert light from the sun.

These are made of energy particles called photons that are changed into electricity to power various electrical loads. Light from the sun is considered as a renewable energy resource that gives clean energy.

Solar panels can be used for different applications like remote power systems for cabins, remote sensing, telecommunications equipment and to produce electricity for commercial and residential panel systems.

The History

The development of solar energy began more than a century ago. During the early days, solar power was used mainly to produce steam for drive machinery.

Henri Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect that allowed the conversion of solar electric energy. Becquerel’s discovery triggered the invention of the first true solar cell by Charles Fritts in 1893, which was created by coating selenium sheets with a thin gold layer. The solar panel was then created afterward.

Russel Ohl is an American inventor who used to work for Bell Laboratories. He patented the first silicon solar cell in the world in 1941.

The first solar panel was produced by the same company in 1954 because of Ohl’s creation. The new solar panels were used first in space satellites. During the 1970s, more people saw the use of solar panels through the newly designed calculators that can run easily under light.

At present solar panels and full solar panel systems are used to power different applications and structures. Aside from calculators, solar panels are now used to give power to homes, commercial buildings and other huge structures.

Letting the Solar Panels Work

Solar panels can gather clean renewable energy in sunlight form that will be converted into electricity. The average home has adequate roof area to let solar panels gather enough sun to be converted into DC current or AC current. Solar panel arrays can be sized to meet big requirements.

The AC current can power loads in the house and other commercial buildings. It is important to consider the part of the house, as well as the right angle of the sun so that the solar panels can gather the most light over more hours of the day for optimum results.

You can choose to build your own solar panels or just order a pre-made one online. There are also a number of stores that offer solar panels, depending on the use you need.

You can hire some experts to help you determine the right part of the house or structure where you need it installed. You should also talk to other solar panel owners to help you maximize the benefits.

The Types of Solar Electric Systems

Solar electric systems have been created because of the rise of solar power as a reliable and cheap source of energy. There are now different techniques, methods, and systems that depend on solar power to run plants, houses, and offices effectively.

The Types of Solar Electric Systems

You should learn more about these systems to determine the best types that will provide you with the most benefits. You can choose to make your own or just purchase one from top manufacturers.

The Stand-Alone System

There are small stand-alone electric systems that are very good at giving economical electricity. These systems are mainly used to power RV, lighting, backup power systems, portable power systems, and cabins.

The size of the array of photovoltaics or the number of solar panels, as well as the battery, will rely on the individual power requirements.

The solar panels charge the battery during daylight periods and the battery will provide power to the inverter whenever required. The inverter transforms the 12-volt batteries DC power into 120 volt AC power.

This is the most useful kind of current for the majority of applications. The charge controller will terminate the charging once the battery reaches the full charge. The batteries will not gas out this way and battery longevity is enhanced.

Grid-Tie Solar System

The grid-tie solar system is very useful for homes that are already linked to the utility grid. The primary advantage of this kind of system is the cheap price of utility.

The system needs to be wired with an inverter that creates pure-sine-wave AC electricity, which is needed for linking to the utility grid. Another benefit of this electric system type is tax incentives. There are also rebates provided depending on the local agency and the state.

If you own a grid-tied system in California, you can make use of some programs that will minimize the total cost of the system. The majority of the system usually does not include the battery storage that lets power in once the utility does not work.

Grid-tie systems are installed using battery backup power to maintain critical loads even in the presence of a power failure.

The Full Stand-Alone

The complete or full stand-alone system is very useful for complete independence from electric utility companies and fossil fuels.

The benefit of the system is the capacity to provide power away from the utility, as well as creating a measure of self-independence.

The complete stand-alone home solar system will usually have a couple of inverters to supply the AC house current needed to power very big loads like air conditioners.

An available second inverter will help make sure that power is present if one of the inverters will need servicing.

Self-contained systems like these require an adequate battery keeping capacity to give electricity when solar power is not available because of prolonged adverse weather conditions.

The complete stand-alone system usually needs 20 solar panels for safe battery keeping and adequate charging. You may ask an expert to help you decide between systems so that you get the most out of your investment.

A Key Element In Solar Panels – Efficiency

A Key Element In Solar Panels - Efficiency

While solar energy is most often associated with the production of electricity, heating is also a major platform. While heating isn’t particularly difficult, efficiency in doing so is the key to saving wear and tear on your system.

A Key Element In Solar Panels – Efficiency

The sun produces a ton of energy, but solar panel systems have historically been very inefficient at converting it.

With improving technology, efficiency has improved to the point where most panel systems can easily produce enough energy to heat water for the home and pools. There are efficient and inefficient ways to go about this process.

To save wear and tear on your panels, you need to consider a flow control system. Older panel systems tend to take a long time to heat up fluid because water more or less randomly circulates through the system.

This is very inefficient because the panels are forced to heat up a much larger pool of water than you actually need. This results in wear and tear, not to mention lengthy waits for hot water.

A control flow system attacks the efficiency problem by reducing the amount of water that must be heated. Most are designed to work on temperature differential strategies. They work by using two sensors.

The first is located close to the panels being used to heat the water or liquid substitute. The second is located on or close to the liquid return valve into the panel system. Put in practical terms, one sensor measures the temperature of the liquid set to leave the panel while the other measures the temperature of liquid coming into the panel.

Flow systems work by waiting for the liquid to rise to a temperature determined by you. Once the liquid meets the temperature, the system turns on the circulation pump and moves the liquid to the desired location.

Once the return valve sensor notes the temperature of the returning water is within a particular range of the liquid in the panel system, the pump is shut off. This process allows for faster heating times, more efficiency and less wasted energy.

Solar solutions are coming to the front of the energy debate for many residential energy needs. Countries like Germany are making huge investments in solar platforms and technologies. Solar can be a cost-effective solution for you as well. Just keep in mind that flow systems are a must if you are pursuing solar water heating.

Tips To Help You Choose And Operate A Solar Energy System

You may not understand much in regard to the solar energy system. Most have little idea of what is possible, or how much it will cost. Educate yourself as soon as possible. Carry on reading this article for more information about solar energy.

How much power you generate is based on how many panels you have and how well those panels work. Therefore, it’s important that you calculate the number of solar panels you will need to power your home. It may make sense to buy a high-performance panel if that allows you to buy fewer of them.

To get the most from solar panels in your home or business, go for installations that use technology not directly reliant on the sun’s schedule. Contemporary panels do not rely on the sun on to stay effective. This ensures that you always have the power you need, even when it is nighttime or raining.

You must determine a storage plan for the energy generated by your solar power system. A battery can store this excess energy, or you could also sell the excess to a company that maintains a primary power grid.

When opting to lease a solar energy system, ensure that you can transfer the lease. If your home is sold, you will need to have this option handy. Transferring the lease give new homeowners a chance to use the solar energy while allowing you to break the contract.

You need a backup solution in case your solar panels are not functioning as they should. One good option is a generator, but you can still stay connected to the main power grid to get power whenever your panels are not working. If you opt for a generator, ensure that is properly working by doing maintenance at least once a month.

After you recoup your initial investment, you can save a lot of money using solar energy. Solar panels are expensive and long-term investment. Therefore, don’t invest in a solar energy system until you have settled down.

If you wish to get a solar power system, stay away from high-pressure salespeople. You need time to get all the information together in order to make a good choice. You might purchase the wrong items if you are pressured into it by a salesperson immediately.

You can make a solar system installation more affordable by looking into grants and rebates. Solar energy equipment can be an expensive investment but there are often rebates and other incentives from local, state or governmental agencies to help offset the initial cost.

Check into federal and state grants or rebates that reward renewable energy use. They can often make a huge difference. You may even be able to deduct some of your expenses on your taxes.

Many people don’t know how solar energy systems work. Now that you have read this article, you are better educated and what it is all about. You now know exactly how solar energy will benefit you. When you decide to move forward, remember everything you’ve read here.

Financial Considerations When Going Solar

Financial Considerations When Going Solar

There is no doubt that solar power is a smart way to reduce your carbon footprint. This will be an important decision though.

You need to make sure that solar energy is cost-effective for you. In this article, we will cover the basics of financial considerations when going solar.

You don’t have to go overboard when adding solar power set-ups. You can make small switches like putting in solar powered outside lights. These lights are connected to small solar panels that harvest power during the day and provide you with enough power to keep your home lit up during the night.

You will have to invest in a battery to store the energy you produce with your solar panels. A good battery can store a lot of energy for lengthy time periods.

Alternatively, you could sell your excess energy to your local utility. By staying connected to the power grid, you will be able to make use of the energy it provides in the unlikely event this becomes necessary.

The best solar systems have a way to reposition the panels depending on the season. In the event your panels are fixed in place, your energy production will vary with the seasons.

You need a backup solution in case your solar panels are not functioning as they should. Generators are okay, but being on the grid is even better. If you purchase a generator, be sure you regularly test it, and you may wish to have more than one unit.

There may be rebates or grants that can help you pay for your solar panel installation. Your solar energy system can cost quite a bit to get started with, but there is help available usually.

Many government departments will offer you money once your set-up is installed. They can bring down the cost considerably. There are many different incentives for changing over to green energy.

Do the math prior to making the decision to invest in solar panels. Where you’re located will determine whether or not it’s financially feasible. Always check to make sure that solar energy is a practical choice in your situation.

You could get a tax credit if you switch to solar power. You may receive upwards of thirty percent off the price of your system. Find out if you can get this where you live by looking on the Internet or speaking with a local representative.

Solar energy systems keep changing with time. They used to be very expensive but now are affordable. Regardless of your energy needs, you can find a good solar power system if you try.

You want to position your solar panels so they can get maximal sunlight. To figure out where to place your panels, you may need to keep an eye on the sun’s path each day and think about if this will change in a different season.

That is it, that is the basics of financial considerations when going solar, now you should now have a better idea of whether or not solar energy makes financial sense for you.

This is great in theory, but other energy sources may be better if you don’t get lots of sunlight. Everything you’ve learned should serve you well as you explore the costs and benefits of solar energy.

Essentials of a Solar Greenhouse

Essentials of a Solar Greenhouse

Plant breeding and plant production is a very productive hobby and livelihood. It is a good way to earn some living by producing high-value crops.

It is also a good way of contributing to the environment. The best way to sustain this endeavor is to get a solar greenhouse. Read on to learn the basics of the solar greenhouse.

What Is a Solar Greenhouse?

The very purpose of any greenhouse is to collect solar energy whenever the sun shining high. However, solar greenhouses serve a more specific purpose.

It is able to do more than collect solar energy. The solar greenhouse is able to store heat that can be used during nighttime, cloudy days or the cold season.

It provides adequate heat that the plants will need for their growth even during the night time or the cold seasons.

The good thing about solar greenhouses is that there are choices to choose from and to suit the needs of the owner.

They can stand alone. This is very ideal for big production greenhouses. The freestanding ones are ideal for commercial production. These are used to produce ornamentals or vegetables. They have two primary designs, the shed type, and the Quonset type.

The shed-type has a long axis running from the east to the west. It has a south-facing wall glazed to collect the maximum amount of energy from the sun.

The north-facing wall, on the other hand, is very much insulated to avoid heat loss. These features are what contrast a solar greenhouse from the ordinary ones.

The Quonset type can sometimes look like an underground pit. This is a low-cost greenhouse. It has a Quonset-shaped frame and looks like a tunnel. It has a layer or two of plastic film. This can save as much as 40% of the heating fuel.

They can also be merely attached to the greenhouses, very ideal for backyard use. The attached solar greenhouses are structures that form some sort of a room protruding from a house. This is a good space for transplants or herbs.

Passive or Active

The solar greenhouse is classified into two. It can be the passive solar greenhouse or the active. These two make use of different resources but still serve the same purpose.

The Passive Solar Greenhouse

In some places, where colder seasons tend to endure longer, there may be a need to resort to the passive solar greenhouse, using gas or electric heating system. This is the only way to protect the plants from getting too much cold.

This is very ideal for growers as it can still give way to so much productivity despite the conditions. The use of heating systems for greenhouses to be cost-effective is best utilized if there are high-value crops to be produced.

The Active Solar Greenhouse

The active solar greenhouse makes use of supplemental energy. It transfers the solar heated air from the storage area to the other parts of the greenhouse.

Designing a Solar Greenhouse

Most would claim that managing and maintaining an ordinary greenhouse does not differ much with the solar greenhouse. However, there are a number of ways that they differ. These are significant distinctions.

Solar greenhouses, unlike the ordinary ones, have oriented glazing to get the utmost solar heat, even during winter. Its materials are designed to minimize loss of heat.

It uses heat-storing materials. It also has insulation especially useful when there is no sunlight. The solar greenhouse also depends heavily on natural ventilation for cooling during summer.

Solar Heat Storage

This is one main feature in designing a solar greenhouse. To remain warm even during cool nights, there must be a sufficient amount of solar heat stored. One common method used to store this energy is to put rocks or concrete directly receiving the sunlight to absorb the heat.

Cinder block walls at the north side of a greenhouse are also used as good heat storage. Dark-colored ceramic floorings can also be used to store the heat.

Any wall or flooring not used for heat absorption is supposed to be colored light. This should be designed to reflect the heat and light and distribute it to the plants.

The management of a greenhouse can also determine the amount of heat stored. A greenhouse that is full of plants and structures can store heat easier compared to an empty one.

Composts can also complement the heat storage goal as they help produce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the microorganisms in the compost also contribute to the increase in plant production.

Some would rely on any structure that would resemble a greenhouse to accommodate the plants. However, to be efficient and cost-effective, aim for the optimum setting in your solar greenhouse.

Benefits of Green Energy Sources

Benefits of Green Energy Sources

For a very long time, we have relied on fossil fuels. It provides heat to our homes, gas for our cars and electricity. Since we are now using it more than ever, there is a consequence.

We are depleting our resources and slowly killing our planet. Fortunately, we can change our ways and then shift our attention to green energy sources.

But why green energy sources? Well because there are advantages to using them which we will never be able to get if we don’t change our ways.

This is also even if some will argue that the problem with green energy is that it is sometimes difficult to generate the power we need.

While that may be true, that is why there are other green energy sources available and we just to know which ones are viable given the geographic location.

The various green energy sources such as solar, wind, wave, hydropower and geothermal do not produce anything harmful which may have a negative effect on the environment. This is the exact opposite of what you get when you continue to operate coal or nuclear power plant.

The coal you have to remember releases carbon dioxide into the air. On its own, it may not cause that much damage but there are currently 50,000 coal plants around the world and that number is expected to grow.

Nuclear plants may not release anything harmful into the air. The issue is how we dispose of the spent rods and if another nuclear accident should occur.

We remember Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. We have probably learned better ways to prevent another incident from happening. Through the years, a few minor accidents have occurred and although the leak was contained, just imagine if it wasn’t?

Green energy sources may not be maintenance free but at least it does not require that much to maintain them compared to conventional means. In the end, we save money because such facilities don’t cost that much to operate.

The next advantage of using green energy sources is that we will never run out of them. For centuries, the sun’s rays have reached so has the wind which is blown from the sea. By using it, we decrease our dependence on oil which is a nonrenewable resource.

If you think about it, many of us have taken these green energy sources for granted. If we do the right thing now, future generations will not have to face the mess that we could have handled on our own years before.

In short, the power is in our hands. We have the technology and we know what to do with it. The only thing we need is to do is to put our money where our mouth is because, despite the number of conferences on global warming and climate change, little has happened.

It is easy to talk about how concerned we are about the environment but you have to ask yourself when will more solar panels or wind turbines will be erected? When will the number of coal or nuclear power plants be reduced?

Green energy sources are the solution to the environmental, political and social problems of this lifetime. By spending more on these technologies, no country will have to depend on another or even a corporation for their power needs because they are self-dependent and free.

An Overview of Biomass Energy

An Overview of Biomass Energy

As fuel prices skyrocket, personal financial situations and entire economies are threatened. Biomass energy has been offered up as a possible solution.

An Overview of Biomass Energy

Energy can be produced in a number of ways. We can burn fossil fuels, use the sun’s light for solar energy, use water for hydroelectric generators or even the heat of the Earth’s core in geothermal energy.

One often overlooked source of energy that belongs among all these others is biomass energy. Indeed, President Bush seems particularly keen on the subject.

Biomass is biological (natural) material that was once living, or still is living, that can be used to produce energy.

For example, lawn clippings, dead trees, unused crops, wood chips, and other wood byproducts are all biomass. Even household trash can be considered biomass, as can “landfill gas”, produced when garbage decomposes in landfills.

Biomass energy is produced when these materials are burned as fuel to produce energy. Some biomass materials are burned to produce steam, which is then used with generators to produce energy and heat.

Other biomass materials, such as landfill gas, ethanol (produced from corn and other leftover crops) and biodiesel (this fuel is made from leftover animal fats and vegetable oils) can be used to create biomass energy that can even power transportation vehicles.

While biomass energy should be used as frequently as possible, as the biomass fuels are readily available, this type of energy is often overlooked.

Biomass energy only accounts for about three percent of the energy used yearly in the United States. Some people feel that using biomass for energy is not safe for the environment, or that they do not want a “garbage” burning power plant in their area.

In fact, biomass energy is actually very safe for the environment – the only byproduct is carbon dioxide, which comes from the burning of any fuel. This greenhouse gas does have some harmful properties, but not near as many as the pollutants that are released with the burning of fossil fuels.

In order to see just what biomass energy can do for our world, society needs to become more open to the use of biomass as an energy source.

Using discarded and waste products can help to reduce the amount of trash going into our landfills, as well as cut down on our need to use fossil fuels.

This, in turn, will not only help the environment but also the world’s economy. Biomass energy is an underutilized energy source that needs to be fully researched and used in the years to come.