TOP USES FOR SOLAR ENERGY
What are some uses of solar energy? Let’s see the most common uses and benefits of sunlight.
A popular use of solar energy in recent years is solar energy. As more people are becoming aware of the benefits of solar energy, solar electricity is becoming increasingly accessible with the declining cost of solar panels, and it is growing fast. Going solar no longer means that you have to invest tens of thousands of dollars to cover your roof with solar panels.
A solar photovoltaic (PV) system is normally installed on the rooftops of homes or businesses. Other sometimes install the system on an adjacent structure such as a barn or mounted to the ground, and then connect it to the meter using underground cabling. These solar power systems generate electricity to balance the owner’s use and send any excess production to the electric grid.
So solar energy can power your entire home. The AC power provided by the solar panels feeds into your main electrical service panel, where it is used to power all the devices in your home, replacing utility company electricity. Your clean, renewable power source can power any building.
In most places, utility companies will now meter your home keeping track of the energy you are generating, giving you credit for that usage and even paying you back when the power grid is making use of the energy you generate.
You can install a large bank of batteries to go completely off grid, storing energy energy for use at night or on cloudy days or you can equip your system with a backup generator that works when there is no sunlight to power your home.
The average installation cost for a 5 kW system is $25,000 to $35,000. Rebates and subsidies can cut this cost by 50%. The average payback period necessary to get your investment back through energy cost savings is only 6 to 8 years. After that point, your household electricity is free.
Utility scale solar PV farms can generate enough electricity to power entire cities. An even more effective solar technology is concentrated solar power (CSP). A CSP solar farm uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate the sun’s energy towards a receiver. This generates heat that can power a turbine to create electricity. That thermal energy may be stored before powering a generator, which makes it a more flexible source of electricity than solar PV. In the Mojave Desert in California, the Ivanpah project is the world’s largest CSP solar farm with 390 megawatts (MW). In Morocco an even larger 580 MW CSP plant is under construction.
Powering radiant floors or pairing with a Forced Hot Air (FHA) system to heat a home are typical uses of solar space heating. By taking in mind the selection of materials used in a building and the placement of windows, passive solar home design can also heat homes and businesses in the winter.
You can add a solar blankets to swimming pools that will warm the water. The basic floating blanket is a passive heating device that absorbs the sun's heat and transmits it to the water.
Another option is to install a full-fledged solar water heating system. This uses solar heating panels that collect the sun's heat and transmits it to the water through a series of tubes looping through the panels. As the water is slowly circulated from the pool up through the solar heating panels and back to the pool, the water temperature in the pool is slowly increased.
Two types of solar systems can be used to replace traditional water heaters powered by gas or electricity. Active solar hot water systems use mechanical circulating pumps that circulate water from rooftop heat collection panels down into a storage tank. Passive hot water systems have no mechanical pump components, and operate by the simple physics of heat naturally rising.
Solar attic fans are a good option if you are not able to install a solar PV system that outweighs your home's entire electricity use. Solar attic fans can lessen the hardship of your HVAC by helping to cool your home during the summer. An innovative product is the Solatube solar attic fan.
Ventilation fans are a good idea because they reduce cooling costs by exhausting hot air from attic spaces and other areas. Traditional exhaust fans are wired into household electrical current, which in some way defeats the energy-saving purpose. However, now you can buy self-contained roof vent fans that have a small panel of photo-electric cells that operate their motor with no need for household electrical current. Small roof-mounted units are perfect for keeping a chicken coop, doghouse, shed or garage cool. There are also free-standing solar-powered fans you can use on a kids' play area or patio.
Solar ventilation technologies that can preheat a building’s air in cold climates, reducing energy costs, are industrial and commercial uses of solar process heat. There are also full-house heating systems that use hot air as the medium for moving warmth around the house. These systems gather the air that has been heated by the sun beating down on a roof or an exposed wall, and circulating it through the home.
Most systems have some form of a powered circulating fan to distribute warm air. These systems are mostly designed to heat only single rooms. This type of system is like a much more sophisticated version of the old-fashioned sunroom, which was kept warm by sunlight beating down through large windows and heating up a stone or ceramic tile floor.
Solar lights can be found everywhere from street lights, road signs, security lights and home landscaping. These solar lighting technologies for your home are not expensive and easy to find everywhere from your local hardware store to online shopping websites. Each of these has its own small solar cell and rechargeable storage battery and require no wiring connections at all. The solar panels charge the batteries during the day, and the charge is normally enough to keep the lights powered through the whole night.
An innovative use of indoor solar lighting is the Solatube skylight, adding natural light and reducing energy usage at the same time.
Our phones and tablets are frequently running low on battery. Portable solar PV chargers can keep our personal electric devices charged on the go. The technology already exists to integrate solar cells into our phones and has been in watches for more than 50 years. Researchers have even developed lightweight, water-resistant solar cells.
Solar-powered vehicles may be the future, with existing applications including buses, trains, airplanes, and race cars built by students in Australia and the U.S. Solar-powered cars are being made. This use of solar energy is not yet widely available, unless you own an electric car or vehicle and charge it with solar panels, which are usually with a solar-connected battery.
A solar battery can connect to your solar power system. A solar battery can also power an electric vehicle overnight, or provide backup power during emergencies. Some people choose to go completely off the grid with a solar power and generator system or a solar power and battery system.
Basically any device that operates on a battery can be charged with solar power through a photo-electric panel system. Photo-electric solar panels generate DC current, which is the same form used in most batteries. Most solar panel kits have connections that allow you to plug in cell phones, pad devices, and laptops for direct charging. These are not expensive. You can also plug in the chargers for other batteries by adding a simple inverter that converts DC current to 120-volt AC current.
Renewable energy is becoming a more familiar part of our lives, and new applications of solar energy technologies are being created that will improve our daily lives and help power a cleaner world. Many more uses of solar energy will be in our future.