Solar Power 101

The Bedrock Basics of Solar Power

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Learn everything about solar power from an expert who is a master teacher. Watch him explain the most complex terms and concepts using easy to understand words and examples:

  • Easily understand technical terms that you MUST master to make the right decisions.
  • Learn to see through the sales talk to the truth that lies behind it.
  • Get the latest tips on how to build, design or choose your own systems.
  • What are the "numbers"... really. Is it worth it?
  • Are there safety issues with these devices?

The term "Solar Power"....

involves the principle of photovoltaic power (converting light into electricity) which was discovered in 1836 when it was found that sunlight striking some surfaces emits electrons. The sun's power is, strictly speaking, the radiant energy emitted by Earth's sun converted into power for home or commercial use. The technologies used provide electrical generation by means of heat engines or photovoltaics.

Photovoltaics are now a one-billion-dollar industry, and it's poised to grow. It is a safe and popular alternative source of energy and is the best renewable source of energy because it can be used in various forms. Solar power is one of the most efficient and affordable energy alternatives available today. There is no carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide or mercury released into the atmosphere as does many present forms of electrical generation. This power is even evident on cloudy days, because much of the sun's radiant energy can reach you even through the clouds.

Harvesting the sun's energy is more entrenched in European countries such as Spain and Germany, which have promoted its development with strong incentives called feed-in tariffs,which require electric utilities to buy sun-sourced electricity at a high, fixed price. Many governments now offer incentives to people that take steps to produce their own power. It is one of the simplest forms of renewable home power.

Solar powered calculators and garden lighting have led the way to an amazing array of products that are run by sun power, well made and are reasonably priced. Solar powered lights are quite common for garden lighting and some people are using it even for indoor lighting.

The sun can now heat our water and power our homes wherever we live on planet earth. The hot water heating systems are a combination of solar thermal collectors, a fluid system to pass the heat from the collector to the point of use, and a tank to store heat for later use. This free and available anywhere power is also widely used by owners of Recreational Vehicles (RV) and luxury boats.

There are a number of methods of harnessing energy from the light of the sun. The most widely used method of energy extraction and storage involves collecting energy by heat-absorbing assemblies or solar cells, then converting it to electricity.

Solar power is undoubtedly a viable energy source for your home because it has no recurring cost and a very low rather negligible maintenance cost. Modern systems can provide cost effective energy to solve two types of energy problems we face today:

  • provide power where there is no electricity supply.
  • allow each family to produce energy for their residence, and possibly feed energy back into your local grid.

There just a one time installation expense and the running cost is just zero because you need not pay anything for the sun's rays that are being harnessed. It can be a practical power source when using advanced photovoltaic equipment. Part of the systems is a battery which acts as an energy storage device. There is no electrical generation at night, of course, so the storage battery releases its stored up energy then.

I recommend that you make your own solar power system. There are many good sources of information around, the technology is not complicated and you will greatly reduce your costs by doing it yourself.

You have to be careful as you design your system. Sun generated electricity can be used to operate a gas clothes dryer, for example, because the electrical requirement is limited to the drum-motor and/ignitor-lighter, but not a HEAT element for drying the clothes. The heating element in an ordinary electric clothes dryer will suck your batteries dry in no time.

Be aware also that the heating element in a dishwasher will do the same thing so take this into consideration as you buy appliances for your sun-powered home!

Alternative energy can make the world a better place now and ensures that it stays better for the future.

More information on solar power is available.