Solar power takes the thermal energy supplied by the sun and harnesses it in different ways. We see plants and animals doing it, so why can’t humans get more out of solar power. It all depends on the right blend of technologies really. Here are five ways that solar power can reduce your energy bill and help reduce the use of fossil fuels.
1. Solar Photovoltaic Electricity
Solar photovoltaic panels use solar PV cells that harness the sun’s energy and turn that energy into electricity. The solar cells are connected into modules to gain more power. As electrons move across the cells, they generate an electric field. This raw energy is sent through a power inverter and transformed from DC power to AC power, the same power that you get from the standard electrical grid. The startup costs are still pretty high, but you can save lots of money over time.
2. Solar Water Heating
The demand for domestic hot water can’t be overstated, especially when you think about the number of times people shower, wash their hands, and do laundry. Heating water with solar power is a renewable and dependable way to reduce your bill. By using solar collectors, usually found on rooftops, you can harness the sun’s thermal energy. That raw heat is then stored in insulated tanks inside your home. According to the US Department of Energy 18 percent of your home’s energy usage is attributed to heating water. So finding a way to save water is paramount.
3. Passive Solar Design
Solar Power doesn’t have to involve a lot of technical equipment. If you have clear skies during the summer and winter months, then you can use passive solar design to reduce your energy bill. Passive solar design relies on the position of your home relative to the position of the sun. It utilizes large south-facing windows and absorbent wall and floor materials to retain the sun’s heat. This isn’t magic; it’s basic science. Through radiation, conductance and convection, the thermal energy of the sun is transmitted, stored and redirected around your house. A University of Strathclyde study found that low cost passive solar heating and cooling could reduce costs by up to 40 percent.
Did you know that you can cook your food without the use of electricity. A solar cooker is a device that collects thermal energy from the sun and holds that energy inside a cook pot. The UV rays slowly and efficiently cook your food. Yes, it’s a bit slower than turning on the gas stove, but you retain more nutrients and use less fossil fuel power. It saves you money in a variety of ways. You’re cooking outdoors, so you use less energy for air conditioning. You aren’t using the oven or stove top, so you also save on gas or electricity.
5. Solar Leasing
With a large enough photovoltaic system, you can even get money back from the electric company for providing energy to your community. It’s called solar leasing. If your system is tied into the electrical grid, then you can become an energy provider. States like California and New Jersey offer tax credits and outright payments that can not only reduce your energy bill, but generate an energy income for your home.Tags: featured