What Is Solar Power?
As home energy rates rise each year, more and more homeowners are asking themselves the question, exactly what is solar power and is it feasible for me to use?
Solar power is an incredible source of power emanating from a practically inexhaustible source - the sun. Solar power is a form of energy derived from the sun and then converted into electricity or heat. It is a versatile and renewable source of energy that can work with a number of applications from cars to boats and houses to spacecraft. In addition, it is also that it is a clean and pollution free form of power.
Solar power has been used in traditional buildings for years and recently it has become a good alternative to the limited supply and high cost of fossil fuels. As a result there are many businesses and institutions that are looking for new ways to use solar power and make its use more practical and effective. Although many remote locations with limited access to a power source already use solar power.
So why, if solar power is such a good thing are we not taking advantage of it? The main reason is the resistance from the powers that be - there's very little incentive from the people making money from traditional fuel sources to invest in a technology that will more than likely cut their profits. On the bright side, however, more and more municipalities are taking it upon themselves to give tax credits to companies and individuals who take the initiative to find untraditional sources of energy - such as solar power.
How Does Solar Power Work
Using solar collectors energy from the sun is converted into solar power. These solar collectors, typically referred to as solar panels, consist of solar cells which are designed to capture energy that is released from the sun. There are different solar panels depending on what you are going to use them for, either heating air and liquid or to provide electricity. Solar panels need to be pointed towards the most direct source of sunlight in order to absorb the highest possible amount of solar energy.
There are two ways that the suns energy can be converted into solar power. The first is to use solar thermal applications which use the energy from the sun to provide direct heat for air or liquid use. You can use solar thermal panels for both residential and larger scale applications or needs.
The second method is to use solar power through photoelectric applications. These applications use photovoltaic cells to convert the suns energy into electricity. These cells are considered low maintenance and work well for remote applications. To convert the suns energy into electricity these applications use semiconductors similar to silicon.
You will need to consider some disadvantages before deciding if solar power is right for your home or business. First, depending on your needs there may be a large number of panels required to produce the necessary amount of heat or electricity which could cause a large financial investment. The second thing to consider is that there are parts of the world where there isn't a lot of sunlight which wouldn't work well for this type of power. Finally you cannot use solar power at night or during significant cloud cover.
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