Defining solar energy and learning how we get it
We see solar energy everywhere – this is actually the energy we get from the sun. The light we get from the sun is actually electro magnetic waves (and because of this, it is often also referred to as radiant energy) that are first captured by solar energy systems and then converted into a format that is useful to us. Electricity generated in this manner is being in recent times used in many homes and it has become very popular. Yes, as an alternative source, it seems that solar energy has become increasingly popular and this is very economical as well, which is another reason for its popularity. To enable a home to use this energy, a lot of devices are used and they are photovoltaic cells, solar chimney, solar water heaters and others. But we must remember that out of the rays that come into the earth, the most (70%) gets absorbed by the water bodies, landmasses and the clouds, and the remaining (30%) gets reflected back to space. We are able to just capture a small portion of this and then we can use them in many forms like mechanical power, chemical power and electrical power.
Understanding the way solar energy work at homes
The main source of energy is the solar radiation or the energy from the sun that we get. And it is this energy that is being used today in many areas of our lives. But of all of them, the energy is being used mainly for domestic purposes, and in this, we have to depend on solar power technologies because this is what makes this possible. But you should know that solar power technologies can also be of two types and they are active solar technology and passive solar energy technology – this differentiation is being made on the basis of their functioning. In homes, solar power technologies work in three distinct phases and they involve the first step of capturing the sunlight, then converting it into a usable format and then doing the all necessary work of distributing it to the destination. While both the modes (that is active and passive) is used for homes, it is the active solar technology that is more in use for residential purposes and in this, pumps, photovoltaic panels, active solar lighting and others are used. One example of passive solar power technology is the daylighting system that is particularly helpful for lighting up the interiors of a home. However do take note of the fact that this system is both an active technology and a passive one. How does this work – it can effectively reduce the need for air-conditioning and artificial lighting and thus reduce the need for non-solar energy consumption. And this of course cuts down on the energy bills. But for daylighting to work efficiently, it is important that the windows, skylights, sawtooth roofs, light shelves and others are properly designed. And when this is the case, the non-solar lighting needs of yours can be reduced by as much as 25%. Another way in which daylighting can work for you is by using hybrid solar lighting or HSL. In this, to track the sunlight and channelize it properly to the interiors of the home, optical fibers and mirrors are used. You will be able to use almost 50% of the sunlight if you do this in a home that is single storied.
You will find solar water heaters as another popular application of solar energy for homes, but they are also of two types and they are the evacuated tube collector and the glazed flat plate collector. These heaters, as the name suggests, are used to heat up water. The evacuated tube collector is the type of heater that is used for the home. Solar power technologies also are used popularly in another way and that is in the solar cooker – this is very popular too. These cookers too work on the same principle – that is, they concentrate the rays of the sun to generate steam for cooking. However these cookers work in different ways and based on this, we can say that there are three kinds of cookers – panel cookers, box cookers and reflector cookers. In the panel cooker, there is a reflective panel that is used to direct the rays of the sun to an insulated container. The box cooker on the other hand is the simplest one of the lot and it contains an insulated container and a transparent lid wherein the temperature reaches around 90 degree centigrade to 150 degree centigrade. In the reflector cooker there are many shaped mirrors that heat up the container by reflecting the rays of the sun. This cooker too can take the temperature very high – as much as 300 to 315 centigrade. But the fact remains that all these three cookers need to be dislodged to track the sun’s rays and they also need to be exposed to sunlight directly, because otherwise they might not work.
Solar energy for homes – pluses and minuses
The main reason that makes solar energy stand out is the fact that it is completely clean. And it is hugely inexpensive too. Just go ahead and install the system, and the operating expenses are almost nothing – it will operate for as long as 25 to 30 years as well. To fully benefit, go for a bigger system using which you can also operate washing machines and air conditioners. These units can even back up power for a cloudy day. However there are those who mistrust their skillfulness and this seems to be only negative. But with mass awareness that these systems indeed work well, this will surely go away. And above everything, when you opt for this, you also contribute to clean up the environment.
You can now easily install a home solar power system and for this, all you need is some simple information that you can get from a manual. Remember, there are many financial as well as ecological benefits. The manual will tell you where you should put it up, how to complete the installation and the wiring, where from you can get cheap parts and free batteries, and also the safety precautions. With this information, you are all ready to gain from your home solar power system.
Jim Martin is a researcher, inventor, home energy consultant and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, “Earth 4 Electricity- Renewable Energy Made Easy”. Jim has written dozens of home energy related articles and has been featured in ezines and print magazines, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide.
To Learn More about Jim Martin´s Unique Step By Step Solar and Wind Power System Visit: Solar Power
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