Solar Panels For Your Home

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Solar Panels For Your Home

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About Me

My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.


What Is Solar Energy?

In order to precisely understand
what solar energy is we must first have a rudimentary understanding of energy itself. Energy is the measurable ability to exert force against something else in nature along a certain path.

It can be either stored (potential energy), or working (kinetic energy). Energy also comes in many different forms, such as chemical, electrical, gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear, heat, and light.

Solar energy, then, is the ability of the sun to exert force both within itself, and against everything else in the universe with mass. One example of this ability concerns the stored energy within the sun which is contained in hydrogen atoms. Because of the high temperatures, these atoms fuse to become helium atoms. As that happens over and over again the stored energy is converted to working energy, and that energy is then emitted from the sun in a variety of forms.

Since our interest is in how solar energy affects earth we can observe that we experience that radiant energy of the sun mostly in the forms of heat and light. And without realizing it, we experience that energy in almost unimaginable quantities. In fact, in 2002 the amount of energy that reached earth from the sun in a single hour was equal to the amount of energy all people of the earth consumed in an entire year.

An even more amazing comparison might be that the amount of the sun's energy reaching earth in one year is about twice as much energy as man has ever or will ever produce from all non-renewable energy sources, combined. This is why so many people are excited about the almost limitless potential of solar energy.

How Does It Work?

Within the scope of man's harnessing of solar energy, when that energy hits the earth it works in primarily one of two ways. That energy will either convert from one form to another form of energy, or it will transfer itself onto whatever on earth receives it.

The most important example of conversion so far is that of converting the sun's radiant energy into electricity. The most common example of solar energy transfer is in the form of heat. When the sun's rays touch something on earth, energy is transferred and that thing becomes warmer.

One thing to remember here is that no matter if the energy is converted or transferred, in both cases all of the energy is subject to the law of conservation of energy. That is, energy can neither be created nor destroyed.

Continued below....

What Is Solar Energy?

The reason we cannot currently take much fuller advantage of the solar energy all around us, especially in the generation of electricity, is that during the process of conversion most of the energy escapes into unintended forms of energy and is therefore lost for our purposes.

The focus on much of our technological advancement is therefore related to reducing the amount of energy lost during conversion, thus allowing for such things as the most efficient solar panels. Today, these remain monocrystalline solar panels.

What Is Solar Energy Used For?

Today solar energy is providing us with an ever-increasing number of uses. These are currently primarily related to the heating and cooling of air and water, along with the
generation of electricity for other uses.

For uses involving thermal transfer, radiant energy from the sun hits a chosen medium, such as water, and it causes those molecules to vibrate, thus causing heat. The energy within the heated water can then be used, for example either to heat a swimming pool or to generate steam for an engine.

For the generation of electricity directly, solar energy is converted by means of a photovoltaic system. In such a system, the sun's energy is directed toward a medium that behaves differently than (say) water. The medium most often used today is silicon.

Instead of vibrating to cause heat, as with water, when silicon encounters solar energy it conducts it directly as electricity. This electricity is either used immediately, or stored for later use. The more efficiently we can get the medium to conduct electricity, the more electricity we can have and use.

Advancements In Solar Energy Technology

Solar energy technology attempts to improve our ability to direct the transforming or transference of solar energy into energy for our use. Basically, we are looking to improve on the collection and storage of solar energy, and of course the idea is to do this for the lowest cost possible.

For the home user, the solar panel cost  is always of great interest. Some of the latest R&D and advancements have been made in such areas as solar paint, solar cell "back-contact" design, using fewer expensive semi-conductors to make up the solar cells while producing the same amount of energy, using "inverted metamorphic multijunction" solar cells, and finally, improvements to "microinverters", which convert the direct current that is produced in solar panels into more usable alternating current for our household needs.

Solar Panels For Your Home