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The sun’s power has been used since the dawn of time. Here’s a few basics: growing plants, melting glacial ice, keeping people and animals warm, and giving light to see your way around. How about this high tech use from mother nature; put your face or bare arm in the sun and your skin will start to synthesize Vitamin D to help your immune system. That’s pretty wild!
People have learned to harness the sun in so many ways, many of which are quite simple. Take a greenhouse for example. Here we bring in the sun while keeping out the rest of the elements that we don’t want. This allows us to have fresh veggies and flowers out of the normal growing season. We also make special panels to absorb heat to preheat our hot water systems and to heat buildings.
Although the earth contains quite a bit of heat internally, the natural heat that we are mostly familiar with comes from the sun. Having a good solar exposure can help to heat your house. This includes having good windows to let the sun shine in and keep the heat in. If it’s hot outside but cold in your house, a whole house fan can suck in the warm air to heat your house at far less cost than turning on the furnace. As an added benefit, the whole house fan can cool your house in the evening when Mr. Sun does too good of a job heating it during the day. With a solar powered attic fan the sun can help cool your house during the day even while the sun is trying to heat it.
So let’s take a look at how to use solar power including the use of solar panels. There’s a lot we can do at a reasonable price and… I’m hoping those of you with your own special tips will share these with the rest of us.
1. The earth receives more energy from the sun in one hour than is used by the whole world in a year.
2. It would take about 0.3% of the world’s land area to supply all of our electricity needs using solar panels.
3. The first solar cell was made by Charles Fritts in the 1880s. The theoretical limit on efficiency for silicon based solar cells is 29%. Generally available solar cells are between 12% to 18%. Somehow, perhaps with solar concentrators, technology needs to get the efficiency over 40% to make them a preferred choice for electrical power.
4. PV solar panels are very reliable and last for 30 to 40 years. Some newer panels may last as long as 50 years.
5. Solar energy prices have decreased 4% per annum during the last 15 years.
6. Germany has nearly half of the world’s installed solar cell capacity.
7. In the United States, solar power constitutes only about 0.01% of generated electrical power.
This site is dedicated to all of us trying to figure out how to become part of the solar energy community without spending thousands of dollars to do it. This site is depending on solar enthusiasts to share economical and innovative ways to use solar power at home. I find solar power interesting to the point where I will examine as many aspects of solar power that I can find. I hope you enjoy this site and find it useful. Hoping to hear from you.
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