Three Ways to Use Solar Power to Power Your Home and Business

Roof solar panel

Solar Power

Using Solar Power to produce electricity is a renewable and eco-friendly way to power your home or business. In addition to providing light, solar panels also harness heat from the sun to warm up buildings and homes in the winter and provide hot water for a variety of needs. Solar panels are not only good for your home, but they can also provide electricity for large power stations. Here are three ways that you can use solar panels to power your home and business.

The first way to estimate your solar power costs is to calculate your energy usage. A solar panel’s theoretical output is quoted in watts, but typically, installed systems achieve between 15 to 30% of that theoretical output. Thus, a 3 kilowatt-hour household system operating at a 15 capacity factor would generate 3,942 kWh of electricity per year, or about one-third of a typical U.S. household’s annual electricity consumption.

A material scientist specializes in studying the properties, structures, and chemistry of different types of materials. Solar power researchers are working to improve photovoltaic panels’ efficiency. Efficiency refers to how well solar panels convert light into electricity. While most solar cells today only harvest ten to fifteen percent of the energy they receive from the sun, some advanced types of solar panels can achieve as much as 30 percent. In addition to increasing efficiency, materials scientists are working to improve solar panels’ cost and design.

Concentrated solar power can be generated using a solar furnace. Although solar furnaces come in many forms, all of them share a basic method of capturing and converting sunlight. A solar power tower uses mirrors and heliostats that follow the sun’s path across the sky. The concentrated ray of light then reaches a focal point in a tower and generates electricity. These systems can also be used to produce energy for small devices.

Photovoltaic solar panels are composed of silicon like semiconductors. The photons that hit the solar cells knock electrons out of their atoms. These electrons flow through an electrical circuit. Multiple solar panels are often wired together to create a solar array, so the more panels you have, the more energy you can generate. A photovoltaic panel has two layers, a negative and positive one. The negative layer stores energy and the positive one absorbs light.

Using solar panels to generate electricity from the sun can help reduce the global temperature. The earth’s surface is very small, and it takes a large area to absorb a useful amount of solar energy. Because of this, the amount of sunlight reaching a square foot is so small, a large area is needed to harvest a significant amount of energy. Solar panels, on the other hand, need a lot of storage capacity to convert that energy into electricity.

Lucille Walker

Learn More →