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Solar energy is a viable and emerging source of alternative power in residences and commercial settings in the 21st Century. But, how does it benefit you, the homeowner, after the initial costs of installation?

Take a look at this guest post from alternative energy enthusiast  Mirza Hasik that gives you the lowdown on this viable, affordable, and innovative alternative energy technology which may be the best option for clean energy as our century rolls into the future …

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As energy bills rise for another year, many homeowners are looking for alternative energy to use in their homes. The energy sector is constantly changing and what might have been expensive in the past may now be more affordable. Solar energy is an incredibly viable option for homeowners, and more people are beginning to understand the full potential of this energy source.

With both environmental and financial climates becoming more unstable, alternative energy sources are likely to become an everyday fixture. Many homeowners love the idea of solar panels; however, they are often put off by the initial cost. Therefore, as the prices of installation become more affordable, more people are seriously considering having solar energy for their homes. With a greater understanding becoming available, more average people are looking to solar energy for the answers.

How solar energy works

Solar energy is created by using the light energy that is produced by the sun and converting it into the electricity which is used around the home. During the 20th century, the ability to harness this energy has improved a great deal. More people have begun to understand exactly how solar energy works, and a greater number of homes and businesses now have it installed.  As the innovative development and research continues, more options will become available for everyone.

The typical way of using the light energy is to collect the sunlight through solar panels and batteries. The solar panels are used to capture all of the light, before transforming it into energy which is stored in the batteries. Although a great deal of energy which is produced is stored in the batteries, there is also a huge amount that can be used real time.

How solar energy performs

The excess solar energy is stored to allow your home to continue being powered throughout the night.  The solar panels, which are fitted, are capable of running all of your electrical equipment, and in some areas, you may be able to sell the excess energy to the energy companies. Although it may be tempting to come off the grid completely, it is always advised to remain using both sources of energy. There will be times when you need to top up the energy supply, and remaining on the grid will allow you to do this.

Using a dual system of both the energy company’s supply and solar panels, the results are lower energy bills. You will be able to see the positive effects of the solar panels immediately. Once the solar panels are fitted in the ideal place, they take very little maintenance and will continue to supply your home for generations. Everyone might want to have solar panels fitted; however, they do need to be placed in the correct position.

Solar energy installation and guidelines

There are guidelines that should be followed ensuring that the homeowner is getting as much as possible from the solar panels. The vast majority of residential homes have solar panels fitted to the roof by a means of support brackets. If the panels are placed facing south, they will receive the most sunlight, ensuring that you receive the greatest potential from the panels. The tilt of the panels is also very important and will affect the amount of sunlight which is caught.

Solar panel installation

Photo: Linda N

Although the solar panels can be used on the ground or on poles, ground installed solar panels are not as effective, due to more instances of obscured sunlight exposure as the cells collect the sun’s rays. But, any use of renewable energy is better than nothing. If the budget is larger, you may want to consider having solar panels that adjust positioning depending on where the sun is shining. The panels must be fitted where there are no overhanging trees that can obscure them. The panels will also need a routine clean to ensure that debris, leaves and dirt has not been allowed to build up.

Solar energy and household usage

The greater number of solar panels that can be fitted will allow you to have more energy produced. Every square foot of solar panel will produce 10 watts of power for the home. However, you may not have the space to host several panels. Therefore, the larger the panel the greater the amount of energy supplied.

A typical household will use approximately 30 kilowatts of electricity every day; therefore, the size of the solar panels needs to be large to run an entire home. However, any savings that can be made on your energy bills are great.

Solar energy and your utility bills

The solar energy can help to reduce the overall cost of your energy bills; however, your habits will also help the situation.  Proper insulation, energy efficient light bulbs and appliances will also help to reduce the overall energy bill. A combination of solar panels and good habits will help to reduce the energy bills in your home.  Teaching the household to unplug appliances, turn off lights and using appliances to their full capacity are also great ways to cut down on the energy that is consumed.

Solar energy is the one of the cleanest and most efficient means of powering your home and once installed you will benefit from the lower bills. The increasing amount of energy that homeowners are using is having a huge positive impact on the environment. As the technology improves, you will find that you have greater options to ensure that you can do your part in ensuring the health of the environment, and your pocketbook.

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Thanks, Mirza!

Mirza Hasik is the editor of Alternative Energy Geek where he explains how different types of renewable energy sources work.

Cheers,

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.