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Solar Energy For Residential Use

Mar 26, 2008
There is a common myth that solar heating is the primary use for solar energy in the home but in actual fact it's not always useful for this. In the winter, when you use your heating, the sun is lower in the sky and there are less hours of daylight. At other times of the year when solar energy would be more effective you're less likely to need it. Solar heating can supplement the other heating in your home but not take over totally from it.

The Technology behind Solar Energy

A number of technologies have been developed to make use of solar radiation. Some of these make direct use of solar energy for lighting and heating etc., while others produce electricity. They are:

1. A solar thermal energy collection system generates electricity a system of tubes containing a fluid and mirrors.

2. Solar thermal collectors which produce heat.

3. Photovoltaic panels make D.C. current electricity from sunlight. For home use though, the electricity generated has to be converted to A.C. which makes it prohibitive. However, in a sunny country, you can produce enough power to run a 100W light bulb from a single square metre of solar panel.

4. Solar hot water panels which are commonly used in the home for water heating.

How Efficient are Solar Panels?

Solar panels produce very little power in shady or cloudy conditions so are most efficient in direct sunshine. Surprisingly, solar panels used in very hot climates are less efficient than those used in sunny but cold countries because it is light that makes electricity not heat.

Also, at varying times of the day, the amount of energy produced will be different depending upon the angle of the sun to the panel. On cloudy days horizontal panels are more efficient but normally more energy is produced when the panel is inclined. Pointing the panel directly at the sun produces the most energy.

The use of solar power tends to fall in and out of favor depending upon the potential savings when compared with other energy types. However, the equipment needed nowadays is 90% cheaper than it was thirty years ago and the technology has improved considerably. For example, homes with solar roof tiles can often produce more electricity than is needed. So overall costs are going down and consequently solar energy in the home is becoming more popular again.
About the Author
Before your buy be better informed regarding solar power energy. Find out about the disadvantages and advantages of solar energy and how good it is for products such as lighting and heat.
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