What is solar power and how does it work? Consumers are frequently asking this question nowadays. With the cost of traditional utility sources on the rise, many more home and business owners are looking into green alternatives. Their goal is to reduce their monthly expenses while reducing their impact on the environment. While this is a growing trend, the idea of utilizing the sun’s free energy began many years ago. From the specialized equipment to how it all works, many are eager to educate themselves by understanding just what is solar power, how does it produce energy that they can put to use, and why should they consider such a concept.
The research and experimentation with this highly valuable idea began in the late 1800’s. With the worries of many that coal would become unavailable, developers began to find ways to work with the sun’s own light. Over time, the focus on the theory came and went with only about six residential properties utilizing such a system by the 1970’s. Ever since then, the need as well as the technology to make it happen has increased. Rising oil and gas costs, environmental concerns, and increased government involvement have all lent a hand in its progress and growth. It is growing in popularity, and is especially useful in more remote areas where energy sources are hard to come by.
First of all, what is solar power? This form of energy originates with the sun’s rays and the light they provide. The sunlight gives off renewable energy that can be converted into useful heat or electricity for use in homes, offices, and various means of transportation. The best part is this source of energy will never be depleted.
To create useable electricity from the sun’s rays takes the proper equipment and installation. Sunlight is converted into energy through one of two ways. Most commonly, it is done through the use of thermal panels that are strategically placed to maximize their exposure to the sun. These specialized panels are made up of cells that are produced to absorb the energy from above and immediately provide it for use. The second process of conversion involves a photovoltaic system. Once the rays are taken into the panels, it is then carried through an inverter that converts it into the useable AC format and voltage necessary for use. Storage components are essential for times that the sun is unavailable, such as during the nighttime hours, and in the case of overcast weather conditions.
What is solar power going to provide for users in the way of benefits and financial results that they may not have had prior to acquisition of this system? The advantages are extensive for both the owner and their surroundings. Not only is it a free and unlimited resource, there is absolutely no fuel utilized or pollution given off during electricity production. This is a huge benefit to the environment. The system is customizable, and can be created with the size and usage of each individual user in mind. In addition, adding such a system to a property can increase its overall value and encourage others to do the same.
Lower costs, increased government incentives, and always evolving technology are opening up the conversation as to what is solar power. Yet there is much more room for growth and education. While there are upfront costs to take on, the return on investment will be substantial.