Solar energy is created by harnessing the sun’s heat and light. Solar power may be used to heat your home and your water, to cook food, and to generate electricity.
HOW DO YOU HARNESS THE SUN'S ENERGY?
Various technologies are used to generate solar energy. Photovoltaics (PV) generate clean electricity using solar cells that capture the sun’s light by means of silicon wafers or other conductive material. Solar cells made from silicon are combined to form panels, which are often installed on rooftops of homes and businesses. Another technology is solar thermal, which captures the sun’s heat in several different ways.
HOW ABOUT THOSE FIELDS OF MIRRORS?
Fields of mirrors are “concentrating solar power systems” or “concentrating PV,” and they’re ubiquitous in some parts of the country. Fields of mirrors convert the sun’s heat to steam, to generate solar electricity on a large scale.
SHOULD I CONSIDER SOLAR PANELS FOR MY HOUSE?
The initial cost to install PV solar panels may be high, but if you plan to remain in your home for many years, the long-term savings on energy bills may make the investment in solar electricity worthwhile. Rapidly advancing technology and market competition are making solar panels more affordable for homeowners. You might also be eligible for tax credits. Research solar rebates and tax credits.
Most houses with PV solar panels remain connected to the electricity grid, eliminating worry about losing power during a string of cloudy days. On days when the solar system produces more electricity than is needed by the household, power can be sent back into the grid, providing a credit from your utility company. Your system could also be used to charge batteries for use as backup power source during an outage.
WHY THE BIG PUSH TO GO SOLAR?
Switching to solar power will do more than just lower your energy bills. This clean, renewable energy source is much kinder to the environment than electricity generated by fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Clean solar energy will help foster national security, and mitigate climate change and the many challenges to human health that are caused by burning fossil fuels.