Last Updated on July 6, 2022
Everyone knows that our sun-located 150 million kilometers away – is the primary source of renewable energy. Yes, that’s precisely where the world gets its sustainable energy. This energy is generally bright and beaming. In light of this, how long would it be before man came up with some new and creative ways of harnessing the sun’s power?
Hence, it’s essential to learn about how the sun’s energy is stored. Of course, there’s no doubt that the sun supplies the earth with adequate energy and an effective way to fuel life on earth. It’s also essential to learn just why solar power is superior to other forms of energy.
That’s precisely what we want to do in this post.
What, Really, is Solar Energy? How Do its Processes Work?
It’s essential to learn about how solar power works. First, the typical solar panel is designed with silicone photovoltaic or PV cells. When the sun’s light hits your panels, these solar PV cells generally absorb the sunlight rays. Thus, electricity is produced from a process known as the Photovoltaic effect.
This type of electricity (produced from the solar panels) is referred to as Direct Current (or DC) electricity. Generally, you cannot use this to perform your daily tasks at home or connect it to home appliances. Instead, depending on the system design, this type of electricity is usually directed either to the central or the micro inverter.
Regardless, your inverter is designed in such a way that it can convert the DC type of electricity into Alternating Current (or AC electricity). AC is what people use with their home appliances. After it’s ready, the AC is usually directed to the switchboard.
The switchboard enables your usable Alternating Current electricity to be channeled to the home appliances. The switchboard is designed to ensure solar energy is consumed for home use first before additional energy is derived from the general power grid. Of course, this happens only when solar energy production is inadequate.
As a rule, all households that use solar energy are required to fit a bi-directional or utility meter. The electricity retailer can install this. A bi-directional meter can record the amount of power that comes to the house. It can also record the quantity of solar energy exported back to the general grid. This process is known as net-metering.
In case there is unused electricity, it’s usually sent back to the general grid. Notably, whenever you export solar energy back to the grid, you are always awarded a credit reflected on the electricity bill. This is known as a feed-in tariff( or FiT). At this point, your electricity bill will include the electricity purchased from the grid. It also takes into account all credits for unused electricity generated by the solar system.
When you use solar power, you won’t need to switch it on every morning or off at night. Why? The system does this automatically and seamlessly. Moreover, you never need to switch between the solar system and the grid manually. This is because the solar system automatically determines when to do this by calculating the home’s amount of energy consumed.
You will quickly discover that since a solar system does not have moving parts, it requires little maintenance. After using it for some time, you may not even notice that the system is in place! If you purchase a high-quality solar system, you can expect to use it for a long time. Note also that solar panels do not produce any noise; unlike inverters, they operate silently and can be used in any environment.
On its part, the solar inverter (which is usually installed in the garage or some other accessible spot) can offer crucial information. This can include the quantity of electricity produced at a given moment. It also provides information on how much electricity the system generates in a day. It also calculates how much electricity has been produced since the system was first installed.
Yes, if you purchase a high-quality inverter, you’ll get wireless connectivity and sophisticated online monitoring.
Identifying Different Types of Solar Power
Solar power is generally classified into three different types: commercial, residential, and utility-scale.
Let’s examine these a little further.
These solar plants usually supply the power grid with massive amounts of electricity. In fact, they can produce several megawatts to run gas-fired and medium-sized coal plants. Interestingly, experts expect that most solar power plants will generate hundreds of megawatts of power in the future.
These provide power to solar panel installation businesses on vacant land, parking structures, or rooftops. At the same time, it supplies energy to supplements generated by solar power. Whenever a building’s power consumption is exceeded, the extra energy is sold back to the local utility.
This is derived from rooftop solar systems that produce power used in individual homes. Usually, most homeowners generally prefer to supplement solar power output with traditional electricity to meet night time energy needs. This works well on cloudy days. As material costs increasingly become cheaper, this type of power is steadily gaining in popularity.
The good news is that apart from generating energy for individual homes, various types of solar systems can be used for multiple purposes. Some may even be used in RV homes or Food Trucks. The choice is yours.
Benefits of Using Solar Energy
Without exaggerating, there are many benefits to using solar energy.
Think about the following:
It can be costly setting up a solar panel. Happily, the costs are steadily going down. Eventually, using solar energy is cost-saving. It can reduce your electricity bill considerably. Yes, there’ll be no more gas bills as well; and no more bills for the fridge, stove, or the AC!
Safe for Indoor Use
Solar power is generally safer to use than gas-powered energy. It reduces fire risks when using the boat generator, lodge, or backup power.
You can enjoy quiet operation using solar energy. Moreover, as noted, it’s relatively cheaper to operate. Also, solar power batteries and generators aren’t noisy compared to the gas-powered type. You can use it at home, for RV, camping, or other noise-sensitive settings.
Do you love hiking overnight? You can buy portable solar panels or solar power banks. Yes, you can carry electricity wherever you go! Indeed, some solar panels may be compacted into tiny and lightweight items that you can easily tuck into a backpack. You can have a solar panel in the RV or reorganize your landscape with pathway lights or solar-powered lanterns.
Safely Used Outdoors
If you want to heat your pool, maintain the fountain’s pumping water or light your tent at bedtime, go for solar-powered equipment. They’re conveniently designed for outdoor use. They can withstand heavy snowfall, heaps of rain or snowfall, and intense winds.
Less Costly /Easy to Maintain
Most solar panels can last for 25 years. They are easily maintained.
Easy to Install
Solar panels are easily installed. Just take care to rig the power into your home or the RV safely. If you’re unsure, hire a contractor to help.
Disadvantages of Using Solar Energy
Just like other energy sources, there are some disadvantages to using solar power. Consider the following drawbacks:
Solar equipment is designed to rely on mineral extraction and chemicals in its manufacturing process. Thus, the resultant products aren’t eco-friendly. When purchasing such equipment, keep the environmental impact factor into consideration.
The initial price tag for a home solar-powered system is usually high. The 100-watt solar equipment alone costs a minimum of $100 to several hundred. This is the cost of the basic kit (panels, inverters, batteries). To reduce costs, you can opt to lease a solar panel.
You need the sun’s exposure to keep solar equipment running, yes- it relies on ideal weather conditions. To remedy this, you can use multiple amorphous systems in low-light places. However, you cannot do much to fix consistent bad weather or long winters.
Most solar equipment consumes large amounts of space. For instance, if you regularly heat your pool, you’ll need large, powerful equipment. Such equipment is expensive to store. Some solar devices are designed with a small built-in battery. Others don’t have this- you, therefore, have to get huge batteries or generators for power storage. More space is needed to store more energy. Overall, this leads to added costs.
Factors That Make Solar Energy Green
The use of solar power generally comes with less pollution compared to the so-called “dirty power.” This is true both for the production and consumption processes. Yes, solar energy is green, eco-friendly, and clean.
All this means that if we use solar energy, we’ll be moving a step towards saving the beautiful planet earth. It’s definitely wise to expand on using solar power while limiting reliance on fossil fuels. In this way, we’ll significantly limit harmful carbon emissions.
Why is solar energy green? Unlike fossil fuels, sunlight isn’t extracted from the land. Thus, it’s more environment-friendly; yes, the use of solar energy means the environmental cost is significantly reduced.
Millions of people love using solar energy. Essentially, these people access usable electricity to power home appliances and run other services. You can reduce reliance on the general grid power (and possibly turn back the meter), thus saving yourself from paying extra bills.
With the emergence of new technology, there are increased environmental impact benefits using this green, renewable energy. Yes, solar energy is clean power that operates quietly, conveniently, and is easily installed for indoor or outdoor use—no wonder the benefits of using solar energy are virtually endless.
- What, Really, is Solar Energy? How Do its Processes Work?
- Identifying Different Types of Solar Power
- Benefits of Using Solar Energy
- Disadvantages of Using Solar Energy
- Factors That Make Solar Energy Green
- Final Thoughts