The world is looking for clean energy solutions, and solar has been one of those solutions since 1973 when the first solar home was created. The last decade has given us many advancements in photovoltaics, and using solar has become commonplace. Now, people can get creative with their solar energy use. It’s not just for the rooftop anymore.
10 Places to Put Solar Power
When you talk about solar power, you have to start with rooftops. Solar panels have been seen on rooftops for decades, but they were not efficient enough to power entire homes and were unsightly. Today’s solar cells not only look like normal roofing material, but they are more efficient. The best solar panels are running at 24.1% today, which is a far cry from the dismal 6% in the first solar cells. This means that they are producing more power, and they are much more worth the cost of installation.
There are two types of solar water heaters: direct and indirect. Solar water heaters collect solar energy. Direct systems pump water through the solar collectors. Indirect circulation systems, non-freezing liquid goes through the solar collector and warms water in a heat exchanger. There are many things to consider when opting for a solar water heater, and one is how much freezing weather you get. Talk to a professional about installation and make sure you make a choice you’ll be happy with.
The reason the electric bill goes up in the summer is that wonderful air conditioning unit, but this can be turned into a solar-powered convenience. Solar air conditioners can be freestanding with solar panels attached to the roof, and they can be integrated into central air systems as standalone solar units or units with backup grid power. It’s one way to keep the electric bill down when it gets hot.
Solar security cameras are awesome because you don’t have to hire an electrician to install new electrical boxes and wires. This makes them usable practically anywhere, and they don’t require much power, so they’ll continue to work through the night with rechargeable batteries.
Outdoor lighting is difficult to get out into distant gardens and fences, but solar lighting options allow you to put it anywhere without having to worry about burying lines in conduit. There are many attractive options for a complete landscape design.
Plug and Play Solar Panel
Believe it or not, you can buy a solar panel that plugs into your wall and feeds your electrical panel electricity. They typically run less than $1,000 and can be daisy chained to create more power. Talk to an electrician before plugging this into your home, and make sure it’s a smart choice. You may want to install roof panels instead.
Solar patio umbrellas create a nice glow above your patio table, which is a great element when entertaining because you don’t have to place alternative light sources on the table.
One of the great advancements in solar panels is in wearable technology. There is even a swim suit made from solar cells that powers a USB cord. Backpacks have been marketed as a simple way to keep your phone charged while you are away for the day. You can have a continuous source of power on your back.
Solar fountains are sort of like outdoor lighting and security cameras in that they are traditionally a pain to power. Now, a discrete solar panel can be installed among plant life to blend into the background and give your pump the power it needs to keep your fountain going.
It is no wonder that a lot of solar solutions occur outside, and bricks are no exception. These are patio bricks, and placing them in a pattern among regular bricks creates a beautiful design that won’t be noticed until it gets to be night, and they light up.
Solar is Spreading
As solar continues to increase in popularity, it is important from a responsibility and a convenience standpoint to consider it as a solution for power problems. Many people are successfully living “off-the-grid,” and many more rely on solar power whenever possible. This list does not begin to touch what people can do with solar, because it can work nearly anywhere. A quick internet search will reveal solar cars, boats, and airplanes. While these items are more extravagant, the local hobby farmer may use solar power to heat a chicken coop. The average person may want to get power for a radio.
It is convenient to use solar for installations that are away from the home, such as lights fountains, and security cameras. You don’t have to go to the trouble that hard wiring presents.
Lastly, solar is good for the Earth. It is a sustainable source of energy that doesn’t harm the environment.