Today the advantages of solar power are making it an increasingly popular option for a DIY homeowner looking for alternative sources of energy to power their home. Here are a few solar power facts, including both advantages and disadvantages.
What is Solar Power?
Solar power is simply light that comes directly from the rays of the sun. This powerful energy radiates from the sun always and in every direction whether we try to harness it our not. The amount of energy touching the earth (image above) actually provides over eight thousand times the power each of us (all 7 billion) could ever use! And, there are hundreds of ways that this energy can be harnessed, including solar cells, solar heated water, heat storing building materials, light focus/condensing devices and solar furnaces.
Solar Power Advantages
Obviously, more and more people are choosing to embrace this energy source. The power is renewable, the reserves are in no danger of depletion and solar power does not cause pollution or harm to the environment.
The energy that comes from the sun is free and most of the materials used, including solar cells, are extremely durable, requiring little or no maintenance.
The versatility offered is another of the advantages of solar power, as various specificneeds can be addressed by solar power. Besides whole house adaptations, water heaters, storage sheds, security systems (above), indoor/outdoor lights and even orbiting satellites (if you happen to own one) can be individually powered by the sun.
Purchase and installation of whole house solar power is still out of most homeowner’s price range today. Prices are coming down, but it’s still quite spendy to integrate solar power into a home. Another disadvantage is that the sun is not always shining, and there’s no such thing as lunar power. New technology, however, is finding ways to overcome this problem, with storing methods that capture enough energy during the hours that the sunis shining to make sure you have power when it isn’t.
A Little Solar History:
Most people today think that advantages of solar power is a new concept, but facts show that solar power has been used for thousands of years.
In fact, ancient Greeks and Native Americans have been using solar energy for quite some time, dating back to about 400 BC. Very early records show that highly polished brass shields were used to focus beams of light to start fires.
Employing the benefits solar power had to offer became “high tech” when the first solar collector, called a Hot Box, was invented in 1767 (drawing above) by Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure. The first practical use was for (you guessed it) cooking food.
Through the years solar power development has continued, and we will rely on this power source even more heavily in the future. With all the advantages of solar power, it’s an attractive and green option that homeowners are starting to really consider.
Maybe you could start small (path lighting or security lights, perhaps) and keep adding to your system(s). Baby steps by your new carbon footprint!.
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