Since ancient times the sun was considered as a source of energy: spiritual and other wise. It is so sad to find out that in fact only 10% of solar energy is actually used. Perhaps if we are more aware of its use and its capacity as a sustainable power then maybe we will be able to use and promote solar power.

The Beginning of All Things

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, solar energy actually is the source of numerous sustainable powers like radiation, waves and wind. Solar energy has many usage it can give us light, heat, promote cooling, it can be harnessed through technology to power many things like for machines cooking, distillation, hot water, and disinfection.

Technology and The Sun

As we all know heat produces unfathomable amounts of energy. This energy has to be aided by technology in order to be converted into something that is usable by mankind. There are two types of solar technology, the passive and or the active solar energy. A classification between the two depends on how the heat from the sun is harnessed and channeled into ordinary things powered by electricity.

Active Solar Technologies use solar (photovoltaic) panels, combined with solar thermal collectors, and then channeled thru mechanical or electrical equipment. Passive solar technology is merely a technique in order to capture the suns useful rays; for example a skylight.

Electricity From The Sun

We are all familiar with the term ìsolar panelî; solar panels convert the heat from the sun into actual electrical current with the use of what is called the photoelectric effect. Concentrated solar power produces insurmountable energy. In fact it was greatly utilized during the time of the Ancient Chinese Civilization.

To concentrate the power of the sun, a series of mirrors and lenses are used in order to focus the light in one area thereby producing a single beam. There are a lot of technological advances out there that concentrates solar energy in order to produce a concentrated amount of power they are: the solar power tower, the parabolic dish and the solar trough.

Dilemma, Solution, And Economics.

The primary concern of the use of solar energy as a sustainable power is that there is no sun during the night. Modern times require continuous supply that is why storing solar energy is a key component of solar technology. Thermal storage systems can store solar energy. Newer scientific discoveries also paved the way for thermal mass storage systems which vary storage capacity and function by storing more energy during off peak times and varying supply at peak consumption hours.

It usually takes a crisis for people to actually look at possibilities, and like with almost everything else solar energy began getting attention after the 1979 oil crisis and the 1973 oil embargo. In fact solar technology began its appearance in the 18 hundreds. IN the past solar energy as a sustainable power was a dream but cannot be realized due to expensive technology needed to use it.

Today, with the rising costs of electricity, the volatile oil prices, and its degenerating source have paved the way for solar energy once more. The consciousness environmental welfare has prompted companies to manufacture affordable solar technologies and sell it commercial. Indeed it is a fact that solar technology is expensive but it is only in the purchase of the machines needed in the long run if you calculate it, you are actually getting a bargain.

Thousands of people are beginning to invest in solar powered devices and panels because of its several known benefits. You can start helping the environment and maximize the potential of your energy source by using solar power instead. You have to know more about the available types and the features of each. You should know your source better so that you can get the best deals. Here are some more tips and tricks on how to begin.

It’s a Renewable Resource

Solar energy is considered a renewable resource. This means that reliability can be acquired day by day. You can expect to continue getting power and energy from the sun for several decades without having to recharge batteries or keep purchasing new parts. Even though the energy may not always be readily available during cloudy days or at night, the availability is still there everyday. The solar energy supply will be available as long as the sun is existing.

On the other side, oil is not considered as a renewable source of energy. Oil can take millions of years to form. At present, oil reserves are being depleted at a very fast rate compared to its time of development. People will have to prepare for the consequences of running out of this resource.

Helping the Environment

Solar energy is non-polluting. This means that you can save the ecosystem and keep greenhouse gases from forming. You can expect a cooler and cleaner surrounding by investing in solar powered devices. Compared to oil, oil burning will release carbon dioxide plus other greenhouse gases into the air. The process of getting oil can also lead to damaged or compromised ecosystems because of spills and dredging.

Cheap and Easy

People do not have to keep maintaining solar cells, because a panel can last about 30 years or more if well kept. Solar cells can also be made from very cheap materials. You can even construct the panels yourself. You can purchase ready-to-build solar cell panels over the internet. The materials will be delivered right to your doorstep in just a matter of days.

Even though solar panels and the relative accessories like solar lights are expensive to purchase at the beginning, the total sum you save in the years to come will be bigger, thereby boosting your savings instead of investing in a non-renewable energy source. The energy provided by the sun is readily available and free. Oil prices continue to increase every week. The materials and tools needed to acquire oil are also becoming expensive.

Easy Installation

You can expect to have your own solar panels in just a matter of hours or days. Allocate one day to construct and install your solar cell panels. There are so many books and online resources where you can learn more about solar energy and how to harness the power yielded to the maximum. Talk to other experts and find out about other benefits by adjusting your setup. The good thing about solar energy today is that more and more people are becoming experts in the field, thereby widening your options in getting information.

As the cost of living continues to rise, energy reports and broadcasts are crammed with energy saving tips and suggestions. Some energy saving tips require initial investments, some just solicit a change of lifestyle. The best energy saving tips are those that require almost nothing but changing a habit. This one is about the wise energy saving choices.

1.Limit, as much as possible, the use of water. Of course water is not that expensive (at least for now); but saving water saves energy. When cleaning the driveway, the deck or patio, using the broom instead of the hose would save several hundreds of gallons of water a year.

2.A push mower is a good idea to mow a small lawn. Aside from not using electricity or fuel to ride the mowing machine, it is also good exercise.

3.Rakes are good leaf movers. Like the push mower, you do not need energy to fuel up a machine to get the job done. There is also a sense of nostalgia in using this traditional tool.

4.Use compact fluorescent light bulbs to light up your driveway or as a security light. CFLs are one of the most handy and energy efficient products that you can have. If you are worried about bugs sticking to the light, there are yellow CFLs that are available.

5.When shopping, avoid going for the disposable ones. Disposable products need more landfills and landfills emit dangerous gasses. Go instead for items that could be used several times over. Again when shopping, go for products that are made of better quality. They might be a little more expensive but generally, quality products last longer.

6.Bring your own bags when shopping. Paper bags are made from trees; the environment can use more of them. Plastic bags on the contrary are oil based and are not biodegradable. If you bring your bag with you, you do not only help in saving energy, you could also get a discount from your store.

7.Batteries contain toxic materials. They produce heavy metal like zinc, zinc, arsenic, cadmium, mercury etc. Thus, disposal needs proper care. Once the heavy metal in batteries seeped into the ground it has a good chance of contaminating the ground. When buying products that would need batteries, pick those that are rechargeable. That way battery disposal is limited and you save on the cost of buying new batteries.

8.Good thing that SUV sales everywhere are going down (well, at least for the environment and not for car manufacturers). SUVs use much more energy than compact sedans for the same distance. While using SUV’s could be fun, there is also that tinge of indifference to the current energy issues and environmental problems we are facing. Reducing the use of SUVs on the street may not mean much in terms greenhouse gas emissions but is a signal to manufacturers to build more energy efficient vehicles.

9.The use of solar power is an excellent idea if you want to tackle the issues of energy conservation and environment protection. If there is one thing that the world needs most at this time, it is the widespread use of solar power.

10.Energy saving devices may cost a little extra but the pays offs are much more than the extra cost in terms longer life spans and energy saved.

There are now a wide array of devices and structures powered by solar power. Solar powered cars have also risen in prominence as people became more aware of the several benefits of the renewable resource. You can save thousands of dollars in gas each month by choosing a solar powered vehicle. You have to know the different available features and inclusions first. Here are some more details on how you can get the best type.

The Solar Vehicle

A solar vehicle is defined as an electric vehicle that is powered mainly by solar energy. The energy is acquired from solar panels on the surface or the top of the vehicle. PV or photovoltaic cells change the energy of the sun straight into electrical energy. Solar cars are not used as day-to-day transportation devices currently. These are still used in engineering trials and demonstration practices, usually sponsored by private or government agenices.

Solar cars mix the technology in bicycle, aerospace, automotive and alternative energy industries. The design of the solar vehicle is limited by the energy amount placed into the car. Majority of solar cars were made with the objective of solar car races. A few exceptions include solar-powered cars and utility vehicles. Solar cars are usually fitted with the gauges similar to conventional cars. The driver has to watch the gauges closely to see potential problems and keep the car running very smoothly.

Solar cars rely on PV cells to change sunlight into electricity. 51% of sunlight in reality enters the atmosphere of the earth. Unlike solar thermal energy which transforms soalr energy to heat for industrial or household reasons, PV cells can directly change sunlight into electricity.

The Solar Array

The solar array is made of hundreds of photovoltaic solar cells that transform sunlight into electricity. To build an array, the PV cells have to be packed together to form modules that are positioned together to create an array. The bigger arrays can create more than 2 kilowatts or 2.6 hp of power.

The solar array can be installed in various ways. Horizontal arrays can be installed in the form of a free canopy. Vertical arrays can be in the form of integrated sails or free standing to get the wind energy. Adjustable solar arrays can be tilted around the travel axis to boost power when the sun is low and to the side. Integrated arrays cover the whole surface of the car with solar cells. Remote array is done by mounting the solar array at a stationary region aside from the vehicle. The trailer array is done by retrofitting present vehicles with little stability.

Practical Use

The first commercial electro-solar hybrid car, called the Venturi Astrolab was introduced in 2006. Some companies in May 2007 also worked to change a Toyota Prius to utilize solar cells to create up to 240 watts of electrical power under the sun. Golf carts are shown to have very practical uses if powered by solar energy. The Solartaxi was also recently introduced. This solar powered car traveled around the globe, or 50000 km in just 18 months.

Saving energy and saving money should not be your sole responsibility as parents. Your kids must also learn to contribute in keeping the electric bills down. This way, your effort will not get wasted and at the same time, your kids will learn good values while growing up.

Because teaching your kids to be energy efficient requires some effort, here are easy to follow suggestions you can do:

Education

Teaching your kids the importance of saving energy should be your first goal. Take note that making them understand the value of being energy efficient is more effective than enumerating the ways to save energy and leaving it at that. Teach them how conserving energy helps the environment. Tell them stories or read educational books about the importance of energy.

Lead by example

You know very well that kids tend to follow what elders do. Practice what you preach. You may have listed and posted a litany of things-to-do to conserve energy but if you don’t follow them yourself, you cannot expect your kids to follow it too. Do not just tell them to turn the lights off before leaving their room; show them by always turning the lights off every time you leave a room in your house. Education and leading by example are a good combination if you want to make good habits stick.

Make it fun

Find educational materials where your kids will learn the value of conserving energy as well as the ways on how to save it. Computer software, educational websites, books and television shows that educate and entertain kids would really make a difference on how well they will respond. This is especially applicable to kids from 5 to 10 years old.

Get your kids involved

Family activities should not limit to eating, playing and entertainment. Chores can also be a good way to bond with your kids. Manually wash the car, water the plants, clean the table, wash the dishes, clean the house etc. These are some of the things you can do with your kids while conserving energy.

Teach your kids according to their age.

Kids of different ages have different attitude on things around them. If your 5-year son doesn’t know how to turn off the lights before leaving the room, all you need to do is to talk to him well about its importance and showing him that you practice what you teach.

Your 10-year old daughter may require different approach like showing her your electric bill and explaining to her that it will greatly help if she will change her bad habits. You are teaching your 5-year old good habits while you are teaching and emphasising your 10-year old good habits and responsibility.

Same thing applies to kids of different ages. The point is, make sure that you teach your kids proper ways to conserve energy using an approach suited to their ages.

*Energy saving tips for kids.

1-Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.

2-Always turn the lights off before leaving the room.

3-Turn the computer off after use.

4-Do not hold the refrigerator open.

5-Unplug unnecessary appliance.

6-Use natural light if possible.

Saving energy is not so hard if your kids are involved. And just like any family activities you do, energy conservation should be fun, educational and driven by good motivation.

Solar energy is described as power coming from sunlight. It is a very economical way of getting energy needed for different household tools and devices such as lighting, power tools, appliances and other gadgets. You can save more in the next few decades by investing in solar power. You have to know the different types of setups and the things you need to consider before you choose to purchase and install. Here are some proven tips.

Getting Electricity

Solar panels are primarily installed on a flat surface such as the roof of the house. This ensures that the panels get and absorb enough sunlight to power the different items inside the home. As soon as the solar panels are activated, these will absorb the rays of the sun. The panels are made of semi-conductors like silicone.

Electrons are then released from the atoms to produce electricity. The photovoltaic effect is achieved when light is converted into electricity. You can then have direct current electricity. When the power enters an inverter, you can get 120 volt AC conversion, the same electricity required to power the house. The connection will be to the utility panel so that appliances and lights will work the same way when the switch is turned on.

On Storage

If the house is not using a lot of electricity from the solar energy created, the excess energy can be stored in a battery. When the sun is out, during night time or in the case of a power shortage or outage, the battery can be used to power different items in the home. If the battery becomes full, the extra electricity will be exported to the utility grid if the system is linked to it. Once the solar energy runs out, electricity coming from the utility will take over. The flow of solar energy electricity is measured via a utility meter that spins forward and backward.

The meter will move backward if more energy is produced than needed and the meter will move forward when extra power is required from the utility company. The two are only even when additional energy is paid for from the utility company. The surplus will go straight back to net metering. The smaller version can power a water heater in the house. Homeowners can also get the same effect by simply converting sunlight into heat.

Environmental Friendliness

The good thing about solar energy installed for homes is that the system is very efficient and environmentally friendly. You can let your kids go to different areas of the house without having to worry about pollution and poisoning. Getting a system also means that you are saving the surroundings from stress and other pollutants in the years to come. You can get a cooler and cleaner environment by investing in a solar power system. You may choose to get a DIY kit or just have a professional install the system. Make sure that you properly position the panels to get the most sunlight and get maximum conversion.

Working from home brings a lot benefits. It saves you from commute and dressing up everyday, it gives you tine for that extra minutes of sleep and it lets you work from your most convenient hours. But working from home it may also increase your energy bills – unless you carefully choose your office equipment and do some energy saving measures.

Buy energy efficient office equipment ñ computers, fax machines, scanners, printers, monitors and multifunction devices (scanner, copier, fax). Some ENERGY STAR office equipment can save as much as 90% of the standard energy consumption.

Most ENERGY STAR office equipments consume 50% less energy than standard ones. Aside from energy saving advantage, some office equipments reduce electromagnetic field emissions (for monitors), air-conditioning loads, and noise from transformers and fans.

An ENERGY STAR computer is 70% more energy efficient than computers without this designation. When left inactive, this computer shifts into a low-power mode, which only uses 15 watts of power or less.

Some office equipments that do not have to be turned on all the time should be shut down and unplugged because they still draw power when turned off.

Unplugging unused electronic devices is not limited to office equipments; unplug your television, VCRs, stereos, microwave oven, electric stove and other appliances when not in use.

Do not leave other appliances turned on while working. Avoid leaving unused appliances on “standby” mode.

Turn off the computer monitor if you are going for a break. Manually turn off your computer if you are leaving for an hour or more. Avoid using screensavers because they consume the same amount of energy as with normal computer use. Activating the computer’s sleep mode is also a better way to save energy.

Do not believe that office equipment should always be turned on because it will last longer. Practicing this belief may only result to higher electric bill.

On your next upgrade, consider buying a laptop as a computer replacement as they consume less energy than desktop computers.

When the battery chargers are not in use or if the batteries are fully charged, unplug the charger immediately.

Set up your home office where you can utilize the natural light to minimize the use of lamps and room lights.

If you are working at night, prefer task lights that consume less energy instead of using room lights. Close the drapes and shades of the windows to keep cold air out and save energy on heating the room.

If you are alone in the house, make sure that you lock all the doors and windows before working.

Set the thermostat of your cooling or heating system to a comfortable level. A digital thermostat can provide better electricity savings. Work where you can reduce the use of heating or cooling system and lights. Prefer a small room as an office rather than the entire living area. Always maintain your air conditioning system clean.

Make energy saving improvements to your home. Home energy saving improvements like insulation, repairing of crack and holes (on the windows, walls, ceiling, floors, attic and basement) and switching to compact fluorescent bulbs can bring down your electric bills.

Not only that, if you are planning to sell your home, making your home energy efficient is a good strategy.

Solar energy actually has a lot of different uses and applications to your home and your work place, and it also offers a lot of different advantages. Since solar energy is now becoming more and more affordable, as compared before, it is now more sustainable to have it in your home and at your work place. Here are just some of the possible advantages of using solar energy.

Solar Hot Water Heater

One of the more common uses of solar energy is for solar hot water heaters. Most homes in America actually have a hot water heater, which is probably why it accounts for about a quarter of the total energy consumption of a typical American home. Unfortunately, the U.S. government actually spends a lot of money on paying off the energy consumed by these hot water heaters, about $13 billion every year, possibly making it the single biggest energy consumer in your home or work place.

Solar energy systems used on hot water heaters can actually help you save a considerable percentage on your utility bills, over 85% of the total electric water heating cost of your home. This is probably why a majority of the people who decided to invest in the solar hot water heating systems think that this is a wise decision indeed.

Solar Energy Power

Solar energy or electricity is actually derived from certain solar energy technology and photovoltaic solar technology that allows you to convert solar heat into reusable energy, allowing you to get power and electricity in your home and work place. At this day and age, there are actually over 200,000 homes that use solar energy technology, 10,000 of which are powered solely by solar energy. And with the introduction of different photovoltaic integrated products, and incorporating them into the construction of your home, or your work place, you can actually save a lot just from the initial cost of construction as compared to building a conventional custom house.

Solar Pool Heater

If your home, or work place, has a pool, then a solar pool heater is needed to keep that pool heated at a certain temperature. Solar energy is actually being used by over 300,000 pools in the U.S., and could dramatically lower your utility bill by a considerable amount.

Solar Energy Net Metering

Net metering is actually a means for people who use solar energy to power up their homes or work place to be able to sell back to the utility company whatever excess electricity that their home or work place is able to produce using solar energy technology, but is not able to use up. This means that you will be able to lower down the cost of your power and energy consumption, especially since you have another alternative source for getting your electricity.

Also, people will soon be able to choose where they want to get their electricity from. They could either get it from their conventional utility, or get their clean power from a source that is non-polluting, but is just a bit more expensive than your conventional utility.

Solar energy is fast becoming one of the more promising alternative forms of energy sources that is out in the energy industry today. The main reason for this is probably due to the fact that its main source of energy, which is the sun, is able to provide over 10,000 times more than the energy that our planet is able to produce. This helps show people that solar energy is one of the best alternative energy sources for the future. However, don’t simply take my word for it. Instead, check these different solar energy figures and statistics and see for yourself if whether solar energy is indeed everything that people are claiming it to be.

Is Solar Energy Systems Financially Viable?

One of the main things that people look at when it comes to alternative sources of energy is whether it is financially viable or not. Getting a solar energy system for your home or work place these days would actually help you save some money on the total cost of your utility bills annually. However, this particular benefit is not necessarily immediate, as there are some other costs that you need to consider. Nonetheless, using solar thermal systems would allow you to get back the total cost within 5 years of installation, and 15 years for photovoltaic panels, after which, you can then enjoy the benefits of cutting down the total cost for your energy consumption.

Does Solar Energy Reduce Cost Of Energy Consumption?

Studies have shown that using certain solar energy systems do reduce the total cost of energy consumption that your home or work place might incur. If done right, you can actually lower your annual utility bill by as much as 80%, which is very significant, especially if you are trying to find ways to save some money.

Also, there are certain programs that allow solar energy systems user to sell back energy or electricity that they were not able to consume to the utility provider, giving you more ways to save money.

Do Sunny Areas Have More Solar Energy Systems?

Although the ideal location to place these solar energy power plants to harness sunlight would be in locations that have an ideally hot climate, some places which does not have that hot of a climate are known to have more solar panels than those which have hot climates. Denmark and Holland, and most of the northern European country, claims that they have more solar panels than the United Kingdom, indicating that you don’t necessarily have to have a hot climate in order to enjoy the benefits of solar energy.

How Much Area Does Solar Power Plants Need?

Most, if not all, solar power plants require a certain stretch of land area in order to house all the solar panels that these power plants need to have in order to properly harness and collect sunlight and solar energy. Depending on the size of the power plant and the solar energy output needed, each solar power plant land area would vary, from 250,000 square meters of solar panels in the United Kingdom, to the 93 million square meters of solar panel in China.

With the increase in energy prices, it’s important to know that there are ways to lower your energy bill, maintain the overall comfort of your home and be energy efficient.

There is another big plus to being energy efficient: You help the environment. Using less energy means less air pollution from power plants that burn oil, coal or natural gas. Pollution from these sources can cause respiratory disease, smog and acid rain and contribute to global climate change.

Consumer Federation of America offers these tips on how to be environmentally friendly and save energy in your home.

* Clean or replace the air filters in your home’s heating and cooling system regularly. A dirty air filter can increase your energy costs and lead to equipment failure. It’s also good to have your systems checked once a year by a licensed professional. Regular maintenance can detect problems early.

* Use light bulbs and fixtures that have earned the Energy Star label – the government’s symbol for energy efficiency. Such lighting uses two-thirds less energy and can last up to 10 times longer.

* Install a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature to meet your comfort needs efficiently during different times of the day or week. A programmable thermostat can save you up to $100 a year when properly programmed and used.

* Seal air leaks in your home. Add new weather-stripping and caulking around windows and doors. Caulk and weatherproof all exterior openings for plumbing and electrical service, and look for other openings that need to be sealed, such as attic vents and ducts.

Effective air sealing, combined with the right amount of insulation, can save up to 10 percent on energy bills. And if you’re in the market for new windows, look for energy-efficient ones to help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

* When replacing older, inefficient appliances in your home, look for new ones that have earned the Energy Star label. They meet strict energy-efficiency criteria; use less energy; help prevent air pollution; and reduce energy costs in your home.