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.

The advantages of solar energy continue to grow with more pros and experts learning more about the process and features. Of course, there are also a number of consequences especially for the person who does not study much about the devices. It is important that you weigh the potential of having your own setup. You should consider the things you need to power, your location, budget, etc. Here are some more details about the energy.

On Availability

The good thing about solar energy is that it can be used anytime or as long as the sun exists. You can get the power you need day in and day out. Solar power is a renewable resource which means that you do not have to pay any bill or keep replacing parts to get the results that you need. The disadvantage in terms of availability is that you cannot access the energy if there is no sunlight. You cannot rely on solar power at night or in places that tend to be very cloudy for several months. People living in tropical areas or desert regions can rely on solar panels. However, those who experience very long winter months may not get the best effects.

Things to Power

Nowadays, solar energy can power a variety of objects such as homes, offices, cars, small light fixtures, toys and calculators. You can now rely on the sun to help you minimize utility and electric bills. You can even see a number of vehicles now solely powered by the sun. The disadvantage to the approach is that the power may tend to fluctuate depending on the sunlight available. Some devices may not work as well if the acquired energy from the sun is insufficient. In some cases, power may totally fail if solar energy is limited or unavailable.

On Installation

Even though solar cell panels are readily available in most hardware stores and the internet, not everyone is still capable of installing the devices properly. The initial setup costs may be very expensive for some individuals. Women may especially find that tasks hard to do unless they rely on a professional to do all the work. Installation will depend on several factors and will need careful study, such as the angle of the sun, the position and area where you need to place the solar panels and the number of hours to complete the project.

On Purchasing

Purchasing solar power systems may be more expensive for first-time buyers. Those who have been used to the old system may have to spend more initially. Overall, the cost for maintenance begins to taper down because the sun is readily available and free. Some people, especially those coming from the third world countries may not have available solar cell panels ready for purchase. They may have to order online. The professionals needed to install and maintain the system may not also be available in some areas. The fees, if ever, might be more expensive. You have to compare the options first.

With the recent advances in technology in recent years, being able to produce viable and clean energy to be used to power your home is now a reality. Alternative sources of power and energy will not only help you avoid burning fossil fuel to help provide electricity for your home, but will also help you save a considerable amount of money on the cost of your utility. One of those alternative energy sources is solar energy.

There are actually a number of different solar energy systems that are available in the market today. Since solar energy has become more common and more viable in the recent years, developers have begun to develop different solar energy systems that you can choose from, depending on your needs and limitations. Choosing a solar energy system that would fit best for your home is not necessarily an easy thing to do, which is why it is important that you learn how to choose the best one in order to get the right type of solar energy system for your home. Here are a couple of hints.

Know Your Solar Energy System

Before anything else, the very first thing that you must do is you must make sure that you know what different solar energy systems there are that you can choose from. Basically, there are two different types of solar energy systems, and those are the photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal systems.

Photovoltaic Panels
Photovoltaic panels are solar energy panels that convert solar energy and turn them into electricity that you can use to power up most of your appliances and household lighting, and should only be used for those particular uses. Unfortunatley, among the solar energy systems that are in the market, photovoltaic panels are considered to be one of the more expensive ones, if not the most expensive in the solar energy market today.

Solar Thermal Systems

Solar thermal systems, on the other hand, simply generate heat, and are well-suited for boilers, furnaces and water heaters, as this type of system allows you to make heat using direct solar energy at a much lower cost as compared to using conventional energy and electricity. However, if you want to retrofit your home with one of these solar thermal systems, you need to sacrifice a little bit of space in your home. The good thing about using this type of solar energy system though is that you will save up to 80% of your total energy cost per year.

Calculate Your Energy Cost

Once you have a much better understanding and grasp of what solar energy systems are out there, and how they work, you simply need to learn how to calculate the cost of your energy consumption. This will actually help you determine which type of solar energy system you should choose from the two. When calculating the cost of your energy consumption, you need to create a list of all the things that might need energy and electricity. Include appliances, lighting, water heating, space heating, space cooling and air conditioning. If you can, try and figure out first if there are ways that you can reduce your electricity and energy consumption without having to resort to retrofitting your home with solar energy system.

At a time of record-high energy prices and increased attention to global warming, nearly everyone is looking for ways to save energy, save money on utility bills, and help to protect the environment.

Here are simple actions you can take this Earth Day, and all year round.

1. Look for products that have earned the Energy StarÆ for energy efficiency. Energy Star-qualified products prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency criteria. The Energy Star label comes on more than just appliances-look for the government-backed symbol on electronics, lighting, ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, room and central air conditioners, and many other products.

2. Replace your five most frequently used lights, or the bulbs in them, with energy-efficient, compact fluorescent models that have earned the Energy Star. This action alone will save you $60 a year.

3. Cool your home smartly-Get your cooling system ready for summer by cleaning or replacing air filters, and having a contractor do a preseason checkup in the spring. Proper maintenance keeps your system running at peak performance and can help you save energy dollars this summer.

4. Seal up your home-Adequate insulation and home sealing can help you save on cooling bills and improve your home’s overall comfort when it’s hot outside.

5. Share these tips with friends and family. Help spread the word that energy efficiency is good for our homes and the environment.

Most people don’t realise that the average household can be responsible for nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the average car. These simple steps will help you save energy and money, while also contributing to a better environment for your family and community.

Solar panels are now widely available all over the globe. You will find several homes, commercial buildings and vehicles relying mainly on solar panels to generate the electricity they need. Solar panels can also be made independently by the user. You can save more in costs by building your own system. You can also invest in a ready-made design for added ease and convenience. Here are some more tips and tricks on how to begin.

The Benefits

If you choose to use solar panels, you can produce electricity that can power various applications. Off-grid living means residing in a location where the main electric utility grid does not service your home or office. There are remote cabins and homes that can benefit from solar power systems. It is no longer needed to pay huge bills to install electric utility posts and cabling from the nearest grid access main point. A solar electric system is less expensive and can give you power for up to 30 years if you maintain it well.

Solar power is also a renewable source of energy, which means that it is very clean. Today, it is more important to invest in devices that do not damage the environment and atmosphere. Solar panels do not have any moving parts and will need only minimal maintenance. As soon as the system has paid for its initial installation costs, you can get the benefits for several decades more for free.

Buying Solar Panels

There are plenty of places where you can buy the best solar panel models. You can choose between brands such as Sharp, BP Solar and General Electric. You should visit some of the manufacturer web sites to determine the process and the ways how their solar panels are built. You should also read about the background of the company and what their objectives are in making these pieces. You should read more about installation to check if you want to install or build the panels yourself or hire a professional.

There are several web sites, online forums and internet stores where you can learn more about the available models and how these can best suit your location. Some panels are intended for individuals living in places that has minimal sun, while other designs are specifically made to gather the most sun over the shortest span of time.

About Price

Learn how to compare between types to know how much you need to pay for. The prices of the solar panels will vary depending on the brand and the size. There are also other factors to consider such as maintenance and if the package includes free installation. Some companies will ask for fees to install the panels, while other buyers may opt to install these themselves to save more. Talk to other people who have already tried certain makes and brands and let them give you the pros and cons of each. Ask for referrals and recommendations to ensure that you are only investing in the best places.