Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shining Some Light on Solar Energy

by: Jim Fritz

Without a doubt, solar energy is the way of the future. Solar energy production is an extremely simple process to understand. A solar, or photovoltaic, cell collects energy from the Sun. A solar cell is a semiconductor device that is constructed using photovoltaic materials. It contains no liquids or chemicals, and no moving parts. Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity.
A solar panel generally consists of a series of individual cells, which are supported by a module that allows the cells to work in unison. The energy that is captured by the panel is stored in a battery. Solar panels generate direct current (DC) energy. Many solar energy systems have inverters in them which allow direct current (DC) electricity to be converted to alternating current (AC). Most consumer products such as appliances and electronics operate on AC current.
Unless you have a vast expanse of land to house an array of solar panels, it is unlikely that you will be able to power your entire home with solar energy. However, it is possible to power a single room in your house with a small array of panels fixed to the roof of your house. Multiply the wattage of each individual electrical device by the number of hours you expect to use them each day. That combined number will be your benchmark, or the bare minimum your system must be able to generate.
There are a number of options available to consumers that are considering converting to solar energy. A basic system that can be used to power a computer and a few other small items can be purchased for approximately $1000.00. Naturally, the price will increase with the production capacity of your system. In most regions, the price of an installed system will cost somewhere in the area of $10.00-$12.00 per watt.
Solar energy is one of a few truly renewable resources that can be used in energy and power generation. Every hour of every day, the Sun blankets our planet with enough energy to sustain our global energy needs for a year. As the technology behind photovoltaic energy advances, consumers will be unable to resist the urge to convert.
A lot of resources are being put into the development of solar energy technology. Most of the major oil and energy companies have entire divisions committed to solar energy. Researchers and engineers are spending countless hours trying to develop the technology today that will vastly improve conditions in the world tomorrow. It is no secret that we cannot continue down the path we are on. Fossil fuels are no longer a feasible option for energy production. The future is solar. The future is now.

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