There’s a new building in your community. You’ve always wondered why there are no electrical wires of any sort connecting it to the power grid.
Your curiosity gets the better of you, and it comes to your knowledge that the owner uses solar panels to create electricity.
Then, it hits you. The world’s revolving, and you need to go with the flow. Companies like Tesla have been canvassing renewable energy from time immemorial, and gradually people are giving thought to it.
There are many sources of renewable energy, and for this article, we’ll be looking at the one gaining traction at the moment – solar energy.
If you’re thinking about the going solar process, you have to equip yourself with some basic solar power facts before making that investment decision.
Below, we’ll be looking at solar energy, how one can harness it, and the different advantages and disadvantages of this renewable energy source.
The journey of a mile begins with a step! Let’s step into the world of solar energy.
Solar Energy: An Overview
When you hear the word “solar,” you’re already thinking about the Sun. Well, you’re not far off. Solar energy means power from the Sun.
Here, this power translates into either thermal or electrical energy. Of all the renewable energy sources currently available, solar energy is the cleanest.
Using various solar energy technologies, we can create the power to serve multiple purposes, including; electricity generation, providing a light source, and water heating for commercial and domestic use.
All over the world today, the major equipment used to harness solar energy are known as “solar panels.”
Therefore, this takes us to the next subtopic, where we’ll be giving an in-depth analysis of how solar panels work step by step.
Harnessing Solar Energy: Methods to Employ
The Sun is a “truckload” of clean energy, and fortunately, the earth collects a massive percentage of it daily.
Since the energy from the Sun is unlimited, today’s technology can now harness solar power. After decades of research, harnessing the Sun’s energy is now made possible through the use of solar panels.
How Solar Panels Can Harness Solar Energy
Solar panels consist of different solar modules that constitute several solar cells. These solar cells are capable of catching sunlight and converting it to electricity.
How Does A Solar Panel System Work?
After the installation of a solar panel is complete, here’s how it works. First off, the panel on the roof absorbs sunlight. Now, the panels convert this energy into what’s known as “direct current” that goes into an inverter.
The inverter’s job is pretty straightforward; converting direct current to alternating current needed to power your home.
The question, “how do solar panels work at night?” is valid. But from previous evidence, we can see that solar energy systems provide comfort and simplicity, and as a result, solar panels are on “rest” modes during the night.
Here, an electric grid connection alongside net metering and battery storage allows your panel to rest at night, ensuring you have steady electricity round the clock.
Other Methods of Harnessing the Sun’s Energy
Although people consider solar panels as the way to go globally, other technologies can harness solar energy, including;
- Solar thermal collectors: Here, black material directly covers a surface on the receiving end of sunlight. Several tubes run through the collector. These collectors absorb radiation and, in turn, heats water present in the tubes.
- SHC technology: SHC (Solar, Heating, and Cooling) creates comfortable temperature levels in large commercial structures. Typically, they can fit into walls with space for air to go through. Here, the air (usually heated) goes through individual ducts connected to the building’s HVAC system.
Pros and Cons of Solar Energy
The Sun’s energy is limitless, and to date, we’re only capable of collecting a fraction of its touted energy source.
Despite facing specific criticisms bordering on it being a tad bit expensive, solar energy worldwide has proven beneficial.
Under this subtopic, we’ll take a peek at some solar energy advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Solar Energy
They’re heaps of pros associated with solar energy. Let’s look at a few;
Renewable Energy Source
Solar energy is placed in high regard because it’s renewable. We can harness it in all parts of the world daily. We can never run out of sunlight as it’s a constant, unlike other energy sources.
According to scientists, the Sun will last for up to 5 billion years, which means that we’ll not be lacking sunlight anytime soon.
Reduces Electricity Bills
With solar energy, the worry of high electric bills is practically non-existent since you’ll be using the energy created by your solar system.
It’s also pertinent to note that the amount that’ll you get to save on your bill is dependent on the size of your solar system and use of heat or electricity.
Solar energy is volatile, meaning that we can use it for a whole range of different purposes. In areas with epileptic power supply, solar energy can provide electricity and distill water in certain regions with little to no clean water supply.
With solar energy, you can integrate some of its components into building materials. These days, there are solar windows, solar roofs, and so on.
Low Maintenance Costs
Generally, solar systems do not require a workload of maintenance. If you have a solar system fitted at your house or business, all you need to do is keep them clean throughout the year.
With solar panel manufacturers offering warranties of up to 25+ years, there’s nothing to be worried about maintenance wise.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
Just like all other renewable energy sources, there are some drawbacks to solar energy, including;
The cost of setting a solar system is slightly on the high side. Typically, solar systems consist of batteries, panels, inverters, and some wiring. Adding all this up with installation doesn’t come cheap.
Since the solar energy industry is evolving every day, there are hopes that prices will go down in the nearest future.
Dependent on Weather
During rainy or cloudy days, even though panels can collect a tiny bit of solar energy, efficiency drops.
Since solar systems are dependent on the Sun, cloudy and rainy days can hurt energy consumption.
Takes a Lot of Space
If you’re looking for more electricity, you’ll need to sacrifice more space. Why? More solar panels are required, and with limited space on some roofs, making do with what you have can be cumbersome.
Alternatively, even though electricity production will be much lesser, using fewer panels on your roof eliminates that problem.
The world’s going green and looking for more renewable energy sources.
Are you looking to go solar? Well, the above facts and statements are sure to give you that informed decision on whether towing the solar energy path is the right fit for you or not.