Why Go Solar?
- Solar is practical and economical
- Solar is available to everybody
- Costs for Photo-voltaics are dropping sharply
- Relatively easy to make your own basic collectors
Technology and the Sun
As we all know,heat produces unfathomable amounts of energy. But this energy must be aided by technology to be converted into useable heat or electricity. There are basically two types of solar technology..."passive" and "active". Classification between the two depends on how the heat from the sun is harnessed and channeled into ordinary things powered by electricity.
Active solar technology is the more expensive option of the two and uses solar (photovoltaic) panels combined with solar thermal collectors, and then channels it through mechanical or electrical equipment. Passive solar technology is generally just a technique to capture the suns rays. Passive technology includes skylights, insulated windows, dark brick for storing the heat, etc.
Electricity from the Sun
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. 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. Sme of the technological that concentrates solar energy into a concentrated amount of power are, the solar power tower, the parabolic dish and the solar trough.
Solar energy and the Homeowner
Basic solar collectors are relatively easy to make and can be used as additional heat sources for garages, storage sheds, water heaters and other areas or buildings where you do not want to waste money by heating in a conventional manner.
Before you go to the expense of a designing and installing solar heat as the primary source for your home, you should take the time to be sure you have done everything possible to make your home energy efficient. You will initially get a far better return on your money with insulation, better windows, and other energy conservation techniques.