Solar Power for the Home
by: Pete Phelps
Environmental concerns and the rising cost of electricity are making many people wonder how they can save money using solar power for the home. Solar energy has long been touted as being a sound choice for the environment, but until recently most of us balked at the high price tag attached to solar energy systems. Thanks to the kits and instructions now available, solar power for the home no longer requires a large up front investment.
The cost of building your own system in order to create solar power for the home takes a little bit of pre-planning in order to save both time and money as well as avoid some common headaches. Before beginning your project, you will need to perform a home energy audit. If you have never done this before, you may be surprised by the results. A home energy audit will assess how much energy your home consumes. This will help you decide the proper size system you will need to generate solar power for the home.
To perform an energy audit you can call a professional auditor or do it yourself. You will need to locate any air leaks around the home, analyze which appliances you use most often and how much energy they use, and understand how much lighting you use in your home. It is vital to understand your energy use if you are planning to solely use solar power for the home in order to have the proper size system in place.
Building a Solar Power System
Once you have decided on the size of your system, you can build your own panels to turn solar power for the home into a reality. It only takes a few skills that most of us already possess or can quickly and easily learn to build a solar panel yourself. Other than the solar cell which will convert the sun's light into energy, everything else used in their construction can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.
Yet, is it really possible to use the sun and solar power for the home to replace high cost electricity from the power company? The answer is yes. A stand alone solar system will replace all electricity costs that you would otherwise pay to the utility company. A solar system provides both AC and DC electricity which can be stored in special batteries that will be used when the sun is not shining. In areas that would otherwise be off the grid or where the cost of installing electric lines is prohibitive, the cost of a solar system for the home will realize instant savings. You can also supplement existing on grid electricity with solar power for the home. By supplying up to 50% or more of your homes electricity through solar power dramatic savings can be realized.
Solar cells, or photovoltaic tiles, convert light from the sun into solar power for the home. The solar cells work because they consist of both a positive and negative sheet of silicon that is under a thin sheet of glass. When the sun shines on the solar panel, the protons push the neutrons off the silicon sheet. This causes the negatively charged neutrons that are drawn to the silicon to get trapped within the magnetic field that is formed by the opposing charges in the silicon sheet. This causes an electric current to form, thus creating solar power for the home. It will need to pass through an inverter in order to be transformed into an alternating current which is what is used within most homes.
Solar Power is the future
Solar power for the home is capable of being a primary energy source in most cases and a supplemental energy source for everyone. Making your own electricity using solar power is very cost effective if you make the system yourself and understand the basics of what your home requires from the outset.
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