Typically we flip a switch and don’t think much about the electricity that flows into our homes. It’s a great source of energy and most of us have come to rely on it regularly. Can you imagine a time with no electricity? Try it sometime… shut off the power to your house for 24 hours and see how dependent you’ve become to this energy source.
While it’s great to have electricity, you’d be wise to have some alternative source of power, just in case something were to disrupt the electrical grid. Solar could be the answer.
Solar energy is created using photovoltaic technology, and it works by converting solar energy into solar electricity from sunlight. A photovoltaic cell consists of two or more thin layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon. Once the silicon is exposed to light, electrical charges are generated and this can then be conducted away by metal contacts as direct current.
There are a number of different advantages that you can get from using solar power electricity. Solar energy is truly the source of all life on earth, and without it, we would not even be here today. In fact most of the energy that is available to us in general is radiated from the sun, and it is this energy which provides us with food energy through plant photosynthesis and which also provides the heat that we need to survive.
Advantages of Solar Power
It is now widely recognized that using solar power electricity can offer real and beneficial alternatives to burning finite resources of fossil fuels or of possibly endangering future generations by relying on more dangerous technologies, such as nuclear power.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of solar power is that it is basically free. You do need to invest in some equipment to capture the energy from the sun, but the energy from the sun is free for the capture.
Solar power electricity works well for most items, except for large electric appliances that use an electric heat element, such as a water heater or clothes dryer, for example. The only reason that it is not a good idea to use solar power for these types of appliances is because it is not cost-effective, and so conversion to natural gas, propane or other alternatives would typically be recommended in this case.
Although solar power offers a number of different advantages, there are also some drawbacks. For electricity generation, solar power has limited potential due to being diffuse and intermittent. As well solar input is often interrupted by night and cloud cover, and this means that solar electric generation inevitably has a low capacity factor, in fact less than 15 percent. To mitigate this, you’ll want to incorporate a battery storage bank to store the energy for when the sun don’t shine.
I believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and it is definitely a source of energy that is going to become much more popular as time goes on, particularly as the price of fuel continues to increase. It’s also a source of electricity you’ll be glad to have in the case of a grid-down scenario.