Your Green How To: Solar Power Solutions At Home

Solar Power Solutions At HomeEver since the birth of our planet, the sun’s energy has been used to bring life to earth.  And over the centuries man has employed this energy for a number of uses:

It has been used in horticulture to grow food in greenhouses, as natural lighting in ancient Roman temples, for water treatment in 3rd world countries, and it has been concentrated and used for thermal heating in power plants, to name just a few.

But what are the ways on how to solar power your home with this renewable energy source?

Currently there are 4 main household ways: solar electricity, solar cooking, solar water heating, and passive solar technology.

Solar Electricity:

Better known as photovoltaic energy, many homes throughout the world produce their own electricity with solar panel systems.  How it works is small silicon cells are joined together to form panels. These panels are aimed directly at the sun, or in the direction where the most sunlight occurs – south-facing in the northern hemisphere, and north-facing in the southern hemisphere.

As sunlight hits the panels, they are charged, and generate an electric current that flows through an inverter, into batteries to store the energy.  This electricity can then be used to power a variety of appliances in the home, depending on how much wattage is produced.

Other than its environmental safety, the advantage of solar electricity is that it has become affordable and effective for anyone to use – people are now able to make their own systems at home for under $200.  But it is advisable to first get a solar energy guide to provide you step-by-step instructions. For your convenience we have a list of the top guides out there, which you can see in our reviews section.

Solar Cooking:

Solar cooking is a very popular way of preparing food in third world countries, since no fuel or electricity is required.  However there is no reason every household cannot use a solar cooker at home – unless you live in absolute darkness.

The solar cooker is basically a parabolic reflector, that concentrates sunlight into a central point where a box is fixed. It is in this box where the food is cooked.
The box can cook food for up to five people.  Although food is cooked in one pot, the number of varied dishes you can make is limited to your imagination.  Not only can it be used for boiling, but you can roast and bake in it too.

The only limitation of the cooker is the time it takes to cook the food, but if you think of all the health and energy-saving benefits and it’s portability, waiting a little longer is a small price to pay.

Solar Water Heating:

Initially used by campers and other travelers as portable hot water showers, solar water heaters are now used at home in place of traditional geysers.

How the system works is water is pumped slowly through a solar collector with coiled black copper pipes facing the sun.  These pipes absorb heat from the sun, which in turn heat the water. The heated water is then stored in an insulated reservoir, which can then be used when needed – even to heat your swimming pool.

Since water needs to be pumped continuously, this system works best in conjunction with solar electricity that can be used to power the pump.

Some energy-conscious laundromats have used solar water heating successfully for their industrial washing machines. In fact, the water can get so hot, they have to mix it with cold water to get the right temperature. This has cut their energy bills tremendously and increased their business since customers enjoy supporting green initiatives.

Passive Solar Technology:

In American households almost 50% of the energy consumed is used to power their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Just imagine how your electricity bill would decrease if you made use of passive solar technology at home. Passive solar technology is the intelligent use of the environment, sunshine, heat-retaining building materials and house planning and layout to naturally regulate the temperature, ventilation and even lighting in homes.

A simple way of natural air conditioning would be planting deciduous trees on the southern side of buildings to provide cool shade in summer, and for their bare branches to allow warm sunlight through in winter.

For ventilation a solar chimney can be installed. As the chimney heats up in the sun, the air in it warms and rises, causing fresh cool air to be pulled through the house and up the chimney.

Like the Romans used to provide light in their temples, large windows can be strategically placed to allow as much natural light in as possible into the house.  This would replace the need for conventional electric lighting.

So you can see, applying passive solar solutions to your home will not turn it into a house full of gadgets, but rather make it efficient, environmentally friendly and help you save money.  Although some of the solutions – like the solar chimney –  can be expensive to install, you can expect to get a return on your investment within 3 to 4 years, thereafter providing you a free lifetime service.

Final Words:

With so many solar solutions for households to use, gone are the days that we have to rely on utility companies for us the live a comfortable lifestyle.  And as technology advances and more information becomes available, these solutions will get cheaper and easier for everyone to afford and use. Right now, it is possible for average income individuals to get solar solutions. It is just a matter of whether they have the ambition, courage and environmental awareness  to learn how to solar power their home.

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Originally posted 2008-11-14 10:31:49.

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  1. […] Dr. Evans Blog put an intriguing blog post on How To Solar Power Your HomeHere’s a quick excerptThere are many ways on how to solar power your home and use the renewable energy source of the sun. But let us discuss the 4 main ways: […]

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