Go Green, Save Green
With rising fuel prices, the cost of energy skyrocketing, and our current economic crisis, more and more people are turning to alternative sources of affordable energy. Solar energy is quickly becoming the country’s most prevalent source of power, not only for its efficiency, but also because it is eco-friendly. Through the use of solar panels, the sun’s energy can be harnessed to provide power for a variety of applications – everything from powering your television while camping to powering an entire home.
Ok….So How’s It Work?
The process of how solar panels work can be quite technical, but basically, solar panels capture and store energy produced by sunlight through the use of Photovoltaic cells (photo = light, voltaic = electricity). Depending on your needs, the energy collected from sunlight can be used to charge a lead acid battery for later usage, as a backup source of electrical power, or the energy can be transferred directly into a home for immediate use through an inverter. The inverter converts the direct current (DC) produced by the sun’s energy to alternating current (AC), which is the type of electrical power used by power companies. The AC current travels from the inverter to the breaker box and can then be used as needed throughout the home.
What Can I Power With It?
There is a wide array of users who can benefit from implementing a solar power kit. Owners of RVs, boats, and electric scooters, for example, can connect solar panel kits to any rechargeable lead acid battery, which allows for continuous recharging of the battery during daylight hours. This provides greater security in knowing that there will always be a source of power available. Businesses can benefit tremendously as well by using solar panels to collect and store energy during the day and using that power at night. Depending on how large the solar power system, businesses can use that energy to power up their entire building or simply to light up their signs.
I Bet It’s Expensive, huh?
For those looking to invest in a complete home solar power system, the average cost of installation is between $40,000 and $50,000 before any tax incentives or rebates from power companies are applied. Although many people may be turned off by the upfront cost of installing solar power systems, the government has taken great strides in making solar power more affordable for consumers. For instance, new federal tax credits go into effect January 1, 2009, raising the cap of residential rebates from $2,000 to $10,800. In addition, a typical residential solar electric system can pay for itself in just 8-12 years, not to mention, having a solar power system adds value to the home. Other incentives for installing solar power kits are offered by state governments and vary by state. For more information, please visit www.dsireusa.org.
It’s Getting Easier Bein’ Green
Powering your home and applications with solar energy is a fantastic way to contribute to the reduction of pollution and save money at the same time! For those who live in remote areas or participate in outdoor recreational activities, like camping or boating, solar power kits also provide a secure electricity supply. With increased fiscal support from the federal government and local power companies through tax credits and rebates, investing in a solar power kit is becoming much more affordable for everyone from the simple hobbyist to huge corporations who want to save on their electricity bills.