Home Solar Power

By: Miles Novak

There are many different ways to make use of the light and heat energy emitted by the sun. Some common ideas include:
- Passive solar energy: taking advantage of the heat displaced by the sun to help regulate home temperature
- By using mirrors and thermal solar collectors, it is possible to magnify the heat energy of the sun and apply it to different substances, including water
- Through the use of photovoltaic panels, the light emitted by the sun can be turned into electricity
Simply taking advantage of or controlling the heat given off by the sun is known as Passive Solar Power. Although most of these techniques are relatively straight forward, they can have a substantial impact on monthly utility bills. Some easy things that can be done around the house include:
- A well insulated home. This should result in an inside temperature that stays fairly constant. It is vital to have properly insulated ceilings, walls, and floors. Other key areas include around windows, doors, and electrical outlets. This is the most important step in taking advantage of passive solar energy.
- Along the lines of insulation, curtains can have a strong impact on maintaining a consistent home temperature. Shutters and clear insulating window covers can also play a role in keeping warm air in or cold air out.
- Strategically placed vegetation, both inside and outside can help prevent heat from entering your home. When placed around windows or door ways, plants serve as a sort of heat barrier and can surprisingly keep a house quite cool in the summer. In addition to this, plants also provide fresh air, which is a nice thing to have!
Solar Power to Heat Water: since the sun is the hottest thing around, it makes sense to use its tremendous temperature output to heat your home. By concentrating this heat output, one can easily warm water or a space (temperatures can reach up to boiling point!).
A common device that is used to heat up water or air is known as a "thermal collector". This device is basically a glass covered panel that holds metal plates (usually dark). These plates absorb the heat, and in turn transfer it to the substance that is to be heated. The heated substance (water, air, etc) can either be used immediately or be collected in a well insulated storage tank for later use.
Finally, light emitted from the sun can be captured and converted to electricity. Basically, this is achieved through a reaction that happens within the photovoltaic panels which results in charged electrons creating an electric current. This can then be stored in a battery or used directly.

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Author Miles Novak is an experienced writer in the field of home energy. Visit his webpage for more info on Do it Yourself products and Home Energy Solutions.

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