Solar Energy Facts

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Solar energy is the most readily available, abundant cleanest of the renewable energy sources the Earth has to offer. The technology that we have today gives us the ability to harness this power in different ways to give homes and businesses the ability to use the sun’s heat and light. 

istock_000010581229smallresizedSolar panels systems are used for residential solar energy as well as commercial. These systems are made of many photovoltaic solar panels that consist of about 40 solar cells each. The usual residential solar energy system includes anywhere from 10 to 20 photovoltaic solar panels depending upon the homes size and energy needs. Solar panel installation can be done to make the panels face south or there are systems that actually will move to stay with the sun. Commercial systems consist of many grouping of photovoltaic solar panels that are called solar arrays. The solar arrays, sometimes numbering in the 100s, are connected to create utility grid tie solar systems that that go into a utility grid.
Solar cells with flat plates created with silicon are what is traditionally used and are the most effective. Flexible solar panels have thin film solar cells that are created from either non-silicone materials like cadmium telluride or amorphous silicon. These cells are just micrometers thick and because of this they can be used as solar roof tiles or shingles as well as facades on buildings and skylight glaze.
A third type of solar power panels are being made with newer materials and techniques. Using traditional printing presses they can be made with solar ink, dyes and plastics that are conductive. They may also include mirrors or lenses made of plastic to concentrate the light on photovoltaic materials that are highly efficient. This material cost more but the quantity that is needed is very small. These types of photovoltaic solar systems are becoming increasingly popular for industrial and utility uses. Since the lenses must point directly at the sun at all times they are only able to be used in the sunniest areas.
Some solar power is used for specific uses such as heating ware. The solar hot water panel is a heater for water that uses solar energy. It works by taking the sun’s energy to heat up the water and then it is stored in a water tank, much like regular hot water tanks. There are also systems used for heating homes and businesses. Solar heating systems are most efficient in climates that are cold most of the year where they will get continued use. They are a much cheaper heating option for the right climate that other sources such as propane, oil or electricity.
Boots on the Roof is currently enrolling students into its upcoming Solar PV and Wind Energy training boot camp. To learn more about dates, locations, and course details, click here.