Solar panels are man’s way of harnessing the sun’s clean, natural energy and putting it to good use. The sun gives off an enormous amount of energy during the day. This energy causes plants to grow as well as warmth to earth’s surface and atmosphere. However, there’s still plenty of the sun’s natural energy that is simply reflected back into space. Solar panels provide a way to harvest some of this reflected energy for practical use.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
To understand solar power, it’s necessary to understand heat transfer. When sunlight hits the earth’s surface, it is either reflected or absorbed. Reflection is why we see objects around us; we’re actually seeing the light that reflects off of them. When light is absorbed, it then heats the object.
Instead of reflecting energy back or turning it into heat, solar panels collect the energy and transports it to batteries for storage to be used later. The panels can be made of various materials. Some newer technologies are even using plastic.
What Type Solar Panels to Buy?
In the past, solar panels were more often used for larger, commercial environments. However, evolving solar energy technologies have allowed it to be fairly simple to provide homes with more efficient, green energy by installing solar panels.
The first consideration about solar panels for the home is what type to buy. The type needed is going to depend on:
- Your particular energy needs
- How much space you have
- How much you’re budget allows
While you can receive a certain amount of power from a small panel with newer technology, if you have more room, you can benefit more from a larger panel with the same total output for a lower price. If you are considering purchasing used solar panels, be sure to know how long they were used. The longer panel are used, the less efficient they become.
Where to Place Home Solar Panels?
Once you’ve bought your solar panels, it’s helpful to put some extra thought into where to install them. While a certain location may be hidden and more visually appealing, it may not have the best sun exposure. To maximize your energy, put your panels in an area that is not shaded for most of the day. You can even buy mechanisms that will automatically tilt panels throughout the day to follow the pattern of the sun.
Solar Panels Cause No Environmental Impact Compared to Other Energy Forms
There is one big factor that makes solar energy far superior to water or wind power. Solar energy has little to no effect on the area around it. Whereas using water power for energy, restricts its use from wildlife or humans for drinking or any other use. Wind power, on the other hand, disrupts local air flow and can endanger birds that fly too close. Solar panels, however, don’t disrupt the environment around them once they are installed properly. They simple sit and soak in the sun. Once they are installed, there is no negative impact and maintenance is very easy.
Remember: Solar Panels Must Be Exposed to Full Sun
There is one big downside to reliance upon solar power at home. You need lots of consistent sun exposure for best functionality. If the days are often cloudy or dark, they’re not going to be much help for solar powered electricity. That’s why they’re often used as supplemental energy to other power sources for home. This can prove to be a money-saver as provide a way to become more energy self-reliant for homeowners.