Many a person, myself included, has gone on and on about the benefits of solar energy. While theoretical arguments are always interesting, what about daily applications?
Uses for Solar In Every Day Life
Solar energy is an important advance in the effort to save the environment. Perhaps the most easily usable and most convenient of the renewable energy sources (which also include wind and water), solar energy has been used since the beginning of time as a heating source. In the 1830's one of the other solar energy platforms was developed, as a solar energy cooker was used on a safari. Since then, many other solar energy applications have been formulated, and almost everyone can take advantage of one of these.
One of the most common of the solar energy application is to use it as a power source. Since the 1970's, many people have been putting solar collectors on their roofs and using the resulting collected power to run their households. While having enough solar collectors to obtain power that will run an entire house may not be common, it is becoming more so. Most of these types of solar powered homes run their appliances and other needs directly off the solar collectors’ power during the day, and use power that was stored from the solar cells in batteries at night. In this way, the homeowner can avoid ever having to use power that was generated by a non-renewable resource.
Another of the common solar energy applications is to use solar power to heat your hot water. These systems can either use passive solar energy (in the case of heating a tank of water by leaving it out in the sun) or by using solar collectors with a heat transfer fluid. These systems require the homeowner to install solar panels, behind which run tubes filled with fluid. These tubes collect the heat from the sun and transfer it into the fluid – these tubes, filled with the heated fluid, then run around a water storage system, and the heat from the fluid is transferred into the water. Another way is to have water running through the tubing and have it obtain the sun's heat directly - this heated water is then pumped into swimming pools, so that pool owners don't need to run a pool heater to keep their water warm.
In the last 10 to 15 years, solar manufacturers have started to develop new, creative applications for solar power. One development is the portable solar panel, a popular product used on RVs by vacationers. On a smaller scale, there are solar panel packs that fold out like a small ledger and are used to power up anything from laptops to cell phones. As time passes, new products along this line are expected to continue to come on the market.
It doesn't matter which of the solar energy applications you choose to implement in your own home or life – even a small change to solar power over traditional power sources can help the environment. The more we can use solar energy, the less dependent we become on non-renewable resources, and the more we help the Earth.
Rick Chapo is with SolarCompanies.com - a directory of solar energy companies.