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How Is Solar Energy Used? Solar Energy Basics For Homeowners

Gorry Terry

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Many prudent and shrewd householders are using solar energy to reduce their energy bills. This article looks at a number of ways that solar energy can be used in the home.

Information on solar energy is increasing dramatically with the availability of many studies, guides, photographs etc. on the internet. There are some excellent guides on how the ordinary homeowner can build his own solar panels and reduce his energy costs. . and his carbon footprint.

The sun radiates enormous amounts of energy every second. The solar energy that we receive on earth is only a fraction of this energy, but it is more than enough to fulfill our energy requirements.

Because of the shape of the earth the amount of solar energy received varies at different latitudes. Regions near the south and north poles receive much less solar energy than the regions near the equator.

Solar energy is reneawable, which means that we can use it again and again. A sun ray reaches the earth in 8 minutes, and this process will go on continously while the sun is present.

Solar technology as we know it, started to devlop in the 1800s. At present, a variety of solar technologies are available for use. These include:

Solar Space Heating.
Space heating systems provide space heating for buildings. A solar ventilation system is capable of preheating the air which saves both money and energy. A typical system contains solar collectors that work along with a pump, a heat exchanger, and/or one or more large storage tanks.

Solar Space Cooling
Solar collectors can also be used to cool a building. Solar absorption coolers are used for this purpose. In some respects the technology used in them is similar to air conditioners.

Photovoltaic Cells
PV cells are commonly called solar cells. They capture the sun’s energy and convert it into DC electricity. This can be used in this form or be converted into AC, which is similar to the electricity that we get from the power grid.

A photovoltaic system can be connected to the grid or used as a stand alone system.
Stand alone systems are widely used for solar water heating and they are particularly useful in remote areas where power grids are not present. Batteries can be used to store energy for use at night or in cloudy conditions.

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