In 2009, the United States acquired less than 1 percent of its energy from solar power (see References 1). The majority of energy flowing through the power grid comes from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, photovoltaic technology continues to become more efficient and affordable -- and sunshine is always free. If you choose to, you can power your home entirely with solar energy using a stand-alone system that does not ...
Switching to solar power is one way to limit the impact your household has on the environment. By using photovoltaic cells, you can take advantage of the free energy provided by the sun every day without producing carbon emissions or running up your electricity bill. Solar power is not for everyone, however, and generating electricity with solar panels offers some distinct disadvantages to conventional generation, ...
Even when it looks clear, water can carry hordes of microscopic germs — bacteria and viruses that can wreak havoc on your body. Drinking water is normally sanitized at treatment plants before it enters the home, but if you're camping or drinking water from a rural well, for example, you're not drawing water from the typical water purification infrastructure. You can still protect your gut, though, with a ...
Solar energy is clean, abundant and renewable. In fact, more energy from the sun reaches the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year (see References 1). Today's technology and improvements to building strategies allow you to maximize the sun's benefits. Increase the energy efficiency of your home, reduce your environmental impact and enjoy annual energy savings in home utility costs by ...
More Articles on Solar Power
Homeowners are increasingly looking to solar power to make their homes more efficient. Unlike the majority of energy produced in the U.S. by coal, oil and natural gas, solar power is renewable and nonpolluting energy source. Additionally, it can provide personal and national energy security as it eliminates or cuts down your energy bills and reduces U.S. dependence on imported fuels. Harnessing solar power to light and heat your home isn't just a matter of installing a few solar panels on the roof---it can mean upgrading your hot-water heating system or applying green building design principles to new homes or remodels. (See References 1)
Even without converting to a household solar power system, you have plenty of opportunities to use solar power. Simply opening your curtains allows sunlight and warmth into a room. If you have already converted your household to solar electric, you will get the most out of solar power by being mindful of your energy usage. Using solar power wisely is even more important, because you will realize that even the largest household solar system is limited by the amount of sunlight available and the size of the battery storage bank.
With energy prices continually on the rise, most people are looking for simple solutions to lower their utility bills. Replacing traditional electric products with solar-powered home products can reduce the amount of electricity you use and lower your monthly energy bills. Many products are available on the market for use in your home that run on solar energy.
Most electricity in the U.S. is generated from the combustion of fossil fuel, by large hydroelectric dams or by nuclear power plants -- approaches that create large-scale environmental problems. Solar energy depends on the sun, a renewable energy resource. It does not generate pollution or waste as a by-product of electricity generation. Incorporating solar power into your home can not only improve your overall environmental impact and help decrease the nation's dependency upon imported oil but it can save you considerable money over the life of your home. (See References 1)
Despite praise as a clean and inexhaustible source of energy, solar electric power isn't a perfect fit for every project. When considering a solar-powered home, builders and homeowners must determine if the project can accommodate the financial, practical and climatic requirements of a solar energy system. If you learn about the pros and cons of installing a solar energy system, you can decide if solar is the right type of "green" energy for your home.
According to industry analysts, 2010 witnessed a significant rise in domestic solar-electric installations in the United States, in all three market sectors -- residential, commercial, and utility. The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that, in financial terms, the U.S. solar market increased significantly in value over the previous year, totaling $6 billion as compared to $3.6 billion in 2009 (see References 1, pages 5 and 3). With this rate of growth, it's clear that word has gotten out about the possible benefits of installing solar-power systems. As a homeowner, however, encouraging market trends don't mean much to you if you don't first get the facts.
Doing some research before making the change to solar power will help you determine whether, when and how to make the switch. Budgeting for the initial installation and taking into account government incentives for alternative energy usage will help you with your financial decisions. Understanding the components to create energy from sunlight can assist you in selecting the right equipment. Finally, planning for sunlight shortages before they happen will help you keep your solar household up and running despite the weather.
At home, you are the "King" or "Queen of Green" -- you recycle, compost kitchen waste, use both sides of the printer paper, install low-flow toilets, turn down the thermostat and take public transportation. It's natural, therefore, that you want your vacation to reflect your concern for the environment. Staying at an ecological villa will shrink your carbon footprint and respect the surrounding flora and fauna while you are on vacation.
Coal, oil and natural gas provide energy for the majority of homes in the United States. These nonrenewable resources create pollution when burned and contribute to global climate change. Solar power is a renewable energy source that relies on light and heat from the sun. It is nonpolluting, no waste products are generated to generate electricity, and solar systems can be installed on existing structures (see References 1). Home solar power comes in a variety of forms.
Solar power is a renewable energy source --- a clean form of energy --- that converts the sun's radiation into usable energy. The use of solar power helps reduce greenhouse gases, offering an alternative to fossil fuels (see References 1). Solar technology seeks to take advantage of the strength of the energy provided by the sun. Earth receives more energy from the sun in a single hour than the world's population uses in a full year (see References 5).
Both hydropower and solar power are energy sources that do not consume limited resources but instead take advantage of renewable ones -- water for hydropower and the sun for solar power -- using them to generate energy without eliminating them from other uses. Neither hydropower nor solar power creates significant pollution or waste. Hydropower is much more widely used, accounting for about 6 percent of the energy supply in the United States in 2008 (see References 2).
The sun beats down on your roof all day, and like many homeowners, you may want to capitalize on that fact by collecting solar energy for home use. For many, however, large solar arrays can be an eyesore. Solar shingles are an increasingly viable alternative. These unobtrusive additions to your existing roof capture solar energy and create electricity. Solar shingles have not always been cost-effective, but new technology may soon make them more feasible for homeowners everywhere. (References 1,3,5)
Most of the energy used in U.S. households comes from nonrenewable, polluting sources such as coal, natural gas and oil. Solar energy is a renewable energy source; not only is it less polluting than traditional power sources but solar energy may also lower your utility bills (see References 1). When considering solar power for your home, consult with a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners solar designer to determine whether your home, lifestyle and budget are compatible with solar power. Solar professionals certified by the NABCEP meet requirements ensuring their industry expertise (see References 2).
Solar electricity may be the green-energy solution of the future, but it was discovered by the French physicist Edmund Bequerel nearly two centuries ago. In 1839, he found that some materials generate minute amounts of electricity when exposed to sunlight, but it wasn't until 1954 that Bell Laboratories developed the first photovoltaic prototype for consumer use. The energy crisis of the 1970s further stoked interest in solar-powered products, a trend that continues today as our need for alternate-energy sources increases. Solar-powered spotlights, for example, are energy-efficient tools to illuminate your home or garden.
Sun jars -- small solar-powered lights in decorative jars -- are great for patio lighting or as mood lighting in any room. It's possible to make a sun jar for well under $20 using a single LED garden light, a glass jar and a few decorative touches like ribbons and colorful pebbles. By stripping the components out of a solar-garden light, you can create a beautiful, useful lamp that requires only exposure to light during the day to glow for several hours at night.