7 Uses for Solar Energy at Home
Homes| | By DEF Contributor
Solar energy is no longer a futuristic green fantasy or a dream businesses want to experiment with. Gone are the days of solar energy only being accessible to people with money to burn. Now, anyone can take advantage of solar energy in some way, as the idea of “going solar” has changed. “Going solar” doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars on solar panels for your roof. Solar panels are still an option with it being easier than ever to install, but there are more options for people looking to use the power of the sun without breaking the bank. Solar energy in general has changed and advanced, and it is cheaper and easier to use solar energy than ever before. This list will cover 7 ways you can use solar energy at home in your everyday life.
Swimming Pool Heating
Swimming pools are one of the greatest sources of home entertainment for parents and children alike, especially during the summer. Pools tend to go unused during the colder months because jumping into cold water when it is cold outside is just not pleasant. However, solar energy is offering a solution to cold pools in the form of a blanket. Instead of using a traditional pool cover, try a solar blanket. The solar blanket works just like a pool cover, but it also acts as a passive heating device by absorbing heat from the sun and using it to warm the water. Using a thermal blanket is an inexpensive method for warming your pool that takes very little effort, but it does take time.
If you are looking to throw more technology at the problem, you can create a solar-powered water heating system. This system does depend on roof mounted solar heating panels which sends the sun’s heat to the water through looping tubes. The water is pulled from the pool through the heating panel and then sent back to the pool. This will slowly raise the temperature of the pool.
Ventilation fans are necessary to keep air moving in closed spaces like attics and basements. If air is not moving within a space, it will become stale, dusty, and warm. This is why vent fans for spaces like attics are important, but rather than wire a new fan into your house’s electrical system, you can install solar powered fans. Solar ventilation fans can also help reduce the load placed on your HVAC system without using power from your house. Self-contained roof vents use a small panel of photoelectric cells to power the fan motor, which will keep air moving.
Solar Battery Charging
Generally, photoelectric solar panels produce a DC current which is the same current most batteries use. Simple and inexpensive solar panel kits allow you to plug in various devices. You can charge your cell phone, tablets, and laptops directly with these solar kits. You can charge more devices by adding an inverter which converts the DC current to a 120 volt AC current making the system compatible with more chargers.
Adding lights to an outdoor space can be a pain. Using traditional lights means running cable to provide electricity since outdoor outlets are often few and far between. This is where solar lighting comes in handy. Most solar lights are self contained lights on stakes you push into the ground with a small solar panel on top. These solar lights come in a range of styles, from basic to high-end, and are a painless way to add light to an outdoor space.
Portable Solar Power
Our phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices are always with us. We use technology constantly, and one of the only things slowing down how much we use technology is battery life. Portable solar technology may reduce our dependence on battery packs in the near future. Solar cells have been in watches since the 1970’s, and the ability to apply that technology to modern devices is coming soon. Researchers in Japan are working on ultra-lightweight solar cells that can be sewn into clothes.
Passive Natural Solar House Heating
Everyone knows the feeling of being in an uncomfortably hot room due to the sun beaming into the walls and through the windows. However, when a house is designed with the sun in mind, the results can be incredibly positive rather than uncomfortable. By strategically placing windows and using a selection of building materials, you can keep your house warmer in the winter with the passive heat of the sun.
Solar Powered House
When you think of solar energy, you likely think of roof solar panels. Roof solar panels have come a long way since their introduction, as the technology is more advanced and the price has come down from astronomical to reasonable. The panels create power when sunlight reacts with their polycrystalline silicon lining. The generated electricity is sent to an inverter which produces AC current and is then fed into your house’s main electrical panel before being used to power your house. If your solar panels absorb enough sunlight, they can power your entire home. Installing a 5kW system does cost between $25,000 and $35,000, but subsidies and rebates from various sources help lower the price. However, statistics show that solar panels pay for themselves after six to eight years.
The sun is a massive energy source that is under-utilized. These seven ways you can use solar energy at home are just a few examples of how the sun can power our everyday lives. If your friends have thought about using solar energy in their home, be sure to SHARE this post with them to show how beneficial solar energy can be for their electricity bill.
Gwen Lewis is a writer who lives in California. She has been in the fashion and health industry for years and loves writing on the topic to give tips from experience. In her free time, she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf. For more, visit her online portfolio here.