7 ways to use solar power at home
Jun 26, 2023
Roof Gnome explains what solar power means for your home and 7 great ways you can use it to your advantage.
You'd think that the sun has already given enough to the advancement and sustenance of life here on Earth. But, no. The 4.6 billion-year-old star in our solar system can still provide more, including powering our technologies. Today, there are numerous significant ways to use solar power at home. Roof Gnome explains what solar power means for your home and 7 great ways you can use it to your advantage.
Processing light energy coming from the sun and converting it to something more useful is nothing new, even in nature. So if plants have photosynthesis, we have photovoltaic – the process of transforming the sun's energy into electricity using solar PV systems.
No longer in its infancy stage, the technology of solar power is now one of the fastest-growing sources of renewable energy. In fact, even the U.S. government is providing tax credits and other incentives to encourage everyone, including homeowners, to make the switch.
The photovoltaic effect is the phenomenon behind how solar energy works. It's all about harnessing the light from the sun and converting it to electricity.
Consistency is crucial in making solar power a reliable energy source. We all know that the sun's light always shines on our planet. All that's left for us to do is use solar technology that can capture solar energy even on cloudy days. Fortunately, the types of solar panels available these days are now more efficient than ever.
Currently, silicon is the most common type of semiconductor used in solar panels. While this is very effective, it can be quite costly.
Fortunately, the emergence of thin-film solar panels made of cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide, or amorphous silicon has made things more accessible. With these materials, solar panels have become very flexible – allowing manufacturers to mold them in different shapes and sizes. Thus, the solar-powered appliances and gadgets we have available today.
So you can have a better idea of the benefits of solar power, here are some of the most common uses of this renewable source of energy around your home.
1. Solar-powered electricity
Solar electricity is the most common way to use solar power at home. In fact, it's the reason behind the numerous installations across the country today. A complete solar installation on your roof can provide electricity for your entire home – as if you're connected exclusively to a power grid.
2. Solar water heaters
Instead of using conventional gas or electric-powered water heaters, solar water heaters are a more cost-effective solution. The benefits of using solar heating systems are even more apparent the more you need hot water in your home. And we heat water many times every day, from bathing to cooking to washing clothes and utensils.
3. Decorative outdoor lighting
Whether for your garden, party, or security lights, you can use solar power to make the outside of your home look vibrant even at night. Outdoor solar lights come in different types, making your lawn stand out without having to worry about wires. You can even set up holiday lights powered by solar batteries, which are usually weather-proof.
4. Improved security
Security lighting and cameras are more accessible and easier to set up these days because of solar technology and Wi-Fi. The combination of these technological advancements allows these gadgets to be placed anywhere on your property, allowing you to have better coverage.
5. Solar heater
Are you always faced with high electricity bills during winter? When you have solar heaters, you won't have to bear this problem anymore. Using solar power, you can keep your home warm without having to stress over how much you'll be paying for your utility bills at the end of the month.
6. Heating for swimming pools
Maintaining a clean swimming pool can be hard enough. So when you add up the cost of keeping your pool heated so you and your family can enjoy it anytime, it can become discouraging to have a pool in the first place. Fortunately, developments in solar panel systems allow you to warm your pool anytime without worrying about energy expenses.
7. Solar ventilation
Don't have a full solar panel system installation? You can still keep your HVAC from overworking and incurring high energy costs by using solar ventilation solutions. This includes solar attic fans, which help cool your home during summer. The energy savings you can get is still significant. And if you think about it, you're also helping extend your HVAC's life.
If you go solar, it will usually cost you roughly $20,000, which already includes the materials and professional installation. If you don't have enough cash to pay for it all upfront, there are several finance options available. With the movement to switching to solar panels, you can shop around with different local solar providers and find the best option and deals suited for you.
Plus, don't forget that you can qualify for tax credits and incentives provided by the government.
Most homeowners see solar panels as an investment. While they know the upfront cost is higher, they also understand that the advantages of going solar far outweigh what they have to shell out at the start.
And besides, you get to receive your return on investment over time while opening up another income source in the process. That's because you can get credited for sending any excess power your solar panel generates to the power grid. We recommend you check our write-up for more specific and in-depth information about the cost of solar panels.
Even if you have the funds to switch your home to using solar power, you also have to see to it that your home is ready for it. Consider these questions before moving forward and make the necessary adjustments to make your home solar-ready.
These are just a few of the crucial factors you need to consider; there are others, from understanding what to do with excess energy to figuring out permits and warranties. So if you're serious about switching to solar panels, make sure you fully understand if your home is good for solar.
How long do solar panels last?
Depending on the type of solar panel used, you're looking at 25 to 40 years. However, this doesn't count extreme situations that may damage your panels, such as flying branches during a windstorm.
Do solar panels need maintenance?
Yes, they do. But usually, you only need to do very minimal upkeep. The wind and rain can easily clean them off, so you usually just have to let them be. However, you might need to periodically clean solar panels for stubborn dirt or debris that may be blocking direct sunlight.
Do solar panels work in winter?
Yes, solar panels still work in winter as long as they're getting sunlight to convert into electricity. They are not dependent on the heat of the sun but on the sun's light. In fact, the cold weather is a boon in increasing the panel's efficiency.
The use of solar energy has developed at a surprising speed, allowing us to go off-grid and power our entire homes with it. As you've discovered, there are plenty of ways to improve your life at home with the use of solar energy. But if you really want to reap the most benefit, using a complete solar panel system is the best way to go.
This story was produced by Roof Gnome, a LawnStarter site, and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.
Originally published on roofgnome.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.
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The most read stories of the week from www.caledonianrecord.com.1. Solar-powered electricity2. Solar water heaters3. Decorative outdoor lighting4. Improved security5. Solar heater6. Heating for swimming pools7. Solar ventilationSome FAQs about the ways to use solar power at homeHow long do solar panels last?Do solar panels need maintenance?Do solar panels work in winter?Improve your home with solar powerKeep it Clean.PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.Don't Threaten.Be Truthful.Be Nice.Be Proactive.Share with Us.Success!Error!