Solar Energy Advanatges


Solar energy is the most old and the primary source of energy known to us. Sun emits enormous amount of energy which reaches us through sunlight. Sun provides energy to plants for the production of food which is vital for living things. We can also use this solar energy for the production of electricity. There are two methods for utilizing solar energy for the production of electricity.

1. Concentrating on solar power

Concentrating solar power is generated principally by focusing a large area of sunlight into a small beam. The concentrated beam is used as a heat source for the production of electricity. Different types of panels are available to produce concentrating solar power. Some examples are parabolic trough panel, compact linear Fresnel reflectors and many more. They all follow concentrated solar power principle in one way or the other.

2. Photovoltaic

Photovoltaic is the method of producing electrical power by direct conversion of solar energy into direct current electricity by using a semi-conductor. Semi conductors used for this purpose always have photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic effect is an ability of a substance to produce voltage or electric current on exposure to light. Photovoltaic power generation uses a solar panel consisting of a number of solar cells having photovoltaic effect. Mostly these cells are made up of monocyrstalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, copper indium gallium selenide and copper indium gallium sulfide.

The Solar Energy has more advantages than any energy derived from fossil fuels. Few are mentioned below:

3. Pollution and Global Warming Free:

Solar energy is pollution free during use and its wastes and products can be easily managed. Nowadays when environmentalists and scientists are asking whole world to understand the complexity and danger of environmental pollution, solar power seems to be one of the solutions for this ever evolving problem. The use of fossil fuel for the production of energy causes a lot of pollution. Global warming could be the one of the biggest upcoming problems for humans unless required precautions are taken. One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it does not liberate carbon dioxide, methane or other gas that could warm the atmosphere. On the other hand using fossil fuel releases all those gases that warm the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide and methane.

4. Renewable Energy Source:

There is an increase focus on free utility of fossil fuels without considering the consequences of its extinction. Fossil fuels are finite sources of energy and we are running out of our fossil fuels quickly. With increase in the human population the use of fossil fuel is also increasing. As fossil fuels are non-renewable sources we should be very careful with their use. Solar energy provides a better alternative energy source to fossil fuel. Solar energy is renewable source and as long as the sun is up there, it is constantly producing all the energy we can need.

5. Cheap and Maintenance Free Running Cost:

Solar energy is cheap. There is no doubt that solar energy have high initiating price but once solar panels power facility is in place, no fuel, lubricants or any kind of maintenance is required thus providing literally free energy. And with fossil fuels prizes touching sky, the overall cost advantage of solar energy is very obvious. It is also expected that with the further development in solar technology the financial cost of expensive appliances such as solar cells and concentrating solar energy panels will also decrease leading to cheap, pollution free energy.

6. No Threats to Health:

Unlike nuclear energy plants whose radiations are very dangerous for health of humans living in the surrounding areas, solar energy panel does not bring any kind of side effects or health issues to its surrounding region.

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Solar Energy Grants

Assessing the Importance of Solar Energy Grants

Many governments are spearheading reforms in the energy sector. It has been noted with great concern that human dependence on oil is detrimental to development. Naturally, the price of oil is on the increase and chances of them falling are slim to none. It is for this reason that the many governments of the world have decided to open the window into research of alternative energy sources. They have wised up to the idea that alternative energy is the only step forward. Plus the threat of global warming is becoming ever so real. The polar ice caps are melting and well life as we know it will change forever.

These days, when energy reforms are quite common, solar energy is the main topic of concern. Governments have seen it as the answer to the ever growing demand for energy. For this reason the solar energy grants are being given left, right and centre to scientists whose proposals are viable. Saudi Arabia and the United States have been at the vanguard of giving universities solar energy grants. The grants are for studies to ascertain the viability of solar energy as a long term energy solution. Since the sun is slated to burn out in a few billion years, why not make maximum use of it.

The solar energy grants are important because they allow scientists to come up with ways of getting creative with how they tap energy. Take a mobile phone for example. Many people use them to communicate. Some areas, in the developing countries, lack electricity to charge them. Since they want to communicate and there is no power, all that is left is choosing a suitable alternative. This is where solar energy comes into play, as one can use this form of energy to charge the phone. While carrying around solar phone charger can be cumbersome, you can opt for an easier solution: a solar mobile phone. With solar energy grants, innovations like this are possible.

In assessing the importance of solar energy grants, you should look at it in terms of employment opportunity. Here is what I mean. After a study is done, there are recommendations made. You will need people to execute these recommendations. This is where the job aspect comes in. Believe it or not here is the clincher: the scientists themselves are working. In this day and age, where unemployment has become rampant, one must do the little jobs he gets in order to make end meet. A monthly stipend is given to the researcher an incentive to keep working diligently.

In a nutshell, solar energy grants have allowed the public to be aware of solar energy. Government websites have advocated for use of green energy as we inch to development. Solar energy is an example of green energy which many people use in their day to day lives. The awareness that has been created is attributed to not only an open minded attitude but to the solar energy grants provided by the government and nongovernmental organization.

Solar energy grants are essential in determining the feasibility of solar energy. The last thing governments want is to have a project getting out of hand. If the costs spiral out of control, chaos will ensue, and the government might be viewed as incompetent and irresponsible for authorising a ridiculous plan in the first place. Knowledge is power and if they have more information, this will aid in the execution of the projects. For governments seeking to utilise solar energy, then the solar energy grants go a long way in inspiring confidence.

It should be noted that there are other forms of renewable energy which are covered by grants. Therefore it is at your discretion to find out more about them.…

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Difference Between Solar Panels

Difference Between Solar Panels? The starting point for the performance of any solar panel is the availability of energy from the sun. For Ireland the typical energy irradiated by the sun on a 30o inclined surface facing south is 1,074 kWh per sq metre per year. This is quite a sufficient resource and counters the notion that Ireland does not have the climate for solar panels. It must be noted that this 1074 kWh/m2/yr energy yield comes from a combination of direct, diffuse and reflected solar radiation.

Difference Between Solar Panels

The basis for energy collection by solar panels will be familiar to all, which is that a black surface will absorb the suns radiation more than other coloured surfaces – think of a white car and a black car next to each other under the same sun as a good example of the difference between solar panels. The temperature of the black car will be far greater than that of the white car. However a simple black surface will also loss or emit back this absorbed radiation, so for solar panels special selective surfaces are used to increase the efficiency of energy collection. These selective surfaces are balanced to have good solar absorbivity levels whilst minimising emissivity losses. Both flat plate panels and evacuated tube panels utilise these selective surfaces to maximise their efficiencies. So, apart from the cosmetics, where do the performance differences arise from these main types of panels? In general evacuated tube panels tend to be more efficient than flat plate panels and this difference in efficiency can be better understood when you look at the means by which heat is transferred.

Solar panels both gain and lose heat. The transfer of heat to the panels from the sun is almost entirely from radiation i.e. the solar radiation is absorbed by the selective surface of the panel which heats it. Once a solar panel has gained heat from the sun its efficiency is then determined by how much of this heat is then lost. The loss of heat from a flat plate solar panel has 3 transfer routes i.e. conduction, convection and radiation where as an evacuated tube has only 1 heat loss transfer route i.e. radiation. This is because the heat cannot be conducted or convected within a vacuum (similar to that of a flask). This basic principle means the heat loss from evacuated tubes is significantly lower than that of flat plate panels.

It should also be noted that flat plat panels tend to be very efficient in high sun and when receiving direct radiation whilst evacuated tubes are more even in their solar radiation absorption and absorb significantly more diffuse radiation (solar radiation broken up through cloud cover) than their flat plate counter parts. There are also differences between evacuated tube panels and again the above principles apply to maximising energy collection and retention. A common method of heat transfer to the water in an evacuated solar panel system is by means of a ‘heat pipe’. However whilst some evacuated tubes contain their ‘heat pipe’ within the tubes vacuum (like the Kingspan HP range and therefore minimising heat losses) some evacuated tubes for ease of manufacture mount their ‘heat pipe’ outside the vacuum area and rely on heat conduction from the glass selective surface to the ‘heat pipe’. This means a greater path to heat gain and introduces again some heat transfer losses of conduction and convection.…

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Solar Electricity

Generating Clean Solar Electricity for your Home in Maine

With no moving parts anywhere in the entire system, grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most reliable renewable energy technology available. This is why PV manufacturers warranty their panels for 25 years, while the expected useful lifespan of PV panels is closer to 40 years. Producing your own clean, renewable solar electricity for decades is a great way to lock in your electricity rate and transition away from the massive CO2 emissions that come from America’s coal and gas-fired power plants. PV technology has been in use for more than 60 years, which means that today’s systems are highly evolved, reliable and efficient. Locally produced solar electricity eliminates the huge amounts of energy wasted through inefficient long-distance transmission of electricity over the utility grid.

What does Grid-Tied mean?

Battery-based solar electric systems were common until the grid-tied inverter was developed. Modern inverter technology eliminates the cost, complexity and toxicity associated with lead-acid battery storage systems. Rather than connecting solar panels to a battery bank, the panels are connected directly to the inverter, which feeds clean electricity into the building’s electrical system and/or the local utility grid. The inverter allows your solar electric system to feed surplus solar power to the grid, or seamlessly draw electricity from the grid when there is not enough sunshine to meet your demand. During the summer months, when you are likely to be producing more than you need, the surplus feeds your neighbor’s demand and you get a credit on your bill from the utility.

Under Maine’s net-metering law, your local utility is required to install a second electric meter at your home or business, free of charge, when we install your solar electric system. The new meter records electricity that you export to the grid while the existing meter records imported electricity. Each month the utility will reconcile the two meters and either bill your account or credit your account accordingly. Credits can carry forward for a maximum of 13 months. At no time will the utility ‘pay’ you for surplus electricity produced by a grid-tied solar electric system.

How it Works

Solar electric panels are typically mounted on a south-facing roof section, but we also have plenty of experience ground-mounting systems when the roof is not a viable option. Major system components include the PV panels, wire and conduit, and the inverter.

When sunshine falls on the PV panels, direct current (DC) electricity is generated and flows through a wire to the inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity to alternating current (AC), which is the type required by your home appliances. The AC electricity flows from the inverter through a wire into your electric panel. The solar electricity will then flow through your electric panel and satisfy any household demand. If your solar electric system is producing more than the demand in your home, the surplus will then flow out through your ‘export’ electric meter and travel against the normal flow of electricity through the utility line serving your home and back out onto the grid, looking for the next closest demand.…

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Solar Hot Water

Capturing the sun’s thermal energy for use in your home

Did you know that Maine has 450,000 homes heated with oil? This dependence on a foreign fuel source makes us vulnerable to supply disruptions and price volatility—not to mention the fact that we are polluting the northeast with the highest per capita CO2 emissions of all New England states.

Using sunshine to produce hot water for showering, laundering and dish-washing is a practical way to make a positive impact on the environment while saving money at the same time. After 10 years of designing and installing hundreds of solar hot water systems in Maine’s challenging climate, we’ve distilled our knowledge and experience into a robust design that offers the highest efficiency and durability. Maine Solar Energy can tailor its time-tested, field-proven system design to integrate with most existing water heating systems, whether it is gas, electric or oil-fired.

Solar hot water is the most common system type in Maine because it provides the quickest return on investment. This is because solar hot water substantially reduces fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, particularly when an oil boiler or electricity is being used to produce domestic hot water. A properly designed solar domestic hot water system can save more than 300 gallons of oil per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 5,000 lbs., depending on your existing situation.

How it Works

Solar hot water collectors are typically mounted on a south-facing roof or wall, but we also have plenty of experience ground-mounting systems when the roof is not a viable option. Major system components include the collectors, a purpose-built solar storage tank, copper piping, solar pump and electronic controls.

Whenever sunshine makes the solar hot water collectors hotter than the water in the bottom of the solar storage tank, an electronic sensor automatically turns on the solar pump affixed to the tank. Sun-heated antifreeze is pumped down from the collectors and circulated through a heat exchange coil located in the bottom of the storage tank, thereby transferring the heat from the sun to your domestic hot water supply. We design automatic hot water backup into all solar domestic hot water systems so that when the sun can’t get the job done, you don’t have to worry about cold showers. The solar storage tank has a secondary heat exchange coil located in the top of the tank, which is plumbed to your existing heating system for backup. If this is not possible, alternative solutions include using a special tank with an electric element for backup or installing an on-demand hot water heater.

Solar Hot Water Collectors: Evacuated Tubes & Flat Plates

After years of researching and experimenting with different brands of collectors, we have come to the conclusion that Apricus evacuated tube offer the best performance at the most reasonable price. Apricus is a global leader in evacuated tube technology based in Australia. We generally recommend evacuated tube technology over flat plate collectors because the tubes’ vacuum insulation design prevents system heat losses in Maine’s relatively cold climate. Plus, the cylindrical shape of the tubes enables them to better harvest low-angle wintertime sun at our northern latitude.

Flat Plate Solar Hot Water Collectors

For applications where high demand will come in the warmer months (seasonal homes, i.e.), or where cost is a primary concern, we offer Stiebel Eltron flat plate collectors and Chromagen Collectors. The Stiebel Eltron collectors have been manufactured in Germany by a family-owned business for more than 50 years and we have had excellent results over the years with this product.

Solar Storage Tanks

We wanted to know how much heat is lost in our solar storage tanks overnight, so we ran our own test and found that the super-insulated Stiebel Eltron tank loses less than .5 degrees F per hour. This means that if you heat your tank up to 150 degrees during the day, it will lose just 6 degrees from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. We believe Stiebel Eltron manufactures the best dual coil solar storage tank on the market. Stiebel’s purpose-built tanks have 3 inches of foam insulation to store precious BTUs harvested from the sun and its two internal heat exchange coils allow for easy integration with almost any boiler-based heating system. This enamel-lined steel tank comes with a sacrificial anode that is easy to view and replace if necessary.…

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