Solar Panels, a Renewable Energy System for the Home

Solar panels are a collection of solar cells that are bound together to create a durable, long-lasting source to draw energy from the sun. Solar panels for home use collect energy from direct sunlight that is then stored in a bank of batteries. The process of converting sunlight into electricity is called photovoltaics.

The larger the area that solar panels cover on a home, the more energy can be collected. Photovoltaic panels, or PVs, aid in the collection of direct current energy that is used to provide alternating current electricity. It is a homeowner’s self-sufficient energy source that can heat a home, water, swimming pools, and indoor or outdoor lighting. When the energy is stored in batteries, it can be used during the day or night.

A solar energy system consists of the panels, charge controller, fuses, an inverter, and a transfer switch. A generator is also important to a fully operational solar power system. It is important to have a professional team, from sales to installation, who will explain and set up the network on a property.

Solar panels for home use are an investment in green or renewable energy. The warrantied units which can be mounted on to the roof of a building or a pole on the property can provide over thirty years of low maintenance service. It is an exciting choice for a homeowner who is able to invest in a renewable source that benefits the planet and its’ future. Potential freedom from the utility company is an added bonus.

Solar-Powered Airplanes? It Could Happen

One of the biggest problems for air travel is the reliance on fuel for flights. Not only does this produce an abundance of harmful emissions, but it also drives the cost of tickets to nearly unaffordable heights for overseas travel. The biggest advantages of solar energy are being considered as a way to revolutionize the airline industry.

A solar-powered aircraft with the ability to navigate the globe was recently unveiled in Switzerland. Its total travel time is five days, and it needs no fuel to make its journey. The Solar Impulse 2 will be put to the test next year when it takes its first official flight.

The plane is equipped with solar panels and batteries. The batteries provide the backup power needed to fly at night, though it is hoped that the technology will advance further to allow the solar panels to fully power these types of aircraft at night as well as during the day. The Solar Impulse 2 has 17,000 solar panels, and an impressive 236-foot wingspan. It is ultra light, and is truly a vision of engineering beauty. It will need to undergo a series of shorter test flights before it goes around the world, and if all goes well, solar power could be the thing that takes you on your next vacation.

The advantages of solar energy include lower costs and zero emissions, which is exactly what the airline industry needs in order to provide reliable, cost-efficient, green technology. Today’s commercial airliners use an unbelievable amount of fuel—36,000 gallons of gas on a ten-hour flight in a Boeing 747—making solar power a better option for ticket prices and the environment.

Solar Power Begets Solar Power

One of the biggest challenges for solar power system creation is the production of the solar panels. Although solar energy itself leaves no carbon footprint, the manufacturing process does. Engineers at Oregon State University may have a solution to this problem.

Solar power may soon deliver enough energy to produce the solar panels without the use of traditional power sources. The sun is capable of producing copper indium diselenide ink, which is effective for use in solar energy production. This ink can be used to coat windows and other surfaces, effectively turning them into solar panels. The ink is extremely thin and versatile, and can convert solar power at rates of around 20 percent.

Not only is this production capability more energy-efficient; it is also faster. The process allows for solar technology to be produced in a matter of minutes, which is a significant improvement over current production times. This means that more materials can be made for less money, meaning that the cost of adding solar capability to a home may drop dramatically once this technology is put in place on a large scale.

With this new advance in solar panel system technology, the carbon emissions impact is reduced to virtually zero. The only consideration will be the transportation of the ink—a problem easily remedied by using electric vehicles instead of gas-powered ones for transportation and distribution. As researchers continue to study solar power, it is possible that solar energy will one day become the true zero-emissions energy source it is intended to be.

Solar Powered Smartphones Hit the Market

When it comes to solar energy, solar panels for home use aren’t the only way to benefit from this renewable resource. Luxury watch manufacturer Tag Heuer recently announced its solar-powered smartphone. This exclusive model may carry a $7,000 price tag, but could more affordable options for solar-powered smartphones around the corner?

The Meridiist Infinite by Tag Heuer is a limited-release, luxury smartphone. The production will be limited to about 1,900 pieces, which helps to create that expensive price tag. While it won’t be as popular as an iPhone, people who want the status that comes with a luxury phone will most likely be in a rush to get this new, innovative device. For more practical consumers, it is the solar panel technology that is interesting.

This phone uses photovoltaic components and sapphire glass to help harness the power of natural light. This means that the phone can essentially recharge itself when left in the sun. While other smartphones realize significant battery loss when left in sunlight, the Meridiist Infinite thrives on the exposure. The phone is made with Titanium and Carbon, which adds to its significant price tag, but it is possible that the same technology could be implemented with more consumer-friendly options.

For people who already have solar panels their homes, the idea of buying a solar-powered smartphone is an attractive one. Hopefully the major phone manufacturers will catch on to Tag Heuer’s latest innovation and use it for everyday products in the near future.

The Hybrid Plug-In Gives the Electric Car Some Gas

The electric car was ridiculed early on, with many skeptics saying that it would never take off. Today’s hybrid plug-ins are making the electric vehicle more palatable to many car buyers, and the biggest names in the auto industry have finally created models that people are willing to buy.

The hybrid plug-in combines an electric engine with a gas-powered option, so drivers can run their vehicles on all-gas, all electric, or a combination of the two, depending on their driving needs. For many, the ability to use a gas option is what makes these cars so desirable. For longer drives, the gas option can take the car farther without having to locate a charging station. The electric engine provides better gas mileage, so drivers can save money at the pump while feeling good about lowering their carbon footprint.

Today, the Ford Fusion Energi, the Honda Accord hybrid and the Chevy Volt are leading the pack with consumers looking for a more efficient, lower cost hybrid vehicle. These models aren’t the tiny, Smart Car-sized vehicles that were first envisioned when electric cars were first conceptualized. These hybrids are large enough to fit a whole family, and are affordable enough to be within the reach of most buyers.  With car charging stations popping up all over the country, these cars are more practical than ever before.

While not everyone has gotten on board with the electric-only options on the market, the hybrid plug-in is paving the way for more buyers to choose an environmentally friendly vehicle that is safe, efficient and affordable.