A solar energy fact that opponents like to bring up is that for several hours a day, from sunset to sunrise, solar energy cannot be generated. They like to claim this means that users of solar energy either 1) need an additional energy source for overnight, or 2) that solar energy must be stored for overnight, and that costs large amounts of money.
The truth of the matter is that having a backup energy source is never a bad idea. Just like the electric lines coming to your house from the power plant, your solar panels can malfunction, leaving you without power. When looking at solar energy facts, it is obvious that these glitches happen far less frequently than outages from traditional power sources, but they can happen. So having a backup energy source is just good planning. However, you won’t be needing it every night, as some people would have you believe.
During the day when your solar panels are collecting energy, they also charge the backup system, giving you plenty of energy to keep all your appliances and other electricity drains running all night.
But that backup storage is expensive, according to solar opponents. Again, the solar energy facts prove this to be a half-truth, at best. Storing large amounts of electricity — say, enough to run a city — can be costly, but a switch to solar does not increase the need to store electricity. As it is, according to the International Energy Association, having solar power make up a portion of the nation’s electric generating capacity has no impact on the need for electricity storage.
Solar power is taking the world by storm, but not many people even know how solar power, let alone solar panels work. Did you know that solar panels capture sunlight and convert it to energy using Photovoltaic (better known as PV) cells? Every PV cell is comprised of three parts- silicon layers, anti-reflective coating, and metal conductor strips. All three components of a PV cell have a very specific purpose in the PV cell’s functionality. For example, the silicon layer makes up most of the cell and is beefed up with phosphorus and boron to increase productivity. In addition, the anti-reflective coating ensures that photons (particles of light that generate electricity) are absorbed by the silicon layers and are not reflected away. Last and certainly not least, metal conductor strips help conduct the flow of electrons through the panel into wires and vice versa to create a closed loop. To find out more about how solar panels work, read the infographic below:
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Today’s soldiers have to carry a lot of gear with them in the field. Many of these devices require batteries, so soldiers must carry several heavy battery packs with them as they move to new locations. Solar power may be the solution to the problem of mobility for the US Army, proving once again that a solar power system can do more than just power a home.
Army experts are hoping that solar panels sewn into solders’ uniforms can harness the power of the sun to keep battery-operated devices working, without requiring everyone to carry heavy battery packs. This technology has already been introduced in the fashion world as an option for charging cell phones and tablets, so it makes sense that the US Army would take advantage of this technology for similar reasons.
Solar panels can also help to make the US Army more energy-efficient and save taxpayers some money. This is because there will be less need for convoys to travel to the soldiers’ locations to provide extra batteries for powering devices. Fewer trucks on the road means less fuel consumption, which benefits everyone.
The US Army has not yet put this technology to use on a large scale, but the idea of a solar power system removing extra weight from soldiers’ packs while saving energy is an idea that everyone can get behind. This technology could one day be used in many new and exciting ways on the battlefield and on home military bases.
Is California Leading the Way in the Solar Power Trend?
It’s no secret that solar power is growing in popularity in California, but the most recent numbers are still quite astounding. A recent report indicates that the number of solar panels installed in 2013 surpassed the number that had been installed in the previous 30 years combined. This news shows that there is great hope that the rise of the solar power system is imminent.
California is the leader in the country when it comes to solar panels and power. There is currently infrastructure in place to provide enough power to operate more than 600,000 homes. Of course, solar panels for home use aren’t the only contributor to the rise in popularity for solar energy. Many major retailers and corporations are getting in on the movement, with the state emerging as a leader for corporate solar power system operations.
There are challenges ahead in California for solar power. Traditional energy providers are less than thrilled at the growing influence of solar powers. Particularly polarizing is the ability of consumers to sell back unused energy to the grid. This has cut into profit margins for big electricity providers. Legislators and utilities have been carrying these concerns to the state legislature, but it remains to be seen just how many concessions lawmakers are willing to grant traditional energy providers.
California’s increasing use of solar power shows that this is a viable option for energy in the US. Many other states are increasing their use of solar panels, and it may only be a matter of time before solar power becomes just as popular in the rest of the country as it is in California.
Has Ford Created a Dependable Solar-Powered Car?
The Ford C Max has been a favorite among car buyers looking for hybrid technology and better fuel efficiency, so it make sense that Ford would choose this car line to test out its new solar energy concepts. The result is a car that may perform better than the average electric car. While it is still in the concept phase, it is showing much promise as a viable option for solar-powered travel in the future.
The new Ford C-Max Energi features solar panels on the top of the vehicle, which can charge the car’s lithium ion battery. Perhaps the most notable feature on the car is the solar panels, not for how they look, but how they blend into the car. Other attempts at solar panels for vehicles have resulted in large, protruding panels that made cars impractical. The C-Max Energi simply has panels built into the vehicle’s roof, and are practically indistinguishable from the rest of the car.
Adaptive technology will help to pilot the car in the direction where it will receive the most sunlight. So, if a car is parked under the shade of a tree, sensors in the car will roll the car slightly forward to attempt to receive more sunlight. Though this technology does pose a few problems, the engineers are working on viable solutions to make the car’s ability to seek sunlight a reality.
The Ford C-Max isn’t going to replace the plug-in electric car soon, but solar power could be the future of the electric car once Ford works out all the bugs in this new solar car.
Of the many advantages of solar energy, it is hard to pick the best one. Depending on your state of mind, you might think the fact that you are using a renewable energy source is the best. Maybe you’re just looking to save a bit of money so you think the reduced price on your electric bill is a great advantage. Either way, the advantages of solar energy just keep adding up.
For those who think the best advantage is the fact that solar energy is using a renewable energy source, it doesn’t stop there. Just by putting solar panels on your house you could be reducing energy costs by changing the normal temperature that might seep through your roof.
And if you think one of the best advantages of solar energy is the fact that your electric bill is going down, keep counting those pennies because it only gets better. There are tax incentives, and potential payments from the electric company to you. Skytech Solar is more than willing to help you make the most of your solar energy options, no matter what your reason may be!