Surprising Uses for Home Solar Power? Here Comes the Sun
by Roger Diez
One of the most frequently discussed topics today is green home energy. Of all the types of renewable resources, solar energy is by far the most easily adaptable to the average home. As a homeowner, you can create a solar home by installing rooftop solar panels to provide heat or to generate electricity. A typical solar home system consists of two parts: collectors for sunlight and some sort of storage unit, such as a hot water tank or a battery. Using solar energy for thermal purposes is far more efficient than the use of photovoltaic cells for providing electricity. A study reported in the International Journal of Global Energy Issues, in 2009, indicates a return on investment in two years from thermal solar installations, versus a ten-year payback for photovoltaic (PV) energy transfer used for heating.
Typical Uses For Solar Energy: The Basics
If you are building a new home, you can design it to accommodate passive solar technology, taking advantage of window design and placement and natural air circulation for heating and cooling. In an existing home, rooftop solar panels can be incorporated into an active heating system using pumps and fans for air circulation. In either case, a solar hot water heater will save you a considerable amount of money over a gas or electric water heater. In-floor radiant heating is one of the more popular uses for solar energy heating.
Creative Solar Energy Applications: What's New
Beyond solar home basics, there are additional uses for home solar power. Think about harnessing solar power where you use energy in and around your home. For instance:
In snowy climates you can use solar energy to provide radiant heating for sidewalks and driveways
Swimming pools or hot tubs heated by solar energy can greatly reduce natural gas and electricity expenditures
You can install photovoltaic solar systems to provide low-cost landscape lighting
Solar energy can supply power for pumps in decorative fountains
During the winter months, power grow lights for hydroponic gardening by tapping into your solar energy
If you take a close look around your home and garden, you can imagine even more uses for solar power.
About the Author:
Roger Diez has a broad range of business and management experience and is well-versed in home improvement projects.