A Beginner’s Guide to Using Solar Energy for Your Home
One of the biggest benefits of solar energy systems is that they emit 80% less carbon than fossil fuels. Despite that, they can still generate enough energy to power entire homes.
So, a big enough system can be your ticket to saying goodbye to your monthly electricity bills! All in all, going solar can help you save not only money but also the environment.
There are several ways to access and harness the sun’s power, though. Below is a guide on the basics of solar energy use, so keep reading to ensure you get into the process well-informed.
You Can Harness Solar Energy in Two Ways
When talk comes to solar energy, people immediately think of solar panels. However, the use of such solar energy systems is just one way to harness the sun’s power. In this case, photovoltaic (PV) panels generate what you refer to as “active solar power.”
The other method to take advantage of the sun’s power is through passive solar energy. This refers to the direct use of the sun’s energy to heat and light up a building. A home with a passive solar design can consume about 30% less energy than one without.
Homes built with passive solar designs take into account window orientation and placement. They also come with well-installed insulation and high-efficiency ventilation systems. However, their primary goal is to reduce and not eliminate electricity use.
With that said, combining active and passive solar energy can help you save more than if you use just one of them. So, aside from installing PV panels, you should also repair faulty windows and seal air leaks. Window films can also control solar heat while allowing UV-free light into your home.
Active Solar Energy Requires a Converter
If your goal is to eliminate your electricity bills, you need active solar power. To achieve this, you need to convert the sun’s power first. The best technology for this is a solar PV system.
A PV system consists of several photovoltaic panels made up of many solar cells. Each PV panel has about 60 to 72 cells. Together, they collect sunlight and then convert it into an electrical current.
Once converted, the PV-generated power works much like your typical electrical energy.
The Right System Size Can Eliminate Your Electricity Bills
A solar panel exposed to direct sunlight for five hours can generate about 1.5 kWh of electricity. If this scenario occurs every day, then one panel can have a monthly output of 45 kWh.
As impressive as that is, 45 kWh is but a fraction of the average US household’s electricity use. For instance, in 2019, the average US home consumed 877 kWh of electricity per month.
So, if you want to go 100% solar, you’d need at least 20 panels with an output rate of 1.5 kWh each. This way, your solar PV system can generate 30 kWh of energy a day, or 900 kWh a month.
If you’re not sure how big a system you need, reach out to a local solar installer. Some solar energy companies offer free on-site assessments. Take advantage of these offers, as they can give you an idea of how many PV panels you need to go 100% solar.
Solar Power: The Green Energy that Saves More of Your Green Currency
Solar energy, be it active or passive, can help mitigate your energy bills. However, being independent of retail electricity does require professionally-installed solar panels. It’s a worthy investment, though, as high-quality solar PV modules can last for up to three decades, anyway.
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