The use of solar power in the home is becoming an attractive proposition for a growing number of people. Many people use solar power by harnessing the sun's energy to heat their homes and to run different appliances. It is an economical and earth-friendly way to bring power into the home, and can cut external power consumption by 50 to 70%. There are a number of ways you can use solar power in the home, including through solar heat systems and solar panels that generate electricity.
Once implemented in the home, solar water heating can be used to heat the home and to generate hot water. A collector mounted on a roof or other elevated area is used to absorb the thermal energy from the sun, often magnifying the heat and storing the resulting hot water. This heat can be used to supply hot water to the home, or it can be piped through radiators to provide warmth. This can not only lower utility bills, but also add value to your home when you come to sell it.
The technology used in solar power is the solar electric panel, which uses photons to generate electricity. These photovoltaic (PV) panels can be free standing rigid sheets used to harness the sun's energy. They can also be set into the roof, or you can get peel and stick laminates, depending on your roof type. As the photons of light hit the panels, they excite electrons in the material used to make them; this higher state of energy is then captured as electricity.
The energy is converted to electricity through a modified grid system. This system is no different to the usual grid system found in the home, except that it also converts solar energy. The system also has a meter installed that reads how much solar power the home has used compared to normal electricity. The meter subtracts the solar energy electricity, and the amount left is the figure applied to the utility bill.
Most solar power systems are also capable of storing some of the energy that they generate. If there is a surplus of energy, it can be used at a later time to heat rooms and generate hot water. It can also be used to light your home or supply electricity to other electronic devices.
Cutting costs is the main reason people use solar power in their homes. Depending on the system, solar panels can pay for themselves in about 12 years. By the year 2020, the US Department of Energy hopes that this form of electricity generation will become commonplace in the home. The agency hope to see normal energy consumption cut by about 70% in that timescale.