Powering your home with solar electricity is a great way to help create energy independence while lowering your impact on the environment. Using a solar power system, electricity that has been derived from sunlight is a clean, renewable way to lessen your reliance on the utility while harnessing the power of nature to power your home.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need to set up a solar power system in your home to take your first step toward green energy independence. A prominent type of solar power system is the photovoltaic system, which consists of solar panels that contain semiconductors, which, when struck by sunlight, create a direct current (DC). In the case of both solar panel kits (do it yourself) and solar panel installers (hired professionals), solar panels need to be able to capture a significant amount of sunlight, and depending on the scope of your project – i.e., if you plan to power your entire home, part of it, or just want to make a dent in your monthly utility bill – you’ll need to determine how many panels to get.
One your panels are installed, you’ll need to connect them to a converter so that the direct current (DC) is transformed into alternating (AC) current, which is looped into the utility grid. Depending on how much electricity you consume and the size of your solar system, you could generate an amount of solar electricity proportionate to your usage; you could generate more than you consume, in which case the excess electricity is routed back into the grid for others in your neighborhood to consume – and which could yield you credits to your bill; or you might generate some, but not all of the electricity you require, in which case the utility will supplement the amount not produced by your solar system.
Clean, Green, and Renewable
Unlike electricity derived from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, solar electricity has minimal impact on the environment. It produces none of the pollutants or toxins that poison the air and land when fossil fuels are burned to be converted into electricity. The production of solar electricity generates none of the carbon dioxide that fossil fuels create and which is believed to contribute to climate change, dead zones, and other environmentally noxious results. In fact, solar electricity, when broken down into its simplest process, is nothing more than a sunbeam hitting a piece of silicon and knocking protons loose which are directed into an electrical current.
Because sunlight exists every day, it will never run out and is therefore considered a renewable form of energy. It’s true the ultimate effectiveness of solar electricity depends on a variety of factors, including cloud cover, the position of the earth, and importantly, the size and scope of the solar system employed, but since the sun rises every day, you are assured of capturing some level of sunlight to be transformed into electricity.
Given that solar panels generally have a lifespan of more than 30 years, a solar power system will positively benefit the environment and may increase the value of your home. In fact, solar panels may increase in value over time if electricity prices rise.