Some ways of using it are free - some cost a little - and some cost a lot.
The idea is to get the most out of the solar energy that falls on your property while using the least expensive, least invasive and most efficient method for each job.
We've got savvy strategies for doing just that.
Find information, articles and tips for using solar energy successfully.
Passive Solar Power - Collect free energy and delegate most of your heating and cooling costs to the sun. Simply design a space that makes the most use of the sunlight that falls on your property.
No moving parts, no techy installations, just creative manipulation of the natural heat and light from the sun.
Passive solar design creates a balance where the sun is encouraged into areas for daytime comfort and is stored in dense materials, such as masonry and floor tiles, for nighttime comfort in cool climates. Additionally, the thoughtful placement of greenery and breezeways keep summer temperatures from soaring in hot climates.
Thermal Solar Power - Take advantage of the heat thrown off by the sun. Aside from passively allowing it into your home there are some active measures you can take to capture the thermal energy for heating household water, swimming pools and spaces.
A significant portion of your home's energy bill can be offset by installing a thermal water heater.
This low tech alternative is affordable, practical and ultra green. Before you buy a photovoltaic system make sure your thermal system is in place.
PV Panels - This is the spendy kind of solar power.
Making electricity from the sun requires photovoltaic or thin film panels. The energy the panels produce can be stored in batteries to use whenever you want it.Panels turn sunlight into DC energy which can be stored in batteries as-is. It can be used as-is too, as long as the appliance runs on 12V energy (the kind that uses a cigarette type plug.
An inverter converts the energy from DC to AC, which can be used with conventional household appliances.
There are a number of variables that have to be considered when establishing a home solar system.
Latitude, insolation, system size and installation costs will each have an effect on the choices you make and the ultimate cost of bringing solar to your home.
Making the whole thing work together. Here are step by step guidelines for making sure your projects work for you.
Don't make a move until you've read these tips for spending the least amount of money for the best system.
You won't need a science major to learn and share information about the sun's abundant energy and the best ways to use it.
Over the years we've waded through a lot of technical talk as we completely outfitted our living quarters to run on solar.
It happens that our living quarters are aboard a 41 foot sailboat for the time being.
Using this alternate energy source has been a balancing act between practicing some basic energy conservation techniques and harvesting enough energy to live comfortably and power the laptop that makes this website possible.
Although sun panels collect an optimum amount of power when the sun shines brightly they still work on cloudy days at a reduced level.
The deeper the cloud cover and the longer it lasts the less power the panels will generate.
No, but sometimes, during the full phase of the moon, we've noticed a blip on our monitor.
Independence from unstable fuel prices, security during blackouts and environmental sustainability are no small rewards for utilizing a resource that is available for the collecting.