What exactly is solar energy and how does it work?

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    Solar energy is the most abundant resource in the world and is increasingly being used to power households and businesses. While solar power still matters a small percentage of electricity generated in the USA is growing.

    Solar energy offers both individuals and business owners a unique opportunity to save electricity costs while protecting the environment and reducing their carbon footprint. However, it is High costs and long-term maintenance of solar panels remains a sticking point for many. Read on to learn what solar power is, how it works, and what are the pros and cons.

    What is solar energy?

    Solar power is energy generated by the sun and converted into usable energy that can provide electricity and heat. Solar energy is the cleanest form of energy and the most readily available. In fact, according to the US Department of Energy, enough sunlight hits the surface of the earth every hour and a half to meet all of the world’s energy consumption for a year.

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    How does solar energy work?

    The technology allows us to use solar energy in a number of ways: Photovoltaic, solar heating and cooling and concentrating solar energy.

    Photovoltaics is the form of solar energy that most of us are likely to be familiar with. It uses solar panels to capture the energy generated by the sun. That energy is then converted into electricity that can be used to power homes, businesses, and more.

    Solar heating and cooling, also known as solar thermal, enables us to obtain energy from the sun in order to heat and cool rooms. Just like using solar energy to generate electricity, using solar energy for heating and cooling reduces reliance on other energy sources that are not as sustainable or environmentally friendly.

    The concentrated solar energy is the third possibility to use the energy of the sun and also relies on solar thermal energy. In this method, mirrors reflect and concentrate solar energy that can be stored and used later. This happens in concentrating solar power plants.

    A Guide to Solar Energy for Residential Buildings

    Solar energy has become an increasingly popular source of power generation for households and businesses in the United States, and this trend is expected to continue.

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the United States has nearly 109 gigawatts of solar power installed, enough to power 18.9 million homes. The US solar market has grown about 42% per year over the past decade and there are more than 3 million individual solar installations.

    Fortunately, solar energy is more accessible than ever. There are many companies that specialize in providing solar panels to homes and businesses. You can even Buy solar panels at your local hardware store and either install it yourself or have someone do it professional.

    Once you have made the initial investment in installing solar panels in your home, you can have the financial and environmental savings for decades, but there are many challenges associated with owning and maintaining solar panels.


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    Advantages and disadvantages of solar energy

    Solar energy has some serious advantages for both consumers and the environment, but it is also important to discuss the disadvantages.

    Benefits of solar energy

    • Does not emit air pollutants and greenhouse gases, which means it is more environmentally friendly than traditional electricity generation.
    • Helps individuals and businesses lower their energy bills by relying on solar power for their power supply.
    • Reduces the load on the grid, which benefits everyone, and even enables solar panel owners to sell their excess electricity back to the grid.
    • Sustainable as solar panels last for many years and solar energy is a renewable resource that is plentiful and more accessible than traditional energy sources.
    • Can be saved in Solar batteries to use later when the sun is not shining.

    Disadvantages of solar energy

    • Requires a significant financial investment that can make it inaccessible to many individuals and businesses.
    • Only effective when the sun is shining which means it will be less useful in certain times of the year or in certain regions with less sunlight.
    • Can require a lot of panels, depending on the amount of solar energy you want to generate for your home or business.

    The bottom line

    Solar energy is the cleanest form of energy and at the same time the most abundant and accessible. People are increasingly using energy to save money and reduce their environmental impact. Here are some resources to get you started with solar power:

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