The Future Of Producing Energy For Households

The Future Of Producing Energy For Households Image
Solar power for residential houses is nothing new. It's just been relegated to the background in lieu of rising cost of real estate property; newer more innovative building materials, design and the limitation of resources.

Since man started building homes, sunlight played a major influence in the design. In fact, even in the more advanced urban planning method of the Ancient Chinese and Greeks, the orientation of the buildings is as much as possible directed towards where it could capture the most sunlight.

The ancients might not be as intellectually sophisticated then to use catch phrases as passive solar and thermal mass but when they build, they were building in compact proportion, employing overhangs, producing insulations and building in manners that direct the airflow within the structure and producing well lit, well ventilated spaces using the relative position of the sun to the orientation of their structures.

Lately, as the conventional sources of energy became more expensive, homeowners were once again turning to the sun for energy requirements.

Since the 1950's, harnessing the sun's rays has been developing and these days the solar cell technology has achieved very efficient levels that modern (so-called greenhouse) designs utilize the sun's power to supply power for the home.

While solar power is free, the unit that will convert it to operate our appliances is not. To produce solar energy for the home, solar cells called photovoltaic made out of semi-conducting materials, are gathered into modules. These solar power panels are mounted on rooftops, yards or open spaces where it can capture the maximum amount of sunlight.

Whenever possible, the panels will be installed facing south to get the most out of the sunlight but tracking systems are also used to follow the direction of the sun. The solar panels collect the energy from the sunlight. The process basically is that when the panels are exposed to sunlight, the electrons are separated from the atoms. This movement of the electrons creates electricity.

To store power, pumps are often used - circulating water in the cells. The water goes into a storage tank where the power is stored, ready for use. Sometimes, the use of gravity is employed if it will just the same store the heated water in to the tank.

Despite all the improvement in solar energy recently, the use of this technology is not enough to provide power to the entire house. The best way thus far can only fulfill about 80% of a households energy needs. The employment of solar energy for the home will still require the use of the conventional power distribution strategy.

Powering the households by solar means will still, for some time be by a local power distribution agency. To many, this is presently a good place to start. Home owners that feel that the high cost of running their houses by way of solar power, is justified when compared to the price that is now being paid for conventional electrification process where horrendous amounts of CO2 are being left into the environment simply to generate a pitiful level of electrical power.

However, due in part to the rising costs of energy, the technology for solar energy has been undergoing rapid phases of development. Experts are confident that within five years, powering the home through the solar method will be made widely available for those who prefer it as its sole energy source.

Credit: [Stavros Takahashi]