Great Ways to Use Solar Panels

There are two main solar panel uses in the domestic setting. The first is as PV panels that generate electricity for the home. The second is as a solar hot water panel to provide water that has been heated by solar energy.

Solar electric panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most commonly seen type. These panels are installed on the roof or side of a building that receives the most sunlight throughout the day.

Solar panels to generate electricity are still fairly expensive but are rapidly reducing in price due to rising popularity and new developments in technology. More and more homeowners are turning to solar power as an efficient way to generate electricity and they will eventually provide return on investment due to reduced bills from power companies. After several years of use they may even start to make a profit as they generate electricity that can be sold back into the grid. Some areas are now offering grants to homeowners who install solar electric panels as a way to encourage a greener use of energy.

PV panels obviously work best in areas with a lot of bright sunlight, but electricity can be generated even on a cloudy or dull day. Remote communities can take the best advantage of them as they may not be connected to another source of electricity and using solar panels allows them to be self-sufficient in their energy production.

Solar water heating works by directing water through a section of long thin pipe, usually on the roof, which is optimized to be heated quickly by the sun. The panel behind the pipe is covered by a reflective material to reflect the heat from the sun back into the pipe. Once the water has passed through the entirety of the pipe, the water is collected in a hot water tank for later use.

In some countries the sun may not be strong enough to heat the water to a sufficiently high temperature, especially in winter. However a solar water heater can still result in a significant energy saving as it requires much less power to heat the warmed water to the required temperature than it does to heat cold water.

Solar water heaters require a large area as the pipe needs to be very long and therefore the panels are fairly large and in some cases may take up most of the space on the roof of the building.

It can be quite expensive to buy and install a solar water panel but, as with PV panels, the cost will be made back over time in energy savings. There are calculators available online which can help you to estimate how long it will take to make back your initial investment.

As advances in technology are made over time, it is likely that the systems described above will become cheaper to install and more commonplace. It is also likely that an increasing number of solar panel uses will be identified in the quest for greener, more renewable energy.

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