Solar Power Use
There are many applications that take advantage of solar power use from the more common solutions that generate power with PV panels, to less common ones like water distillation and solar chimneys. All of these applications of solar power are made possible by the energy the sun provides us for free.
The conversion of sunlight to electricity is one of the most common forms of solar power use. Even though it started as a commercial solution initially, it has become a very popular choice as a residential solar power solution as well.
Portable Solar Power
Photovoltaic (PV) systems have also branched out to other mobile applications on boats and RV’s. All of these systems rely on photovoltaic solar technology to convert sunlight to power.
In the case of a home solar power system this power is then converted to AC current that can be used by the home instead of buying it from the local utility. A similar application can be found in a variety of portable forms like those used on boats and RV’s.
With these systems the DC power supplied by the PV panels is used to charge batteries and power electronics directly. Both of these solutions provide a great portable solution for solar power use.
This portable concept has even been used as a backup power source in times of disaster. Systems are available that include a solar panel and controller unit that can be charged during the day and then if a power failure occurs you can simply plug a few appliances or lighting into the controller.
The internal batteries that have been charged by the solar panels will provide enough power to run some of this electronics for hours.
Large Scale Solar Power
There is even a very specific application of PV technology that is larger in scale and used on commercial ships. This system involves large sails that are retrofitted to the ships that have a thin layer of PV cells on their upper side.
The sails help power the boat and the solar cells charge the ships batteries and provide power to the electronics onboard directly. The savings a system like this provides can be as much as 25% of their fuel costs on larger ships.
Home Water Heating with Solar Power
Other forms of solar power use have also grown in popularity in recent years. Solar thermal heating for a homes water supply is now a very common practice. These systems consist of a small solar power collector that is mounted on your roof.
This solar collector contains a webbing of small pipes that are used to pass the water from the home through the collector. As it is exposed to the sun, the water in these tubes is heated and returned to the home for immediate use, or sent to a thermal collection tank for use later.
These systems are very simple to install and operate since they have very few moving parts. They are also very effective and can heat all the water a typical household will need.
This type of solar power use has also been adapted for the heating of swimming pools and can help these pool owners minimize their energy expenses. This type of systems use a series of panels that contain webbing like the solar collectors described previously to pass the pools water through for heating.
All of these systems are great examples of solar power use and can help you become as energy independent as you want.
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