WHY SOLAR?   (part 1)
(why solar, what is current energy, choosing renewable energy,
energy audit, various types of panels)
by Amanda Robinson
How Solar Panels Work?

Solar energy is a great way to conserve energy, lower your energy bills and
decrease your carbon footprint. So why haven't more people jumped on the
solar energy bandwagon yet? In addition to being aesthetically unappealing,
most people I talk to think solar panels are useless in areas that are cloudy.
They are also unaware that solar energy is relatively not as expensive as in the
past. Working with a green architect can give you innovative ideas and can
incorporate the panels into the architectural design making them more
aesthetically appealing. Also, contrary to popular belief solar panels can be
used in various different climates and the price of installation has dexcreased
as well. Technology has improved throughout the years, coming a long way
since the creation of the first solar field in 1912.  

Today,
Photovoltaic solar panels, invented in 1954, consist of grids of raised
black cells that, up until now have usually come in the form of large clunky
rectangular panels that either stand alone, or must be bolted onto a roof.  
Solar Panels are now available to homeowners in different varieties ranging
from tiles to super thin panels.  In this series we will discuss how to audit your
energy consumption, the different varieties of panels, the best way to store
your energy and of course tax incentives and savings. Let’s begin with the
green reasons for installing solar panels.

What is Current Energy?

Energy comes in many different forms, heat (thermal), light (radiant),
mechanical, electrical, chemical, and nuclear energy. We get most of our
energy from nonrenewable energy sources, which include the fossil fuels -- oil,
natural gas, and coal.  Fossil fuels are found in deposits beneath the earth,
formed from plants and animals that lived up to 300 million years ago.
Fossils fuels were created by ancient sunlight and when burned the fuels
release into the atmosphere CO2, a harmful greenhouse gas. The growing
thought, believed by some scientists, is that we should never have harnessed
fuels created by ancient sunlight.  Something so detrimental to our planet,
as CO2, could not be the correct choice of fuel; therefore, scientists suggest
only the use of current energy, which of course is renewable.

Non-renewable resources are energy sources that we use up and take a
long period of time, if at all, to renew itself.  Non-renewable resources include
oil, coal, nuclear and natural gas all of which emit harmful toxins damaging
our planet. Renewable energy sources can be replenished in a very short time
and all use current energy like solar (sun), wind, geothermal (energy from inside
the earth), biomass (plants) and hydropower (water).  We use all these energy
sources to generate the electricity we need for our homes, businesses, schools,
and factories.  We have come to a nexus as a society where duty and
responsibility are paramount.  Choosing a renewable energy source is the
most responsible choice we can make.  So what can we do to make our
home energy efficient and break us from our dependence on fossils fuels?  
What Renewable energy should I choose?
A homeowner can choose from different renewable energy resource options,
such as, solar panels, geothermal and hydroelectric. A combination of all of
these resources would make your home completely sustainable, but we will start
with solar.  In addition to monetary savings, federal and state tax rebates and
incentives make solar panels an obvious green choice among homeowners. So
after you have installed your energy efficient appliances, replaced those light
bulbs with LED lights and sealed the doors and windows you are ready to install
your solar panels.  First, let’s calculate your energy costs and see what it would
take to make your home sustainable.

Auditing your energy consumption
To effectively audit your energy usage this calculator requires you to provide
your address, square footage of your home, kilowatt per hour, annual total
kilowatts, annual dollar amount and natural gas cost. Click on the link below to
get started. Your distributor will also give you a more accurate estimate, but this
is a quick look at what you will need.
So Many Options
Yes, you have options when choosing your
solar panels all which make solar panels on
your home aestheticly pleasing, more efficient
and easier to install.

C21e tiles and slates fit directly to the roof, in the
same way as normal tiles, so the appearance of
your roof line is not altered. Installation is as
simple as re-roofing with conventional tiles.
Lumeta™, which offers three options, utilizes “monocrystalline cells” and a
“standard EVA based cell encapsulation process.” PowerPly panels are thin,
high efficiency panel with a strong adhesive backing material, thus eliminating
the need for rack mounting. This system reduces installation time and is
compatible with most rooftops.  Next, the Lumeta™ Solar Flat Tiles are installed
on flat tiled roof system made of concrete or clay.  Tiles use standard connectors
(Quick Connect), limiting the number of penetrations and making installation
simple. The Lumeta™ Solar S Tile is designed to fit the curved Spanish tile roof.
Offered in traditional clay colors and will fit the dimensions of major tile
manufacturers.  The tiles are installed using the same Quick Connect as the
Lumeta™ Solar Flat Tile.
SUNSLATES™ are Solar photovoltaic (PV) electric roofing tiles that are similar to
roof tiles and are efficient in any climate. There is a 100% overlap preventing
rainwater from penetrating the roof. SUNSLATES™ can be mounted to traditional
slate roofing and can be accomplished by any trained roofer & electrician. This
company also offers MegaSlate® as another roofing alternative.
This Concludes Part 1
The next article will cover how solar panels work, how to harness the energy from the
meantime, please feel free to us the links below to research on your own. Enjoy!

Read WHY SOLAR PART 2
Links:

Lumeta™ Solar
Solar City
How Solar Panels Work
Resources:

solaractionalliance.org
www.solarpanelsplus.com
www.thesolarplan.com

WHY SERIES?
by
Amanda Robinson

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