Working for 40 hours or more per week just to spend your earnings on electricity can be very frustrating. For that reason, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to save a bit in electricity costs. One solution is using solar panels. However, before investing in solar panels, make sure to research first and calculate costs to find out if it is right for your specific situation.
Are we ready for a transition from traditional electric power to solar power technology? For the longest time, our world relies on fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) as the biggest source of energy for the generation of electricity. Fossil fuels are decomposed plants and animals buried millions of years ago subjected to extreme heat and pressure inside the earth’s crust. This natural process converts fossil fuels into carbon-rich substances which when burned generate energy. Together with nuclear power, both are non-renewable sources of energy. There are also renewable sources which include solar energy from the sun, wind energy, geothermal energy or heat from inside the earth, hydroelectric energy from flowing water, and biomass from plants. With the increase in awareness and popularity of solar power technology, more and more people and business owners are venturing into this as they realize its benefits and advantages, not only economically, but more so, environmentally.
Solar power cell technology started in 1839 when the French physicist Edmond Becquerel discovered the “photovoltaic or PV effect” while experimenting on a cell made up of metal electrodes in a conducting solution. In the PV effect, he found out that a cell produced more electricity when exposed to light. This is the basis of the solar panels used in our homes and other establishments today to absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity.
What are Solar Panels and how do they work?
The Solar Panels are the large black framework we see on roofs or business establishments that come in rectangular shapes. They are made up of a bunch of photovoltaic cells or solar cells made up of silicon semiconductors that absorb sunlight and transform into heat or electricity. A silicon atom is interconnected to each other by strong bonds to keep the electrons in place. When sunlight strikes a solar panel in the form of photons, the electrons are knocked down and can loosely move, creating a direct current(DC). A direct current flows only in one direction and can only be used in small devices like a calculator. An inverter then converts the direct current into alternating current (AC), which is the electricity used in houses and business establishments. Aside from residential and commercial use, it can also be utilized in large-scale industrial. However, thousands or even millions of solar panels are arranged in a vast solar array or farm to provide electricity for a large population.
Advantages and Limitations of Solar Panels
The most important advantage of solar panels is that with solar energy, we can have a clean, free, and renewable source of energy. Sunlight is abundant in all areas of the world, so as long as the sun shines, solar energy is accessible every day. The amount of energy captured from the sun in an hour is enough to provide the world for one year. The use of solar energy also has an impact on environmental change since it reduces the carbon footprints by minimizing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, making it environmentally friendly. Another huge benefit is the reduction in your electric bills. With the use of solar panels, your consumption of electricity from the distribution facility will be less and can be cut up to 50%. If you solely use the electricity generated by the solar panels, then your electric bill can be converted to zero.
Solar energy has multiple applications. Aside from generating electricity and heat, it can also distill water in areas with limited water supply, provide electricity in areas without an accessible grid, and power satellites. Although installation is a bit expensive, maintenance is low cost. Once installed, it may last for 20-25 years with little maintenance. Technology development of the solar industry is constantly advancing and innovations in the near future are quite promising which will address some of its limitations. Such limitations include high initial cost, expensive storage, location and availability of sunlight, large area for installation, and some issues on pollution and environmental impact.
How much would it cost for Solar Power in Illinois?
The cost of solar panels is expressed in dollars per watt of energy generated, averaging to $3 to $5 per watt for a residential solar system. The total cost would be $15,000 to $25,000 for the average home.
Comparison between traditional electricity and use of solar panels
The sun is the direct source of energy in the use of solar panels as compared to traditional electricity where energy is indirectly provided by the utility provider. Solar energy is a renewable source making it readily available. As long as the sun shines, it will never be depleted. On the other hand, grid power depends on fossil fuels which are in danger of depletion in the future. The continuing increase in electric bills is controlled by the utility provider, whereas in solar power, you control the use of electricity, thus, you can reduce the electric bills or even convert it to zero. Since fossil fuels are the source of grid or traditional power, harmful gases are released into the environment during the burning process, whereas in the generation of solar power, gases are not emitted, making it safer and environmentally friendly.
In conclusion, after weighing the pros and cons of installing a solar panel, comparing it with the traditional or grid power, and finding out how much it would cost, solar panels are worth the investment. Solar panels have a promising and bright future because it is good for the environment, renewable and reliable, and most of all it can save you money in the long run. Solar Power Midwest offers reliable solar panel installation services. If you think solar power Illinois is right for your home, call the company now for a free estimate.