Eco, Environment, Green, Solar -

Solar Energy

I would like to begin by saying I'm very pro-solar. Sunshine is free, abundant in my neck off the woods, and the potential energy output of a single solar beam is staggering if you listen to scientists describe it layman's terms much less technical. Solar power to my knowledge is waste free, clean energy that could be the long term answer to our energy crisis world wide, not just in my home state Florida. Given that the world is constantly "getting smaller" with the world's energy needs doing nothing but getting bigger, it seems to me that taking care off our environment while solving the biggest issues should be more and more at the fore front of everyone's mind. Solar technology continues to advance. The latest, greatest thing to come down the PV pike is thin-film solar cells. These cells are made of layered semiconductor materials that are only a few micrometers thick. This thin film technology makes possible roof shingles and tiles, building facades and window glazing made of photovoltaic material. These shingles and glazing are just as protective and durable as conventional shingles and glazing. There are, naturally, pros and cons to using solar panels. Some of the advantages include zero carbon emissions. No pollution, no waste. It’s some of the cleanest energy you’re bound to find in this or any other galaxy. Advantage number two is freeing yourself (at least partially) from power companies. No more dependence on the power grid system, no more being at the mercy of outages and rate hikes. The main disadvantage of solar panels is price. The average cost for a home installation of the typical solar panel system is $35,000 (thankfully as technology marches on this should go down though). There are two types of solar panel systems: solar thermal system and the solar electric system. The solar thermal system is less expensive than solar electric systems. Solar thermal systems can cost as little as $7,700, but a typical solar electric system costs about $44,000. Rebates are available for the installation of solar panels. A second disadvantage of solar electric systems is that they must be protected from mechanical damage (in particular against hail impact, wind and snow loads, ice). This is especially important for wafer-based silicon cells which are brittle. A third disadvantage you may not consider a disadvantage—it depends on your point of view. Some people think they look bad up there on the roof. If you have the funds available or feel strongly enough about contributing to the solution, solar is a great way to go. Another way to participate with solar is to look up your local energy provider. For instance my local energy provider FPL (Florida Power & Light) offers multiple avenues for you to participate in solar through them. If everyone expresses the need to further expand this outstanding technology, it will only get more effective and more affordable. Check out your solar options today!

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