Solar energy – power from the sun – is free and inexhaustible.
This vast, clean energy resource represents a viable alternative to the fossil fuels that currently pollute our air and water.
Taking advantage of Solar Energy just makes sense and would allow us to become better stewards of our environment and economy.
In the broadest sense, solar energy supports all life on Earth and is the basis for almost every form of energy we use.
The sun makes plants grow, which can be burned as “biomass” fuel or, if left to rot in swamps and compressed underground for millions of years, in the form of coal and oil.
Heat from the sun causes temperature differences between areas, producing wind that can power turbines.
Water evaporates because of the sun, falls on high elevations, and rushes down to the sea, spinning hydroelectric turbines as it passes. But solar energy usually refers to ways in which the sun’s energy can be used to directly generate heat, lighting and electricity.
Solar Energy, and harnessing this energy is not a new concept.
Solar thermal energy was used by ancient civilizations and Solar panels have been around since the early part of the 20th century.
Thankfully, recent advances in technology have increased the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Solar energy exponentially. Projections show it will be possible for the United States to meet 100% of its energy needs using Solar power within the next 14 years.
Solar Energy can be converted into different forms of power, but the two most common types are Thermal and Electric.
The systems required for each process of conversion take up little space and require almost no maintenance.
Additionally, both processes are emission-free, so there is minimal impact to the environment.
Solar Electric – Photovoltaic (PV)
The solar module (or photovoltaic component) is the heart of the system.
Put simply, it transforms the sun’s rays into useable electrical energy.
The solar module (or panel) is comprised of numerous individual photovoltaic cells connected in series or parallel with a metallic material.
The energy produced by a solar module is influenced primarily by the number of cells within a module and how these cells are arranged within the module.
The size of your Solar PV system will be dictated by you, based on the amount of electricity you want to offset using from your local power company or EMC in your home, business, school or church.
American Solar & Alternative Energies can answer all your questions on how solar works, show you the best location and application for your building, then work with you to design, and install the PV Array that will help you meet your goals.
Solar Thermal Energy
Solar Thermal energy is the technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat).
Solar thermal collectors are defined by the USA Energy Information Administration as low, medium, or high-temperature collectors.
Low temperature collectors are generally used to heat swimming pools.
Medium-temperature collectors are are used for creating hot water for residential and commercial use.
High-temperature collectors concentrate sunlight using mirrors or lenses and are generally used for electric power production using steam turbines.