Solar energy is an innovative technology that integrates solar power production directly into a residential home. This renewable energy technology enables homes to generate their own power, reducing reliance on the grid and decreasing carbon footprints. The integration of this technology with modern construction is making it increasingly possible for more homes and businesses to adopt renewable energy and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Solar energy can be harnessed in various ways to power your home. Here are some practical uses:
Solar electricity is the most common use of solar energy. By installing solar panels, or photovoltaic (PV) panels, on your roof or property, you can generate your own electricity and reduce reliance on the grid. Solar panels are a popular way to generate renewable energy at home. This energy can power all your home appliances, from lighting to HVAC systems.
When solar panels are installed on a roof, they can produce electricity to power your household appliances, reduce your reliance on the grid, and lower your energy bills. Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Energy Generation. The PV cells found in solar panels are usually made from silicon. When sunlight hits these cells, it knocks electrons loose, creating an electric current. This is a direct current (DC), which is not typically usable by most household appliances.
Step 2: Conversion to Usable Energy. The DC electricity produced by the panels must be converted to alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used in most homes. This conversion is done by a device called an inverter. Some solar installations use a central inverter for the whole system, while others use microinverters attached to each individual panel.
Step 3: Distribution. Once the electricity has been converted to AC, it’s distributed throughout your home via your home’s electrical panel. It can then be used to power your appliances, lights, and other electrical devices.
Step 4: Net Metering and Energy Storage. If your panels produce more electricity than you can use, the surplus can be fed back into the grid through a process called net metering, earning you credits on your electricity bill. Alternatively, you could store the excess energy in a home battery system for use during the night or on cloudy days when the panels aren’t generating as much power. This is important in areas of the country like Washington.
It’s also important to note that solar panel systems usually come with some sort of monitoring software that allows you to track how much electricity your panels are producing and how much your home is using. This app, web portal, or software can often be accessed through a smartphone app or a web interface.
There is more to think about when considering this option. We encourage you to consider battery storage. If your home produces more solar energy than you need, you can store the excess in a battery system (like a Tesla Powerwall) for use when the sun isn’t shining.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heaters use solar panels to absorb heat from the sun and use it to warm water stored in a tank. These systems can be very cost-effective, especially in areas with high year-round sunshine.
Similar to solar water heating, solar thermal systems can be used to heat homes directly. Solar air heaters capture solar energy and use it to warm air, which is then circulated throughout your home.
Solar ovens use sunlight to cook food, providing a sustainable, cost-effective, and off-grid cooking solution. They can reach temperatures high enough to bake, boil, and steam foods.
Solar-powered outdoor lights absorb sunlight during the day and release it at night, providing illumination without using grid electricity. Some indoor lighting solutions also use solar energy, typically involving a solar panel on the roof connected to rechargeable batteries that power the lights.
There are numerous solar-powered appliances on the market, from phone chargers to portable generators. These products can reduce your home’s overall energy consumption.
Solar Pool Heating
If you have a swimming pool, a solar pool heating system can be a cost-effective way to keep it warm. These are hugely popular in southern states like Florida and Texas, where sunshine and backyard pools abound. In a solar pool heating system, the system circulates pool water through solar collectors where it is heated by the sun before returning to the pool.
Each of these uses of solar energy can help to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and potentially save you money on your energy bills. Before implementing any type of solar energy functionality in your home, it’s important to consider your local climate, the orientation and angle of your home, and any local regulations or incentives that might apply.
Congratulations on taking the first step to reducing your carbon footprint. You’re well on your way to being a better steward of the Earth, and saving quite a bit of money along the way. As you are now considering solar panels for your home, it’s important to take into account the orientation and slope of your roof, the amount of sunlight your home receives, any potential shading from trees or other structures, and local permits or regulations. The good news is you don’t have to figure out the next steps on your own. A professional solar installer will help you evaluate these factors and design a system that best meets your energy needs and budget.
While solar panels do require an upfront investment, they can and will pay for themselves over time through reduced electricity bills and can even increase the value of your home. There are professional electrical contractors Washington who can be brought in at this point of the project to help you move forward. We encourage you to bring one in to help you with an electric remodel. Inquire further about their services to see how we can help you make the electrification transformation!