All About Solar Power: Clean Renewable Energy

Should We Rely More on Solar Power?

Fears of the global economy and a world-wide recession have many people feeling paralyzed. Although gas prices have fallen in recent weeks (as of the date of this publication), many economists are predicting double-digit increases in the cost of heating this winter. The conflict in Iraq continues, and uncertainty about the future of U.S. relations with Iran is a growing concern.

Isn't it well past the time that we break our "addiction to oil" - no matter where it comes from - and pursue clean, renewable energy sources like solar power? Now, I know that some of you may think - hey, solar power is a myth. It can only work where the sun shines all day long (like Arizona), and once it sets, we'll all be in the dark. Simply put - You're wrong. Not only is solar power abundant in locations all over the globe, it can also be stored for use at "off-peak" times, or fed back into the electricity grid (credit may be allowed by utilities for drawing on "their" electricity during darkness).

And what about the environment? Solar power provides an alternative to coal-generated electricity, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Coal burning power plants are the number one source of mercury contamination in the country. Its time to stop the sickness. The economy is hurting as a result of fossil fuels, too. The U.S. currently imports close to 70% of its oil from the Middle East and Africa. Wonder why we are nearly $10 trillion in debt? Even locally, coal prices are up 45%, and natural gas up 160%. Can we really afford to continue to ignore options like solar power?

Consider that each hour, of every day, the sun supplies us with enough energy as the entire globe uses in a year! Yet, the United States only receives 6% of its energy from renewable resources. Solar power is an infinite resource, unlike goal, oil and gas. We don't need to worry about running out of sunlight in our lifetime.

Its time for some education about the fundamentals of solar power.

Reach towards the sun for clean solar power
Reach towards the sun for clean solar power

Solar Power Technology

What, exactly, is solar power? Stated very simply, energy from sunlight is converted to electricity when it contacts photovoltaic (PV) cells. Solar power can be generated bysolar roof shingles and solar panels. Excess energy can be stored in the cells, or occasionally in batteries, to continue providing electrical current after the sun goes down.

If you are a scientist, you can probably understand the explanation of the photovoltaic process set forth by NASA:

"Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity."

For the rest of us, it is simple enough to understand that, when ultraviolet (UV) light strikes a solar cell, it activates a thin semiconductor wafer in the cell, which forms an electric field (positive on one side, negative on the other). An electrical current results from the action of sunlight energy knocking electrons away from the atoms in the semiconductor.

Well, maybe it is pretty technical after all.

Let's turn to some common excuses used by people who are resistant to employ solar power.

1. I don't live in a sunny location! No worries. Energy is still captured by solar cells, even on cloudy or rainy days, because it is ultraviolet light - not necessarily direct sunshine - that produces the necessary PV reaction. Admittedly, the efficiency of the cells is lower on inclement days. But, if you need assurance that you will not have to purchase a home in the desert Southwest to use solar energy, note that Germany is a leading country (second only to Japan) with respect to solar power installations. It certainly isn't the Bahamas.

2. Isn't it too expensive? Not really. While coal-generated electricity is cheaper than solar power in the short run, there are a number of factors which should be considered in determining the bottom line. First, the more people that use solar panels, the less they cost. One estimate is that each time the volume of solar cells doubles, the cost goes down 20%. Plus, solar power installations will increase your home's resale value, according to the Appraisal Institute. It has reported that sellers can expect an additional $20.73 in purchase price for every $1 decrease in annual electric bills.

Second, although there is an upfront cost for installation, the energy thereafter is free. More importantly, it is not controlled by supply and policies of a foreign country. Want even more good news? The price for PV cells is estimated to fall 30% over the next four years.

Finally, long-term benefits of solar energy cannot be discounted. Reduction of our individual carbon footprints is required to slow the progress of global warming. What price can you put on a polar bear? How about your oceanfront property?

How Solar Power is generated
How Solar Power is generated

Solar Panels Explained

Diagram of Solar Power Water Heater

Solar Power Products

These days, you can find solar cells in a number of places and used to power everything from laptop computers to hands-free lawn mowers. Solar power landscape lights have been available for years (we had some for our home in cloudy/rainy Seattle). On a larger scale, solar panel arrays or solar power shingles can be installed on residential and commercial structures to reduce electrical bills to practically zero.

Solar power water heaters are very efficient and environmentally friendly. One estimate is that the total amount of CO2 produced by ordinary residential water heaters in North America is equal to that put out by all cars and light trucks in the same area. Thus, if half of the homes installed solar water heaters, the environment would experience the same impact as if we doubled the fuel-efficiency of all vehicles! U.S. tax credits allow up to 30% of the cost of installation of a solar water heater, which generally sells for $1500-$3500. One can expect to recoup the investment in 4-8 years, with essentially free hot water for the remaining 20-plus years of the life of the water heater.

For those that want to "test the waters" with solar energy, you can buy backpacks with solar cells to recharge your cell phone or other battery-powered devices. Or, install solar-operated gates for your property - especially useful for rural locations. Even municipalities are getting on board with solar powered traffic signals and flashing lights. You can find solar power products more and more frequently. Just look around - you may be surprised at the places in which you can find solar panels powering gadgets and devices.

Why Else Should we Go Solar?

  • Job creation: the clean energy sector could reach 40 million U.S. jobs by the year 2030
  • Solar manufacturing technicians are currently in demand
  • Tax credits and other incentives
  • Energy independence and greater national security
  • Continued innovative development of new, related industries
  • Reduce your carbon footprint by getting away from coal-powered electricity

Solar Power Basics

Solar power is the future of green, clean, renewable energy. With the controversial passage of the $700 billion bailout in the U.S. Congress, there are some silver linings, including a 30% tax credit for solar panels! There is no time like the present to convert to solar power to light up your life and lighten your wallet.

Solar panel technology is advancing at breakneck speed. Efficiency is being increased, prices are coming down, and the required maintenance of solar panels is much lower than it used to be. By installing solar panels on your home, you not only reduce your electric bill, but also your carbon footprint. Moreover, the value of your house goes up by 10%! In this economy, that makes a lot of sense.

So.... are you ready to go solar? I am!

Solar Panels on a Greenhouse in Hawaii
Solar Panels on a Greenhouse in Hawaii | Source

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Comments 77 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 7 years ago from Port St. Lucie

solar panels are now obsolete as we await the solar tiles which is expected to be much more inexpensive

http://hubpages.com/technology/What-are-some-cheap...


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I approved the comment, but I don't agree that solar panels are obsolete. They are found all over the place where tiles are not practical - solar powered traffic signals, solar operated gates and more. We need all types of solar technology. And with tax credits and new advances, there is no reason to limit the reach of solar power!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut

Excellent hub Steph! Thank you for clearing up some of the myths about solar power. There are so many different ways that we can use solar power for clean energy independence.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Amy! With the elections right around the corner and a new administration coming in, let's hope that the tax credits and other governmental incentives for solar power and clean, renewable energy will be increased. We definitely need to jump start solar power as a viable alternative!


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA

well done hub. I want to go solar some way but need to convince my spose.


Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

An important hub, we need to invest more in solar r&d. It is time to provide incentives to home owners to install solar technologies such as shingles .


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi hot dorkage - hopefully you won't need to push your spouse very hard to go solar. Technologies are improving and costs are coming down. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting in the solar power industry.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Bob. I do hope that we'll have more incentives to invest in solar power R&D. Fortunately, there are many cutting edge companies out there with exciting solar products to sell to homeowners and businesses. Solar shingles are definitely going to be more commonplace soon.


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Steph,

What a great hub! When my husband and I were finishing college in 1973, we talked about having a house that was completely self-sufficient. Since then, America has accepted the high price of mid-Eastern oil, and very little has actually happened in the arena of clean energy.

We've spoken lately about installing solar panels and water tanks to catch rain water for the garden. I didn't realize that the new bill included tax breaks for those who install solar.

Thanks for all of the good info!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Madison - wouldn't that be a great thing to have a house that is completely self-sufficient? I don't think that we're too far away from that reality. Solar power is getting quite a bit of attention from both presidential candidates and I think we'll see more and more people install panels and solar water heaters to both save money and reduce their impact on the environment. Kudos to you both for forward-thinking and I hope you are able to complete your green home improvements in 2009. Steph


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 7 years ago from london

Stephanie, solar power is certainly the best possible source of renewable energy. There is nothing cleaner and better that solar energy. Every single hour our planet earth receives enough energy in the form of solar radiation to power absolutely all human needs for 1 year! If only oil lobby...wouldn't have prevented wider development of solar photovoltaic technologies and solar heat collecting power plants in last twenty years...


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Ervin, I hope that more people will take notice of the enormous benefits of solar power. Even if you are not environmentally inclined, most people agree that national security is a very important issue. The more we develop clean, renewable sources of energy like solar power, the less we have to continue worrying about oil reserves in foreign countries. I agree that the oil lobby in particular has much to do with the fact that we are behind in technological developments like PV panels and more. Thanks for the comment, Steph


pylos26 7 years ago

i too realize the potential of solar energy, but first we have to learn how to harness it in greater quantity, efficiently. i believe its the foremost source of the future. great hub stephhicks...be looking for your next...pylos26


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi pylos26 - thank you for commenting.  The great news is that technology is improving to better harness solar energy more efficiently, every day.  i am excited about this future, and it sounds like you are too.  Keep posted for more news on solar power advancements and consider subscribing to www.peachygreen.com/

 


Jim Hickey profile image

Jim Hickey 7 years ago from Maryville, Missouri

Good Morning Steph,

Actually we have been using a form of solar power all along; fossil fuels are "fossilized solar power". Trouble is that they are a finite resource and it takes tens of millions of years to recycle it in addition to the pollution issues.

Even the USDOE acknowledges the viability of solar power technologies and they indicate that with increased use and maturity (plus rising fossil fuel prices) it will become more cost competitive. The future is "bright" for solar power .... or at least we can hope :-)

Great Hub - thanks for sharing .....


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Jim, yes, you are technically correct about fossil fuels! Of course, we're going to cut out the middle men (decomposing stuff, hundreds of thousands of years, locating, drilling and refining) to use solar power more directly. Thank you for the info regarding the USDOE - I have also read information about their support of solar power technologies and the bright future ahead.


pvyas profile image

pvyas 7 years ago

excellent hub


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Great hub, Steph. I've been wanting this country, and this world actually, to get into alternative power sources for decades. There are so many resources, geothermal, hydro, wind, solar, etc, that there's just no reason not to... and one or two countries actually have already become independent of oil! The oil corporations have such a world-wide stranglehold that it's very difficult to get anything else into the mainstream consciousness.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi CW - yes! Unfortunately you are preaching to the choir here about the benefits of solar power, hydro, wind, geothermal, etc. We really do need to become energy independent. Big oil is a big hurdle, however.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

I think, with the current crisis, and with Obama in the White House, we just might start taking some serious steps toward oil independence.


PenmanZee profile image

PenmanZee 7 years ago

Great hub. Steph and thoroughly researched as usual.

 Living in sunny AZ for three years I've wondered why we complain about the heat instead of looking on it as a blessing. I heard of some cases where people added solar panels to his roof and the HOA asked him to remove it. I hope with the renewed interest in alternative energy we might get developers who'll incorporate solar panels in the blueprint of their design so that we may tap into this particular form of energy.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Great hub Steph,

I have friends here in the UK who have solar panels on their roofs. If it works here, where the weather is mostly indifferent, then it ought to do phenomenally well in your sunnier states. I would like to see every single new-build with alternative energy provisions built in, plus good cash incentives from the government to encourage the conversion of existing properties. Our over-dependance on fossil fuels is becoming increasingly problematic, and we need to look to the future.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Constant, I totally agree!! It is well past time to use renewable energy to power our nation. Leadership matters.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Penmanzee, you know, the HOA thing really gets me! Banning of clothes lines, solar panels and more is so wasteful. The entire idea of HOAs is to protect property values. Show me real evidence that panels on my home that will allow me to use solar energy will devalue the neighborhood any more than an A/C unit, shed, or potted plants. While I don't live in Arizona, I do live in an area that gets 300 sunny days a year. The potential for solar power is tremendous and way overdue! Thanks for the great comment.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@ Amanda, yes! Solar panels can work fine wherever you live. I drove to Western Washington last weekend (you know, rainy Seattle) and saw that along the freeway a number of signs are powered by solar panels. Fortunately, your wish for greener construction is becoming a reality. More and more, builders are attending green seminars and exchanging ideas and technologies in their design and construction. With more demand, the cost will go down. Just recently we had a Solar Home Tour here in Bend, to show off the best examples of residences with solar power. It is very exciting to witness the future today.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 7 years ago from London UK

Solar or any other power, finance saving devices to become not just greener but as you say, "self-sufficient" sounds very attractive!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi compu-smart - there are so many reasons to switch to solar power, even if you are not a greenie. I am happy to see that people on both sides of the political spectrum are embracing renewable energy options. Its about time!


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 7 years ago from Durham, UK

IN the UK the government grants towards solar power are increasing in amount and diversity. Some day we will get solar power - I have bookmarked your most useful hub for future reference.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Steph, fantastic Hub.  I hope it gets people linking to each other and talking about alternative energy sources.

Thirty years ago, we outfitted our house with a *solar* greenhouse.  We poked holes through an old porch and put in sky lights, filled the base of the porch with rock, insulated the outside walls, and enjoyed the results.  This was old technology, but it worked quite well.

I've been following PeachyGreen.  There's lots of great news, information, and advice there.  I'm looking forward to hearing more and more.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 7 years ago from London UK

Steph, its not just about time, but with these devices on offer these days at very reasonable prices which will save soo much money, especially in todays hard times with finance and enviroment! its the only way!

I have been looking at these concepts for a long time now and will soon be making my carbon footprint much much smaller!


hubby7 profile image

hubby7 7 years ago from Chicago

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your hub and learned a lot from reading it. I am joining your fan club because I have an interest in solar energy.

hubby7


hubby7 profile image

hubby7 7 years ago from Chicago

By the way, I was in Portland, Oregon in August with my family on vacation. Nice place.

hubby7


bitsdawg profile image

bitsdawg 7 years ago

Wow! You really understand the topic of solar power. I have seen some inexpensive systems, and am working on one now.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Sally's Trove, thank you for following our hub on PeachyGreen! We are publishing new posts daily, so be sure to come by, or subscribe to our RSS. Regarding solar power - great work in putting your solar greenhouse together. It might be worth writing your own hub with photos, etc. I would love to read more. Thanks! Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Compu-Smart - wow, you are already converted to the idea of solar power!! Congrats and I love to hear that! I too have spent the past 3-4 years getting educated and trying to do a better job reducing my carbon footprint, as well. :) Steph


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@hubby7, thank you for your comment, your "fanship" and your interest in solar power! Portland, Oregon is indeed a wonderful place to visit. I went to law school about 45 minutes away and spent much time in the city. We are now enjoying the sunnier side of the mountains in Central Oregon. :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@bitsdawg, thank you for the comment - I have been working hard to get a solid understanding of solar power over the past year. I would love to hear more about the sytems on which you are working. Personal testimonials go very far in helping people understand that going solar is not that hard. Thanks! Steph


Dinesh Sameera profile image

Dinesh Sameera 7 years ago from Sri Lanka

Great hub stephhick68. I live in a sunny island and the solar panel will be really helpfull to me. I'm gonna buy a one soon. Thank you for the hub stephhick68.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

@Dinesh, so glad to hear that you'll take advantage of the sunshine and use panels to convert it to solar power. Best of luck!


Solar Power Homes 7 years ago

Great hub Steph! I specially liked the fact that you covered everything from how solar technology works to the national security implications of relying on fuel from other nations. Recent events like gas hitting $4/gallon, and Russia cutting off natural gas supplies to Europe in the middle of a brutal winter only serve to highlight this aspect even more.

Keep up the great work!

-Ritesh


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Ritesh,

Thank you! If you love solar power topics, I have a couple of blogs to read. Go to my profile page here at HubPages for the links. Best, Steph


bitsdawg profile image

bitsdawg 7 years ago

This is a very complete explanation of solar power. Thanks.

I also have a hub, in my profile page, about generating solar and wind power at home.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi bitsdawg, I will check out your hub on solar and wind power too. Cheers, Steph


SEO Expert Kerala profile image

SEO Expert Kerala 7 years ago from KERALA


Solar Kits 7 years ago

My next home will be fully solar powered. The upfront cost seem high but if the money is used right for the first few years the investment is made dack in no time.


Pathomasson 7 years ago

Hi Steph,

You have done a great job with your hub. I hope mine does as well as yours and that you will visit my site. I have fallen in love with the subject of using solar power and am loving all that I am learning about it.

http://homesolarpanelsinfo.com


acer laptop 7 years ago

Great Hub you have here :) Please check out my website would love to network!


frans240 profile image

frans240 7 years ago

Very well put together, we need more of this kind of information to not wake but SHAKE people up!!! When everyone is talking about Michael Jackson, they passed that carbon tax bill.... and where do all these millions of extra dollars go to?? The poluters.... ahh well very good and informative HUB thanks for sharing...

PS..I just had to get that other stuff off my mind... it is amazing how blind some people are when it comes to changing the world stage to a global elite fascist place...


Make Solar Panels 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing.


SuperSkyRockets profile image

SuperSkyRockets 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Very informative hub, the same questions arise here that arise anywhere that solar power is discussed. Is it really all that and does it cost too much? Well the answers are 'yes it is' and 'no it doesn't have to'! You can trust in this technology people. It works and will only get better!


Anthony 7 years ago

Solar Energy remains a vital energy resource for us all.


Anthony 7 years ago

Solar Energy remains one of the vital energy resources


adhead 7 years ago

There is a guide that has successfully diffused the use of solar energy as an applicable, environmentally friendly, and solar cost effective way of electricity generation and usage.

It reveals methods of transforming energy provided by the sun through its rays into electricity that can power homes.


luxtor 6 years ago

The 2 easiest and most effective systems that I have built are based on wind and solar energy systems. They are great ways to produce electrical power as they harness free sources of energy that are both renewable and clean.


scheng1 6 years ago

They should have come up with solar-powdered cars long ago.


stuff4you profile image

stuff4you 6 years ago

I hope society continues to go more and more towards solar power. Cool hub.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks stuff4you - fortunately more and more communities are considering how to encourage solar power. Governments too. :)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

"note that Germany is a leading country (second only to Japan) with respect to solar power installations. It certainly isn't the Bahamas."

Yes, and in 2007 solar power accounted for .3% of total electricity generated in Germany (nuclear accounted for 45 times more than that). By 2013, Germany will have spent about 77 million Euros (about 133 Billion US dollars) and will be producing less than 2% of the demand from 2006.

http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNT...

http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/10/09/germany-crun...


oliversmum profile image

oliversmum 6 years ago from australia

Stephhicks68. Hi. What a great hub with such wonderful information. I believe that we have to do something as individuals or not too much will ever happen.

Our home has solar hot water and we are in the process of getting solar power. Also we only use Tank water for all our needs not Piped water.

We have sun almost everyday here in Australia. I really can not see any reason not to use it to help save our Planet.

It seems to be that we will never get one hundred per cent agreement on which alternative power will have the best benefits, I guess that we can only hope.

Thank you so much for sharing all this information, it has given me a lot more to think about. Thumbs up. :) :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Oliversmum - that is so wonderful that you are using solar hot water at your home! And why not - especially in places like Australia that get a lot of sun. Even cloudy countries like Germany have made big strides to convert to solar energy. I love your point that we can each make a difference in our own, individual lives when it comes to renewable energy. Best to you, Steph


HC0303 profile image

HC0303 5 years ago

This is such a great hub. Thanks for the information. I’m beginning to understand how great solar power is and this information just adds to that learning, thanks. It’s really amazing that we can use sunlight to generate energy and provide free use of home products like the common attic fan or any device that uses solar energy.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you HC - I am very passionate about solar power and I do agree that we simply need to get off fossil fuels from both an economic and environmental standpoint. Cheers to you, Steph


Martin Luther 5 years ago

I think They should have come up with solar-powdered cars long ago


Solar power house 5 years ago

It is currently about 100 degrees Fahrenheit where we are in Western Australia and our 1.5 kw of solar panels has produced 11 units/kwh of power today. We have noticed that when the temperature is this high the electricity production drops about 10% with the heat. With it this hot we use twice the amount of power and today have used 20 units and half of that is air conditioning. In spring and autumn when we don't need heating or aircon our panels produce more than we need. We committed to solar power to reduce our expenses when my husband retires and consider it part of our superannuation plan.


adair_francesca 5 years ago

Solar panels are getting more and more convenient at this time. And because of new kinds of panels like the ones on kits, many can afford and have it now. Great hub!


Goinggreenreviews 5 years ago

Nice hub! A lot of good info on solar power. I agree completely with everything!


solarpathlights 5 years ago

Great.


Solar Panels 5 years ago

I agree with you Francesca! solar panels are getting more convenient this time. the one that featured by the owner is a great kit! and it is cheaper than the other solar panels. and the good thing here is it is easy to assemble. Great hub and Great job! http://www.i-solar.co.uk/


Chris 4 years ago

This is one of the better hubs I've come across on solar, so many thanks for creating and sharing this with us. This topic is only going to get higher and higher levels of interest going forward.

Solar panels, the technology has come down in price, but how many have installed solar tagged to an incentive or subsidised scheme? I think perhaps the biggest help to solar power and other renewable energy will be rising fuel and energy prices to the point where it's an increasingly viable option.

http://www.intelligentenergysolutions.com/


louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Thanks for all of the good info!


chris masese jr 4 years ago

solar is the only way forward..masese jr


Gregorious profile image

Gregorious 4 years ago

Thanks for a very informative hub. Solar power coupled with wind and hydro power is definitely the way of the future. It could be the way of the present, but I guess oil industry is still too powerful.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Gregorious - I agree that renewable energy is our future. We do need to continue R&D in the technology so that we can break away from the grip of the oil industry and reduce environmental damage. Best, Steph


4 years ago

Solar would be ideal. But do your homework and present the facts, please! Because once people learn about it, they will see you have given only an unrealistically bright and cheery, and quite ignorant, pep rally. And that invites cynicism. The fact is, solar has a long, long way to go to become a feasible as a significant source of energy. The payback -- even with recent cost reductions -- is no less than 25 years for a system in southern U.S. And your statement "It can also be stored for use..."? Steph! -- Do you have any idea of what batteries that size cost?! Out of 52 people I deal with here in the south who have installed solar, NONE of them have batteries. And Germany uses solar because they HAVE to; they have few natural energy resources. People talk about "we should use wind power here"-- never realizing we have no sustained 35 mph winds (which is necessary); and hydro -- never realizing it's all tapped out here. Maybe if people would study more, and indulge less in their own talk and writing, the world would move forward much quicker with developing the truly good things.


BigWillyGilly 2 years ago

Hey vrajavala, hows those solar tiles working out for you???....Idiot!


Ryan Richardson 9 months ago

Great article, I learned a lot from this! I particularly enjoyed the description of how photovoltaics relies on the photoelectric effect. While you don’t have to live in a sunny area, it is important to realize that solar prices vary all over the country. This document from the U.S. Department of Energy is a good resource for understanding these trends http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/62558.pdf I really this site too: http://solar-to-the-people.com/ It can give you an idea of whether solar is right for you. I’ve also found http://pvwatts.nrel.gov/index.php to be very helpful too.


hiheybye 7 months ago

wow. you have a lot of foowers

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