Sources of renewable energy, including solar energy, wind energy, and hydropower, are competing in the race to reduce dependence on diminishing fossil fuels and traditional fee-based energy utility services. These increasingly popular energy alternatives can be used independently or in conjunction with existing utility-based energy grids, granting homes and businesses the ability to significantly reduce electricity costs over time and to contribute spare energy to the community via smart-grid technology.
Solar power is a highly renewable energy source, and is gaining popularity around the world. The ‘photovoltaic effect’ acts to convert sunlight captured in solar panels into direct current (DC) electricity, which can then be converted to alternating current (AC) for use in homes. Solar energy systems are often tied into battery banks to store and use energy during cloudy weather or at night.
The benefits of using solar power in homes and businesses increase in areas with a long daily exposure to the sun, and diminish in areas that experience frequently cloudy weather and long winter seasons. Advances in solar panel technology, however, are making solar energy more affordable than ever, increasing the competitiveness of this alternative energy source.…