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Solar Energy Efficiency

How efficient is solar energy for my home? What appliances will I be able to run off of it?

That's an excellent question that is not easily answered, since each situation is different. The following information will give you a good idea, though.

Solar Energy Efficiency - Factors

If all conditions were right, just one solar panel would be enough to run your lights, electrical appliances, and heat and cool your home.

However, ideal situations are available only in certain areas of the country or world. solar panel efficiency is optimum only with consistent direct sunlight. To get decent results from your solar array, you will need at least six hours of steady sunlight year round.

Even under those circumstances, a photovoltaic solar panel only converts about one-fourth of the sun's energy into power that you can use.

Solar Energy Efficiency - Location and Weather

Solar energy efficiency is dependent on your location, how many hours of sunlight you get, how many sunny days per year your weather permits, and how direct that sun is. The farther from the equator you are, the less direct sunlight you receive.

Due to the distance from the equator and the number of cloudy days, for example, a home in Vermont is going to require a larger photovoltaic system to produce the same amount of energy as a home in the Southwestern desert states.

solar panel efficiency – Options

What happens if my home doesn’t get a lot of sunlight?

Don't dismay. A perfectly-reasonable and common option is to employ solar panels along with the normal power sources such as your local utility companies; hooking into the grid…perhaps even "selling" back some of your unused power during peak periods.

Although this is not going to totally free you from dependence on fossil fuels, you will be able to save money in the long run, conserve non-replaceable fuel sources, and at the same time continue to use the appliances you’re accustomed to.

Solar energy that even partially replaces fossil fuel is contributing a lot to conservation of the world’s energy sources. And, it is widely available.  Even here in the third-world country of Peru where we live, there are a number of companies that offer solar panels and installation.

Remember the statement above that your solar panel only converts one-fourth of the sun's energy to useable power? Well, with technology advancing by leaps and bounds on an almost daily basis (as seen in the computer chip industry, for example), we might reasonably expect that ratio to get better and better...and with cheaper costs to you the consumer.

Next:

Tax breaks for home solar power use.

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