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Solar Energy Basics

Solar energy has become a popular power source in businesses and homes in Australia. Photoelectric panels leverage the sun's power to produce energy that you can use for several applications. Switching to solar is a trend most people have adopted because of the many benefits and incentives offered by the government to people investing in solar energy in their properties.

There are various ways in which you can use solar energy. Before looking at the uses, let's look at how solar energy works and the benefits you enjoy.

How Solar Energy Works

Solar technology converts sunlight into electrical energy through solar photovoltaic panels or advanced mirrors concentrating solar radiation. The energy is then used to generate electricity or stored in thermal storage batteries for later use. The solar panels are designed using silicon installed in a metal panel frame featuring a glass casing.

When light particles or photons reach the silicon layer on the solar panel top, they knock the electrons off the silicon atoms. The PV cells produce a direct current captured by the solar panels wiring. You can convert the direct current electricity to alternating current using an inverter. When you plug them into your wall sockets, alternating current or AC is the electrical current used by your appliances.

Uses Of Solar Energy

With the numerous advancements in technology, there are different ways in which sunlight can be converted to usable energy. This has made solar power a popular option for many homes and businesses in Australia. The way you use solar energy depends on your needs. Here are a few of the most sought-after uses of solar energy in Australia.

Running ventilation fans

One of the ways that you can use solar energy in your home or business is to run ventilation fans. These fans are helpful since they help reduce cooling costs by exhausting hot air coming from the attics and other spaces. You can invest in self-contained ventilation fans featuring a small panel of photoelectric cells that operate the fan motor. With such a fan, you do not need an electric current.

You can install these fans in your garage, dog house, or shed to keep the spaces cool during the summer. Freestanding solar-powered fans are also available. They are perfect for your patio, children's play areas, or any other areas you deem convenient.

Swimming pool heating

If your property features a swimming pool, you can save a lot of costs by heating it with solar energy. You will enjoy having a warm swimming pool for your family and guests to enjoy having a good time. You need to add an electric heating blanket to warm the water. The warming blanket works as a passive heating device that warms the pool by absorbing the heat from the sun and transmitting it to the water.

However, you can also install a solar water heater that uses a solar panelling system installed on your roof to leverage the heat from the sun. The heat is transmitted to the water through several tubes that loop through your solar panels. The water circulates from your swimming pool through the panels and then to the pool. This increases the water temperature gradually.

Solar water heating systems

Water heating consumes quite a lot of energy in most homes. You can save on your energy bills by installing a solar-powered heating system to replace the conventional water heaters. You can install an active water heater system or a passive system. An active hot water system uses mechanical circulating pumps to circulate water from the heat collection panels to your storage tank.

In the same vein, passive hot water systems do not have mechanical pump parts. They are less costly but less efficient than their counterparts. The great thing about using solar water heaters is that you will always have hot water on your property since the heaters are never affected by power disruptions.

Solar-powered pumps

To enjoy maximum energy savings benefits, you can use solar-powered pumps. These pumps are operated by circulating pumps on your solar power using photoelectric panels. The panels usually produce power to run the direct current motors on the circulating pumps.

Despite being expensive, you eventually save a lot of money on your operating costs since you do not pay any operating costs. The energy from the sun gets stored in batteries, so you can run the pumps even when there is no sunlight.

Charging batteries

You can also opt to use solar energy to charge batteries used in various devices on your property. Photoelectric panels generate a direct current similar to the ones used in batteries. Most solar panel kits feature connections where you can plug electric devices, such as iPad devices, cell phones, laptops, and others.

By using an inverter that changes direct current to AC, you also get the chance to plug in and charge your other devices' batteries. You can have large bank panels to charge batteries with the ability to power your whole house.

Cooking

Solar energy is also used for cooking. You can invest your money in solar cookers to help cook different types of meals in your home. If you want to cook fast using solar energy, you need to invest in a cooking bag, pan, duct tape, Styrofoam insulation, aluminium foil, and a thermometer. The great thing is that there are varying models of solar cookers that you can choose to invest your money in.

Outdoor lighting

You can also use solar energy for outdoor lighting. Solar power allows you to install lighting fixtures with a small solar cell and a rechargeable battery. You can get the proper landscape lighting with solar power fixtures without wiring connections with LED technology and more advanced batteries.

The rechargeable batteries are charged throughout the day by solar panels, which allows the lights to remain powered throughout the night. You can also invest in seasonal lighting displays for holidays or other celebrations.

Space heating

You can also use solar energy to heat the space in your building. This can quickly be done by collecting solar radiation from some building parts, such as windows. Solar energy is allowed into the building through the windows. This can also be done by using separate solar collectors that can heat air or water.

You can also use storage devices to store solar energy and use it at night. When your building needs heat, the energy stored in your devices or collectors is transferred by equipment such as hot air registers, ducts, fans, or air outlets to warm your living area.

Drying animal and agricultural products

Another way solar energy is used is in drying animal and agricultural products. You can dry agricultural products in a simple cabinet dryer with an insulated box at the bottom. The box is also covered with inclined transparent glass. At the top and the bottom of the sides, ventilation holes allow for an effective flow of air over the drying products placed on the perforated trays.

The racks and perforated trays are made to offer controlled solar radiation exposure. Drying products such as fruits with solar enhances their quality because the sugar concentration increases. Since solar drying is controlled, you can be sure that your products don't get spoilt. Some agricultural products you can dry with solar power include maize grains, berseem, potato chips, cashew nuts, ginger, tobacco curing, and peas. You can also sun dry animal products such as fish and milk.

Solar thermal energy production

Solar thermal energy production refers to solar energy conversion into thermal energy. Solar energy is first used to heat gas, water, or any other liquid during the process. The heat energy then gets converted to mechanical energy in a turbine. The mechanical energy is thus transformed into thermal energy by a conventional generator.

Solar greenhouses

You can grow your plants in a solar greenhouse. This structure is made of transparent plastic or glass material that collects solar and uses solar energy to grow plants. The greenhouse should feature cooling, heating, and ventilating devices to control the temperature inside.

Since the greenhouse is enclosed, the air inside is rich in carbon dioxide because the ambient air does not mix with the greenhouse air. In addition, there is minimal moisture because of the limited transpiration. All these factors enhance plant growth at night and during the day throughout the year.

Benefits Of Using Solar Energy

Solar energy is a renewable energy that can be converted to heat or electricity. It is always available, so you can conveniently use the energy anytime, unlike most other energy resources. Here are the other benefits of using solar energy on your property in Australia.

Solar energy is eco-friendly

Solar has the least adverse effect on the environment. It does not emit greenhouse gases or pollute water like fossil fuels do. Moreover, solar energy uses very little water for maintenance. This is unlike nuclear energy, which requires a lot of water for its maintenance. Besides, no noise is created, making it a friendly option for the environment since it does not cause noise pollution.

Allows you to save on energy bills

Generating your own electricity from solar energy at your home or business means you do not have to pay any energy bills at the end of the month. Your energy bill takes a large percentage of your monthly expenses, so you save a lot of money at the end of the month. You also become more energy self-reliant.

You can use solar energy anywhere

The other great thing about solar energy is that you can use it anywhere. Thus, even if you live in an area that is not served by an electricity grid, you will still be able to use solar power for your daily needs. In addition, you can also use solar energy in boats and other appliances when travelling.

Your property is not susceptible to blackouts

When you use a solar energy system in your home or business, you are free from the inconveniences caused by power interruptions and blackouts. The sunlight is always there, so you are sure you will never be interrupted in your daily energy use. This makes solar power the most reliable energy source.

Boosts the value of your property

Another great benefit you enjoy from using solar energy is improved value for your property. If you choose to place your property on the market, it fetches a high price since the potential buyers are willing to pay a higher price as it offers cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. Having solar panels adds to your home's curb appeal and allows you to get a good return on your investment. This makes solar panels an excellent investment for your property.

Want To Use Solar Energy?

As you can see, there are various ways to use solar energy, and many benefits involved. For the best solar system installation, you need to work with the best solar company in your area in Australia. They offer various types of solar systems, so you can choose the one that suits your specific needs. Moreover, trustworthy companies provide maintenance and any repair services you might need to ensure that your system is working perfectly.