If anything good came out during the recent increases of the fuel oil prices, it is that once again, there is a merry interest in alternative sources of energy. Even when pump prices has been decreasing like nothing we have seen before, the uproar created and the pain it did to business will have a good chance of sticking. The desire for alternative sources of energy is on the forefront and may it stay there for good – as it should.
Extracting oil from crops is a good idea; the downside is that food supplies could be dramatically reduced. Wind power is another excellent thing except for the many buts that wind power generation have.
If costs is the main objection to solar power generation that should be the least of worries.
The installation of solar panels is until today, considered a specialized job. Like any commodity in the market, when the demand is high but the supply is limited, the cost increase. As more and more homes clamor for alternative sources of energy, better technology and more labor is drawn to the job that market forces could take place and result into much lowered prices. This though is still in the future.
Today the reality is the instability and the unpredictability of pump prices. But even if it does provide stable and predictable price movement, solar energy is free and it is inexhaustible.
While the technology of tapping out this resource is not, homes that are solar powered are getting back dividends in terms of higher appraisal for their homes, confidence in not being surprised by power shortage and outage, not being dependent on the fluctuation in power prices and the definite advantage of having provided a better environment solution.
Today, the typical ways at tapping this resource usually are:
•Through a Heliostat – this are focusing collectors composed of mirrors that are aimed at the sun to collect the energy. The temperature that heliostats could provide reaches more that 4,000 degrees centigrade. This high temperature is sufficient for use even for furnaces.
•Through Flat Plate Collectors – employ a system of pipes. The water inside the pipes becomes heated and is ideal for heating purposes like schools, homes swimming pools, offices etc.
•Through Solar Distillation – instead of heat, this provides water. The mechanics is similar to the processes of plate collectors except that this is generally used to steam salt water. To do this, tanks and ducts are usually installed in surfaces that receive a good sun. Through the heat, the salt water turns into steam and when the steam condenses, the water is collected for regular use.
•Through photovoltaic Cells – These are the most common type of collecting solar energy characterized by solar panels installed in rooftops and other flat surfaces that there is a good sun, converting the power collected into electricity.
Unlike any products, whether refined or manufactured, the processing of solar energy do not need additional costs of energy to power it up. It is energy generating by itself. Except maybe for regular inspection and replacement of parts (when it employs a mechanical device), the tapping of solar energy is virtually maintenance free. Once installed, it could be used for as long as needed for the amount of energy, (depending on the capacity of the unit), which the owner requires.