Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Solar energy is the energy that can be collected from our Sun. It is the ultimate renewable energy and as long as we have the Sun we have energy. Unlike the electric energy plants, it is clean, plentiful and easy to harvest. Every day enough solar energy strikes earth to meet the world's energy needs for at least four years. As we come to see just what sort of a mess we have created during this era of industrialization. Things such as global warming and CO2 buildup are of critical concern and solar energy along with wind energy can become an incredibly valuable solution for helping us to protect our planet.

Solar energy systems are often classified into two categories, passive and active...

  • A passive solar system uses the light and heat from the sun directly for both heating, cooling and lighting. The best potential for passive solar approaches are if you're building a new home and can design your home from the beginning to leverage the power of the sun. However, even existing homes can be retrofitted to better leverage passive heating and cooling.

  • Active solar systems are those that involve the active use of technology to harvest the energy of the sun. This includes the use of both photovoltaic panels to capture the sun (PV) as well as home solar hot water systems. There have been extraordinary strides in solar panels in the last 10 years. Solar cells have become more efficient and less costly to produce which makes them an even greater value than they were a few years ago. There have also been great strides in our ability to install and implement PV technology as contractors and builders have begun to treat PV as a mainstream building technology. Originally solar energy was used by those who did not have access to electric from a utility company. Today solar electric is being used around the world in both the mainstream (Grid-Tie Applications) and in remote areas of the world such as Africa, Asia and the Americas. With today's solar technology these remote areas can replace their gas generators with quite and clean Solar Energy Systems.

The economics of solar energy are compelling, particularly as the costs of conventional oil and gas continue to climb. Most PV systems are warranted for at least 25 years and usually pay for themselves in much less time, even assuming that gas and oil costs don't rise.

Because of federal legislation, every state is required to allow homeowners to feed electricity into the electric grid. With grid-tied solar energy systems the meter on sunny days can actually run backwards which means the energy companies have to pay you rather than the other way around. Now isn't that a nice change! Moreover, grid-tied solar electric systems avoid the need for batteries to store the electricity making the overall system even more cost effective.

Thanks to the 2005 Energy Policy Act homeowners get a 30% tax credit for money they invest in home Solar Energy Systems.

In addition, nearly every state has begun to get on the solar bandwagon. Many states now offer additional financial incentives for home solar systems.

With the combination of federal and state financial incentives, and the improved efficiency of modern solar technology, solar energy has become an extremely sensible option for nearly every homeowner.

So more than any other time, now is one of the best times to look into how you can incorporate Solar Energy into your plans and also what you can do with your existing house to make it more passive solar friendly.

For more information about solar and solar energy products, please visit my website at Yea, yea, I know I am promoting my solar business but it is part of the deal about getting this kind of information.

I would like to thank everyone who feels that they may have contributed to the making of this article. In closing I want to add this following solar thought from John Schaeffer...

It is possible to fit 1,858,560 solar modules in a square mile.
An area of solar panels 102 miles to a side would be sufficient to generate
4,000,000,000,000 kWh of electricity or enough to power the entire US.

--Source The Solar Living Source Book by John Schaeffer

Thank you for your interest in Solar Energy!!!

Terry R. Wolff