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Solar energy is becoming more and more feasible every day. Just look at the numbers alone. In 2005 there were 79,000 kW of solar installed. In 2010 there were 900,000 kW of installed solar. That is an 11 fold increase over 5 years. In Tennessee there are over 600 installation today and there were only 250 just one year ago. You will start to see solar all over the roofs in your neighborhood soon.
More energy hits the earth from the sun in 1 hour of one day than all of the energy consumed on earth in one year. The sun is the ultimate source of renewable energy and is to be harnessed by people. There are three main forms of solar energy that are most commonly used; Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, and Passive Solar.
- Photovoltaic’s (PV): Photovoltaic derives its name from Photo meaning light and Voltaic or electrical energy. Essentially PV is light energy. This technology converts the energy from photons of light and converts that light to electrical energy that can power your home.
- Solar Thermal: Solar Thermal uses the heat from the sun and uses that heat to do useful work. Typically the heat is transferred from the roof top solar collectors to a storage tank such as a hot water heater. The solar thermal energy heats the hot water heater water so that your gas or electricity will not have to heat the water. This allows for direct savings on your gas or electrical bill.
- Passive Solar: In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. This is called passive solar design or climatic design because, unlike active solar heating systems, it doesn’t involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.
There are several ways you can get started affectively encouraging the use of and using solar energy today.
- Sign up for Green Power Switch with TVA. This will add just a few dollars to your bill and that money will pay for TVA to purchase renewable energy from solar and wind farms across the US. They will also put some of the money toward encouraging solar energy installations in the state of TN. http://www.tva.gov/greenpowerswitch/
- You can become a solar advocate. Get educated and tell people what you know. Solar does make sense and it is cost affective. Call a local solar installer and find out what incentives are available and get some facts. Even if you don’t buy solar you can encourage friends and family about the positive benefits associated.
- Buy solar from a local contractor. There are several great solar experts in middle Tennessee that could give you a quote and install a great solar array for you. You can start saving money and protecting the environment at any time.