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Solar Variety

January 16, 2020

Some of our clients plug into solar in multiple facets. If you’re considering solar for your home, there’s a benefit to learning a little more from this example. Here in this photo you can see solar energy being used in three different ways:

1. Solar PV

We learned about solar PV in our Solar 101 series for July, but for those whom didn’t tune in on that blog… Photovoltaic, or PV energy conversion, directly converts the sun’s light into electricity. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can generate clean, cost-effective power anywhere the sun shines. You’ve probably seen PV panels around for years, but recent advancements have greatly improved their efficiency and electrical output. Enough energy from the sun hits the earth every hour to power the planet for an entire year. Solar PV is growing fast, and it can play a big role in America’s clean energy economy.

2. Solar Thermal

Solar thermal systems produce hot water in an environmentally responsible way. Solar thermal energy comes in a multitude of forms, but seen above are solar flat plate collectors. The sun heats a dark flat surface collecting as much energy as possible, and then the energy is transferred to water, air, or other fluid for further use. The harnessed power of the sun provides energy for hydronic systems while reducing utility costs and pollution. Solar thermal can reduce your water heating bills by 50 to 75%, plus diminishes harmful CO2 gasses and allows for an unlimited supply of safe, renewable energy.

3. Solar Drying

AKA air drying your laundry! Pretty plain and simple, drying your clothing in the sunlight saves you money and your energy use decreases. Dryers have to apply heat to the clothes to dry them, and they spin their internal barrel which uses even more energy. Many people try to cut their energy usage with just turning off the lights when not in use, however, many fail to realize that drying their clothes in a machine is actually a major contributor to their electric bill as can be seen in the pie graph below.