A proven technology that doesn't seem to cause many issues is solar power. Improvements in this technology allow today's solar panels produce electricity just as well on cloudy days as they do on sunny days. Again, were not likely to solve all of our energy demands with solar power but we certainly could add several more drops in the energy demand bucket with it. To give some perspective on the exact potential of solar power, in 45 seconds, the earths surface receives enough solar energy to fully meet the worlds entire energy demand for that day http://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/sustainability/assets/earths-solar-potential.pdf and similarly, another resource states that the earth receives enough energy from the Sun in one hour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy) to power the planet for an entire year, and this amount is for one year is "twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth's non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined" in that same year ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy ) . Given this, we should start concentrating efforts on capturing as much of this energy as possible. With prices becoming more reasonable, grants and funding becoming available, and many people and companies having expertise in solar installations, whether we do this individually at home, on rooftops on all city towers and buildings, or as solar farms in fields that are part of Energy Farms, we need to increase efforts on capturing as much of this free energy as possible.
To further develop the idea that the earth receives enough energy from the Sun to make a significant contribution to our "bucket of energy" demand, I spent several months putting together a data set that shows if every home had 225 watt solar panels on 250 sf of roof area (250 sf is an assumption, however a local installer figures for 280 sf), and 10% of all residential home had a Skystream 3.7 personal wind turbine (10% is an assumption), residential homes on the average could supply 44% of their total power needs. Click here to view the data I gathered that led to this conclusion.
Over the past two years, I have been collecting power off of a small set of 15w panels at my home - these panels keep a battery charged that then runs four 12vDC lights in our home. The total cost of this installation was $300.00, 30% of which I was able to write off on our taxes for that installation year. Whether an installation is small like I just described, or large enough to power a home or business, grants, tax breaks, and other funding continue to be available to help with
purchasing and installation costs. The continuation of these sort of incentives will be a key to kick starting Energy Farming in our area of the nation. A good site to view available incentives and credits is: http://www.dsireusa.org/
Below I've shown details related to this installation at our home:
The following web sites show more AC, DC, and integrated solar wiring diagrams:
Throughout the course of a year, the suns location in the sky changes. With that, it is important to keep the panels facing the sun as directly as possible. Some solar installations are fixed so the best angles possible are used when mounting the panels. Other installations allow for manual adjustment, and more costly systems have set ups to rotate the panels automatically to keep them facing the sun directly at all times.
To calculate a proper tilt angle, the following is needed:
a) know your latitude and longitude
Phoenix NY latitude is: N 43º 13' 52''
Phoenix NY longitude is W 76º 18' 2''
Hammond NY latitude is: N 44º 26' 28''
Hammond NY longitude is: W 75º 44' 36''
Latitude can be found at: http://www.geonames.org/
b) use the following calculation to set the solar panel tilt angle against the ground:
* latitude + 15 degrees in the winter
* latitude - 15 degrees in the summer
c) The solar panels should always face the equator or within 15ºof due south.
Collection and storage of solar energy is of no use without the consumption of such energy collected. With that, in addition of the three 12VDC lights in our basement, which are used for a matter of a few minutes per day, I have recently added a 12VDC light in our living room so that the energy collected from my solar panels can be put to more practical use (in a matter of hours per day). Assuming I find that this single regularly used light draws nominal energy off of my batteries as is expected, I will then install more of these lights in our house, particularly in locations where light would be needed in the event of a street power outage. Below are pictures of the light in our living room:
Below are resources that can be found online regarding solar power and how we can use it to become a more energy independent and self sustaining society:
http://www.hypersolar.com/technology.html - Hypersolar is working to produce a film that magnifies solar radiation received at a solar panel
http://www.solararrayventures.com/ - this report on 12/08/2008 spoke about this company potentially opening a production facility in Fulton NY
Products and parts:
Click here to view details describing how installing solar power fits into the overall concept of Energy Farming, where energy is farmed at a given location from available resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels, and from this concept, jobs and revenue can be created for a community
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