Harness the Sun’s Energy for Household Devices
In this day and age of environmental consciousness, harnessing the sun’s energy is an excellent way to go green while cutting basic energy costs. While installing solar panels on a house is one way to accomplish this, it is also expensive. However, using the sun for power is not limited to putting up panels. Here is a description of solar power, as well as some inexpensive product ideas that tap into solar energy.
How Solar Power Energy Works
Solar power works in two ways. It can be converted into electricity or harnessed as a heat source. In the case of electricity, a solar panel made of photovoltaic cells is placed in direct sunlight. Sunlight is made of both waves and particles, which are called photons. When photons hit the photovoltaic cells of a solar panel, electrons are knocked loose inside. This creates an electrical current, which can then be tapped into for electrical use.
Solar power is also used for heating purposes. For instance, it is common to heat pools and hot water heaters using solar power. Thermal plates are used to capture heat from sunlight. Their temperature capacity depends on the items being heated. Swimming pool thermal plates have a lower temperature capacity, while medium temperature plates would be used for hot water heaters. The heat that is collected on the plates is then transferred to the water.
Solar Powered Batteries and Chargers
Batteries are used in a multitude of devices every day. Typically, when they die, they are disposed of and new ones are put to use. By using rechargeable batteries and a solar battery charger, batteries can be used and re-used, decreasing the amount of chemical waste created. Solar chargers work by harnessing sunlight on a small panel, which is then converted into electricity. Batteries are placed in the unit and are charged with the converted energy. Solar power battery chargers are available for all sizes and types of batteries.
There are also solar chargers for products such as cell phones, laptops, and cameras. These may be useful for those who spend time camping and backpacking, or people who simply want to get off the grid. A solar charger can be placed in direct sunlight for six to eight hours, and then can be plugged into a device such as a cell phone. The energy is transferred from the charger into the phone battery, thus operating solely on solar power.
Outdoor Solar Power Lights Work Well for a Home
Outdoor lights easily lend themselves to solar power. The lights are able to capture sunlight during the day and store the energy in a rechargeable battery. As the sun goes down, the battery begins powering the attached LED light bulb. The lights stay on until sunrise when the cycle begins again. This is an easy, reliable way to light an outdoor path, highlight a water feature, or power a motion sensor light.
Solar Gadgets and Gizmos
There are a plethora of other gadgets that use solar power. A solar powered radio is great for camping trips, as are solar lanterns and flashlights. The solar shower has been popular for years, capturing heat inside a bag to warm water for a comfortable outdoor shower. For an interesting art project, there are solar print kits available. Objects can be placed onto light-sensitive paper, then removed and dipped into tap water to develop. This is yet another fascinating way to harness the sun’s rays.
Solar energy will always be a clean, quiet, readily available alternative to electricity and carbon. People are becoming more interested in decreasing their carbon footprint, and utilizing the power of the sun is an excellent first step.