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A guide to solar energy for homes

The amount of solar energy, falling on the earth’s surface is so immense that tapping only a small fraction of this renewable source of energy would be enough to satisfy the global energy needs. This article will provide a guide to solar energy.

Environment and social

To curtail the dependency on fossil fuels, several incentives have been devised to promote solar systems, including grants for their wide-spread application in homes. People, opting to use solar energy for domestic electricity production, domestic hot water generation, sun tubes for lighting, house heating or even air-conditioning systems, that achieve cooling using solar energy, can reap huge benefits. This can be effectively categorised, in terms of the three pillars of sustainability, environment, social and economy. Solar systems are truly sustainable, and can contribute to counter-act the looming danger, caused by green-house gas emissions, and resulting in climate change. Solar systems are one of the most promising, if not the most promising, alternative to achieve100% renewable energy. By producing their own electricity, homes would reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in power plants, the latter, being a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. The use of solar cooling would help in reducing electricity consumption considerably, while solar thermal systems would limit the burning of natural gas or the use of electricity to heat water. Furthermore, as homes invest to become energy producers, the burgeoning culture of electric cars would become truly sustainable, when charged from such green power, thereby lending to environment protection. The need to adopt sustainable practices has never been so important with signs heralding social disturbances, already noticed, through severe droughts, floods and extreme temperatures. For some of us, it will be so cruel that they would not be able to survive in their land of birth, e.g., the Maldives is projected to be uninhabitable in 100 years To reverse this pattern of development, which jeopardises society’s well-being, the home solar power represents a concrete example, of how each one of us can contribute towards sustainable growth and energy use.

Economics

It is no secret that the primary decision factor in selecting among alternatives is return on investment and profitability. The benefits of green power, in terms of environment-friendliness, and protection of social welfare in themselves, are usually insufficient to warrant expenditure on such technologies. Fortunately, solar power and cost savings go hand-in-hand, especially with the decline in the cost of the related equipment. It is common to quote eight to ten years as the return on investment on home solar power systems. With more than 25 years warranty on solar panels, this represents a cost-effective pursuit to invest in, especially with rising energy prices.

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