Solar energy is the future and while many states are implementing goals for alternative energy over the next 5-10 years, many people do not know how to utilize solar energy. So what is solar energy? Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants, and artificial photosynthesis. 

Solar energy is something that can affect your monthly bills by making small or larger changes. Some things you can do as a homeowner, renter, or business owner and some are available to everyone, no matter who you are.

Solar Energy Uses:

1. Electricity

Solar electricity is likely the most popular and well-known use of solar energy. It can be leveraged by both commercial and residential customers and there are a couple of different options available to save money. 

  • Rooftop solar – Rooftop solar can be available to both commercial and residential. There are restrictions on who can place solar panels on their roof, how many panels you can have and they tend to be expensive upfront. You will save money over time and can be a great option. 
  • Community Solar – Community Solar is the other main option for solar electricity. Community Solar allows you to participate in a local solar farm. You receive solar credits based on how much electricity your home or business uses and those credits are applied to your utility bill each month, saving you about 10% on your monthly utility bill.

2. Water heating

Electric or gas water heaters are the most common for current homes and businesses but now you have the option to purchase a solar water heater. Just like anything else, there are pros and cons to both options however if you are looking to save money in the long run and go green, solar water heaters are the way to go. There are a few different kinds of solar water heaters that you can choose from and some of the benefits include:

  • It will directly reduce your monthly utility bill
  • Tax credits on the installation cost
  • Eco friendly by using solar power vs fossil fuels

     

3. Solar Heat

Heating costs for residential and commercial properties are only going to continue to rise with fossil fuels. Solar heat can significantly reduce your monthly heating bill and allow you to reduce your use of fossil fuels by utilizing solar energy.

The image to the left explains how a solar space heating system works. Basically, the solar panels will collect energy from the sun and transfer it to a solar storage tank where it then gets dispersed throughout different heating/cooling channels in your home or business. 

4. Solar ventilation

Another way you can save yourself money with solar energy is by solar ventilation. You can buy self-contained roof vent fans that offer a small solar panel that operates the fan motor with no need for household electrical current at all. There are both rooftop solar panels and free-standing solar-powered fans you can utilize. 

5. Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to reduce your electricity bills by switching to solar or energy-efficient bulbs. You can change lighting both indoors and outdoors with solar energy. Solar lights have become readily available and reasonably priced for everything from landscaping and security lights to lighting inside your home. The solar panels charge the batteries during the day, and the charge is often enough to keep the lights powered all through the night.

6. Portable solar

The solar energy movement has expanded to wearable and portable technology. Our phones, tablets, watches, and other technology are always with us and honestly, often running low on battery. Portable solar chargers are a great way to keep your electronic devices charged. 

7. Transportation

An innovative and relatively new solar energy use is with transportation. Transportation that is being powered by the sun instead of fossil fuels includes railroads, subways, buses, planes, and cars. Solar buses are already helping China reduce its carbon footprint and solar cars are increasing in popularity all over the world and will only continue to be more accessible to the general public. 

Summary

There are many different ways to harness solar energy and save money in your home and business. As fossil fuel costs continue to rise, solar energy will continue to evolve and allow for more savings. Community Solar is the only solar option that allows you to take advantage of solar energy without any upfront costs or maintenance fees. For more information on a local solar farm and how to participate, contact Solar On Earth today. 

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