Solar Heating: a fossil fuel alternative
Lowering your electricity bill and being energy conscious are two of the most prominent reasons for converting to solar energy. Although the initial setup may be costly and time consuming, the end result is always well worth it- for both your wallet and your carbon footprint.
Solar heating works through a process of converting sunlight into heat energy that increases the temperature of, for example, water. Solar panels often have a mirror system that concentrates sunlight into a smaller surface area.
Solar energy is such a valuable long-term investment because it can completely replace the reliance on fossil fuels in the home. In a country like South Africa, solar power is a reliable source of alternative energy due to the naturally sunny weather regulary experienced. If weather becomes overcast for an extended period of time, home owners can rely on the energy-storage capabilities that many solar systems have. Solar panels are also extrememly sensitive to even the mildest exposures to sunlight and can still generate energy in overcast scenarios.
Many homeowners who live in areas more prone to overcast weather or areas that experience greater seasonal variations choose to install a hybrid solution in their home. This means that solar energy systems are installed alongside a back-up electricity generator in case solar-energy levels become too depleted.
There are four main types of solar-energy systems for homeowners to consider. One is the Solar Electric System, which is otherwise known as Photovoltic Panels. This system simply converts energy from the sun into a general electricity source for the home.
Domestic Hot Water Systems are another form of solar-energy system. These systems need only comprise of 2-4 solar panels to provide hot water for the whole house, whether for laundry, dishes, showers or baths.
Solar pool panels are another popular solar-energy system for homeowners who wish to have the option of a heated pool without paying expensive electricity bills. The system works by pumping poolwater in tubes through roof-based solar panels. As a result, the water heats up and allows for a pleasently warm pool.
Finally, Concentrated Solar Power systems are used for larger installation schemes that require more energy than a regular home. In this system, many hundreds of mirrors concentrate sunlight into one area to create extreme thermal energy that generates a steam turbine, thereby creating electricity.