electricity generation » solar power - Overview of solar energy and electricity.

Solar Power

A warm house, hot water, lighting and electricity are luxuries which many people simply could not live without. All need a great deal of energy, and almost always rely upon fossil-fuel generated electricity to satisfy requirements. In cold climate countries such as the United Kingdom a huge percentage of the typical home-owner's energy bill can be attributed to hot water and room heating, making them costly features of the lifestyles we are accustomed to leading.

Our addiction to entertainment devices and electric technology has also seen a marked increase in our energy usage. These little luxuries have the unfortunate side-effect of being harmful not only to our bank balances but to the environment: the more fossil-fuel generated energy we consume, the more carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere. The combination of our energy requirements being costly and ecologically unsound has meant that more and more people are turning away from the traditional energy sources and are instead looking for 'green' alternatives - and this is where solar power comes in.

Common Applications

The concept of utilizing the sun's power for the purposes of man has been around for thousands of years, but it is only within the last few decades that humans have really begun to appreciate just how easily solar power can be incorporated into their lives. The recent awareness of solar power infrastructure brought about by concerns over climate change has led to an increase in the public and private use of solar power technologies, and it's little wonder why.

Solar micro-generation can be used for heating and electricity, and can be applied to a huge array of jobs both small and large. The solar panels which generate the electricity or heat are also quite affordable, particularly when compared with some of the more specialized forms of electrical micro-generation. Typically the first type of energy generation that people try (due in no small part to its affordability and ease of installation), solar power is recommended for anyone looking to make a difference not only to their electricity and heating bills but to their impact on the environment.

Increasing Usage

For home-owners and small businesses, solar power was originally limited to heating water through the installation of roof panelling. Fortunately huge innovations have been made within the industry and solar power technology can now be applied to all manner of things. Providing back-up charge for your mobile phones and mp3 players, powering roadside lighting, charging car batteries, and contributing to the national power grid are just a few of the tasks that solar power can now fulfil.

In some instances solar power has completely replaced fossil-fuel based power sources, and any connection that is made to the grid is for back-up supply only. In other cases solar power has eliminated the need for electricity at all: water and air heating, for instance, can easily be accomplished without electric-powered heating appliances.