There are a huge amount of solar options available on the market at the moment and a lot of the jargon can be a little confusing. This week, we are going to take a bit of time to debunk some that information and make it a little easier to digest so that you can decide for yourself which option might be best for you.
The type that we all recognise are Photovoltaic Cells. You probably first came across these on calculators when you were in school but you will now see them adorning a fair few houses in your local area. Simply put, they convert sunlight into electricity which is then used in your home or, if you are generating enough, will be fed back into the grid at a profit.
Solar Chemical Power
However, there are plenty of other options to generate power throughout the home in a variety of ways, and it doesn’t always involve directly using the power of the sun to generate electricity. The newest development is solar chemical power, where the idea is to use sunlight to begin a chemical reaction which in turn could be used to generate power in some form. But this is very much in the development stage at the moment so in terms of things that you could use right now you may want to look at things like solar hot water heating systems.
Solar Hot Water Systems
One of the biggest criticisms of solar panels is that they don’t work at their best in the winter, which in the UK is when we use the most power. The great thing about a solar hot water system is that the sun is simply used to heat the water that circulates around the house, so even in the winter months you can get some effects. It doesn’t take a huge amount of sunlight to heat the hot water pump which feeds into your boiler so it can have a fairly dramatic effect on your bills, and the majority of the time it can be attached to your current hot water system so it isn’t even that expensive.
The future of solar
That said, there are plenty of other upcoming developments which you really need to keep an eye on as in the next few years or so they will be getting more accessible and can make a huge difference. Holographic Tuning is a technology designed to not only improve the efficiency of solar panels but also to make them smaller and less of an eyesore. The current solar panels you see can only harness around 10-20% of the power of the sun so if these developments continue to progress as well as they are suggesting then we could all be getting a lot more of our energy in solar form.
So for now, there is no doubt about it that most effective form to our mind is the solar hot water system. Whether it is in terms of the current efficiency of the systems available, the cost of installation and the benefits to your bills at the toughest times of year, they come out on top, but keep your eyes peeled because science is progressing at an astonishing rate where solar energy is concerned.
If you would like more information on the future of solar power, please see the YouTube video below: