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Solar Articles

Solar Articles

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Published by Kenneth Gonzalez

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Published by: Kenneth Gonzalez on Dec 04, 2009
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09/02/2010

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Solar Energy ArticlesAlthough it is much less expensive to initially gethooked into the local electric company's grid than it isto set up and hook into wind turbines, in the long runone saves money by utilizing the wind for one's energyneeds—while also becoming more independent. Notreceiving an electric bill while enjoying the advantagesof the modern electrically-driven lifestyle is a wondrousfeeling.Electric bills and fuel bills are rising steadily—but thecost of wind turbine energy is zero, and the cost of installing and hooking up a turbine is steadily comingdown as demand rises and more commercial success isrealized by various companies producing the turbinesand researching technologies to make them ever moreefficient. In addition, people are moving away from thetraditional electric grids and the fossil fuels for personalreasons including desire for greater independence, thedesire to live remotely or rurally without having to “goprimitive”, political concerns such as fears of terroriststrikes on oil fields or power grids, or concerns aboutthe environment. Again, this motivation to get awayfrom the traditional energy sources is the same one thatcauses people to seek the power of the wind for their energy, giving more business opportunities to profitfrom wind turbine production and maintenance, whichdrives their costs down for the consumers. In nearlythirty states at the time of this writing, homeowners whoremain on the grid but who still choose to use windenergy (or other alternative forms) are eligible for rebates or tax breaks from the state governments thatend up paying for as much as 50% of their total “green”energy systems' costs. In addition, there are 35 states at
 
the time of this writing where these homeowners areallowed to sell their excess energy back to the power company under what are called “net metering laws”. Therates that they are being paid by the local power companies for this energy are standard retail rates—inother words, the homeowners are actually profiting fromtheir own energy production.Some federal lawmakers are pushing to get the federalgovernment to mandate these tax breaks and other windpower incentives in all 50 states. Japan and Germanyalready have national incentive programs in place.However, “A lot of this is handled regionally by statelaw. There wouldn't really be a role for the federalgovernment,” the Energy Department's Craig Stevenssays. And as might be imagined, there are power companies who feel that it's unfair that they should haveto pay retail rates to private individuals. “We should[only have to] pay you the wholesale rate for ... your electricity,” according to Bruce Bowen, Pacific Gas &Electric's director of regulatory policy. However, thecompanies seem to be more worried about losing shortterm profits than about the benefits, especially in thelong run, of the increased use of wind turbines or windfarms. Head of the Center for Energy Efficiency andRenewable Technologies of California V. John Whitepoints out, “It's quality power that strengthens the grid.”---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Solar Energy Collecting as an Alternative Energy SourcePhotovoltaic cells—those black squares an array of which comprises a solar 
 
panel—are getting more efficient, and gradually lessexpensive, all the time, thanks to ever-better designswhich all them to focus the gathered sunlight on a moreand more concentrated point. The size of the cells isdecreasing as their efficiency rises, meaning that eachcell becomes cheaper to produce and at once moreproductive. As far as the aforementioned cost, the priceof producing solar-generated energy per watt hour hascome down to $4.00 at the time of this writing. Just 17years ago, it was nearly double that cost.Solar powered electricity generation is certainly goodfor the environment, as this alternative form of producing energy gives off absolutely zero emissionsinto the atmosphere and is merely utilizing one of themost naturally occurring of all things as its driver. Solar collection cells are becoming slowly but surely ever more practical for placing upon the rooftops of people'shomes, and they are not a difficult system to use for heating one's home, creating hot water, or producingelectricity. In the case of using the photovoltaic cells for hot water generation, the system works by having thewater encased in the cells, where it is heated and thensent through your pipes.Photovoltaic cells are becoming increasingly better atcollecting sufficient radiation from the sun even onovercast or stormy days. One company in particular,Uni-Solar, has developed solar collection arrays for thehome that work well on inclement days, by way of atechnologically more advanced system that stores moreenergy at one time during sunlit days than previous or other arrays.There is actually another solar power system available

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