More energy reaches the
earth from the sun in one hour than the entire world uses in a year.
The world consumes around 15 terrawatts of energy each year. Solar
energy is a hot subject-literally and catching on fast.
Worldwide, Germany and Spain are leaders in solar power generation with
4,000 megawatts and 600 megawatts of installed capacity respectively.
How about building several solar power plants across North Africa and
shipping the electricity up north via power lines under the
Mediterranean sea? This is exactly what the Desertec Industrial
Initiative (DII) are doing. More than 30 European ‘blue chip’ companies
have joined the DII in an effort to invest 560 billion in North African
solar and wind energy farms during the next 40 years. With the more
intense sunlight of the Sahara (3 times that of northern Europe) they
hope to provide %15 of Europe's electrical needs by 2050 or earlier.
India is planning to utilize its Rajasthan Desert which is similar to
the Sahara as a site for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants that
will help meet its energy needs in the next few years.
Then there are the solar power plants in our American Southwest. There
are two main types of solar plants there. Concentrated Solar Power
(CSP) plants use the sun's heat to boil water and drive a steam
generator. Concentrating Photovoltaics use parabolic mirrors or
fresnels to intensify sunlight up to 1000 times, focusing the light on
special solar cells.
The following clip shows
the 350 MW Solar Plant at Kramer Junction, CA. With Mojave Solar Park
coming on line soon with 550 MW that will be 900 MegaWatts of power in
this little area of the Mojave. Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico have
similar projects going on.
Is Home Solar Energy Right For You?
Are you wondering if
solar would be a good investment for you. It might
be if you spend over $150 per month on electricity and you live in an
area that has a predominant amount of sunshine on most days. In order
to take advantage of net metering where you contribute your excess
power back to the power grid you are hooked into you should figure on 5
kilowatts for every 2,000 square feet.
The following information is meant only as a rough estimate. Your
actual requirements and cost will vary depending on the area where you
The average home in the US will use about 950
kilowatt hours per month.
A typical home solar system will consist of
solar panels, a charge controller, an inverter, batteries, and of
course wiring and supporting structures. Be sure that you pay extra for
a superior "Pure Sine Wave" inverter which will produce a more
efficient wave for your AC current. Get at least a 5 year warranty with
a 20 year warranty on the solar panels.
Plan on spending $25,000 for a 3-kW system.
Check with your local government officials and the power company to see
what rebates and tax credits apply in your area.
A 3-kW system will use 30-35 solar panels and
take up around 300 square feet of area.
If a professionally installed solar system is out of your price range
right now, you might want to start out more modestly by making your own
solar panels. Check out my page for make your own solar panels.
article contains paid affiliate links to products
that I have personally purchased, used, and evaluated. The small
that I receive should you decide to buy allows me to evaluate other
that might be of interest to you.