Solar energy has been around for centuries, dating back to at least as early as 7th century B.C, so there must be a reason, right? Not only is solar energy an unchanging constant, the sun is what keeps the Earth’s organisms surviving and thriving. The sun and solar energy play a very important role in renewable energy and can impact you and your energy usage directly. We are going to look further into how solar energy can benefit your daily life. Is solar energy being used around you and you don’t even know it?
Let’s Have a Refresher on Solar Energy
In case you need a quick recap of what solar energy is, keep reading. Solar energy is exactly as is sounds, it is the energy that is produced from the sun. Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into heat and electrical energy. Solar energy is clean and renewable.
Solar energy can be collected and distributed in several different ways: photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling, and concentrating solar power. The most familiar way to harness solar energy is photovoltaics. Photovoltaics generate electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process and can be used to power anything from small electronics such as calculators to homes and large commercial businesses.
What are Some Everyday Uses of Solar Energy?
Just the other day I was taking a walk and noticed that my neighbors had added solar panels to their home. Solar energy adoption is growing, whether we realize it or not. According to Solar Energy Industries Association, solar has had an average annual growth rate of 50% in the last 10 years in the United States. How solar energy can benefit your daily life, depends on how you use it or it is used around you. Below we are going to review some common uses of solar energy.
Transportation: Around 28% of the United States annual energy consumption goes toward transporting people and goods. Whether you are traveling by train, subway, bus, car, plane, or another way, the majority of energy, vehicles currently use, comes from gasoline and diesel fuels; however, many cities are starting to transition to solar powered sources of transportation. Today, alternative types of vehicles exist to replace traditional oil and fuel burning models. There are all-electric vehicles, hybrids, and vehicles that run on photovoltaic (PV) energy.
Recently, the first solar-powered aircraft crossed the Pacific Ocean as a testament to the immense potential of solar energy. The speed of advancements in solar technologies looks promising for the transportation sector, which may soon run partially, or entirely, on PV energy in many cities. Transportation is a major everyday use of solar energy that could positively impact the entire world (Earth Eclipse).
Battery Charging: In today’s technological world, keeping your devices charged seems like a full time job, but sometimes it is hard to do because a traditional power source (AKA an electrical outlet) is hard to find. Have no fear, solar power is a great alternative. Solar power can give you a constant source of personal solar energy to charge devices without the need for electricity. If you haven’t already added a solar power cell phone charger to your list of items you carry everywhere, put one on your list. Also, they can make for a great gift to give others over the holidays.
You may not even realize how solar energy can benefit your daily life until there is no other way for you to charge your phone, tablet, or laptop, and you are in desperate need to use them. Just imagine leaving the house or office without thinking twice about what battery percentage your phone or other device is on. If you use solar technology to charge your devices, it wouldn’t matter, because you portably can power to them just by having access to the sun.
Heating: You likely already know that gas prices to heat your home this winter are expected to soar. Now may be one of the best times to utilize solar energy to keep your home warm. You don’t need to get as fancy as my neighbors down the street and install panels, but you can keep your curtains open during the day to let the heat and warmth in, and close them at night to maintain the warmer air. You could also add other types of solar into your life.
Utilize or add a solar room to your home, convert to a solar water heater, use solar space heaters, etc. If you really want to add solar energy into your daily life, and save money on gas heating this winter, look into adding solar panels to your home. While they may be a little pricey for the installation, they could cost you less in the long run.
Lighting: Perhaps one of the easiest ways that solar energy has been added into your daily life, without you even knowing it, is that cities and highway systems have been changing their street and roadside lights to be powered by solar. Look at the next light you pass on a highway, you may just see a tiny little solar panel attached right under the light. That is being used to provide energy to the light.
Lighting is one of the most affordable means of using solar energy, as products are mostly inexpensive and accessible for most of the population. If you thought solar energy was out of your price range, think again. Consider trading some of your traditional lights for solar, and experience the perks of this renewable energy yourself. Not to mention, if there is ever a power outage, you will have an alternative way to light your home.
Solar Energy can Benefit Your Daily Life
Solar energy can benefit your daily life and is likely a part of your life already in ways that you may not even realize.
Using solar energy for transportation, battery charging, heating, lighting, or even electricity can reduce monthly bills, help save the environment, and put you in control of your energy expenses for years to come. We have only reviewed a few ways that solar energy can be part of your daily life, but there are many more, and the technology around solar continues to evolve.
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