Most people are familiar with solar panels. They have seen them and may have a concept that the sun’s energy gets absorbed into the solar panels. From there, they understand that the energy is transformed into electricity.
There is another game in town that has been making headway. It also harnesses the energy of the sun. It is called solar hot water, as in a way to heat hot water using the energy of the sun. They are very efficient systems, especially when people factor in that heating water accounts for 37% of natural gas usage in a home, with the other 63% accounting for heating.
Solar hot water heating is great for specific areas such as a pool. Technically, people can live without warm water in a pool. If the unit fails, it may cause a damaged pipe or two going to the pool. If the same damage occurs on a home’s water heating system, it can be potentially devastating.
The costs of heating and cooling homes and electricity and natural gas usage have been going up in the past 25 years. Meanwhile, most households could stand to cut costs given constant economic pressures.
Here is where the newest solar panels are coming in and potentially saving the day. As it turns out, the reason all households in the sunshine enjoying regions are not using solar energy is it is expensive. Until recently, engineers have struggled with designing solar panels that can be made less expensively.
Recently, there have been significant improvements in both technology and the overall costs of solar electric photovoltaic panels. Because of gains in the technology, it has drastically improved solar-electric heat pumps that provide heat and hot water. Heat pumps are traditionally very energy efficient, and are beneficial particularly where availability of solar power can wane and wax during off-peak hours (read: nighttime and overcast days).
For that reason, the best of the solar thermal systems when compared to today’s solar panels, the latter wins every time. In a world where energy use is skyrocketing even given all of the Energy Star appliances, every little bit helps.
In some cases, households invest the money in the PV systems because they not only receive tax credits and cash back, but they realize other exceptional benefits. Some households have such a surplus of energy that they are not only realizing significantly cut or non-existent electric bills, but they are selling energy to the utility companies.
That is a true win-win proposition. The idea is to put a lot of effort into investing in energy efficiency experts who can measure energy usage and design a proper system for your home. There are tools that help regulate and measure energy usage to ensure that your home’s PV system will work as effectively as possible.
The truth is that doing something is better than nothing where energy efficiency is concerned. These days people need every bit of help in planning how to become more energy efficient.