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Which is better: polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar cells?

Choosing between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells is not easy. Both are made from crystalline silicon, the most efficient semiconductor material on the... Read More »

How many solar panels does it take to power a house?

The number of solar panels it takes to power a home varies from one home to the next. Several factors influence the final number of panels. The most significant among these... Read More »

How much kW output per day is produced from a 4-kW solar power system?

The total output per day of a solar power system depends on the size of that system and the amount of direct sunlight it receives. A 4-kilowatt (kW) system will produce 4... Read More »

Why is solar power better than other energy?

Solar power has plenty of advantages over other types of energy. It has viable applications, from the smallest home solar power systems to large, centralized power plants.... Read More »

Why do environmentalists oppose new solar power plants?

It seems strange that environmentalists would oppose the construction of new solar power plants. Yet that very oddity has become the most talked-about issue facing the... Read More »

Could plastic make cheap solar power?

Not only could plastic help produce cheaper solar power, but many researchers expect it to. Plastic offers a less complicated way to manufacture solar cells, and given... Read More »

What is a good insulator for a passively solar powered house?

Insulation is so vital to home energy efficiency that governments are offering some significant rebates for insulation upgrades. The hope is to reduce our energy consumption,... Read More »

Is there a solar powered portable air conditioner on the market?

Yes, there are several solar-powered portable air conditioners on the market. Solar air conditioning may sound strange - using the hot sun to cool your home - but it also... Read More »

Should you buy used solar panels?

Buying used solar panels has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you save money, you know that solar panels last at least 25 years and possibly more than 50, and anything... Read More »

Can pool cover solar panels be used to heat the house?

Pool cover solar panels are probably not your best option in home heating. Similar systems, which typically consist of small tubes through which pool water circulates, can... Read More »

Do solar panels wear out?

Over a long period of time, solar panels do wear out in the sense that they become less efficient at converting solar energy into usable electricity. The panel structure... Read More »

Will nano flakes revolutionize the solar industry?

While working on his PhD thesis at the University of Copenhagen, Martin Aagesen discovered a new solar cell material with a perfect crystalline structure. That material has... Read More »

Where is solar energy most used?

Solar energy is by far the most abundant resource available on Earth. Without the sun, the planet could not survive. With it, we can not only stay warm and grow food, but... Read More »

How much solar energy hits the US in one hour?

It is estimated that enough solar energy hits the earth in one single hour to power the entire globe for a full year. In other words, there is no shortage of solar energy... Read More »

What is the maximum temperature a solar panel can withstand?

Temperature does have an adverse effect on solar panel performance, primarily on the cells’ open-circuit voltage. Voltage reductions in solar cells increase linearly as... Read More »

Why use silicon to make photovoltaic cells?

Silicon is the material backbone of the current solar industry. Silicon is vital to solar PV cells because it is the semiconductor material that enables the photoelectric... Read More »

Why are solar cells so expensive?

The primary cost drivers in solar cell marketing are materials and manufacturing processes. Most solar cells in use today use silicon as the semiconductor that enables the... Read More »

How does a solar - powered car work?

Solar-powered cars are simply electric cars that draw their power from the sun. Solar cells are mounted on the exterior of the car. These photovoltaic (PV) devices capture... Read More »

How well do solar panels work in Northern climates?

We recently received an excellent question from one of our friendly readers to the north. Hailing from Calgary, the question is a common one among residents of Canada and... Read More »

Who created the first solar panel?

As with any invention in history, it is a score of scientists’ work that leads up to the product we know today. As for the solar cell, in 1839, Alexandre Edmond... Read More »

How much electricity is produced by a solar cell in an hour?

A solar cell is to a solar power system what the atom is to a molecule. Each solar cell in a module is its own photovoltaic power producer, collecting sunlight and... Read More »

What is the cheapest route for electricity generation, solar pv or solar thermal?

Solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal power are both viable routes for creating solar electricity. PV converts sunlight directly to electric current using solar cells... Read More »

What do “Dummy Cells” mean in a solar application?

The term “dummy cell” refers to a non-functioning, or fake, solar cell. While it may seem strange to put non-working solar cells in a solar system, there are... Read More »

What are the limitations of solar power?

Solar power is a renewable resource, but it is not without its limits, at least presently. As far as how much of our energy needs can be satisfied by solar power, the limits... Read More »

What different energies can solar transform into?

Solar energy is a diverse resource that can be harnessed for many purposes. The sun sends solar radiation to earth in the form of thermal energy. Solar thermal power captures... Read More »

How does solar affect the environment?

The ways in which solar power has a positive effect on the environment are varied and many. Solar energy is renewable, requires no combustion of fossil fuels, emits zero... Read More »

How do you convert thermal energy to electrical energy?

Thermal energy is at the root of how electrical energy is made. Steam, which is a form of thermal energy, is used to drive a turbine. That turbine drives a generator... Read More »

What does thermal energy measure?

Thermal energy measures the movement of atoms or molecules within a substance. It is considered less a measurement and more a process or an amount of internal energy.... Read More »

Who discovered thermal energy?

James Prescott Joule was the first scientist to discover that heat is a type of energy. While studying the relationship between heat, work and temperature, he was... Read More »

What are the three ways that thermal energy travels as heat?

Thermal energy travels as heat through convection, conduction and radiation. Convection is the transfer of heat by a liquid or gas, such as water and air, respectively. The... Read More »

Where can thermal energy be lost?

Thermal energy can escape from a home in several ways. Every time heat escapes through an open or poorly sealed door or window, thermal energy is lost. It passes right... Read More »

How does thermal energy work?

Thermal energy is created by the addition of heat to a substance. Thermal energy that humans use to provide heat or electricity is harnessed in three ways: from the sun,... Read More »

What Costs are Associated with Kitchen Remodeling?

Great question. Setting a realistic budget for your kitchen remodel is the first step of the project. Look at remodeling like airline seating - you have economy, coach and... Read More »

What is solar thermal energy?

The word thermal signifies anything of or relating to heat. Thermal energy is the energy created from that heat. Solar thermal energy involves the heat created by the sun and... Read More »

How is thermal energy produced?

Thermal energy is produced by collecting heat from the sun or the earth’s crust. Solar thermal energy is produced by using mirrors to focus solar radiation onto a... Read More »

How is thermal energy used?

Thermal energy has everything to do with heat. Therefore, solar thermal energy, which involves the capture of heat from the sun, provides our most common uses for thermal... Read More »

Do solar panels work to power a home fountain?

Not only do solar panels work to power a home fountain, but they are the cheaper, eco-friendly and overall the best option. After the initial cost of the solar panel and... Read More »

How many batteries to power a solar home?

Determining how many batteries you’ll need to run your solar home is a matter of basic mathematics, as well as a little study of your electric bills. A battery will... Read More »

How to install a solar power generator?

Solar generators provide valuable, gas-free backup power for homes in the event of a blackout. They are ideal for remote locations, such as cabins, summer homes, RVs and... Read More »

Do home solar energy systems really work?

Yes, they do. Solar energy systems not only work, but they work for you and for a long time. While the intimate physics of solar cells can be very complex, the actual... Read More »

How do I solar heat my home?

There are several approaches to solar heating your home. If you have electric heat, a solar power system can provide the electricity to run the heater. A more common and... Read More »

How do I increase solar power system output?

Increasing the output of your solar power system is best done by adding more solar power panels. Each panel has its own rated output, which is the amount of electricity it... Read More »

How do I use solar power?

You use solar power in more ways than you know. The sun is the life force of the earth and humans are no exception. Even our own bodies use solar energy to collect Vitamin... Read More »

How much would it cost to solar power my house?

The cost of solar power varies by location, due primarily to the availability of tax incentives and rebates from utilities and state and local governments. But incentives... Read More »

How much solar power is needed to operate a drill?

The drill is probably the most important power tool in today’s home. It performs any number of tasks, from installing a switch plate to laying down deck boards. It... Read More »

How much does one Kilowatt-Hour of solar power cost?

The economics of solar power are difficult to pinpoint due to the variability of sunlight from place to place. Therefore, any average cost given will have a large margin of... Read More »

How is solar power being used today?

Solar power is being used in a wide variety of ways. Solar heat, captured by solar thermal power, is used to heat water, homes, swimming pools and even cook food. Solar... Read More »

How many people use solar power?

It’s difficult to put a number on exactly how many people use solar power. Millions around the world are either creating their own solar power or receiving a portion... Read More »

How do you convert a home to solar power?

Converting your home to solar power is a process. It can start and end with having a solar system installed and “plugged in” (a process in itself), but... Read More »

Which countries use solar power?

Solar power is used in many countries, and the number is rapidly increasing. There are leaders and slackers, but most countries are coming around to clean, effective and... Read More »

How expensive is solar power?

Left to its own devices, solar power is today still too expensive for most homeowners. However, our growing need for fast, reliable and clean energy sources has inspired... Read More »

How much power is generated in the United States by solar power?

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy accounted for 7 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2008. Solar power accounted for only one... Read More »

Which states use solar power?

In some way, shape or form, probably every state uses solar power, whether it’s used by the citizenry, business world or government. There are, however, some states... Read More »

How is solar power used?

Solar power is a very energetic resource with many uses. Solar power is most famous for its ability to create electricity to power our homes and businesses, but its... Read More »

What are the benefits of solar power?

Solar power is chock-full of benefits, especially given our current environmental and economic woes. All renewable energy sources have some inherent benefits, including... Read More »

What are the problems associated with solar power?

As of yet, no energy source is perfect. Be it oil, coal or solar power, there are drawbacks to be found. Solar power has some very valuable advantages over its... Read More »

How does a solar power plant work?

In the future, fossil fuel power plants - namely coal plants in the United States - will be replaced with clean, renewable sources of energy. Solar energy will play a major... Read More »

What generates more power: wind or solar panels?

On a residential scale, solar power is much more feasible than wind power. Unless you have a lot of land in a very windy place, wind turbines are very unlikely to be... Read More »

How does solar power work?

Solar power works by converting sunlight directly into electricity, which we can use to power our homes and cities. But this amazing feat does not happen by magic. It takes... Read More »

How efficient is solar power?

The efficiency of solar power, or more specifically a solar panel, depends on the materials used to make each solar cell. A solar cell is that portion of a solar panel in... Read More »

When was glass first used in windows and who put it there?

Glass made its way into windows during the Roman early Imperial period, just shortly after the birth of Christ. They used these early glass windows mainly in bathhouses... Read More »

What is solar power?

Every hour, the sun beams down enough solar energy to power the entire globe for one year. Simply put, solar power is the process of harnessing that energy. The most common... Read More »

What are the disadvantages of solar power?

Solar power has few disadvantages. It offers the promise of free, clean, reliable energy, as well as a slew of other advantages on a larger social and economic scale. However,... Read More »