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Passive Solar with Photovoltaics - How does it work?

Passive solar - solar design that takes into account, sun, wind and shade. Solar energy is the cleanest energy options available today. Its contribution to global warming is smaller than any other energy source. Solar energy is renewable; we will never run out. It is reliable; you won't experience widespread blackouts. Solar devices add to the value of your home and save your money every month.

The smartest way to start using solar energy in your home is by using the sun to heat your water. Solar collectors on your roof use heat from the sun to directly heat water. This "pre-heated" water, then goes through your electric or gas water heater. This reduces the energy used by your electric or gas heater by 60 to 90%. Your solar water heater will pay for itself, long before its useful life is over, putting money in your pocket every month.

The most widely used and well-known device used to generate electricity from the sun is photovoltaics or PV. Photo, as a photograph, meaning light, and voltaic as and volts of electricity. PV is silicon semiconductor technology similar to that used in computers.

Using electricity generated with solar takes a whole system, not just PV. PV modules convert sunlight into electricity in the direct current (DC) form. This electricity can be stored in a battery or goes directly to the inverter. The inverter is an electronic device that can convert DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity. AC is the form of electricity that most power companies provide to your home. The inverter also provides system protection and automation.

Expert opinions vary by climate, however, for example purposes, a 2,000 square foot home might have a 2.5 Kilowatt solar electric system. The photovoltaic panels would generate up to 2500 watts per hour. Most systems would be described as a grid-tied system, meaning there is a backup source from your local power company. During the day, the solar generated electricity will either be used to run the household or as in a growing number of communities the power can be returned to the grid and the meter will run backwards. At night, the meter will run forward as electricity is taken from the grid. The power generated in the system is very clean-possibly even cleaner than that from a grid. Many people believe a house is worth considerably more with a solar electric system.

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