Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy sources
Renewable energy sources will save us money as individuals and save our planet. Sources like the sun, the wind, tides, geothermal energy, and rain are just a few renewable energy sources that are constantly – and naturally - replenished to provide energy to heat our homes, light out lives, and move us around, and at the same time, they help us conserve energy and lower our utility bills while conserving our natural resources. And if we use this naturally occurring energy in our daily lives, not only do we lower the cost to us, but we are also being good for our planet.
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Almost all of the energy we use on this planet comes from the sun, either directly, or indirectly. Directly, solar energy can be converted into electricity using photovoltaic cells in solar arrays that give off electricity when sunlight strikes them, and useable heat using solar panels. Indirectly, we get energy from the sun in many ways:
- Fossil fuels like oil and coal are created from plants that stored the sun’s energy millions of years ago
- The sun also creates warmer and cooler air masses that give us wind to turn wind powered generators
- And the sun can create steam that will spin generators that create electricity
For renewable electricity that is especially easy for home use, the most popular renewable energy sources are solar energy and wind energy.
|Energy that we can use that does not come directly or indirectly from the sun comes from the earth’s hot core – geothermal energy || |
| ||Solar energy – the energy from our sun - is readily available throughout the world and companies and governments today are installing extremely large solar electric installations in the desert areas of the world, over parking structures, along roadways, etc. to create abundant renewable power to supply much of society’s needs. |
|But individuals also are finding that it is easy to add a solar power component to their own homes because they can use space on the roof for the panels that generate the electricity. || |
With a large enough sunward facing roof space devoted to solar generation, many people are actually able to generate enough power that they can send some power BACK to the generating utility – their electric meter effectively runs in reverse part of the time - to significantly reduce their electric bill every month. This easy addition to your home is frequently supported with tax credits and rebates from local power authorities and governments to lower the cost of installation.
There are many good books
on the subject, including many that show how easy it is to add solar power to your home yourself. Or, as an alternative, you can have professional installers add a solar component to your home power system.
An interesting side effect of placing an array of solar panels on your roof to create electricity is that you are effectively adding shade to your actual roof. This will reduce the amount of heat that reaches the roof of the home reducing the need for cooling in the warmer months.
| ||Wind energy is turning into the great industrial power producer as the wind towers actually take very little land space, especially when you consider the amount of power created per amount of covered land compared to solar. |
|And if your home is in an area where wind is abundant and you have the space to run one or more windmills, wind energy can provide a steady flow of electricity at very low cost – usually less than the cost per kilowatt hour of your local power utility. This can augment what you get from the power grid, and sometimes, as with solar energy, you may actually create more energy than you can use, and wind up actually selling power BACK to the electric authority. || |
You might think that the power authorities would not like the competition in power generation, but actually, they encourage it since, as power consumption increases, they do not have to add as much additional capacity to their generating system – they actually save money. So, many times, in addition to the rebates and incentives to build renewable energy sources into your home provided by various government agencies, local power authorities will also provide not only financial incentives to add renewable energy to your home, but actually provide a great deal of information to help for you do it. This is really good news!