Monday, May 2, 2011

Advantages of Solar Power - Top Ten Benefits of Solar Energy

 Solar energy benefits us on a personal, financial and global level. Listed here are the 10 most notable advantages of solar power.

Although the cost of solar energy could hardly be listed as an advantage, prices have been on a downward trend since the first solar panel was built and indications are that the trend will continue until prices reach parity with those of power plants and very possibly continue it's descent from there.

Without further ado, here they are from 10 to number 1, Solar Power at Home's Top Ten Advantages of Solar Power

* 10 -- Payback Factor It takes a significant amount of time for a solar power system to pay for itself at current prices but while we're making our fervent calculations to determine when we'll be getting free power we should remember that, currently, there are no power companies that are offering the possibility of free power at anytime in the future.

* 9 -- Low Maintenance Our number 9 benefit of solar power is that the system requires very little maintenance. In an off grid system, battery maintenance is the biggest regular task. If your system is tied to the grid batteries aren't necessary and your maintenance chores will consist of monitoring your system and occasionally removing debris or obstructions from the panels.

* 8 -- Long Life Relatively new in the energy arena, it was estimated, in the 60's and 70's, that a photovoltaic system would have an active life of around 20 years and that power production would be minimal or non existent soon after that. As the early systems have passed their 20th and 30th birthdays and still functioning well the estimated productive lifetime of a solar power home system has been adjusted upward to around 40 years. Most solar panels come with a 20 year (or better) warranty.

* 7 -- Remote Capabilities The more remote your location the less expensive it is to enjoy the advantages of solar energy in comparison to grid power. Additionally, because maintenance requirements are very low solar panels are exceptionally well suited for remote or difficult to access locations.

* 6 -- Home Equity Increase Not only will a photovoltaic system increase the value of your home but attention to environmental details make a home much more sellable in the future (although you can take it with you when you move).

* 5 -- Free Fuel The system costs money but the fuel to power it is free. Also there are no fuel taxes. Hopefully they never find a way to tax sunshine.

* 4 -- Independence Using solar energy can free us from dependence on not-so-friendly nations who would withhold resources for ransom given the slightest provocation. Besides, it's liberating making your own power wherever you want. (I write this as we are anchored in our sailboat off Mexico's west coast. My laptop is being powered exclusively with solar energy)

* 3 -- Renewable Fuel Solar energy is the most abundant source of fuel on the planet. So rapidly renewable that in 40 minutes the sun spills enough solar energy upon the planet to energize every power outlet on the globe for a year. The possibilities for this resource are difficult to conceive.

* 2 -- Zero Carbon Emissions One of the biggest advantages of solar power is it is simply soaked up. Clean solar power, produced at your home, circumvents the need for your energy to be dug up from deep within the earth, transported over land and sea (at great environmental expense when spills occur) and burned, producing clouds of gasses and toxins. A worthy opponent to crude oil we think.

* 1 -- Long Term Solution The Number one, numero uno, big Kahuna, advantage of solar energy... is that it is a solution that will be there for the long haul. Unlike fossil fuels which have been on the road to depletion since the first day we used them, solar energy is capable of powering the planet into the foreseeable future.

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