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How Solar Power Is Changing the Face of Technology

Aug 4, 2022

Photovoltaic (PV) technology, also known as solar power, is the harnessing of energy from the sun to generate electricity. Once installed, solar panels run entirely on free energy from the sun and produce no direct emissions, making them a clean and renewable source of electricity.

The current demand for renewables in the face of climate change has driven a surge in the solar power industry over the past few years. PV systems outpaced all other sources of electricity in adding capacity to the U.S. grid each year from 2019-2021. Although non-renewable energy sources like coal and gas continue to dominate the mix and emit climate-changing greenhouse gasses, solar’s share will continue to grow as the technology continues to improve. Solar panels are becoming more affordable, more efficient, and more versatile in their applications across the economy.

Large solar panel installation on garage building

Solar installation in Ohio by solgen power

Past Limitations of Solar Technology

To understand the current and future possibilities for solar power, it’s important to know what drawbacks the technology has historically had. Ever since photovoltaic power was first used in the 1950s, the efficiency of solar panels has gradually increased.

However, solar has continued to face drawbacks in its cost, requirements for maintenance, and the amount of space that panels take up. Those limitations, along with the notable disadvantage that PV only works when the sun is out, have been enough to hold back the widespread adoption of solar for several decades.

Advances in Solar Technology

Change has come within the past ten years, however, as determined researchers and entrepreneurs have developed solar panels that are both less expensive and more reliable, along with better batteries for storing power in the absence of sunlight.

In addition, photovoltaics are beginning to take on new forms that move far beyond rooftop panels or sprawling arrays that have become commonplace. These advances in technology and the resulting affordability are helping more consumers, businesses, and homeowners opt for solar system installations around the world.

BIPV Solar Technology

BIPV stands for building-integrated photovoltaics, and describes an innovative use for solar panels in architecture. Rather than solar panels perching awkwardly on a roof, BIPV can elegantly incorporate photovoltaic cells into the building itself. Materials such as the facade, shingles, and even windows can double as solar panels, achieving on-site power generation with an ultra-modern aesthetic.

Solar Fabric

An emerging technology with countless potential uses, solar fabric is a lightweight, flexible material that generates energy from the sun. This semi-transparent layer can add photovoltaic capacity to nearly any surface including canopies, shades, greenhouses, and even clothing.

Solar Noise Barriers

In step with the trend of integrating solar panels into structures, photovoltaic noise barriers (PVNBs) are another example of innovation in renewable energy. These are solar panels built into sound-blocking walls along busy highways. PVNBs can generate power for a locality while also reducing noise pollution, and they help solve the problem of finding space for new solar panel installations.

New Applications for Solar Power

As photovoltaic technology improves, solar power is becoming better not only in its familiar applications, but is also being utilized in entirely new ways. Soon we may see electric wall plugs becoming less common, and instead we’ll have solar panels built into more things we use every day.

Transportation

The transportation sector is currently the top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. As electric vehicle (EV) technology improves, however, electric cars hold a lot of promise for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. If we can also update the power grid to use more solar and other renewables instead of gas and coal, then EVs that run on truly green energy can propel us into a cleaner future.

PV systems on the electrical grid are not the only ways that solar can power transportation, however. Imagine driving a car with solar panels built in, so that the sun can help power the AC and the engine, allowing the car to drive farther on a single charge. Solar-assisted cars are indeed on the way, with several companies working on their own models. Soon we may have all kinds of vehicles running on free energy from the sun.

Defense

The Department of Defense has embraced solar power for the military, in the interests of both energy independence for installations and for U.S. national security — citing dependence on fossil fuels as a major risk for tactical operations and for the defense of the country as a whole. The military has installed PV systems at bases across the country and has also developed portable arrays that reduce the need for risky refueling missions in combat zones.

Space Exploration

Solar power is nothing new in space travel, as some of the world’s first solar panels were developed by NASA for powering satellites. However, the possibilities for solar power in space are practically limitless with today’s technology. Not only can solar be used to propel spacecraft into deep space, but orbiting panels could be used to power the electrical grid on Earth.

Known as space solar power, the idea is to build satellite PV stations that beam power to receivers on the ground. This system would take up very little room on the planet and would produce practically zero emissions, yet it could generate continually both day and night, and could deliver power equitably around the globe. This is the future of solar technology that could truly solve our energy constraints and the climate crisis.

The Impact of Residential Solar Power

Although solar cars and generators in space may not be far off, they are not reshaping our everyday lives just yet. One technology that can already power our day-to-day routines, however, is solar power for residential buildings. Once considered a luxury or a symbol of status, residential solar is now affordable and versatile enough to suit many kinds of properties.

Homeowners who go solar will benefit from tax incentives and lower energy bills that can recoup the cost of installation over time. Once a PV system has paid for itself, owners simply enjoy the cost savings and the satisfaction of producing green energy, along with the increase in home value that solar panels can bring.

How To Install Solar Power in Your Home

The viability of solar power and the time it takes to pay off will vary depending on where you live. As you might expect, those who reside in hot and sunny locations like Arizona will receive the quickest returns, but the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of modern PV panels might surprise you. Residents of cloudier places like Ohio and even Washington can still enjoy the benefits of solar power at home.

To learn about the potential for solar in your area, you can complete a quick assessment and find out if your home qualifies. From there, a solar power company can provide you with a quote and help you calculate the future cost savings you could get by going solar.

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Solgen Power is a solar energy equipment company that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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Best Company Great Value 2021 Award given too
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2020 solar reviews
stevie award for solar
NABCEP Certified
2021 top solar award
inc 5000 top solar award
Top 10 ranked award 2021 by Best Company

Headquarters Location 5715 Bedford Street Pasco, WA 99301

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Ever drive down the road and you get blinded by the sun as if there was a solar flare? Those same blinding rays of sun can be harnessed into electricity and dispersed throughout your household. That big yellow ball of fire in the sky isn’t only to provide energy to plants, but it is now used to provide energy to our home and items in that home. Imagine charging your phone using power derived from the sun, it’s possible and highly beneficial. You can learn more about the benefits of solar energy here in our blog on 5 Benefits of Going Solar. 

Solar installation in Ohio by solgen power

Solar installation in Ohio by solgen power

In early human civilization, humans had already used solar energy to create fire and sunrooms. Sunrooms are rooms that are designed to use the energy of the sun to warm up

Sunlight hits a solar panel and the panel then converts it into electricity that then can be harnessed and used throughout your home. The photovoltaic effect is the process of how materials generate voltage and electrical current when exposed to light. This all happens in a solar panel to create electricity and then a solar inverter is used to convert DC to AC electricity. A net meter will track and measure the usage of energy in your home. It can also produce thermal energy which is also used for homes and businesses for heating up the buildings, rooms and the water heating system. 

Benefits Of Solar Energy

Even with snow on your panel during these cold times, light is able to reach the panels and provide energy to you. The solar energy provided to you by the system will feed your whole household power and help drive down the cost of energy bill per month. For a lot of Americans, utilities are an obstacle to get over. It is needed in order to keep things going in your home, like keeping food cold in the fridge. One of the most beneficial things solar brings is non dependency, being able to not depend on other energy options and now having more available options for people to choose from. Solar panels have made it so that people can start taking ownership of one of the energy sources they use. Solar frees them from the monopoly of utility companies, there are options. 

What being clean means is that there was no pollution created while the energy was being made. Coal-fired power plants use the burning of coal to create heat so that water steams up and creates pressure into turbines that produce electricity. Burning coal produces plenty of smoke, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, mercury and other metals. Burning coal has already polluted the planet and damaged ecosystems. That is why green options like solar energy were created. 

 Some have been credited by the city for sending power back to the grid. It helps you with lowering your utilities every single month and therefore making it a great investment. Solar energy and getting it installed in your home helps drive the equity up while saving every month. Depending on your location, the amount of equity going up varies. Even the Government provides a credit in tax season for getting solar installed, that is due to moving to a renewable option. This incentive is to help boost people’s decision to switch to a cleaner alternative. There are plenty of financial benefits that you get from going solar, it makes it one of the most beneficial and rewarding investments. 

Installing a solar panel on the roof of a customer

Installing a solar panel on the roof of a customer

 Some have been credited by the city for sending power back to the grid. It helps you with lowering your utilities every single month and therefore making it a great investment. Solar energy and getting it installed in your home helps drive the equity up while saving every month. Depending on your location, the amount of equity going up varies. Even the Government provides a credit in tax season for getting solar installed, which is due to making the switch to a renewable option. This incentive is to help boost people’s decision to switch to a cleaner alternative. There are plenty of financial benefits that you get from going solar, it makes it one of the most beneficial and rewarding investments. 

Why Is Solar Energy Clean?

Solar Energy is a clean alternative energy resource rather than harmful energy resources like fossil fuels. No more buildings pumping out smoke and toxins just to provide energy, there are cleaner options already in the market. Solar expels no pollutants and the parts that make up solar power systems are recyclable. Solar energy is a renewable energy source which means that the resources for energy will never go away and as time goes on, will provide a means to an end.  Solar energy being clean and renewable provides a good sense of direction to problems we face today.  

 

Even thermal energy is a lot safer than gas heating. Gas heating always provides a danger since it becomes hazardous from inhaling or it being highly flammable. Using solar as heat to warm up objects that would regularly require fire is a prime example of how clean using energy from the sun really is. As more people move to solar, the need for more harmful energy options will disappear, helping make this world become green for everyone. Saving this planet is the ultimate goal and even though we are stepping in the right direction, we still have plenty to do.