How Do Solar Water Heater Panels Work?

Solar power is increasing in popularity as more and more people realize the benefits. Solar energy saves money, reduces the impact on the environment, works efficiently, and increases the value of a home. In addition to installing solar home heating systems, you can also opt for solar power for heating the water in your home.

Solar water heater panels or solar thermal panels use sunlight to produce hot water. Utilizing renewable energy, they work in most climates, especially those that tend to be colder where people often have exorbitantly high heating costs during the winter.

Solar water heater panels work efficiently and can reduce the use of your traditional hot water heater by 10 to 90 percent. In most cases, the investment in solar water heater panels pays for itself in about a decade, depending on the amount of use it gets.

How Do Solar Water Heater Panels Work?

Solar water heater panels are situated on the roof of a home and allow water to flow through them so the sun’s rays can heat the water. The heated water travels to the domestic hot water tank and flows into and out of pipes on either side of the tank. People in the home are able to utilize hot water without it having an effect on the panel.

There are a number of issues to deal with when you’re utilizing solar water heater panels. For instance, if you live in an area that gets cold for part of the year or tends to be cloudy, you don’t want cold water flowing from the system into your home’s tank. When temps drop to a certain point, you’ll need to stop the system and prevent it from freezing up. Most systems offer the ability to switch the water flow on and off so you’re making the most of the flow of water.

What Are the Components of a Solar Water Heating System?

Solar water heaters use an insulated storage tank where water is heated and sent out into the home. The water is heated by the solar power that is collected in the panels. There are three different types of solar panels that can be used in residential settings, including:

Flat Plate Collectors

Flat plate collectors are glazed, insulated, and weatherproof panels that feature an absorber plant under a polymer cover. You can also get unglazed flat plates that are most often used for heating swimming pools.

Integral Collector Storage Systems (ICS)

ICS systems feature at least one black tank or tube that is inside of a glazed, insulated box. Cold water passes through the collector and is heated before entering the conventional water heater. ICS systems are only appropriate in temperate climates where temperatures are rarely below freezing.

Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors

Evacuated tube solar collector systems feature a row of glass tubes with a metal absorber tube inside. The tube absorbs sunlight and prevents heat loss. This type of system is more popular for commercial use than it is for residential use.

Keep in mind that most solar water heater systems do not completely eliminate the need for a traditional water heater. Traditional water heaters serve as a backup and allow you to gain access to heated water on cloudy days. Despite needing a backup, solar systems are still good investments because they reduce the need to use the traditional system by a significant amount.

Choosing Your Solar Water Heater Panel System

Choosing Your Solar Water Heater Panel System

There are several things you should consider before you begin your search for the best solar water heater for your home.

Start by thinking about whether or not a solar upgrade is practical for your home. Evaluate its solar resources and determine if solar is feasible. You’ll also need to consider things like restrictions and regulations in your area. Most local and state governments are happy to help you upgrade to solar, but there might still be restrictions on adding the panels to your home.

Next, estimate the cost of upgrading to a solar water heating system. Prices vary from system to system, and you also need to consider what additional components you’ll need, if any, aside from the solar water heating panel. Your current water heating system will come into play because it is part of the new overall solar system. Obviously, if you need to upgrade your traditional water heater the overall cost of upgrading is going to be more.

Finally, determine the efficiency of a given system so you’ll know about how much money you are going to save. Keep in mind there might be tax benefits at the local, state, and federal level that will save you additional money when you upgrade to solar power.

Upgrading to solar water heating usually pays for itself in about a decade, but some people recoup the cost in as little as five years, while others might need a dozen or more years for it to pay off.

Is Solar Water Heating Worth the Upgrade?

Solar water heater panels are considered three times more efficient at harvesting energy than traditional methods, but this may not mean what you think it means. Just how good the switch to solar is going to be for you depends on what you need.

Consider this: if the people living in your home tend to take a lot of showers and baths, a solar upgrade makes sense. A quality system will produce at least half of the water you need, so you’re likely to see a big difference in the cost of heating water in your home.

The drawback of a solar water heating system is that it is singular. Solar water heater panels don’t heat your entire home and don’t produce any electricity in your home. They are solely focused on water heating. Some people are going to prefer a complete solar upgrade instead of focusing on just one component, while others are going to be happy to let solar water heater panels do the work for water heating and take a more progressive journey into transitioning to solar.

Advantages of Solar Power: Learn the Benefits of Solar Energy

Switching to solar power as a source of energy seems to be the trend right now with many homeowners and the solar industry is better than ever but, unlike some trends, there’s a good reason why. Solar offers many benefits and can change your life. It’s not only good for the individual switching as it can dramatically cut electricity rates, but it also offers benefits for society as a whole by helping reduce our carbon footprint.

How does solar power work?

Solar energy is dependent on a solar panel. From the largest solar power system to the smallest, there will be a panel of some kind in place that soaks up the energy from the sun. These panels change sunlight into energy that powers whatever you need to be powered—lights, appliances, heating, etc.

In household solar power systems, solar panels would be placed on the roof of a home and all throughout the daylight will hit the panel. The panel converts the sun’s particles into electrons which flow from the panel into an inverter which converts it to AC power. AC power is what powers appliances, TVs, computers, and more in your home.

It should be noted the things that are being powered still work the same. Let’s say you want to run a toaster on solar energy in your home. You simply plug the toaster into the outlet in your kitchen and use it as you would with other forms of energy. The solar energy is converted into the form of energy you are used to using throughout your home.

Though it might seem confusing or overwhelming to think about switching your home to solar energy, one the transition is complete you’ll barely notice you’re using a different type of energy. However, you will enjoy a number of benefits.

What Are the Advantages of Solar Power for Homeowners?

Sustainable

The benefits of solar power are obvious. First of all, solar energy is sustainable and renewable. You never need to worry about “running out” of solar energy sources as long as the sun continues to burn. If you live in an area with rolling brownouts or blackouts, solar can be a lifesaver. While everyone else is conserving energy you can just go about your regular day without concern. Solar energy comes from a natural power source that is in infinite quantity and can significantly reduce energy costs. As “clean energy,” it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide and, the more that people go solar, the more it would ultimately help to slow down the process of global warming.

Off-Grid Power Source

Off-Grid Power Source

Solar power serves as a source of power that allows you to be “off the grid.” This means you aren’t relying on a third-party source to supply your power saving on costs (energy bills). You can do as you please, as long as your system is funneling energy into your home. In some cases, people utilize off the grid solar power to travel to remote areas or to even live full-time in remote areas. One of the primary advantages of solar power is it gives you the freedom to live away from and not rely on third-party power suppliers to give you energy.

Easy to Maintain

Installing solar panels to generate electricity takes a bit of investment and time to set up but, once it’s in place, there is very little that needs to be done to maintain it. Once the panels are in place and brought to maximum efficiency, all you need to do is make sure they stay clean and continue to absorb the sun’s energy.

Quiet and Clean

Solar power is produced with no pollution of any kind, sound or otherwise. You can use solar energy without hearing a sound. You’re also able to enjoy how clean solar power is because nothing is burning. Solar energy produces zero emissions and has no adverse effect on the environment.

Unobtrusive

Solar panels are unobtrusive and barely noticeable. Most people don’t give this much thought until they are thinking about upgrading to solar energy, but all that’s needed on the exterior of a building for solar energy to work is a panel or several panels. It has little to no effect on the architectural integrity of a building.

Tax Savings

In many areas, you’ll receive generous tax rebates for upgrading to solar energy. You can get a significant portion of your initial investment back right after upgrading by including the upgrade on your tax return. The government understands how upgrading to solar power benefits the community as a whole and it rewards those who choose to invest in this upgrade.

Selling Back Solar Energy

Another way solar power is a great financial upgrade is because it allows you to sell back solar credits you won’t be using. If your system produces more energy than you need, you can allow the energy company to tap into your supply and essentially sell the energy your system is producing.

Saving Money Long-term

One of the biggest benefits of upgrading to solar power is the financial savings you’ll enjoy. Even if your system is a combination of solar energy and traditional energy from third-party sources, you’ll be paying less overall. The initial cost of upgrading to solar can be pricey, but it pays for itself over time and eventually allows you to pay less for the energy you use.

What You Should Know Before Upgrading to Solar Power

Despite all the advantages of solar power, it’s not the right option for everyone.

Before upgrading, you need to make sure your location is right for solar. You need the sun to be able to access your panels without any obstruction and the best option is for your roof to be situated in the right manner. According to the Department of Energy, this means the panels should be south-facing or east-west facing at an angle of no more than 45 degrees.

You should still be able to access the grid if need be, even if you upgrade to solar. Some people want to jump completely into solar, but it’s important to have a backup energy source if there is ever a time solar cannot meet your needs. This also allows you to take advantage of selling credits back to the power company.

Finally, you need to look at your energy usage and determine at what point solar is a good investment. Essentially, there’s a “tipping” point at which solar becomes a wise upgrade, but this varies from situation to situation. Knowing what you use and how that looks if you switch to solar makes a huge difference when you upgrade.

50 Most Popular Solar Outdoor Wall Lights and Sconces for 2019

Solar outdoor lighting products have been increasing in popularity in recent years and the trend toward solar is expected to continue throughout 2019. Utilizing solar energy for outdoor wall light fixtures and sconces is one of the best ways to illuminate the exterior of your home. Solar powered light fixtures are not only great for keeping your property safe, but they also can be used to highlight landscaping and features of your home.

Unfortunately, outdoor light fixtures such as flood lights and security lights, outdoor lamps, and exterior light fixtures with ceiling fans are sometimes neglected. People invest time and money into fixing up their exterior, buying stylish outdoor furniture, and creating a fantastic landscape, but then they neglect to light the space.

Whether it’s a matter of expense, you just don’t think it’s practical to light a larger space, or you’ve simply forgotten to add lighting to your home’s exterior, solar outdoor wall lights and sconces can be just the thing you’re in need of.

What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Outdoor Lighting and Sconces?

Solar lighting is relatively inexpensive. It can spotlight areas of your home or be used as a security device with relatively little effort.

Entertaining

It’s also great for when you’re entertaining and you want to bring more lighting into an area for socializing. This keeps unfamiliar outdoor spaces easy to navigate and puts everyone at ease so they’re able to focus on their time together.

Security

Wall lighting and sconces tend to be bright enough that you don’t need to worry about the exterior of your home being too dark. When you don’t properly light the exterior of your home, your home becomes a target for criminals. Burglars are less likely to try to break into a home that is adequately lit than one that is dark.

Value of Your Home

Value of Your Home

Whether you are planning to list your home for sale any time soon or you want to live in it forever, solar outdoor lighting increases your home’s curb appeal and its value. Adding solar outdoor lights gives you a big bang for your buck. These lights don’t cost very much, but they make your home extremely attractive.

In addition to potential home buyers loving the look of the light itself, they’ll also be pleased with the way the lighting highlights certain features of the home. You can take an average home and turn it into something magnificent by properly installing lighting that illuminates throughout the night.

Adding solar lighting to your home’s exterior is not only an inexpensive upgrade, but it’s also one that’s easy to do on your own. A lot of home improvement projects that boost your home’s value require an investment in contractors and force you to deal with long-term construction projects. You can upgrade your home’s exterior in one day on your own by adding solar outdoor wall lights or sconces quickly and easily. And,as these lights are solar-powered, you don’t even need to hire an electrician.

There are numerous styles of solar wall lights and sconces available so you can find exactly what you need. It’s important to match the style of light to your home’s style, be it contemporary, country, colonial, modern, or any other style. You want the lights to fit seamlessly into the style of your home and add to the exterior instead of detracting from it.This way you’ll improve the curb appeal and have a functional, stylish addition you’ll love.

It’s possible to find affordables options for any home that complement the look of your home and make your home’s exterior more attractive.

What are the best solar wall lights and sconces available today?

Our Picks for the 50 Best Solar Outdoor Wall Lights and Sconces

  1. LUTEC 1-Light Black Motion Activated Outdoor Solar LED Wall Mount Sconce
  2. Green Lighting Stainless Steel Solar-Powered Integrated LED Wall Mount Sconce Light
  3. Portfolio 7-in H Matte Black Dark Sky Outdoor Wall Light
  4. Portfolio Litshire 15.62-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  5. Cascadia Lighting Chateau 16-in H Royal Bronze Outdoor Wall Sconce
  6. Whitfield Lighting Emily 12-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  7. Altair LED Wall Light
  8. Chelsea Outdoor Wall Light
  9. Emerson Up/Down LED Wall Light
  10. Acclaim Lighting Builders Choice 16-in H Matte Black Outdoor
  11. Havit Matte Black Up/Down Wall Pillar Spotlight
  12. Zen Wall Light by LED Outdoor
  13. ASTERIA Modern LED Up and Down Aluminium Exterior Wall Light
  14. See You Ceiling/Wall Lamp
  15. Whitfield Lighting Jordan 8.25-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Light
  16. Brenton Square Exterior Wall Light LED
  17. ASTRO Modern LED Up and Down Aluminium Exterior Wall Light
  18. Dubrovnik II Downward Facing Exterior Wall Bracket in Black
  19. Gama Sonic Barn Solar Brown Outdoor Integrated LED Wall Light with Motion Sensor
  20. Chelsea Outdoor Wall Light Picco
  21. MX6612 Cluny LED Exterior Light
  22. Alcazar 2 Light Large Wall Bracket in Burnt Gold
  23. Alcazar 1 Light Medium Wall Bracket in Burnt Gold
  24. Bayer 2 Light Exterior Wall Bracket in Stainless Steel
  25. Aireys 1 Light Square Wall Bracket in Brushed Aluminium
  26. Cliff 1 Light Ext Wall Sconce in Stainless Steel
  27. Kichler River Path 23.0-in H Olde Bronze LED Outdoor Wall Light
  28. LED416 – LED 6W Curved Reflector Wall Washer
  29. The Devonia Collection – Wall Lantern in Aged Bronze
  30. Chelsea Small Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  31. Benetti 2 Light Plain Square Wall Bracket in Charcoal
  32. TITUS Single Adjustable Wall Pillar Light
  33. Westmore Lighting Beauport 23.6-in H Hazelnut Bronze Wall Light
  34. Castille Exterior Wall Bracket in Black
  35. Gama Sonic Flora Solar Antique Bronze Outdoor Wall Lantern
  36. Brenton Round Exterior Wall Light LED
  37. Lampiok Wall Light
  38. Mandrid Exterior Wall Light
  39. Torque Exterior Wall Light
  40. Malvern Residence
  41. DLE Anglesea Bronze
  42. DLE Stockholm 1LT
  43. Helius Outdoor LED
  44. Richie Exterior Wall Light with Sensor
  45. Ketch Yacht Outdoor Wall Light
  46. Cayman LED Exterior Light
  47. Royal Botania Dome Outdoor Wall Light
  48. II Finale Lighting
  49. Gama Sonic Triple Tier 9-Light White Outdoor Integrated LED Solar Wall Mount Lantern
  50.  Lampiok Wall Light

8 Best Reviewed Portable Solar Power Generators for 2018

A solar power generator can save you money and frustration, but finding the right one takes time. If you’ve ever considered investing in solar power such as portable solar panels or you want a reliable backup that allows you to rely less on third-party energy, there are several things to consider before making your investment.

Solar Generators

First things first: you should understand what exactly a solar power generator is and why it’s an effective solution to your energy needs.

Solar generators and solar panels make it possible to convert the energy of the sun (solar) into usable power. People want to use the sun’s energy for power because it’s a renewable source. Other sources of energy (petroleum, coal, gas) are not renewable because there are limited amounts of these sources on earth—not to mention the effort involved in gathering those energy sources and the pollution those energy sources create.

Solar power is ongoing and there is little to no risk in gathering it as an energy source. Though it’s not as reliable as some other sources—when there’s no sun there’s no energy—it is now possible to store solar energy so it’s available when the sun isn’t shining.

In order to use solar power effectively, you need a solar power generator. Generators are made up of three parts: the part that collects the energy (the panel), the part that stores the energy (the power station), and the part that turns it into an energy source you can use.

Why Invest in Solar Energy?

In addition to the reasons listed above that illustrate why solar energy is a better option than other energy source, there is another benefit to using solar energy:

Independence and Freedom

Many people choose solar because it allows them to go off-grid and not rely on a third-party supplier for energy. This is great for those who want to live far from areas that provide connections to energy or for those who want to travel from place to place. It’s also ideal if you’ve just had it with relying on someone else (someone who isn’t always that reliable) to provide your energy.

Solar energy makes it possible to take care of yourself and meet your energy needs cleanly, efficiently, and effectively without any third-party support. With solar energy, you don’t need to worry about power outages caused by natural disaster or blackouts or brownouts created in an effort to preserve energy. You’ll have the energy you need when you need it, even if nobody else in your area has energy at a given time.

Choosing the Best Portable Solar Power Generator

Choosing the Best Portable Solar Power Generator

Now that you understand why solar energy is so beneficial, it’s time to think about investing in a solar power generator, or “portable power station”for off-grid power wherever you go. Generators are designed to store energy and deliver it when you need electricity for all your appliances or charging your electronic devices.

How are they different from a standard generator that can help you during a power outage or if you’re traveling and away from a traditional energy hookup?

Solar generators such as solar power systems with a battery pack can be attached to solar panels. They have the capacity to allow you to access and utilize the sun’s energy as a source of renewable energy. To effectively benefit from a solar generator and solar energy, you need only rely upon the sun rising day in and day out.  Dystopian fears and fantasies aside, chances are pretty good that’s something you can count on for the foreseeable future.

Choosing the best generator for you comes down a few considerations:

  • How much energy you need to use and store (is it just for light, charging mobile devices, or more powerful appliances)
  • How often you’ll travel
  • How you’ll install the necessary components
  • What you’ll need to create a comprehensive solar power system
  • How much you want to spend

Relying on the opinions of other solar power generator users is a great way to get a feel for what’s available and what is going to work for you. The best place to begin your search for a portable solar power generator is by reading reviews and noting points that stand out to you.

What Are the Top Picks for Solar Power Generators in 2018?

Off Grid Solar Generator’s Solar Generator Plug-n-Play Kit

Off Grid Solar Generator’s Solar Generator Plug-n-Play Kit

This system works great with solar panels and comes with a polycrystalline panel. It can be used inside but is also completely waterproof and windproof. It features a Duracell power pack, 12-amp hour AGM battery, and a 25-foot wire for panel installation.

Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Portable Solar Power Generator

This is one of the best and most powerful generators on the list. It can be used anywhere, including indoors. It’s also able to be recharged in a variety of different ways, including via solar panel, battery, and power outlet. The system weighs 29 pounds and comes with a 1.5 ampere USB outlet, one 12-volt outlet and 300 watts of pure sine AC inverter, which is included in the kit.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Solar Generator

Goal Zero 23000 Yeti 400 Portable Solar Power Generator

Like its counterpart, this kit is efficient and practical. It is great for short-term power outages, but could also work while camping or traveling. It weighs about 40 pounds and comes with an AC inverter output, a USB outlet and a 12 V outlet.

Renogy Firefly Portable Solar Generator

Renogy Firefly Portable Solar Generator

This portable solar generator features an LCD display, making it easy to use even for those who are new to solar. It’s versatile and can run off of a number of devices. It weighs just under 11 pounds and has a handle, making it one of the most travel-friendly options on this list. The Firefly can provide up to 175 Wh of energy and comes with an internal 10A charge controller, 12 V solar panel, adaptor, and cable.

Aspect Solar Sunsocket Sun-Tracking Solar Generator 

Aspect Solar Sunsocket Sun-Tracking Solar Generator

This generator is the only one on the list that boasts a “sun tracking” solar panel. The kit comes with everything needed to utilize the unit, including panels and a lithium-ion phosphate battery. It weighs about 25 pounds, so it’s on the medium to heavy side of the panels on our list, but it’s still incredibly portable.

Committing to solar energy full-time is easier if you start relying on it on a part-time basis. We’ve found many people who invest in solar power generators as a backup energy source eventually convert to 100 percent solar.

6 Reasons to Use Solar LED Flood Lights for Security

Flood lights are one of the most popular options for outdoor security. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and are effective. Bright light, especially when it’s activated by a motion sensor, is one of the simplest and most powerful tools for deterring a criminal that is trying to access your home. They are also effective for commercial locations and are just as popular for protecting office buildings as they are for protecting private residences.

The trouble with flood lights is that they tend to use a lot of energy. A simple flood light in your backyard can use up more energy than expected but is usually affordable.

But what if you want to add the security of flood lights to your business and you need to light a larger area? What if your needs expand beyond that and you need to light a common space or parking lot or several acres of land? Using traditional flood lights is going to cost you a significant amount of money—something that for many might even offset the security offered by the lights.

Alternatives to Traditional Flood Lights

There’s good news, though. If you want the benefits of flood lights, but you can’t afford the price tag of traditional flood lights, the alternative is solar lighting or LED flood lights.

LED flood lights offer the same benefits as other flood lights such as a motion sensor light but they do so without the same expense. You’re able to use less energy, the bulbs last longer, and you are still able to enjoy the same security. Additionally, they can be used in the same manner—commercially or residentially—can be installed with motion sensors and are long-lasting. One of the primary reasons other than the cost that people love LED flood lights with sensoris because they have a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. Once the lights are installed,you don’t need to worry about them for years to come.

Six of the Main Reasons Why Solar LED Flood Lights are a Great Option for Security

Light a Large Area

Flood lights do exactly as promised: they flood an area with light. This means if you have a large space to illuminate,each solar powered light fixture will get the job done. They are bright enough to allow people to feel safe in an area and to deter criminals from trying anything untoward. Flood lights make it so anyone doing anything can be seen, so everyone feels safe and visible.

Motion Activated

Motion Activated Solar Flood Light

Solar LED floodlights don’t have to be motion activated but they can be. This means that you can either allow them to run continuously or to set them to come on if there is movement in an area. Motion-activated LED flood lights react via a sensor and use less energy than continuously running lights, but they aren’t right for everyone. Still, it’s good to know you have the option of conserving energy when needed.

Motion activated lights also have the added benefit of catching people off-guard. This means that, if a criminal does attempt to do something on your property they shouldn’t be doing, the light will come on suddenly and startle them. This can add an additional layer of security because criminals need their target to be predictable.

Bright Enough to Allow for Facial Recognition

One of the best ways to prevent crime is to identify criminals. Shining an outdoor light—literally—one someone who is a criminal can stop them from acting out. Solar LED flood lights that use a sensor make it possible to identify faces from up to 30 feet, so there’s no hiding from security cameras when committing a crime. These solar motion lights with LED bulbs are nearly as good at illuminating faces for recognition as natural daylight or direct sunlight. Such brightness also makes it easier for people trying to travel an area safely to identify a troublemaker at a distance and avoid a potential problem as soon as possible.

Make Other Safety Equipment More Effective

Light is one of the primary necessities for safety in an area. The power of solar LED lights makes it possible for cameras to record criminal activity and for people under attack to be able to handle their situation as safely as possible. For instance, it’s easier to dial 911 in a well-lit area. It’s easier to capture wrongdoing on a camera phone. And it’s easier to identify an assailant should a person be attacked.

Solar LED flood lights not only make an area safer directly, but they also boost the effectiveness of other safety features.

Conserve Energy

Choosing Solar LED floodlights at the primary lighting source in an outdoor area can save you money. Though they offer lots of power and brightness, they typically use less energy than other types of lights and other types of security. Some people have even found their other security systems are obsolete once they install solar LED lighting systems. This is because many of these other security systems come with a hefty price tag and the lighting system offers enough security that the investment in the other systems just isn’t worth it anymore.

Boost Business after Dark

Are you looking for solar energy LED flood lights for your business’s exterior to increase safety and security? You likely already understand how devastating it can be for your bottom line when customers don’t feel secure visiting your business from dusk and into the darkness of the night—until the sunlight comes around again. These energy efficient flood lights increase traffic to your business because they make people feel safer visiting.

As a business owner, you need to be drawing people into your business during all of your operating hours. If people tend to shy away after dark because they don’t feel 100 percent secure, it’s going to hurt your business. This is the case even if no crimes have taken place and people just feel uneasy. And should a crime occur, you can forget having a business until you take action to improve the safety of the surrounding area.

Solar LED flood lights can help you increase your business traffic. Lighting welcomes people to an area and helps them feel secure enough to relax and shop with you. Your goal should always be to put your customers first and make sure they are at ease and secure when doing business with you. Solar LED flood lights make this easier and more efficient than ever before and they’re an investment you won’t regret.

What Is the Best Solar Power Battery You Can Find for Energy Storage?

Until people start really looking into solar panels, it was unclear that energy storage needed to be put in place in order to be mostly self-reliant for electricity purposes. To be clear for anyone who doesn’t know, solar panels without energy storage makes use of the electricity generated through the day and then the excess energy is sold to the nearest supplier. As payment, the local electricity company credits the seller who typically cashes them in for the supply of electricity from them at night or during winter months. To skip that process and use electricity generated by your solar panels at night, energy storage devices are needed.

What to Know about Energy Storage Batteries

Like every competitive market, solar energy storage batteries are available with all types of specifications. This makes it harder to decide which one is best for your solar charger setup but it also gives you plenty of options to choose from to store your charge. Energy storage batteries do not last anywhere near as long as solar panels do so this is one aspect that needs to be considered before purchasing it. Other things to think about are the round-trip efficiency, the capacity and power ratings, depth of discharge, and the warranty.

Lead, Lithium, or Saltwater?

Deep-cycle batteries for off-grid systems are separated into three categories determined by their chemical composition, which is lead-acid, lithium-ion, and saltwater for charging. Lead acid battery types are perhaps the longest running energy storage battery out of the three. It has been in use for years but has a somewhat limited lifespan. They are, however, the cheapest batteries on the market and are particularly favored with people who wish to store a lot of energy. Saltwater batteries are a more recent addition to the energy storage sector and have eliminated the use of heavy metals and instead uses saltwater electrolytes for solar charging. Unlike the lithium and lead batteries, saltwater batteries are recyclable due to the absence of metals. The problem with saltwater solar batteries as a solar charger is that they are so new that they are pretty untested which is an issue for some people. Lithium-ion energy batteries are the notable favorites when it comes to energy storage. However, they are the more expensive option suggesting that people prefer quality over affordability. Compared to the other types of energy storage batteries, lithium-ion batteries have a much longer lifespan than those of the saltwater or lead acid. The depth of discharge of a lithium-ion battery is higher than the lead-acid ones but slightly lower than the saltwater ones. Overall, lithium batteries are much lighter than the alternatives and can be more compact. 

The Tesla Power wall 

The Tesla Power wall


An absolute winner among the energy storage batteries is the Tesla Power wall. Most energy storage batteries are chunky and take up a lot of space, but very few with the Power wall included are small-scale. Probably due to the soaring popularity of this model the Power wall battery has actually increased in price from $5,500 to $6,700 as of April 2018. The Tesla Power wall is described as a “rechargeable lithium-ion battery with liquid thermal control.” These batteries are great for working with solar panel setups and help people to become completely electricity independent. The Power wall stores energy generated throughout the day for use during the night and for overcast or rainy days when limited amounts of energy is created.

Power wall Costs

As mentioned above, the Power wall price has increased over the years but so has the model. The Power wall 2.0 battery is now available and it can store double the energy of the original Power wall battery. As the saying goes, you pay for what you get—and that is definitely true in this case. The 2.0 version of the Power wall costs $6,700 with supporting features costing an additional $1,100 which brings the price to $7,800. Unfortunately, the amount doesn’t stop there, the installation fees can add a further $2,000 to $8,000 onto the price so again you are looking at a hefty sum of money for this battery. Contemplating buying this particular model will ultimately depend on your reason for wanting an energy storage battery as well as the rates of the electric supplier.

How Does the Power wall Work?

Like most energy storage batteries, the Power wall caters for daily electricity use and is paired with a solar panel system. When the sun is in the sky electricity is generated and used within the home. Any additional electricity created gets sent to the Tesla Power wall for storage. If you don’t have an energy storage battery, the excess electricity would be sent to the electric grid. When the sun sets and the solar panels are no longer generating electricity, the Power wall kicks into action and starts supplying the home with the additional energy that it has stored. For those without storage batteries, this is the point when you would start using your credits from selling the extra electricity for a supply. Basically, a storage battery enables you to use all of the electricity that is generated by the solar panels during times that is convenient for you. This setup typically works over the course of a day so it probably won’t be beneficial for everyone considering the climate differs from place to place. Those looking to store large amounts of energy may need to invest in more than one energy storage battery. Although you are more electricity independent with a Tesla Power wall battery, you are still not completely disconnected from the electrical grid. For a few days or weeks of bad weather and intermittent cloud, you will still need to harness electricity from the grid.

As far as energy storage batteries go, the Tesla Power wall is brilliant. It comes with an unlimited 10-year warranty and, although expensive, it is highly regarded in the solar battery world. Like all batteries, the Power wall’s battery life will start to deteriorate over time, but this is a common issue with all batteries. The energy storage batteries are still a relatively new addition to the solar industry which means that knowledge and developments are still underway. Over time, we expect to see much more efficient, stronger, and affordable options for energy storage but for now, the Tesla Power wall shines brightly.   

Various Advantages of Solar Energy

Solar energy is most definitely not a new thing, but it is becoming more and more popular due to the ever-increasing energy rates. Along with solar energy, wind and hydro power energy are among the most common forms of alternative and sustainable energy sources. As well as being a more eco-friendly solution, solar power has many other advantages some of which we will explain in this article. So, what are the advantages of solar power? Read on to find out more.

What Is Solar Energy?

Though there are a few disadvantages of solar energy, they are heavily outweighed by the positives. Solar energy is essentially energy that is garnered from the sun. It is consistently created and stored which makes it a renewable energy. Solar energy can be used directly to heat homes and water or with the technology of solar panels it can be converted to electricity instead of taking it from the grid. A common concern for solar energy is its efficiency during the winter months, especially in areas that experience a lot of overcast days and rain but rest assured solar energy can provide more than enough power with very little sunlight. It’s been successfully serving homes throughout the year for a long time. As is stands, the future of our current non-renewable energy sources is uncertain and as the year's pass prices continue to rise. Due to this, solar energy is set to grow and already there is a high demand for it around the world.

Save On Electricity Bills 

Utility bills are constantly rising which is a concern among the majority of the population. By incorporating solar power into your household, you could cut up to 20% of your average energy costs from the grid—and that’s after the inclusion of the financing amount. With energy prices predicted to increase further solar energy could help you to save up to $60,000 over the next 30 years.

Easy Setup Easy Maintenance

You’ve probably noticed that solar panels are installed on rooftops which means that no additional space is required. They also do not need any cords or wires and, of course, no power supply is required. All of this means that the installation process is very simple and surprisingly a laborious installation procedure is not needed. Initially, the number one reason people decide against things like solar panels is the price of them. While it may seem like a lot of money, financing plans are available and the money you can save every year is in the thousands. Once they are up and running solar panels require very little maintenance. Depending on the climate of where you live, they may even just need a quick wash every now and then but, other than that, nothing more is needed. Should any manufacturing issues arise, then trained professionals will be on hand to fix them.

Kinder to the Environment – Eco-Friendly

Kinder to the Environment – Eco-Friendly


Unfortunately, our carbon footprint continues to grow, but with the recent happenings around the world, people are starting to realize that our way of living needs to change. There’s no better way to start being more eco-conscious than by using solar energy. Solar energy is extremely clean and non-polluting, which means your home can become completely free of carbon dioxide. It is an alternative to non-renewable resources and helps to reduce your carbon footprint immensely and slow down global warming. If solar panels are installed, you do not need to worry about any radioactive waste or toxic substances being released and they do not require fuel in order to function properly. Solar power systems make practically no noise and so you won't be able to hear them whether your inside or outside.

Increase Property Prices

One of the lesser-known solar power advantages is that it affects the value of your home. Although many people spend a lot of time debating whether or not to get solar technology as their main source of energy due to the initial cost (which is pretty much the only real disadvantage of solar energy),it can actually positively impact property prices. This is especially true in areas that are highly populated and concerns for the environment are taken seriously. It doesn’t just increase prices by a small amount, either. According to recent research, solar panels can boost property prices by up to $20,000. If you take into account how much it costs to get them installed, along with the money saved over the years and the price increase, it is safe to say that solar panels are definitely worth the investment.

Remote Efficiency

Solar panels continue to work as long as they receive sunlight. For this reason, properties located in remote areas thrive on solar panels. It’s widely known that rural properties struggle to connect to power lines and if there are none already based in the area, it can also be very expensive. With solar energy, its more cost efficient and you don’t have to rely on any unreliable providers or arrange to get new power lines installed. Also, in the event of bad weather, there is no waiting around for workmen to repair damaged lines—so power cuts are a thing of the past!

Tax Credits and Government Schemes

As a way to show their support for taking better care of the environment and to encourage people to use solar energy whenever possible, the government has certain benefits and schemes in place. One of those benefits is tax credits that can cover around 30% of the installation cost. Many states will even extend the tax credit benefit for homeowners that use solar energy. Depending on where you are located, the state in which you live may permit you to invest in solar panels on other people’s roofs so that more solar energy can be created. A slightly lesser-known benefit of solar panels is that if they generate a substantial amount of energy, then certain utility companies will buy it back from you. So, when you look at it in that respect, you get even more out of your solar panels than you originally thought.

No matter what form of solar power you use, each and every one of them has their own benefits. While solar panels are the most common form of solar energy, many people are unaware that solar water heaters do not need solar panels and are much cheaper. There are many ways to incorporate solar energy into your household, and it doesn’t necessarily need to reach as far as installing solar panels. Whichever option you, choose it will undoubtedly prove to be more cost-effective and efficient.

The 5 Most Common Uses of Solar Energy

There are many ways that solar energy can be used and it has been utilized for years. Remember those small lights that you could dig into the ground in your garden, and then at night they would automatically turn on? That is a prime example of solar energy just in a very small and basic form. Nowadays, solar energy using solar cells and solar technology in general, cover almost everything, from solar thermal energy to solar water heaters and solar cookers and, of course, a wonderful clean source of energy for the home instead of standard electricity. In this post, we will outline the 5 most common uses of this renewable energy source and how you can benefit from it.

Solar Energy for Heating Swimming Pools

Everyone loves swimming pools, don’t they? However, more often than not, they aren't used as much as people would like due to the cold temperature of the water. When winter arrives, swimming pools are usually drained and abandoned until the summer rolls around again. Traditional pool heating systems are very expensive to install and costly to run. For these reasons alone, only the super wealthy tend to have large swimming pools in their garden. Now that solar energy is gaining popularity heating, however, your swimming pool doesn’t have to cost a fortune and spike your utility bills. The most basic way to heat a swimming pool with solar energy is by using a floating blanket. These solar heating systems are passive heating devices which lie on the surface of the water and absorb the heat from the sun. The heat is then transferred to the water. For a more effective and high-tech way of using solar energy to heat a swimming pool, there is the option of a complete solar water heating system. These setups include solar panels for harnessing the sun’s heat and tubes that travel from the water up to the solar panels and back into the water. To heat the pool, the water is circulated through the tubes and passes the solar panels before entering the pool again. The pool water is gradually increased and, as it is solar energy, you don’t have to worry about the amount of energy used.

Solar Panels

Solar panels are probably the popular systems for harnessing solar power as an energy source. They are usually attached to the roof of a home where the energy from the sun hits the panel material and creates an electrical current. The generated current is DC, which is then converted to an AC current and can be used to supply a home with electricity. There are several variations of solar panels available that generate electricity and, due to the price, you should do your research first. The most popular model of solar panels doesn’t usually store energy unless there is an energy storage device installed. During the daytime, when the solar panels are creating electricity, anything that requires an electricity supply in the home will access the solar generated electricity. The additional electricity that is produced from the solar panels is usually sold to the nearest supplier who pays you for it in credits. These credits are used for the electricity you use at night or during the winter that comes from the supplier.

Solar Energy for Heating the Home

Solar Energy for Heating the Home


Heating homes with gas can be extremely expensive in the winter time and can cause financial struggles due to the dramatic rise in monthly utility costs. Solar energy can be used as a much more affordable way to heat your home. Solar heating comes into forms as a hot water solar system and a hot air solar system. The hot water solar power system is a large installation that uses solar panels to heat water which then circulates around the home to provide hot water from faucets and hot water to radiators. The hot air heating system works very much as you would assume. It heats air and circulates it around the home with a fan. This method is mostly used for warming individual rooms.

Solar Energy Chargers

Solar energy chargers are very popular, especially with travelers and holiday makers. There is nothing more annoying than going outside to find that your phone or tablet has died. Solar energy chargers are just like small solar panels with a USB port in it. Nowadays, almost every device is charged with a USB port which means that solar energy chargers can charge anything from mobile phones to speakers. For travelers, this is a major advantage as you no longer have to walk into cafes and ask to use a socket. There are also torches available that are powered by solar energy, and all you do is point the torch directly at the sun, and it stores a small amount of electricity. No plugs and no batteries needed. Like everything solar powered, as long as there’s sun, there’s power.

Solar Lighting

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned solar lighting for gardens. This was one of the first inexpensive types of solar powered devices and today that concept has evolved massively. Before the extent of solar powered outdoor lights were limited and was just small flimsy stick-in-the-ground lights that broke very quickly. On the market now, you can get full-sized solar powered street lights. They have solar panels attached to them which creates and stores energy during the daytime so that they can be powered at night. Again, this is an inexpensive way to incorporate solar energy into the home and it can reduce electricity bills if only by a small amount. Certain towns and villages around the world have invested in solar powered street lights, which is a huge environmental win—and hopefully, a trend that will catch on among other towns and villages.

The uses for solar energy continue to expand and recently even more investment has been poured into working on improving the efficiency of it further. Before making the transition to solar energy, make some inquiries about the different solar systems out there and do some calculations as to how it will benefit you financially. Then compare it to the cost of the solar energy technologies, and you will establish how long it will take to make your initial investment back and how much it benefits you financially. Influential people within the industry believe that it generally is the way forward and the most promising option for helping the environment.  

Proper List of Solar Power Pros and Cons

All power sources have their own pros and cons and solar power is no different. Due to the fact that solar power is a pretty hefty investment to begin with for generating electricity, it's definitely worth looking into the pros and cons so that you get a vivid picture of what it entails. Continue reading this list of solar power pros and cons to put things into perspective and help you decide whether investing in this renewable energy source is really worth it.

Cons

Starting this post off with the disadvantages of solar energy, here are the main downsides to getting solar power.

Expensive with Further Funds Needed for Solar Energy Storage

This is probably the number one concern with solar as a source of energy: the initial cost is not a small investment. Almost everyone struggles to come to terms with the start-up costs of incorporating solar power with good quality batteries into their homes; however, in the long run, you do end up saving money on electricity costs and help slow the speed of global warming. Living in certain areas could enable you to receive tax incentives for using solar powerand moving toward energy independence from the power grid and specific areas may even be eligible for government-funded schemes to bring down the price still further. There is, of course, always the option of financing. Having said all that, it is a substantial sum of money but an investment none the less. The other issue with solar power is the additional cost for energy storage. Without energy storage, the power generated can only be used in the daytime or when the sun is out. Energy storage quite literally stores the energy for consumption during the night but to include this, you will need to pay more money. What many people do when they have solar panels is to skip the installation of energy storage and instead sell their extra power generated throughout the day to a utility company. The utility company then pays that person in credits which are used for the use of the company’s energy during the night, saving further on energy bills. This option is, of course, the more cost-effective route; however, you are still somewhat dependent on a utility company, and those living in rural areas might not be able to take this route.

Space Is Needed 

Solar powered devices typically take up quite a lot of space. Solar panels are mostly installed on the roof, which makes it efficient for catching sunlight and also doesn’t interrupt any of the outside areas. However, the space that they do acquire on a roof is the majority of it. And, if you happen to need work doing on the roof, they will need to be disconnected and brought down. Other solar powered devices are usually installed on the ground but typically need to be in the most sun-exposed area of a yard which is more than likely the area in which the household likes to sit. Individual devices aren’t particularly pretty to look at either.

Weather Dependent

Weather Dependent


The fact that solar powered devices are weather dependent is probably considered both a pro and a con. The downside to being weather dependent is that the energy is going to be pretty sporadic on rainy or overcast days. Certain areas will benefit from solar powered energy a lot more than others. On the plus side, you will always have power as long as the sun is in the sky and even longer if you have sufficient energy storage in place.

Pros

So, what are the solar energy pros? Looking at solar power in a more positive light there are many benefits to having solar power in your home which many people feel outweigh the cons of it.

Eco-friendly

We are at a time where we need to do everything we can to take better care of the planet. It’s a scary thought of what will happen if it continues to be destroyed at the rate that it is going. A major benefit of solar power systems is that it does not cause pollution. As well as running very quietly, there are no harmful gases given off from solar power. In the home, this means that carbon monoxide is significantly reduced. When solar power is in effect, it massively impacts the dependency on the traditional non-renewable energy sources.

Reduces Electricity Bills and Boosts Property Price

At the beginning of this article, we discussed how the price of solar energy was a great concern for people and now we can look at how they also save money later down the line. No matter which system you choose, incorporating solar power into the home will save money on electricity bills. If you have an energy storage device put in place, you stand to save more.What’s more, you can always sell your excess power to the utility companies. On top of the money that you save on bills, having a home that utilizes solar energy can actually fetch more money on the market. Retail experts have said that solar panels can add up to $20,000 on to the price of a property which means that a large chunk of the initial investment can be made back should you decide to sell.  

Little Maintenance Required

Almost all of the solar powered systems available today require little to no maintenance what so ever. Sometimes, depending on the climate, residential solar panels may need a light clean a couple times throughout the year but that is pretty much it. Other than that, they are just left to do their job. Most solar power manufacturers in the United States offer a warranty that lasts from 20–25 years. That is a huge benefit for people investing in solar powered devices because, should anything happen after spending all that money, then you are completely covered.

There are, of course, many more advantages to solar energy but as you can see the pros far outweigh the cons. It’s vital that you take into account the climate of your area when purchasing solar powered devices as not everything is suitable for every region. Looking towards the future, we can expect some significant advancements within the solar power industry as a lot of nanotechnology innovation and quantum physics are set to transform the efficiency of this amazing energy source for the better.

How Does Solar Energy Work and How Do We Use It in Our Homes?

As the name suggests, solar energy is generated by the sun. But how does solar power actually work? This is a question many people are unsure of, but with climbing energy rates, more people are looking for a more affordable and sustainable energy source. Continue reading to find out what solar energy actually is, how solar panels work along with solar technology in general, and how solar power can be used in the home.

What Is Solar Energy?

The earth relies heavily on the sun. It warms us, grows our crops, gives us light, and so on. In fact, we have to be very grateful for what the sun provides us. Of course, the list doesn’t stop there. Those who harness the power of solar energy can even thank the sun for warm water, electricity, and heated homes without whopping electricity bills! The sun naturally produces “packets of energy” continuously because it is a natural nuclear reactor. Solar energy harnesses the sun’s energy to use privately or commercially. It is considered a renewable energy source that is the most sustainable form of energy, especially when compared to our current non-renewable forms.

How Does Solar Energy Work?

So, as we’ve established, the sun emits countless packets of energy every second that it's in the sky. These energy packets are called photons and they have the ability to reach the earth in around nine minutes, which is insanely fast considering that the sun is about 93 million miles away. In fact, scientists have said that the number of photons that reach the earth in just one hour, would be enough to power the world for a whole year, and we would never need to use fossil fuels again, theoretically speaking. Once the sun’s light hits certain materials, it forms an electrical current which is how solar energy is created and how it can produce electricity and heat homes.

Solar Water Heaters

A very common use of solar energy to generate electricity is the replacement of gas or electricity to heat water. There are two categories of solar water heaters, active water heaters, and passive water heaters. Again, there are more subcategories underneath these, but they are the two primary categories. Active water heating systems typically include a direct circulation or an indirect circulation process. Direct circulation makes use of a pump to push the water flow through the necessary collectors and pipes and into the home for use. The direct circulation model of the active water heater system is used mostly in areas that predominantly has excellent weather all year round or, to be more precise, in regions that don’t freeze during the winter months. As you may have guessed, the indirect water heating system is used, particularly in climates that experience freezing temperatures. The indirect water heating system circulates a non-freezing liquid through the water volume and through the heat exchanger which prevents the water from freezing.

Solar Water Heaters

Passive water heating systems are slightly less common but are much cheaper than active water heating systems. The price difference is generally because passive water heating systems aren’t as efficient as active ones. An integral collector-storage passive water system is built for climates that have warm weather all year round as the solar collecting specifications are built into the water tank. It heats the water throughout the day when the sun is shining, but the water can cool down during the night. These are mostly used for small apartments. Thermosyphon is another passive water heating system and it is designed for the solar collector specifications to be situated at a lower level than the water tank. Once the solar energy warms up the water, the solar collector rises in the tank. These are normally installed on rooftops which can make the installation a slightly lengthy process. 

Solar Panels

Of all of the solar energy systems, probably the most desired use for solar energy and getting off the grid is the solar panel. Almost every solar panel with solar cells is installed on the roof, which means that they won't take up ample space in the backyard and you will probably forget they are even there. Solar panels can be costly to install. However, there are many benefits to having them, and they could also increase the price of your house. When the sun’s light hits the solar panels and the solar cells, it generates an electrical charge (solar power). Then an inverter converts the current from DC electricity to AC electricity, which is what is used in the home’s main electrical panel. This current can then be used the exact same way as electricity from a utility company. Light your home, watch TV, charge devices, anything that requires electricity will now function from solar powered electricity. Better still, any excess energy from your energy storage can be sold back to your local electricity company.

Whole-House Hot Water System

This system works very similarly to the solar water systems mentioned above; however, they are on a much larger scale. Not only will a whole-house hot water system heat your water but it can also send hot water to radiators and underfloor heating. These intelligent systems have advanced circulation features which are needed in order to provide hot water for heating the entire home and hot water from the faucets. To accommodate these requirements, the setup is extensive and in-depth. It includes substantial water tanks as well as larger solar collector panels. Due to its capabilities, a whole-house hot water system is the more expensive option and is mostly used for businesses.    

Hot Air Solar Systems

To achieve whole-house heating by using solar energy a large system isn’t the only option. Hot air solar systems work by collecting the air that has been heated by the sun and strategically deploying it throughout the home. So, rather than heating a home from hot water being pumped around radiators, it is heated with hot air. Typically, these systems have a type of fan mechanism built in, which is what gets the air circulating, but hot air solar systems are most effective in heating individual rooms. 

As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate solar energy into your home and generate electricity through solar power systems, although not all of the options are suitable for everyone. That being said, there are plenty of available methods to start using renewable clean energy to dramatically cut the costs of energy bills and to reduce your carbon footprint.

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