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Solar Power for RV: What Are the Best Portable Solar Panels for 2018?

Traveling in an RV, especially if you intend to do it long-term, presents many different challenges. It’s the life many people crave: freedom, being on the open road, and seeing the country. But it’s not for everyone.

One of the biggest hurdles you’ll encounter traveling by RV is finding power. This is why solar panels are so popular among RV travelers. You get the power you need, it’s clean and quiet, and it travels with you as you move from location to location. Solar power on an RV is truly a great way to be “off the grid” and self-sufficient.

Of course, RV solar panels are only as good as the choice you make when outfitting your rig but are far quieter and efficient than a standard generator. You have a variety of options and things to consider to create solar energy. Therefore, before you invest thousands of dollars and hit the road hoping for the best outcome, you’ll want to take some time to do your research and learn as much as possible about solar systems for your RV.

How Can You Choose the Best Solar Power for Your RV?

The Different Types of Panels

There are two different types of solar panels, each with its own pros and cons. Monocrystalline panels are made from purified silicon and are the more expensive option. They’re also the most effective option. So, in a sense, you’re getting what you pay for.

Polycrystalline panels, on the other hand, are more reasonably priced, but they aren’t as efficient as their monocrystalline counterparts.

The good news is you don’t need to make your decision based on budget alone. Polycrystalline panels might work for you even if you can afford the more expensive option depending on the number of sunlight hours you’ll have available and the amount of space you have for mounting your panels. You’ll also want to take into consideration the weight of the panels and how much your RV can handle.

Batteries 

Next up, you’ll need to consider your battery. If you haven’t already, you’ll need a deep cycle battery in your RV that allows you to store the power absorbed by your panels. Ideally, your panels will provide enough energy to keep your panels above the max discharge because the last thing you want is to deplete your batteries.

You have three deep cycle battery choices, including:

  • Floor or wet batteries that withstand deep discharge cycles and provide high peak draw
  • Gel batteries that require less maintenance than flood batteries but are more difficult to charge and not compatible with all units
  • AGM batteries that are protected from spillage and suitable for a variety of different situations

In addition to the battery, you’ll also need a charge controller. They offset the fact that solar panels don’t offer steady rates of energy and prevent panels and batteries from damage by regulating the charge.

Power Inverter

Finally, you’ll need a power inverter that allows you to convert the power you store from your panels into something usable. To choose the right capacity inverter, you’ll need to think about what items you’ll be powering in your RV.

Installing Your Solar Panel Setup

Once you have all the items you need, you can begin installing your solar panel set onto your RV. This can seem challenging at first, but once you’ve done it once, it’s much easier.

A typical installation includes mounting the panels on the roof of your rig, along with the battery, charge controller, and power bank. You’ll also need to install the inverter that makes it possible to run power to your RV’s appliances.

Choosing the Best Solar Power for Your RV

Now that you have some idea of what you need in solar panel supplies, you can begin your search for the kit that’s going to best suit your needs.

A few of our favorites are as follows:

WindyNation 100W Solar Panel Kit

WindyNation 100W Solar Panel Kit

This kit features polycrystalline panels that weight about six pounds. The kit comes with a battery and charge controller, as well as a solar cable and mounting hardware. You’ll get an average output of about 350Wh per day. It’s a great starter kit for those who are new to RV solar power and comes with an affordable price tag.

Windy Nation offers a wide variety of solar kits, but we think this one ranks best for solar newbies.

Go Power! Weekender Complete Solar System

Go Power! Weekender Complete Solar System

The Go Power! system features monocrystalline panels and weighs about 32 pounds. The kit comes with a panel, a charge controller, a pure sine wave power inverter, a remote and installation kit, a switching kit, a solar cable, and mounting hardware. You’ll get about 800 Wh per day of power from this system.

Renogy KIT-RV400D 400W 12V RV Solar Kit

Renogy KIT-RV400D 400W 12V RV Solar Kit

This kit features four monocrystalline panels that weigh about five pounds each. The kit comes with a charge controller, adapter kit, tray cable, connectors, and mounting brackets, but no battery. You can expect 1800 Wh of power per day with this kit.

Allpowers SunPower 100W RV Solar Panel 

Allpowers SunPower 100W RV Solar Panel

This panel kit features a monocrystalline panel that weighs about seven pounds. It’s a no-frills option that only comes with the panel, so you’ll need to invest in the battery, charge controller, and other necessary items separately. However, if you’re upgrading from a polycrystalline panel to a monocrystalline option, this might be the best for you.

HQST 100W 12V Solar Kit

HQST 100W 12V Solar Kit

Another polycrystalline option, this kit has panels that weigh about five pounds and comes with charge controller, cables, connectors, and mounting hardware. You’ll get about 500 Wh of power per day. We like this option because it’s affordable and designed for people who are just getting started with solar power.

Making the switch to solar panel when you’re traveling in your RV is a choice you won’t likely regret. Even with the initial expense and set-up, it’s something most RV enthusiasts, especially those who are in their rigs full-time, are happy they did. And as long as you plan to travel through areas that are relatively sunny, there are few things that will provide the independence and off-grid freedom that’s allowed by solar panels.

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.

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.

5 Lesser-known Benefits of Solar Energy

​https://www.solaralliance.org/high-efficiency-solar-panels/​​​As you are all surely aware, there are many benefits of solar power systems in the home—especially reducing energy costs and minimizing our carbon footprint to help slow down global warming. These positives are widely broadcast and mostly cover the sustainability of solar energy, the money that is saved on the electricity bills, the low maintenance, and how eco-friendly solar is. On top of everything, there are several lesser-known benefits of solar energy that are still important, which we have identified in this post.

Enhanced Power Grid Security and Reduced Energy Loss

This advantage of using solar power systems for energy sources doesn’t necessarily benefit you directly, but solar energy and the solar industry massively help to improve the security of the power grid. If the grid harnesses solar power, it is more protected against voltage dips and blackouts. The more solar power sources that are used, the higher protection the grid will have from potential issues like overloading. Most of the time, the distribution of energy will result in energy loss. Although it is mostly in small amounts, it increases when the distance is greater between the energy production site and the supply point. These energy losses aren’t that noticeable, but it is still unwanted power wastage. This loss of power can be more noticeable in largely populated areas. With the incorporation of solar energy in the home, you become the production site and the supply site, which means the energy has minimal distance to travel. This results in little to no energy loss and skyrockets the efficiency of the energy usage.   

Health Benefits

Hardly anyone is aware of the benefit that solar energy has on your health. Particularly in large cities, pollution is becoming a rapidly increasing concern. The air is becoming dirtier containing numerous amounts of gas and harmful chemicals. Luckily, however, we aren’t yet at a point where we need to wear masks. If truth be told, however, our future could result in wearing masks if things don’t start changing. Looking at studies and research on solar energy that is already in place, it has lowered greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 17 million metric tons. Straying away from traditional fossil fuels and using solar energy for your home means no carbon monoxide equaling much cleaner and fresher air. 39% of the carbon outflow in the United States comes from buildings both residential and commercial so the more people that convert to solar energy the less carbon exposure there is in general.

Saves Money for Businesses

Saves Money for Businesses

Looking at the use of solar energy from a commercial perspective, businesses and farms would greatly benefit from using solar energy, and it would even significantly reduce their outgoings. Large companies, garages, farms, and warehouses usually have large buildings with an extensive roof capacity. They have plenty of room for solar panels that could generate substantial amounts of solar energy. For the most part, businesses operate during daylight hours so they wouldn’t need to invest in energy storage. They would use the energy that is generated throughout the day and would hardly need to import energy from the grid, which will dramatically cut down on running costs. As solar panels require very little maintenance, businesses can leave them to get on with their job. If more businesses were to incorporate the use of solar energy, the positive impact on the environment would be impressive. For anyone who might be considering solar energy for their business, being “green” is not only a great example to set, but it is also a fantastic feature for marketing your “green products or services”.

Less Water Usage

Yes, you read that correctly! Converting to solar energy can preserve fresh water. This is definitely a benefit that very few people think about when considering solar energy but it is still a very important one. Surprisingly, there is a risk of running our fresh water supply dry in the future— and that would be catastrophic for the entire human race. The traditional process of creating electricity uses a ridiculous amount of water that would be better off employed elsewhere. Processing fuel and refining it uses water—as does the transportation process. Water is also used to ensure that generators maintain a cool enough temperature. Solar energy is created by the sun, and only the sun, where absolutely no water is needed. Natural rainwater will fall onto the solar panels which lightly cleans them, and no additional water is used at all. It is a massively eco-friendly energy source that will take us to a greener and brighter future.

Goodbye Greenhouse Gases

Climate change is a big concern and governments and environmental organizations across the globe are encouraging people to do what they can for the environment and to be more conscious about their habits and lifestyle. The greenhouse effect, although it is a natural process of the warming of the earth's surface which makes it livable, has enhanced due to fossil fuel burning. There is now a much higher amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which has even been linked to causing extreme weather conditions such as flooding, hurricanes, cyclones, severe drought, and so on. The surface of the earth is heating up a lot faster than anyone could have predicted and in certain areas its wildlife is already struggling to accommodate the changes. Unfortunately, the danger of greenhouse gases is expected to worsen and now it is up to communities to start making a difference. Incorporating solar energy into households and businesses is the best way to start. Solar panel installation produces absolutely no greenhouse gases at all. The energy production is a natural process where no fuel is burned and zero emissions are created. To start reducing the greenhouse effect, we need to utilize alternative solutions to certain aspects of our current way of living.

Solar energy not only reduces the need to burn fossil fuels but it also reduces our reliance on them. It really is a two-way street.Solar energy benefits you personally and, in the long run, financially as well as being kinder on the environment and giving us hope for a cleaner future. The benefits listed above are some of the lesser-known advantages of solar energy but there are, of course, many, many more.

3 Solar Power Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Most of us will have heard plenty about the obvious advantages of solar power and many will have even discussed some lesser-known benefits, without going into too much detail. Therefore, it’s time to get factual. Producing hard facts is far better than adding “could be,”“should do,”“might have been,” and “potentially”to everything we say about solar power. And, though words like solar cells, solar power systems, solar photovoltaic (solar PV), and renewable energy source may not sound like the most interesting things in the world, we have a few stories that are rather interesting indeed. Without further ado, here are three amazing solar power facts that will blow your mind!

1) So Much Power!

You’ve probably heard about how much potential there is for solar energy and the solar industry, in general. And, when you honestly look into it, you cannot disagree. To briefly explain how solar energy works, the light from the sun produces photons which are like tiny packets of energy. These packets reach the earth in around nine minutes, which is ridiculously fast considering how far away the sun is. What’s more, the sheer number of “energy packets” that the earth's surface receives is insane. To put it into perspective, the earth receives enough photons in just one hour of the day to efficiently supply the world with enough power to last a whole year—and that is no lie! When most people hear this, they struggle to understand why we aren’t making use of it yet, especially with concerns over global warming. In all honesty, however, we haven’t figured out how to effectively harness and store that amount of energy. For now, at least it is a fact that most definitely gives us hope for a future with clean, eco-friendly, and renewable clean energy through the use of solar systems. 

2) Water Purifier 

Water Purifier

This little-known fact is a fantastic benefit of solar energy. As humans, we all need water and simply cannot live without it. What’s more, solar energy can be used to heat water. Nothing new there, you may think. However, through solar energy, it can heat up contaminated water and the evaporation and condensation process makes it perfectly safe to drink. How? The simple evaporation process kills all known bacteria and germs making the water clean and, therefore, drinkable. Furthermore, ultraviolet rays are considered a germicidal, which, again, kills germs and parasites. Add this to the fact that the process is incredibly eco-friendly and it is a game changer for rural areas. Aside from the current expense of solar energy, imagine how it could transform the standard of living in developing countries. Many poor countries lack basic human needs such as electricity and clean water. Worse still, drinking contaminated water is one of the most common causes of death around the world. And when you think that many developing countries have very warm climates, you know that solar energy would work perfectly. Solar energy could be a true savior for so many people!

3) It Offsets the Production of CO2  

Just how amazingly eco-friendly solar power is can quite literally be shouted from the rooftops. However, while many people understand that it is a very green source of energy, they don’t necessarily realize just how much of a difference it can make to our planet. Solar power not only lowers the need for fossil fuels but it significantly reduces the production of harmful emissions. A rooftop solar panel system has an average life expectancy of around 28 years and it has the ability to generate anywhere from 40% to a staggering 100% of a household’s electricity needs. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar power could offset the production of around 100 tons of carbon monoxide (CO2) during its 28-year-life expectancy. Not only that, but it can also offset one-third of a ton of nitrogen oxide as well as half a ton of sulfur dioxide. These figures are based on a single household's usage that also receives a two-year energy payback. In the future, if people continue transitioning to solar power, imagine the number of reduced emissions. These facts alone should be enough for almost every homeowner to go solar.

Some Fun World Facts

Once you have established the true potential of solar power, it’s both fascinating to understand its strengths but a little worrying to think about why it isn’t being used more. To give you peace of mind, we have found some pretty interesting information about solar energy and how it is rapidly becoming utilized around the globe.

Rest assured solar energy is most definitely being used. So, read on! Tamil Nadu in India has the largest solar plant in the world. It covers an area of 2,500 acres and includes 2.5 million solar panels. You read that correctly. 2.5 million! The plant cost around $679million and can generate enough power for 750,000 people. A fact favorite regarding the largest power plant in the world is thata solar-powered robot cleans the site every day!Total solar success! Prior to the completion of the solar plant in Tamil, the largest plant was in the Mojave Desert in California which covers an area of 1000 acres.

Furthermore, the impressive Mineirao stadium in Brazil was where the 2014 world cup was held. It was kitted out with 6,000 solar panels and was the world’s first world cup stadium to be completely powered by solar energy. 

You have all heard that a baby is born every second somewhere in the world. Well, we can now top that. Almost 100,000 solar panels are installed around the world every hour. That is the equivalent to about 1000 football fields being filled with solar panels every single hour!

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, built the world’s largest battery which, you guessed it, is completely solar powered. The battery is situated in Australia and can power around 30,000 homes for up to an hour. Tesla built the battery in just 100 days and its capacity is a staggering 100mw. Rumors are spreading that they might try and outdo themselves further still, but we will have to wait and see. Imagine the entire world running on batteries!

There is already solar-powered transportation available including cars and trains, but that capability also extends to airplanes as well. In 2016, Bertrand Pic card flew a plane that ran entirely on solar power around the world. His efforts alone have demonstrated the true potential of solar power and, once enough money is invested in it, air travel will change for the better.

As you can see, solar power and its potential is truly outstanding. The hard facts that back it up are undeniable and the incredible breakthroughs that have happened around the world are astonishing. In the coming years, solar energy is expected to advance even further, and prices are predicted to drop sharply as demand continues to grow. The demand for solar energy today is at an all-time high and will likely only increase with time.

Plug In Solar Panels: Why Are Plug In Solar Panels Alluring?

Since solar panels have become increasingly popular over recent years, hundreds of thousands of people are becoming more interested in switching to solar power for their household or business. There is only one major factor of going ahead with a complete rooftop solar installation,and it is that it can be a costly investment when you consider installation costs as well as the actual equipment needed to power a home.

As technology evolves and becomes more simplified, plug-in solar panels are becoming increasingly appealing- especially for smaller households who want a simple and easy solution to all of their power needs. You simply plug in your solar panels to the nearest power outlet,and you can now laze around the house all winter long with the heating on, without having to worry about harming the environment or crazy high electric bills.

While this sounds like an ideal solution that we should all be opting for, is it too good to be true? And more importantly- is there enough demand to make plug-in solar panels a mainstream power solution?

Why are Plug-in Solar Panels Alluring?

Let’s take a look at what makes plug and play solar panels so desirable to determine if they are a worthwhile investment for you.

No Professional Installation Necessary

This is clearly one of the majorly attractive points about plug-in solar panels because as we mentioned earlier, most people don’t have the extra funds stashed away to pay for the installation of already costly solar panels. With plug-in panels, , you don’t need an electrician or an installation expert to fit the panels.

It’s worth remembering that with traditional rooftop systems, the actual panels themselves and the wiring account for just 40% of the total cost. So if you are looking to keep costs down, yet still enjoy the benefits of going solar, then plug in solar panels could most definitely be the ideal solution for you.

They are Portable

One of the biggest problems that people who go off-grid with solar power experience is the hassle of moving. While it’s unlikely that anyone would choose to install an entire solar panel rooftop system in a rental property, if you are a homeowner and you need to sell, you could be facing a ton of hassle to move the solar panels. With plug-in panels, you can unplug them and take them with you easily.

They Will Save You Money in the Long Run

They Will Save You Money in the Long Run

Solar panels offer so many benefits; it’s difficult to list them all. One of the most appealing features of investing in a plug-in solar panel system is that over time you are going to save a ton of money. There is nothing worse than sitting in your living room shivering despite the layers of clothing you have put on because you are worried about your heating bill. With solar panels, you can enjoy free clean energy forever.

Be Totally Self-Sufficient

Plug in solar panels offer you the opportunity to become completely self-sufficient with regards to your electricity and hot water needs. Even though the panels need to be plugged into the main source of electricity to operate properly, unless there is a huge power outage in your area, they are a reliable source of energy that anyone can now enjoy.

Kinder to the Environment

Even if you are fortunate enough to have enough money to leave your air conditioning or heating on 24 hours a day, you are probably aware of the effects this has on the environment. With solar panels, you won’t have to worry about contributing to the ever-growing concern with regards to pollution, as they only produce completely green environmentally friendly energy!

How Does Plug-in Solar Work?

Going solar doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the things we love most about plug-in solar panels is the fact they are just so simple to install and use. Essentially, the only thing you need to do is plug in, switch on, and put the panel in a sunny location. That’s it! The panels allow electricity to move through a system of safety disconnects and inverter, instead of the electricity going straight into a wall outlet.

Are They Safe?

Overall, yes. You have to take into account that with a rooftop solar system installed by a solar company is going to be a more detailed setup and they are designed to stop themselves overheating or catching fire.

When you buy a plug-in solar panel system, you have to understand that you don’t have maintenance engineers who can come to your rescue in an emergency. If you can be responsible enough to keep an eye on your solar panels and follow the instructions included in the package, then there should be no issues whatsoever with safety.

Conclusion

Plug in solar panels are definitely a financially viable option for those who want to experiment with green energy. If your aim is to power your entire house with solar energy, then it might be in your best interest to have traditional solar panels fixed onto your roof. That said, having just a small amount of green energy in your home is always going to offer you the benefits of being kind to the environment as well as cutting back your electricity costs each month.

For example, plug-in solar panels would be able to power all of your hot water, which will still make a significant difference with regard to your monthly bills. The simplicity of them is certainly a major factor contributing to their popularity, as anyone can set them up quickly and easily.

If you care about your carbon footprint and you want to save money, then you should definitely give plug-in solar panels a try. Even if you change your mind in the future, you will easily be able to sell them to someone else.