It is almost high noon on the energy front. Oil, the substance that is used to create most of the world’s electricity is becoming too dear to use to produce electricity for home consumption. Even if you believe that there are lakes of oil left, which might be true, the main reason they have not been exploited yet is because it is too expensive to get out. The only thing that makes it a going concern is the high price of oil on the market.
Therefore, it stands to reason that oil prices cannot go down in the long term, which means that our electricity and petrol prices will stay high and will almost certainly keep rising. Add to that the fact that manufacturing is moving to the Far East and the fact that immigration is increasing and the result is lower wages in the West. The probability is that the average national wage will not rise as rapidly as the cost of energy.
So what can you do about it? Well, while commodity prices are certain to keep increasing, one thing has always kept falling and that is the cost of new technology. Or to be more accurate, slightly old technology. Cutting edge technology is always expensive, but after a few years the price tumbles, as we saw with desktop computers and as we are seeing with laptop computers now.
The same phenomenon is at work with solar panels. They are far less expensive now than they were a few years ago and they are far more responsive too. And did you know that the bits and pieces that are used to make solar panels can be purchased from plastic bins at most DIY and hobbyist stores like Radio Shack? If you knew what to buy you could literally go out and bring back enough bits and pieces to make a few solar panels the next time you go out for a loaf of bread.
So why are we not doing it? We did not know that was feasible? Nobody told us? We are not technologically minded? We do not have the skill?
OK, all those reasons sound valid. Nobody has been telling us, but the truth is that it is straightforward to construct solar panels and not that expensive any more. Professional installations are still prohibitively expensive – about $45,000 -, but you can do it yourself. There are two routes you can take.
You can either get a schematic drawing, a plan, from a hobbyist shop or the Internet, purchase the components and build your panel or you can buy a self-assembly kit. Really, there are kits about that teenagers can assemble as easily as they do a plastic model airplane. ‘Locate and insert part number 44 into the main board number 3’ – that sort of simple.
If you are fresh to the world of solar energy, then you may be wondering how solar energy panels work? Solar energy panels are also known as photovoltaic panels; photovoltaic meaning electricity from light. Solar energy panels work by collecting protons from the sun, which dislodge neutrons, and thereby create a flow of electrons or electricity. This electricity can either be stored in batteries for later use or used immediately.
You can utilize solar panels to heat your pool, run your workshop tools, power the greenhouse lights and fans or if your system is large enough, replace grid electricity in your whole home or business. Most solar energy panels are designed to last upwards of 20 years but involve little to no upkeep.
There is a reduction of the power supply after about 10 years of about 10%, but over the life-span of the solar panels, the energy savings realized are enough to recover the original cost of the system and more. Furthermore, prices are dropping while energy prices are rising. It already makes economic sense to switch to solar energy power.
Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on many subjects, but is currently involved with a favourite subject, types of renewable energy. If you are interested in Sustainable Energy At Home, please click through to our site.