Always Electricity, lighting your home today and tomorrow!
How is electricity generated at power plants?
Traditionally power plants generate electricity by turning a turbine. This is done either by moving water, via a river with a dam, or heated water vapor created under intense pressure. All of these require mechanical movement. When you were young, you may have had a bicycle with a generator that powered the front light. This is exactly what power plants do, but on a large scale. Wind power works the same way, but instead of water, it is the wind that causes a turbine to spin. Although we have wind and dam water turbines, per US DOE 2011 annual energy review, over 76% of electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels. These are depleting resources, they pollute the air we breathe, and contribute to reduced ozone which protects our way of life.
How does solar energy happen?
Solar energy works much like photosynthesis does for plant life. The suns photons excite the electrons between two layers of chemicals which cause electrons to race out. This creates a constant delivery of electric voltage. This combination creates energy delivery that is referred to as 'photovoltaics' (PV). Your most common exposure to PV is via a solar powered calculator. Today you will also see it on flashing school signs, speed limit meters, rural traffic lights, etc.
The history of PV's goes back to the 1950's when Bell Technologies scientists discovered that silicon could produce an electrical charge when exposed to sunlight. As such they developed the first PV panels for satellites. Because of limited production and manufacturing methods, the earliest solar cells were expensive and not very efficient. Today, by leveraging computer silicon chip manufacturing methods, solar panels have become much more cost effective to produce, and efficiency has improved. Solar power can now be as cost effective as that from your power company. In some markets it will be more cost effective. A well-maintained solar power system can produce electricity for 25 years.
What is a major benefit on behalf of renewable energy.
Per EPA's 2010 study, 87% of all US greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide emissions from energy-related sources. Instead of power plants that burn coal or oil, which affect our ozone and impacts global climate change, we should seek out renewable energy sources. Solar energy can and should be part of any renewable energy program to meet our energy needs, since they generate electricity while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Where wind is consistent, wind power is an excellent choice and very cost effective.