Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Improving Electrical Cost with Solar Power

Solar Power isn’t new. It’s been around for a long time but its popularity and efficiency are both increasing at remarkable rates. Solar power works by harnessing the solar energy of the sun, converting and converting it to electricity inside the solar panel. The electricity generated is then stored in batteries to help with cloudy or dark conditions. The battery power is converted to alternating current (A/C) to match the power inside your house.

The most inefficient part of the process is the solar panels. They have historically been very large, bulky and inefficient. Modern technology has allowed the units to become more efficient reducing the size needed and making the technology more practical in more places.

However, solar power is still very expensive. A $20,000-30,000 outlay isn’t uncommon for an average household. To address this, many utility companies and private companies are investigating an agreement called a power purchase agreement (PPA) whereby they install the equipment at no charge in your house and then sell you the power from the solar grid much as the utility company does know from their power grid.

Several utilities including California-based Southern California Edison and North Carolina-based Duke Energy are planning on large-scale solar power offerings. In addition to the utilities, private companies such as Sun Run are fronting the installation and maintenance cost of the solar equipment with a long term agreement to purchase the electricity from them.

Many retail stores including Wal-Mart, Staples and Sam’s Club are combing sun lights in their roofs for free in-store lighting with solar power. Free light when the sun is out from the sun lights and free solar energy powering the fluorescent lights when clouds come out or at night.

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