Solar panels are a popular solution for the home consumer to keep their energy costs down. Benefits include tax credits for installing them in homes as well as the potential to sell back energy harnessed to the power company. In Germany the concept of tax credits and rebates for installing solar panels is national, and in fact a policy. This attracts Germans to install solar panels on their homes. The cost per watt is also less at $3.50 while in the United States the rate of energy produced is as $7.50 a watt.
Homes aren’t the only things benefiting from solar energy. Stadiums across the United States have been actively installing solar panels, to help supply energy during game days. Corporations are doing the same with many of them having their own solar farm on site (Some famous places include Google, Inc.’s Googleplex.
Solar Thermal Energy
60% of the energy used in buildings in New York State goes to heat and hot water. This power heavy fact has been the driving force behind a newly devised solar thermal energy plan that could eventually save New York State residents $175 million a year. The solar thermal energy harnesses the power of the sun to make hot water and feed steam heating systems. They install about 200,000 solar thermal heaters per year and it’s estimated that solar thermal heaters have the capacity to generate 50% of the hot water needed across the US.
Other Solar Innovations
Solar is one of the most promising alternative energy
solutions, with many exciting innovations currently taking shape.
Covalent solar uses a special cocktail of dyes to turn an
ordinary window pane into a solar panel. This innovation also limits the amount
of energy loss in the process. It can be added to existing solar panels,
improving their performance by 50 percent. Covalentsolar.com
NanoSolar has revolutionized the production of solar panels.
Their factory produces thinner, more flexible solar panels at a fraction of the
cost. The production looks more like a printing a newspaper than the
traditional baking process used to create current solar panels. Nanosolar.com
Cool Earth Solar balloons have completely rethought the way
solar energy can be harnessed. Instead of using large expensive panels, they’ve
created an innovative design using balloons. The balloons are half translucent,
letting the sun in, and half solar concentrator, reflecting the sunlight into a
solar cell, thus creating 400 times the amount of energy of an un-concentrated