A solar energy panel collects energy from the sunlight and converts it into direct current (DC) electricity. Two oppositely charged slices of silicon are placed together below a piece of glass and as the protons in the sunlight knock the negatively charged neutrons away from the silicon the electric field created by the two adjoining pieces of silicon attract the neutron. Small pieces of wire catch the neutrons and when they connect they create direct current electricity. The wires connect to an inverter that changes the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) that we use in our homes.
Solar panels, known as photovoltaic (literally meaning "electricity from sunlight") are placed on the roof of your house, the roof of your garage or even as stand alone panels in your garden. Government grants are freely available to help pay for the panels and installation so do a little research and find out what you're entitled to.
Domestic uses for solar panels.
A quick glance around your local gardening or home improvement store will show you that the amount and quality of solar powered goods are increasing. Garden lighting, water features and much more are now readily available powered by the sun but there really is so much more that solar power and solar panels can offer. If you've got a swimming pool you can heat that, or you can heat your hot water boiler with only a couple of solar panels or, alternatively, you may be considering powering your entire house with the rays of the sun.
PV roof tiles are not only available but also much more affordable than you probably think. If it's time to replace your roof or you're considering having it retiled for any reason then PV tiles are a much more viable alternative and after a year or two they will have undoubtedly made up the slight increase in cost you may face for the initial purchase and fitting. You need very little room in your house and fitting a grid tie system means you can sell surplus energy to the grid; all in all if you have full roof solar panels you can expect to reduce your annual energy cost by 75% to 100%. That's a big saving, especially if you were only considering solar in order to try and do your bit to save the environment.
Can I buy solar panels anywhere?
Most electronics stores and garden or home improvement stores or will stock solar powered goods at the very least; find the right store and they will sell everything you need. If you don't know what you're doing with electronics it is highly advisable that you seek professional guidance, and a quick search on the Internet or a flick through your phone book will find several distributors and fitters of PV tiles and grid tie systems.
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