What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is energy that is derived from the light and heat of the sun. Solar energy isn’t a modern day phenomenon. People have actually been using solar energy for thousands of years. Despite advances in technology, we still are only able to utilize a small percentage of the available solar energy.
Common types of solar energy technologies in Needham, MA include:
- Solar panels
- Solar water heaters
- Solar architecture
- Solar lighting
- Solar chimney
- Solar cooker
Solar panels are the most common method used to create solar energy, however new applications are being developed every day.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Today, there are many ways solar radiation is used to produce solar energy in Needham. How solar energy works depends on the method used. Most all technologies will fall into one of two categories depending on the way solar energy is captured, converted and distributed.
Active solar energy applications –Active solar energy applications aim to boost the supply of energy. They are what’s called supply side technologies. Examples of active solar energy applications include solar panels and solar thermal collectors.
Passive solar energy applications – The goal of passive solar energy applications is to reduce the need for other energy resources and energy consumption. Examples of passive solar energy applications include solar architecture and solar lighting.
When sunlight is converted into electricity it’s called solar power. This is achieved through the use of photovoltaics or concentrated solar power systems (CSPs). If you’re using active solar energy applications the energy must be used or stored after it is captured. Thermal mass systems and molten salts can store solar energy as heat. The transmission grid of an off-grid PV system will store excess energy sent from people’s homes in rechargeable batteries.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy in Needham
Advantages of Solar Energy
There are clear advantages of using solar energy in Needham rather than standard energy sources. Eco-friendly consumers like that solar energy is a clean renewable energy that is better for the environment. Every consumer likes the fact that solar energy can save you money in the long term.
Retrofitting your Needham, MA home with solar technologies is also a good investment. It will increase the value of many properties and is a good selling point if you ever put your home on the market.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
The obvious disadvantage is that solar energy isn’t available during the nighttime hours. You have to have the proper storage system in order to utilize solar energy resources after sundown.
Another disadvantage is the upfront costs. Although solar technologies save you money on your utility bills each month, you will have to retrofit your house with equipment that can cost in the thousands.
Working with Needham Solar Energy Companies
Consumers who wish to use solar energy can either install a system at their home or buy solar power from a solar energy company in Needham, MA. There are two types of Needham solar energy companies, commercial concentrated solar power plants and photovoltaic power stations.
Do some comparison shopping before you decide which Needham solar energy company you want to work with. Installation and product pricing can vary significantly as can the experience level of the installers. Look for solar energy companies that offer low interest loans and help obtaining tax incentives offered by federal, Massachusetts and local Needham governments.
Make sure any solar energy services or products you purchase meet the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (IOS).
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