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Important Solar Terms

Renewable Energy

Sun and wind are the two most known forms of renewable energy. Water currents, waves, and tides are also forms of renewable energy. Traditional energy sources include coal, natural gas, and oil. However, when these sources are depleted, they become very expensive to retrieve. There are consequences to every form of renewable energy. However, solar energy has a unique advantage, as we can utilize the sun’s power without impacting other natural resources.

Passive Solar Design

When you construct a new home, you should always be thinking about how to take advantage of the sun. This is considered “passive solar design,” and homes that use this technique increase the effects of a solar power system.

    Solar Passive Design features include:
  • Making sure a home’s south side is receiving the maximum amount of sunlight.
  • Positioning a home on an east-west axis.
  • Making sure interior spaces that are used most often are along the south of the building.
  • Using thermal mass spaces to distribute and store heat.
  • Choosing windows and overhangs that insulate a home.
  • Planting trees to provide strategic shading and buffering from intense heat.

Reverse Metering (Net metering)

This technique gives the ability to record both power produced, and power used. Utility companies will charge you for the power you use, and credit you for the power you’ve generated.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)

Unit of electric power consumption. One kilowatt hour is equivalent to 1,000 watt hours. This is used to define the amount of energy used during one hour. In other words, a 60-watt incandescent light bulb that has been turned on for one hour uses 60-watt hours of energy.

Photovoltaic (PV)

Parallel clusters of semi-conducting material, like, silicon, are what photovoltaic cells are made of. Silicon is most widely used because of its abundance, but it is often expensive. Recently, costs of decreased due mostly to federal, state, and local tax credits and rebates. As scientists continue to discover new ways to create non-silicon photovoltaic panels, solar cells and solar systems will eventually become more affordable.

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