Since the dawn of creation mankind has utilized the sun to warm himself, dry fruits and vegetables, tell the time, and in the modern era, even produce electricity. Sun is a seemingly inexhaustible source of natural energy that we have not yet begun to fully understand. But by harnessing this natural energy we can heat our homes, produce hot water, heat swimming pools, and do myriad of other things at a fraction of the cost and with little impact on the environment.
Solar Power Systems at Home
When we think of solar power systems, our first thought tends to be a home in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of solar panels mounted to the roof. These panels collect energy from the sun and convert it to electricity using a power inverter. Systems like this have been around for decades and have enabled people to reduce their dependence on the locally utility for both electricity and natural gas.
Obviously, solar power systems for home electrical generation work best in environments with plenty of sunshine. A city like Phoenix, AZ would be much more conducive to these systems then Seattle, WA for example. In addition, the home-based solar power system needs to be custom designed to fit a particular home. Cookie cutter systems may offer a minimal amount of benefits, but not the maximum benefits of custom designed systems.
Solar Power Systems in Commercial Applications
One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of solar power is adapting current technologies for use in business and commercial environments. Creating innovative ways for businesses to utilize this energy allows them to operate more efficiently and at a lower cost, leaving more money and resources to be put into development of products and services. In any business, the lower the overhead, the more productive the business. If overhead can be reduced by cutting energy costs, everyone wins.
Solar power systems are being used in commercial applications, just as in home applications, to generate electricity and hot water. Office buildings tend to be prime targets for solar panels due to the fact that they are already built to make maximum use of the sun for aesthetic purposes. With entire façades made of glass, the standard office building could replace a good portion of that glass with solar panels and realize huge energy savings.
Solar Power Systems for Communication
Yet another innovative method of utilizing this kind of power comes in the area of communications. In remote areas with no access to the electrical grid, communications centers can be powered by nothing but the sun. One particular example is the U.S. interstate highway system. Driving down one of the interstates, it’s not uncommon to see emergency telephones at the side of the road powered with solar panels. Solar power also supplies emergency road signs, construction lighting, and radio towers.
One of the biggest uses of this type of energy in communications comes in the form of satellites. Since satellites are not obstructed from the sun while in orbit, they are the best candidates for using solar power as efficiently as possible. Many a satellite is built around the power system that will operate it, to the extent that the power system becomes the focal point of the construction. In theory, solar powered satellites can continue on in perpetuity; as long as the sun burns they will be powered.