As we progress into the 21st century, humanity must face many challenges. One of the most daunting challenges is the need to meet the electricity consumption needs of a growing population. There is little doubt that we will run out of gas and oil in a matter of generations, and the environmental concerns surrounding coal have pushed many countries to search for alternative ways to produce energy. The most commonly proposed alternatives are to shift toward renewable energy resources, like wind, geothermal, and solar. In fact, solar is one of the most promising alternatives, and the good thing is you do not need to invest a lot of money to start generating and consuming solar power for yourself.
To create solar power, you need panels that convert sunlight into electricity. This process happens without the need for complex moving parts and produces zero greenhouse gas emissions. The most basic part of solar power generation is the solar panel. A panel is made up of a series of silicon cells. Once sunlight particles reach the panels, they produce an electrical current of about a half of a volt. Most panels produce 12 volts and will have 36 cells. These panels are generally rectangles measuring 25 inches by 54 inches, so they are not really big. It is possible to wire multiple panels together, which increases the voltage output. The real advantage here is that you can use a smaller wire from the solar panel to battery, which is important given that the price of copper wiring has increased substantially in recent years.
The primary advantage of solar power is that once you make the initial investment, future power generation is essentially free. No one can charge you for the sun’s light. If you are just trying to produce a small amount of power in a remote location, it is not economically feasible to lay the infrastructure and transfer the power out there. By contrast, if you have a clear view that allows sunlight to come in, setting a few solar cells can be quite easy. The primary disadvantage is that the cost for the equipment can be prohibitively high. To provide power for an entire house you would need more than thirty years to break even. But for people who are interested in home improvement, have environmental concerns about fossil fuels, or just want to be energy independent, solar power is a great option.
Since investing in your own solar energy project can be expensive, it is important to know where to find cheap solar panels. The good news is that you can find a huge selection of affordable panels on the Internet at wholesalers and discount home improvement stores. If you have a small cabin in the woods and you are just looking to provide some basic power, it is possible to spend around seven hundred dollars. However, powering larger projects can get very expensive, very quickly.