Solar Home Energy

Solar Home Energy

Christopher Smith

April 14, 2014

Solar energy

Advantages:

  • Solar energy is free energy
  • Solar energy does not cause green house gasses
  • Solar can be used in remote areas that do not have power grids or the cost of public utilities is too high
  • Many devices can be solar charged, helping to stop chemical use and another resource depletion.
  • Solar power is infinite power when compared to oil reserves

Disadvantages:

  • High upfront cost
  • Building of the collectors depletes natural resources and causes greenhouse gasses
  • Power can only be obtained during sunlight hours
  • Solar power station does not compare to traditional power output when considering size of are needed.
  • Areas of cloudy weather do not benefit as much with solar power.
  • The use of solar power at night requires batteries, which depletes natural resources and the batteries wear out requiring maintenance.

Heat pumps and water heaters

Advantages:

  • Heat pumps use less energy to produce heat.
  • Heat pumps reduce the number of emissions produces
  • Electric heat does not produce dry air, so there is no need for dehumidifiers
  • During winter months, the heat pump acts as a heater and during the summer it acts as an air conditioning system.
  • Electric heat pumps can use alternative energy and not produce emissions.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Initial purchase cost is much higher than traditional systems.
  • Installation of the system is much harder than conventional systems.
  • Areas of extreme cold, the heat pump will not function efficiently.

Solar Home Energy

        Solar power and Heat pumps are widely used in many areas to produce electricity. Although these methods do help to control the amount of emissions produces for electricity, they do deplete the natural resources and production of the products contributes to many greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere. The efficiency level of the units can be questioned, as both systems are reliant on weather conditions to perform well.

Solar power

        I have found use of solar power systems in both Indiana and Hawai’i. The efficiency level is not as high in Indiana so more panels were needed to deliver what I needed for power. Here in Hawai’i, I live in an apartment so full size panels are not obtainable. Solar device chargers and small panels on the balcony help to deliver some of my electrical needs.

Heat Pumps

        Heat pumps are used in areas that do not receive extreme temperatures in either direction. In the case of Indiana, most people did not use heat pumps. I personally took use of a unit on my property, and although during the winter the efficiency level was not good enough for a heat pump alone. I did get to see 3-4 months of heat produced by the unit. During the summer before the rest of my modifications to my home were complete, the heat pump kept the inside of the home nice and cool. Once my home was complete the use of the unit during the summer was no longer needed. This made the investment almost not worth it. The only positive by having the unit after the mods was complete was for resale value in the home. In Hawai’i, the climate is naturally controlled and the use of open windows and small fans do the job quite well. A heat pump would use more energy and bring too much installation cost into the picture to be worth anything on the islands.

Conclusion

        In conclusion, the use of solar power greatly outweighs the functionality of heat pumps in many areas. Solar power can provide free clean energy of the unit’s life span. When pieces fail, usually a whole new unit is not needed to keep the solar system working. Heat pumps should not be taken out of the picture; many areas within the United States could make good use of the units. Even during extreme cold areas there is always a few months, which could reduce an individual’s utility bill and reduce the carbon footprint of the home.
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