Solar energy is a renewable energy source that transforms sunlight into energy. People are using solar energy to heat, cool and light their homes. Different technologies exist to convert sunlight into energy. The most common types for home use are solar water heating, passive solar design for heating and cooling spaces and solar photovoltaics for electricity.
Saves You Money
Solar energy can save you money in the long term on your heating and cooling costs. You use less energy with solar, so you will have lower utility bills. In the summer, for example, a home that uses passive solar design stays cool without air conditioning. The same home requires less heat in the winter.
Solar energy is sustainable, meaning it will never run out. Coal, natural gas and oil are nonrenewable fossil fuels, meaning that once people use them, they are replaced slower than at the rate at which people use them.
Building a passive solar design home is no more expensive than building a regular home, Ron Judkoff, of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, told "Mother Earth News." Builders use the same basic materials in solar construction as they do in building regular homes. The difference is in the way the builders arrange the materials to take advantage of capturing the sun's heat in the winter and blocking it during the summer. Once built, solar homes are cheaper to operate because they use less energy than a regular home.
State and Federal Incentives
The federal government and each state offer incentives to homeowners who use renewable energy in their home. Included are a variety of tax incentives, grants, loans and rebates.
Solar power doesn't pollute the environment because it burns no fuel and generates no emissions. Regular homes that burn fossil fuels pollute the air. Power plants produce the fossil fuels used in regular homes. Power plants release sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons into the air. Air pollution leads to smog, which can cause health problems, such as irritated lungs, bronchitis and pneumonia.
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