Solar technology has come a long way in a short period of time. Solar panels used to only be available to the ultra-wealthy, but now they are very common household fixtures. Houses in some climates may not benefit much from solar power, but many people still opt to install them even if they don’t get much benefit on certain days of the year.
Solar panels, however, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solar technology. In this article, we explore a variety of different solar technology that you might find in someone’s house that you could consider if you’re looking for ways to minimize your reliance on grid electricity.
Roof Solar Panels
The most common form of solar accessory in residential homes these days is roof solar panels. In different countries, different governments have provided significant incentives and rebates ]for residents to have solar panels installed, and many have taken up these opportunities to get a solar system installed.
They typically consist of a variety of panels on the roof that feed the electricity to an inverter, which converts the electricity from DC electricity into AC electricity. AC electricity is what is used to power your home, so the electricity does need to be converted before you can use it or feed it back into the grid.
From the inverter, the electricity will either be used by your home if there is demand, and if there is no demand from your home system, it will be fed back into the electricity grid. Depending on the agreement you have with your power company, you may be reimbursed for the electricity that you feed back into the grid, or you may not receive any reimbursement. In some states, they have such a high solar panel electricity capture that they exceed the demands for electricity usage during daylight hours and only need to draw on the grid electricity overnight.
Even if you have some skills and experience with DC electricity, you still need to engage qualified solar panel installers to install your solar system and solar panels because you have to wire the system up to the mains electricity grid, which requires a qualified electrician.
When you engage a qualified electrician with solar panel specializations, they will assess your home and its orientation toward the sun and advise you which parts of your roof would be suitable to have panels installed and provide you quotations on a variety of different packages you can consider. This is a good guide to help with finding solar installers near you.
Solar fabric is a newer technology that is not currently found on top of many homes but is slowly gaining in awareness and popularity. It’s an evolution of the traditional solar panel, but it is a much thinner material that you can have over a much bigger distance to capture more of the benefit of the sunlight.
Whereas solar panels are rigid and fixed in size and you then bolt them to your roof, the solar fabric is something much more adaptable and easy to roll out. It is a very new technology and thus the economies of scale in the production of solar fabric have not yet made it an affordable technology for most. But we expect this to become a lot more common over the next five to ten years.
Solar lights are a reasonably well-known solar gadget that is available for people’s homes. When most people think about solar lights, they think about the small garden lights on a stake that you can place around your garden to illuminate a pathway or sometimes the perimeter of a garden bed.
They consist of a small solar panel built into the top of the lights which feeds electricity into a small battery inside the light, and then there is a light sensor that illuminates the included LED once the sun goes down. A good quality solar garden light can give you nighttime lighting for multiple years without needing any attention.
If you buy a good quality solar lamp, you will also have the option of buying spare parts to replace parts that break down to get even more life out of your investment. But there are also other types of solar light you can purchase.
Solar skylights provide the effect of a skylight through a broad, square-shaped LED globe, with an accompanying solar panel on the roof. You cut a hole in the roof and insert the large LED globe and then trace a wire up to the ceiling. You then drill a small hole in the ceiling, poke the wire through and connect it to the small solar panel provided, it will then provide light through the LED globe as long as there is sunlight hitting the solar panel.
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
An uninterrupted power supply is a type of electrical circuit with batteries where you have your power feeding a series of batteries which then charges the batteries. You then have certain devices in your home connected to those batteries.
You can make these into a solar-powered UPS by having a solar panel feed the bank of batteries.
The benefit of an uninterrupted power supply is that it mitigates the risk of important household devices being turned off if you have a power interruption.
If you have certain appliances hooked up to the UPS and the power goes out, then those devices will not experience that power interruption unless the interruption lasts for so long that those batteries run flat.
A UPS is not suitable for high-voltage devices but can be good for devices that draw a small amount of power over a long period of time, including modems and routers. Having your own solar-powered UPS is a great way to provide yourself some insurance against the increasingly unreliable electricity grids.
If you are tired of changing the batteries in your wireless keyboard for your computer, then you might want to consider a solar keyboard. They operate in just the same way as a normal wireless keyboard, but they don’t need batteries. They have two small solar panels built into the top of the keyboard. Which typically provides enough power to run the keyboard without the need for any other USB or battery power resources.
Bluetooth headphones with rechargeable batteries built-in have also become quite popular in recent years. They are typically charged via connection to a USB port. However, you can also get solar-powered headphones with solar headphones you can charge them as you walk around and you will not need to worry about postponing activities until your battery has been charged via USB.
Solar Bluetooth Speaker
Last but by no means least, it is also possible to now get a solar-powered Bluetooth speaker. Bluetooth speakers are other candidates for USB-charged devices that can now be charged by solar and is very popular for those that spend a lot of time outdoors.
Many of us have experienced Bluetooth speakers going flat when we play them for hours on end at an outdoor event. But with the option to power the Bluetooth speaker and charge the battery with solar, you can prolong the battery life of your Bluetooth speaker as it will be able to be charged simultaneously.
It’s an exciting time in the solar industry as more and more standard everyday devices are being powered by solar power. This is not only better for the environment but also more convenient, which is a win-win for everyone.