The Saskatchewan Living Green Expos Guide to Becoming Friends with Green Energy! 

Solar Power

by Megan Ross

Initial Introduction

We would like to introduce you to solar power.  Now, you most likely know of the sun and appreciate its fine attributes, especially after many months of winter.  You may already consider the sun and its power an ally, but why not take that relationship to the next level and not only reap the benefits for yourself, but also give back to your community and the environment in the process?

Getting Acquainted

Solar power was used as early as the 1960s by NASA for their satellites.  It would take decades though for it to become a viable option for residential properties, as its cost remained prohibitively expensive.  However, as technology progresses, production of solar, or photovoltaic cells (PV), has become increasingly affordable and even cost-effective enough for your local hardware stores to sell.

Exchanging Phone Numbers

There are multiple ways that PV systems can be used to convert sunlight into usable electricity.  Rock Paper Sun explains that panels may either produce direct current to be used immediately, or they can be built into grid-tied systems whereby energy is converted into alternating current which may be used or stored by households. This electrical current can be utilized to power homes, appliances, or heating and pumping water.    

Making Plans for Next Friday

Inviting solar power into your home is now incredibly easy, though there are several things to consider about its application for your home and needs.

1)    The amount of Southern exposure any given space has.  Obstacles, such as trees, that will create shadows at any point in the day will diminish the amount of energy yielded.

2)    Your regions insolation rating, meaning the actual amount of solar radiation your space will be exposed to.  A higher rating means greater efficiency of your setup.

3)    Regular maintenance will be required, although it is arguably minimal and involves keeping your panels clean from dust and debris, most often done using a water hose.

Reminiscing About Old Times

It wont be long before you and solar power are BFFs, as these benefits begin to quickly add up.

1)    You will be using an inexhaustible renewable resource which produces zero greenhouse gas emissions, making your carbon footprint far smaller than that of your neighbours.

2)    After the initial investment, you will begin to save money by producing your own power rather than having to buy it from a third-party.

3)   You may even make money by selling excess energy back to SaskPower.  Also, make sure to see if there are any relevant grants or rebates offered for your installation of solar panels. 

 

Additional Resources

http://www.saskpower.com/efficiency-programs-and-tips/generate-your-own-power/self-generation-programs/

http://www.mienergy.ca

http://www.rockpapersun.com 

http://www.rocy.com/showcase/solar.html 

http://www.soundsolar.ca

http://www.solar-store.com/Insolation%20Chart.pdf

 

Live simply so others can simply live.
— Gandhi