Solar power is often seen as one of the most expensive ways of generating renewable energy. Compared to the number of electricity generating companies using wind power, a lot less of them are making use of solar power. The same goes for people who are trying to generate their own electricity at home — wind is seen as the most viable option.
Actually though, solar power doesn’t have to be that expensive — as costs come down solar power is becoming increasingly affordable. In this article I will outline the basics of solar power generation.
Solar electricity generation is actually a lot simpler in terms of setup for the home energy enthusiast. Whereas with wind power one must make blades, put up a tower, sort out an alternator and such, in solar generation the magic all happens within the solar power cell.
Solar power cells are more correctly known as photovoltaic (PV) cells. Essentially what happens inside the cell is a reaction based on negative and positive slices of silicon. As the slices heat up electrons start to move around inside the cells. These electrons are captured by electrical contacts and there we have it — electricity.
Generating solar power at home couldn’t be more simple. To generate the electricity all you really have to do is put up the solar panels in an appropriate location within your house and wire them up.
Much like wind power, the electricity generated by solar power is DC or Direct Current, whereas most household devices are alternating current. Generally in a home system you will store electricity in a bank of batteries. You can also setup what is known as a “dump load”, so that when the batteries are full the excess electricity being generated is used to heat hot water or provide some kind of lighting — basically, you are ensuring that none of the generated electricity gets wasted.
The last step is ensuring that we can make use of the electricity we have stored. Without getting too technical, basically the electricity stored in batteries and the electricity we use to power our appliances is different. However, we can make them the same. To do this, the electricity from the batteries passes through what is called an inverter. This basically converts it into the right kind of electricity to power your appliances. From the inverter you have your plugs setup that you plug your TV / stereo / etc into.
The costs of solar power generation are coming down, and it is actually both simple and cost effective to setup a solar power system within your home. In some states/countries you may even be able to sell excess electricity back to your provider – and yes, solar power does work on a cloudy day. To find out more about how to setup your own system, visit
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To learn more about methods you can implement ‘free’ power in your home, I highly recommend the Magni System guide, a detailed set of plans for building your own generation system. Best of all, you need not be a super qualified engineer, but rather, enthusiastic, and able to follow well written instructions.
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