Solar Energy Projects


Solar energy projects can save you money on home water heating and other energy needs or you can start a solar energy project that is fun as a science project. In fact, solar energy is used in many objects in your life today. Have you every looked at that small cordless calculator you use and noticed five or six little cells on the front? These are collectors for solar or light energy. The same concepts that operate your calculator are used in larger projects from residential to commercial to small science projects for students.

Your swimming pool and even all your home hot water needs can be supplied by solar energy projects if you install solar collector panels of your roof directed at the sun's light and a hot water storage system into your home to hold the heated water for use on demand. You can maintain capability to generate hot water through traditional means if you want a backup to your solar energy project, but many people use only solar hot water, provided they install a sufficiently large system in their homes.

Solar energy projects can also generate electric power for residential homes. These systems store the energy generated in battery-like storage cells until the power is call for. Excess power can be sold to the traditional power companies, in fact, lowering dependence on utility power companies even more.

A simple project you and your child can do to see how solar power projects work is to create a hot dog cooker from a cardboard box, aluminum foil and some poster board. For this project, select a long, narrow cardboard box to make the project most effective. Design a parabolic curve with a focal point five to ten inches down from the top of the box. Measure and cut a piece of poster board that will create this curve and fit flush inside the box. The piece of poster board will be longer than the box so that it will curve downward for this solar power project. Cover the curve with glue and apply aluminum foil with the shiny side facing outward. Be sure the foil is as smooth as possible. Attach to one end of the cardboard box with tape curve down and tape the other end in place. A spot of sunshine should focus on the bottom of the curve. Remove the paint from a coat hanger and place the hot dog on the coat hanger. Install the coat hanger over the bright spot of sun and cook away.

Solar power projects, both large and small, can be much less complicated than you probably thought. By understanding how this power form can help save traditional fuels, we can make a difference in our lives and our planet.

About the Author: Anita van Wyk strives to make make more people aware of the benefits of using solar energy through her website

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