There are several other alternative energy sources available today to homeowners. When considering the implementation of an alternative energy system the first step is to evaluate the energy demand that is needed and see if there are cost effective ways to reduce demand and therefore reduce the overall size of the alternative energy system or source. Please contact us for independent energy auditors in your area or more information on alternative energy.
The basic function of solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, is to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar cells are the basic building block of solar systems and are made up of semiconductor materials. When sunlight is collected by these materials, the solar energy frees electrons from their atoms. These free electrons then flow into a circuit built into the solar cell to form electrical current. Only sunlight of certain wavelengths will work efficiently to create electricity, therefore PV systems can still produce electricity on cloudy days, but will not function as effectively as on a sunny day.
Solar Thermal technology is not the same as the technology used to make PV solar systems. Solar thermal systems concentrate the heat from sunlight to run an engine, powering a generator to make electricity.
PV solar systems directly convert the sun’s light into electricity.
Similar to PV solar systems, wind turbine energy systems can be grid-tied or connected to a local utility to provide homeowners with continuous electrical service. Wind turbines are installed on the top of tall towers and collect kinetic energy from the wind and then convert that energy to electricity that is compatible with a home's electrical system. If the wind speeds are below optimal speed (generally 7-10 mph) utility power can be used to supplement.
A geothermal system is an electrically-powered device that uses the natural heat storage ability of the earth to heat and cool your home. The temperature beneath the surface of the earth remains fairly constant-ranging year-round from 45oF or so in northern latitudes to about 70oF in the far south. A geothermal system utilizes this constant temperature to provide extremely efficient heating and cooling. Geothermal systems that involve water heated within the earth are also called hydrothermal processes.