Solar panels are an environmentally friendly way of producing electricity that can be used in a variety of ways. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question “what are solar panels used for?” then this article is for you.
Solar panels are most commonly used for the production of electricity and this process can take place at either a domestic or industrial scale. Domestic solar power systems can enable a house to generate much if not all of its own electricity. On an industrial scale, solar panels can be fitted in vast arrays to form solar power stations which are be capable of providing a source of power to the masses.
A key benefit of solar panels is their ability to produce electricity in remote locations. Providing there is an adequate supply of solar energy, solar panels can provide electricity to remote communities and devices (such as scientific instruments and satellites.)
A less common use of solar panels is for heating water. This process is most commonly seen at a domestic level where homeowners may choose to install hot water solar panels in order to receive all or part of their hot water supply from such devices. Backup heaters are often used to complement such systems and are especially beneficial during the night.
Solar panels can be used to charge batteries for a variety of uses. Domestic solar power systems are often fitted with a battery system that can be charged during the day and then used during the night (when solar panels are unable to generate electricity.) The same principle applies for solar garden lighting where a light unit will charge its internal battery during the day so that there is enough electricity stored to power its light bulb during the night.
A modern take on the principle of using solar energy to charge battery packs can be seen with the introduction of solar charging kits for handheld appliances such as smartphones and tablets. These come in a variety of forms and allow you to charge your devices on the go providing there is an adequate source of solar energy.
Reducing Energy Bills
Although there is a high upfront investment required for the installation of a solar power system, such a system can be used to reduce your energy bills. The more solar electricity you use, the less electricity you’ll use from your power company resulting in lower monthly bills.
Some homeowners take this a step further by selling some of the excess power that they generate back to the grid. This can provide a steady stream of income for a household that generates more solar electricity than it can use. This process can help to provide a return on investment in a shorter space of time.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Some people use solar panels to help reduce their carbon footprint. As solar panels are an environmentally friendly way of producing energy, they are the perfect option for the more environmentally focused consumer who may be looking to reduce the amount of carbon that is contributed to the atmosphere as a result of their day to day lives.
Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependency
The vast majority of the energy we consume is derived from fossil fuels which are non-renewable resources. This means they will eventually one day run out but the use of renewable energy technologies (such as solar panels) can help to reduce our dependency on such fuels.
Not only can solar panels help to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels but they can also help to conserve the levels of fossil fuels we have remaining.
Increasing Energy Security
As fossil fuel reserves run out, countries will look to their neighbours (or further afield) with a view of importing oil, coal and/or gas. This means you are no longer guaranteed a source of energy and you rely on foreign countries to continue the supply of fossil fuels across its borders.
Whilst in the majority of cases this will be absolutely fine, conflict can always occur which can disrupt such supplies and therefore the more energy we produce on our own doorstep, the less we have to rely on foreign countries supplying the energy we need. This is commonly referred to as “energy security”.