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The use of Solar Energy at home

August 09, 2010  by: Sridevi  Points: 15   Category: Others  Earning $1.20   Views: 987

Solar Energy, is undoubtedly the most abundant and powerful non-conventional renewable source of energy. This article describes some products, which can be used in our homes to harness the solar energy.


Solar Energy, is undoubtedly the most abundant and powerful non-conventional renewable source of energy. It is available naturally in the form of sunlight. This energy from the sun can be converted to electrical energy through photovoltaic cells, also referred to as solar cells. This energy can be then used as such or converted into various forms such as light energy or heat energy.

The main benefit of using solar energy, especially in the warmer areas, is to conserve electric consumption. Also, it proves to be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. It can be used for the purpose of heating water (solar water heaters), generate light and electricity (solar lamps and solar generators), to cook food(solar cookers), solar fans and air conditioners ( to increase air circulation and keep the room cool), solar dryer(for drying purposes). In some parts, solar windmills are also used to power the windmills through solar energy, in absence of the wind. Though the initial outlay is more than their electronic counterparts,the solar items prove to be beneficial in the long-run.

The working of most of the solar appliances is based on two principles:
  • A black surface gets heated up quickly when exposed to the sun's rays. And only minimal amount is reflected back.
  • The inside of a car or a room, with closed glass windows, becomes hot due to the solar energy getting trapped inside.

Some of the major solar products which are used for residential (as well as commercial purposes) can be listed out with their approximate prices in India, as follows:

1. Solar Water heaters
A solar water heater is used to heat up water by means of solar energy. It, thus, provides us with hot water for bathing and other purposes.

It consists of a collector or absorber panel to collect the solar energy and a storage tank to store the hot water. The glass panel is given a special coating to maximize solar absorption. The energy from the sun's rays which fall on the collector gets transferred to the pipes underneath. The water flowing in the pipes gets heated up and is then delivered to an insulated storage tank. The tank is generally made of copper insulated with materials like glass wool to retain the heat. Valves are present to control the supply of fresh cold water and the discharge of hot water into the home.

Price: Rs19000 onwards (approx, for a 500 ltr capacity tank)

2. Solar Cookers
These are used for cooking food with sunlight as the "fuel", thereby saving on LPG and other domestic fuels.

The common type of solar cooker looks like a square aluminum suitcase, though there may be many variations like parabolic cookers and panel cookers. The solar energy from the sunlight is converted to heat energy through absorption by the dark absorber plate. Sometimes reflectors are also placed in capture extra sunlight and reflect it into the cooking pots. This heat energy is then trapped and retained for use in cooking. The insulations ensure the retention of heat. There is no need for any other domestic fuel.

Many food items can be cooked except fried stuff and chapattis. Though the cooking process is a bit slow, the food which is cooked by using solar cookers is more nutritious.

Price: Rs 3000(approx for the commonly available box model)

3. Solar lamps
A solar lamp is used to give us light by utilizing the energy of the sunlight. It is mainly advantageous during electric power failures.

A solar lamp is a light fixture composed of a LED(or CFL) lamp , and a solar panel consisting of photovoltaic cells. The solar energy from the sun is converted to electrical energy which is stored in a rechargeable battery. This, in turn, gets converted to light on switching the lamp on. Solar lamps recharge during the day and can be used to give us light during the night time. It is portable and can be carried easily from place to place. It gives sufficiently bright light and hence, proves to be a very convenient and handy device. A variation in the solar lamp is the solar bulb.

It does not need much of sunlight to get charged; and a fully charged one provides lighting for about 4-5 hours, depending on the model.

Price: Rs 2500 onwards(approx)

4. Solar generators
Though usually employed in industries very rarely in India, a solar generator can also be used to run the home by harnessing solar energy for powering the lights and fans, running TVs etc.

In very simplified terms, a solar generator works by converting solar energy into electrical energy. The generator consists of solar panels (which must be placed where there is the most possible sunlight,) a rechargeable battery for continuous use, and an inverter. The inverter is necessary to convert the DC power stored in the battery into AC power. Hence, if the generator is only going to be used to run DC appliances, there is no need for an inverter

The solar generators do not produce much noise as there are no moving parts. They are expensive, and take a lot of time for charging.

Price: > Rs.70,000

5. Solar fans
A solar fan also consists of solar panel with and a battery which is rechargeable with solar power. The battery is fitted into the fan. The panel converts solar energy to electricity, stores it in battery through solar panels and thus, supplies DC power for fan. An AC adapter is also available which can be used to charge the fan when there is no sunlight. A fully-charged solar fan can work for approximately 4-8 hours, depending on the speed adjustment.

Solar refrigerators and solar air conditioners are also used in some regions. In both of these appliances, the heat of the sun is used to increase the pressure of the gas(the refrigerant) which turns into a liquid. When the heat is removed, the liquid evaporates and lowers the temperature.

Price: Rs 3000 onwards (approx)

Availability: If you wish to buy any of the solar equipment, you can contact any solar equipment dealer. Solar water heaters, solar lightings and solar fans are popularly sold in the Indian markets. You can also contact any non-conventional energy offices in your area.

Care and maintenance:
-Solar appliances need minimal care and maintenance. The solar panel needs to be dusted at leas once a month and need to be kept away from water.
-Also, the panel should not kept in shady placed for extended periods of time.

Author: Mathi        
Posted Date: 08/10/2010    Points:1    

good nice article thanks for sharing this with us sridevi
Author: rockstar        
Posted Date: 08/10/2010    Points:2    

Sridevi I must say you have put lot of efforts for your this article . In the future time we will need to consume more of solar energy as we need to save our resources and it is must that we should use solar energy which is avilable freely.
Author: Kumaresh        
Posted Date: 08/10/2010    Points:3    

An Excellent Article on Solar energy equipments. Hats off Sridevi!

We must use Solar energy equipments to protect our environment. Still these equipments are not popular among the common man because of its high rate. Government should give subsidy to make these equipments cheap. It will help to encourage people to buy and use it.
Author: Sridevi        
Posted Date: 08/10/2010    Points:2    

Thanks Mathi, rockstar and Kumaresh. Yes, we need to use more of solar power in the home, especially during summer months..I think Government used to give some subsidy, but as more private companies are coming up, it has become a costly affair.
Author: kalyani        
Posted Date: 08/26/2010    Points:1    

Excellent article, Sridevi. You have given very good information on the use of solar energy at home.

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