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Introducing Solar Energy
Ninety-three million miles from Earth, our sun is 333,000 times the size of our planet. It has a diameter of 865,000 miles, a surface temperature of 5,600°C and a core temperature of 15,000,000°C.
It is a huge mass of constant nuclear activity. Directly or indirectly, our sun provides all the power we need to exist and supports all life forms.
The sun drives our climate and our weather. Without it, our world would be a frozen wasteland of icecovered rock. Solar electricity is a wonderful concept.
Taking power from the sun and using it to power electrical equipment is a terrific idea. There are no ongoing electricity bills, no reliance on a power socket:
a free and everlasting source of energy that does not harm the planet! Of course, the reality is a little different from that. Yet generating electricity from sunlight alone is a powerful resource, with applications and benefits throughout the world.
But how does it work? For what is it suitable? What are the limitations? How much does it cost? How do you install it? This book answers all these questions and shows you how to use the power of the sun to generate electricity yourself.
Along the way, I will also expose a few myths about some of the wilder claims made about solar energy and I will show you where solar power may only be part of the solution.
Although undoubtedly there are some significant environmental benefits of solar electricity, I will also be talking about where its environmental credentials have been oversold.
I will keep the descriptions as straightforward as possible. There is some mathematics and science involved. This is essential to allow you to plan a solar electric installation successfully.
However, none of it is complicated and there are plenty of short-cuts to keep things simple. The book includes a number of example projects to show how you can use solar electricity. Some of these are very straightforward, such as providing electrical light for a shed or garage, for example, or fitting a solar panel to the roof of a caravan or boat.
Others are more complicated, such as installing photovoltaic solar panels to a house. I also show some rather more unusual examples, such as the possibilities for solar electric motorbikes and cars.
These are examples of what can be achieved using solar power alone, along with a little ingenuity and determination. I have used one main example throughout the book:
providing solar-generated electricity for a holiday home which does not have access to an electricity supply from the grid.
I have created this example to show the issues and pitfalls that you may encounter along the way, based on real life issues and practical experience.
A website accompanies this book. It has lots of useful information, along with lists of suppliers and a suite of online solar energy calculators that will simplify the cost analysis and design processes.
Download Solar Electricity Handbook 2012 Edition A simple, Practical Guide to Solar Energy - Designing and Installing Photovolatic Solar Electric Systems easily in PDF format for free.