Is It Time For Solar Energy to Get Hot?

January 25th, 2010 | by ADMIN |

Is It Time For Solar Energy To Get Hot? By Tim Phelan

Solar energy has been around for quite a while and most people
don’t think about it much except for the ones who are already
into renewable sources of energy. Environmentalists have always
loved the idea of solar energy but what has kept it from going
more mainstream, being more widely used and looked upon as
something someone wants to spend money to install on their
property? There have been improvements in the technology of
solar energy, but has there been enough? Isn’t the war on terror
and the desire to be independent of foreign energy sources
enough to persuade people to use solar energy? At what point
will solar energy become the great and never ending source of
energy many of envisioned many years ago?

Well, I, for one, think that the time has just about come for
solar energy to really take off because of one reason: it will
be economically the right and smart thing to do.

Last year I was driving to Las Vegas from San Jose and when I
was just about three quarters of the way to my destination I
passed a sign that said something about a “solar farm.” I
glanced over and saw row upon row of solar panels sitting in the
middle of the dessert. This is about the only farm that could
survive in the dessert I thought to myself. Then I thought ”
Wow. Why can’t I do that?” In a smaller fashion of course
because of my limited resources. But I thought why not rent some
land and buy some of these panels and start my own little farm?
It made sense and actually it still makes sense to me.

I went home later and looked into the solar energy industry. I
wanted to see if this was possible now and I thought if these
people put all those panels out in the dessert and sold the
energy to others why can’t a small businessman?

Well, what I found out is that it isn’t quite possible to do
just yet. Why? Because the cost of the panels, property, labor
etc.. wasn’t low enough to make a profit for what you can sell
the energy for. The solar farm was more than likely subsidized
by the government. So I looked into the possibility of using
them on homes. This thought has been around for decades and you
do see the panels on more homes than you used to so I was
wondering if this was possible now. I found out that it just
takes too long for the average consumer to get their investment
back to consider putting solar panels on their homes.

The average time for a homeowner to get the money back on their
investment is anywhere from 12 years to 20 years. For this
industry to take off that figure I believe will have to go down
to around 5 to 7. Not that far really. It could actually go
below that.

Three things have to happen for the solar energy promise to
become a reality and for homeowners and entrepreneurs to decide
in large numbers to use solar panels to create electricity:

1. The price of the panels will have to decrease. 2. The panels
will have to improve and produce more energy. 3. The cost of
energy will have to increase.

Actually just one of these factors can happen to a great degree
and the other two stay constant and the point will be reached
where the solar energy industry will explode. But more than
likely, all three will come closer together and at some point
people will decide to start buying the panels in record numbers
and we will see this way of creating energy from a clean and
renewable source be common place.

Here is why I think the time is very near for this explosion to

1. There is a bill in the state legislature in California now
that will spend on rebates for solar energy. The
governor wants to show that he is in the front of this movement
and wants to be aggressive. Some don’t like the way the bill is
written, but there is a good chance it will pass. Click here for the

2. The panels are becoming more and more efficient at producing
more energy.

3. The price may go down dramatically if contracts with China to
produce the panels are put into place. Normally I don’t like our
jobs going oversees to people who only get fractions of what the
US worker makes but in this instance it will also create many
jobs here to install the panels, sell them, warehouse them
etc… Plus this is something the country needs I feel. Clean,
renewable energy that makes us less reliable on foreign oil and

Also, some companies are producing these new generation flexible
solar energy panels that come in sheets and can be rolled up and
then out onto surfaces. These may bring the cost way down and
make the instalation much more easy and cost efficiant. Here is
an article about this new product: Click Here

At what point will these three variables merge?

I predict in the next two to three years this industry will take
off like so many of us were hoping it would many years ago.

If you want to know how to install a solar electric panel system
to your house here is a inexpensive e-book that shows you how.
Here People can act now, and many already are by buying and
installing these solar panels. With the war on terror looking
like it could last decades many look upon this investment as not
only a clean green solution and a smart investment on increasing
the value of their home, but as almost a patriotic gesture in a
way to free us from the dependence on middle eastern oil and
natural gas. Here is a link to a terrific site where you can get
these panels at wholesale prices. This site has all sorts of
renewable energy sources at great prices.


Tim Phelan

  1. 4 Responses to “Is It Time For Solar Energy to Get Hot?”

  2. By Anonymous on Jan 25, 2010 | Reply

    Which time periods of the year are optimal for collecting solar energy?
    Which time periods throughout the year do solar cells collect more energy than usual?

  3. By Valdis K on Jan 26, 2010 | Reply

    There’s several levels to this.

    The *biggest* effect will be that during the local summer months, the sun’s rays will hit the panel more directly, making them collect more energy.

    However, in some areas, you get second-order effects – if "summer" is the rainy season, that can undo all the "better angle" benefits, so you *may* get more energy during the "dry" season. So you really need to check local weather patterns in the place you’re installing the solar cells…
    References :

  4. By roderick_young on Jan 26, 2010 | Reply

    Where I live in Northern California, the array puts out the highest power in April or May because of the cooler temperatures, but I get the most total energy out of the array around June because of the longer days. I’m guessing the heat factor would be more or less pronounced depending on how far one was from the equator.
    References :

  5. By ericnutsch on Jan 26, 2010 | Reply

    Solar energy is most prevelant in the summer.

    Due to the earths orbit, there are more sun hours in the summer than in the winter. Boise, Idaho receives 7 nominal sun hours in the summer and 3 nominal sun hours in the winter.

    Nominal sun hours are hours that a solar panel will produce its rated output.

    Also the sun is at a higher angle in the summer and doesn’t need to penetrate as much atmosphere.

    In some areas spring is better because spring winds blow away haze and rain keeps the panels clean.

    Temperature only effects solar electric panels power production at the very extremes 110F and -20F. Low temperatures can drop the efficiency of solar hot water panels from 90% to 70%.

    If you would like to learn more about solar electric systems visit:

    If you would like to learn more about solar hot water systems visit:

    Hope that helps
    References :
    Im a Mechanical Engineer for Aurora Power & Design

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