Can Solar Energy Power Up Our Future? Maybe Someday, But Not Yet

A solar panel on a rooftop smacks of so much personal freedom that most people are very intrigued. The energy is so clean and healthy – seemingly inexhaustible. With the proper equipment in place, it’s practically free! New resources are cropping up everywhere, including sites like http://solarenergyplans.net/, that are making it easier than ever to add solar power to your home.

The amount of solar energy bathing the earth’s surface is indeed tremendous. In a sense, solar energy powers all life on earth today and produces all of the energy sources we use. Plant life grows through photosynthesis, the plant’s own solar-based fueling system. Plants decomposed and compressed into coal and oil in swamps for millions of years form the basis of our current energy consumption.

How do we grab that vast, available solar power and made it work for us?
The simple rooftop panel is something already very familiar. Commercial and residential buildings are designed to utilize passive solar energy resources without mechanical means to heat, light or cool a building. Exciting advances have been made in solar-powered cars and high efficiency photovoltaics (PV cells) Constant innovation is ongoing to increase the efficiency of such cells and produce more power. Various attempts are being made to decrease production costs and integrate solar panels into the structure of a building, earning the developer reduced construction costs through credits. Even so, solar energy is proving a spotty and expensive energy solution in its current phase.

New ideas, anyone? Of course! This one may cause roof-top solar energy to go the way of the kerosene lamp!
John Mankins is the ex-Nasa scientist behind a project called SPS-Alpha. In brief, SPS-Alpha plans to send multiple thousands of bubble-light, inflatable modules into space. Once arrived, they will be assembled into a giant, lamp-shaped structure covered with mirrors to concentrate solar energy onto ground stations on earth using microwaves. This could immediately reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and, theoretically, at least, provide unlimited clean power.

The catch is in the cost. Mankins feels his theory is very sound, but it is unproven technology by its very nature. No one has made a shot across the bow and actually lofted such solar modules into space. Estimated costs to get the project off the ground run from $15 to 20 billion. Initially, Mankins had research funding from Nasa’s advanced concepts departments, but that money ran out in 2012. At the moment, Mankins is looking for wealthy benefactors.
“I can’t think of a better solution than to find somebody who is very wealthy, very visionary and willing to make this happen,” he says.

There’s another catch, of course. Quite a number of scientists believe that money powering solar energy proposals should remain right here on earth. The sheer cost of such a project is enormously prohibitive, for one thing. Yes, the idea of having huge transmitters ‘up there’ and out of the way here on earth is very appealing. But the sheer cost of maintaining the operation and transmitting the energy back to earth does not pass muster with cost-benefit analysis, reports radio scientist Professor William A Coles.

Mankins remains undaunted. “I haven’t found the right visionary billionaire yet. But, I’m still looking.”
Although the solar space project remains fiscally daunting, it sounds very appealing for future endeavors.
‘Beaming down’ may yet be the solar wave of the future!

23 How to Calculate Energy Savings When Switching Light Bulbs

How to Calculate Energy Savings When Switching Light Bulbs

How to Calculate Energy Savings

Determining how much money you will potentially save on your electric bill requires a little bit of math and three other things: amount of electricity used, your cost of electricity, and the time your lights are on.

To figure out the amount of electricity used, you need to determine how many lights are in your home. Of course, your bulb wattage may also vary from 25 all the way up to 100, but for the sake of this post, we will assume all bulbs are at 60 watts. Now, the average household has 47 lights, so we will multiply 47 bulbs times 60 watts = 2820 watts. That a whole lot of wattage, when using your old incandescent bulbs.

However, switch those bulbs to the new CFL or LED bulbs. Now, you are using less than 14 watts per bulb for the same brightness of your incandescents. That ends up being just around 660 watts used for the entire house—at the most.

Next, you need to determine the cost of electricity in your home. The average U.S. average is about 11.90 cents per kilowatt hour. For a better estimation, check your latest electric bill. Therefore, if you used 1,000 watts of electricity per hour, you can expect to spend about 11.41 cents per hour.

Finally, you need to figure out the amount of time you have your lights on. This can vary from home to home, but let’s say you have lights on for about 6 hours a day. Over a 30-day month, you have used your lights for 180 hours. (6 hours x 30 days = 180 hours).

Now that you have the information necessary to determine your energy lighting costs, you can determine how much you’ll save with the CFL bulbs. Use this formula:

KW used x (Cost per kWH) x hours used = cost per month
(Remember a kilowatt is 1000 watts, so be sure to divide your wattage by 1,000 here)

So, the cost per month using incandescent bulbs is 2.820 x $0.1190 x 180 hours = $60.40

But, using CLF Bulbs you will see your savings:

.660 x $0.1190 x 180 hours = $14.14

That’s a pretty significant savings. All from just changing out your bulbs. So, don’t put it off. You can start seeing a savings by next month’s electric bill.