Solar panel dealers have multiplied over the years as more energy consumers begin to realize that for long-awaited alternative energy systems, the future is now. It seems like a lifetime since we first began hearing about the potential of getting our power from the Sun. In fact what we’ve been awaiting is the moment this technology became inexpensive enough to become viable on the market.
Solar power, technically known as photovoltaics, has existed since the 1880s. One form the technological advances have taken has been in the area of materials, from copper oxide to silver selenite to silicon, each step more efficient than the one prior. Another relevant factor in the marketability of photovoltaics is the state of its competitor energy sources, especially fossil fuels.
Photovoltaics first stepped into the public consciousness during the 1960s as public discourse became obsessed with a possible scarcity of coal. This concern became a similar concern over oil scarcity in the following decade and beyond. Further, the public has grown increasingly nervous about the adverse environmental impact of fossil fuels. Finally, the question of energy independence has made oil problematic as an ever-greater percentage of the world’s oil supply has come from the politically troublesome Middle East.
Meanwhile, the main delay in bringing solar to market in a big way has been stretches of time of inexpensive fossil fuels. Oil became cheap during the mid-’80s and until the mid-90s. The early 21st Century brought us news of enormous untapped reserves of natural gas, all domestic. It also goes without saying that solar is in competition with wind turbines and all the other alternative energy systems.
Those interested in photovoltaics may select a grid-connected system, in which the system complements that service given by the local power company. Consumers choosing this option can save quite a bit on their power bill, but still have their city’s power grid as a support. Those who live where winters are dark can use the grid to provide their power during these months only. Grid-connected systems are typically less expensive up-front because they don’t use batteries to store excess power.
However, one of the great attractions of photovoltaic power, especially in the early 21st Century, is the possibility of living off the grid altogether. Customers are attracted to the freedom afforded by such independence, which allows them to live nearly anywhere. Photovoltaics is what is known as an intermittent energy system, so customers living off the grid require batteries to save excess energy and generators to serve as a complementary power source.
Most likely, the sole person a customer will need to interact with face-to-face will be the installer. Photovoltaics are blessedly straightforward, so sales representative contacts should be minimal at best. If needed at all, that sort of interaction can be handled over the phone.
The structure needs to be able to support the panel. It should have an unobstructed Southern or Southwestern view of the Sun from at 9-3 each day. Call your local solar panel dealers for more specifics.
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