By DonaMaria Sfeila
Sun is shining, the skies are blue, the summer is finally here but what are these random installations we’ve been seeing on rooftops?
Well, it’s pretty simple: it’s solar energy systems! And what is that? you might ask;
It’s the cleanest and most available renewable energy source and it’s generated by the sun of course.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that your neighbors and some important companies have added these big blue panels to their “outdoors” but you still don’t understand how they work. Let us delve into this matter and explain further what they are used for exactly.
Solar energy is trapped by the Earth’s atmosphere in a process called the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases, mostly water vapor and carbon dioxide, prevent heat from reflecting and escaping back into space. The greenhouse effect is necessary for life on Earth.
Nowadays, thanks to modern technology, we can harness this energy for a variety of purposes including producing electricity, providing light and heating water for domestic, commercial or industrial application. It has it all!
Fun Fact: remember those blue panels? They’re called photovoltaic panels. A big user of these famous panels is The International Space Station (ISS) and other satellites, they rely on photovoltaics to support the complex electrical systems onboard.
Concentrated solar power (CSP) is another method people use to harvest solar energy. Mirrors reflect sunlight to a central tower, which houses a turbine. The turbine is fueled by steam from water or liquid sodium. The steam powers an electric generator.
But, since sunlight only shines for about half of the day in most parts of the world, solar energy technologies have to include methods of storing the energy during dark hours.
Thermal mass systems use paraffin wax or various forms of salt to store the energy in the form of heat. Photovoltaic systems can send excess electricity to the local power grid, or store the energy in rechargeable batteries.
In addition and like most things, there are many pros and cons to using solar energy.
- Solar energy is a renewable resource which means we will have a limitless supply of sunlight for another 5 billion years. In one hour, the Earth’s atmosphere receives enough sunlight to power the electricity needs of every human being for a year.
- Solar energy does not need fuel to work. It also does not emit toxic gases. Using solar energy can drastically reduce the impact we have on the environment.
- Solar energy complements other renewable sources of energy, such as wind or hydroelectric energy.
- Homes or businesses that install successful solar panels can actually produce excess electricity and can sell energy back to the electric provider, reducing or even eliminating power bills.
- The main deterrent to using solar energy is the required equipment, it’s expensive and purchasing and installing it can cost tens of thousands of dollars for individual homes.
- Solar energy equipment is also heavy. In order to retrofit or install solar panels on the roof of a building, the roof must be strong, large, and oriented toward the sun’s path.
- Both active and passive solar technology depend on factors that are out of our control, such as climate and cloud cover. Local areas must be studied to determine whether or not solar power would be effective in that area.
- Sunlight must be abundant and consistent for solar energy to be an efficient choice. In most places on Earth, sunlight’s variability makes it difficult to implement as the only source of energy.
Now you might be wondering why we’re telling you all this. Is it an adequate alternative for the energy sector in Lebanon? Is it even available?
Good news, it definitely is and with the ongoing electricity supply crisis we’ve had for decades in this country now more than ever is the time to switch to clean energy without having to deal with power cuts anymore!
In fact, solar energy systems have become widely popular in recent years and especially these past months in our small country.
There is one downside though, it’s quite costly and not everyone can afford it. Nevertheless, you’re bound to find an offer to your liking and tailored to your needs.
Where, you ask?
Right here at OLX, check out our website or download our app, we’re positive we have exactly what you’re looking for.
Let’s go greener and make better use of our sunny skies!
Solar System clients available on our app:
- New Home:
- Smart Security:
- Solar World:
- Earth Technologies:
- G.F Design:
- Bou Faysal: