Category: Green Living FAQ

What Is Energy Efficiency?

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Energy-efficiency
The term “energy efficiency” often emerges when alternative power sources are discussed. This applies to electronics, appliances, cooling and heating equipment and so much more. Unfortunately, this phrase is misused in ways which only confuse its actual meaning.
 
Energy efficiency isn’t the same as conserving energy. Efficiency relates to the specific ways by which power is produced and consumed.

Efficiency Simplified

 
An energy-efficient device gets the most out of a certain amount of fuel or electricity. The formula to determine efficiency is output divided by input.
 
For example, a car that travels 210 miles on six gallons of gas receives a fuel economy rating of 35 miles per gallon (mpg).
 
Avoiding the trip is “conservation”. Taking a shorter route to get to the same place is “efficiency”. Basically, energy efficiency enables you to get the same results with less sunlight, fuel or electricity.

Energy Efficiency Rating

Many appliances, electronics, some building products, and many other modern amenities all have a rating which reveals how efficient they are. A solar panel, for example, is more efficient if it produces extra power from the same amount of sunlight when compared to another type of solar panel. It could, therefore, receive a higher efficiency rating.
 
This rating will differ from one manufacturer to another. It’s always a good idea to look for the Energy Star Rating if you want to ensure you’re getting the most efficient product.

Global Energy Crisis

Energy efficiency is on top of our global conservation list. Currently, we are striving to find the quickest and least costly way of addressing our planet’s energy security.
 
The world continues to face environmental and economic challenges. Limited energy sources such coal and gas continue to be exploited as demand increases, regardless of the effect it has on the environment.
 
However, there still remains an abundance of untapt natural and renewable resources.

Renewable Energy Sources

The sun is only one renewable energy resource that every country possesses in abundance. Yet the possibilities that solar power can provide is only in its relative infancy – with massive strides taken in the last few decades alone.
 
The same can be said for hydroelectricity, wind power, and other forms of renewable energy as well.
 
It’s important that we apply energy efficiency at home first, in our daily lives. Green living always starts at home. This will ensure that we serve the needs of the present without compromising future generations and their energy needs.

Power of the Future

The energy crisis is a broad and complex topic. Most people don’t feel connected to its reality unless there is a power failure for a few hours or even a line at the gas station.
 
However, as energy efficient policies and other government incentives have makes an impact on the global energy market, renewable energy has finally started playing a key part to address the ongoing energy crisis.
 
Energy efficiency is key to ensuring a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system for the future.
 

How Long Do Solar Panels Really Last?

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Solar-panel-installation

If you’re ready to convert your home or business to be more sustainable and make use of green energy, solar panels are an excellent option.

That being said, the overall lifespan of solar panels is an issue that is continuously being called into question.

With a slew of conflicting information on the market, where do you turn to find the definitive answers in terms of the longevity of your solar panels?

Let’s have a look and answer this questions once and for all….

The average lifespan of solar panels

It’s imperative to note that the quality, and thus the lifespan, of solar panels, depend on several factors.

These include the specific materials used, the manufacturer itself, and the basic upkeep of the materials.

However, it’s equally important to keep in mind that the first solar panel ever is still in working order after 60 years of use. In addition, Kyocera has reported that they have several solar panels which continue to offer outstanding performance after being installed for almost 30 years.

In the majority of cases, solar panels offer no less than 10 years at 90%, and 80% over 25 years of the manufacturer’s stated power generation rating. Most panels are expected to operate at no less than 60% even after 40 years.

What happens at the end of their lifespan?

Fortunately, solar panels have such long lifespans that very few people have ever had to deal with the need to dispose of them.

Even if you’ve got some very old panels, they are probably still worth keeping.

However, the substantial silicon components in solar panels do pose an environmental hazard. They must be disposed of properly should you ever have to.

At present, there aren’t many services equipped to deal with spent solar cells. However, that is not something anyone will have to worry about anytime soon, and it is expected that by the time disposal does become an issue, solar disposal services will become a normal part of our everyday recycling culture.

If you do have unusable solar panels, place them inside an enclosed concrete structure and contact a disposal company that handles these kinds of waste products.

Extending the life of home solar panels

Luckily there are many things you can do to help preserve your solar paneling and maximize their lifespan:

Avoid damage

The first method is to avoid physical damages. This may be easier said than done, however, and the more scratches and physical damage a panel endures, the faster it will deteriorate.

Regular maintenance

Perhaps the most important method is to keep up with maintenance. This is done by having them serviced if there are noticeable issues or wear and tear, as well as keeping up with proper cleaning of the panels, but this may occur much less than you actually think.

Smart placement

The more severe weather they are exposed to, the faster your solar panels will become worn. In order to prevent this, give some thought to their placement of your panels in relation to the weather patterns that frequent your area.

Overall, solar paneling is a relatively new technology with major advances in the last few decades.  Installing them not only helps the environment as well as your wallet, but you will be a pioneer in terms of helping to develop this technology for future generations.

Categories: Green Living FAQ