Lighting

Where is Solar Energy Found and Who Discovered Solar Energy?

The History of Solar Energy Technology

The advantages and benefits of solar energy are very clear with a rising increase in the use of solar energy as an alternate power source. However, who discovered solar energy and its historical past is not commonly known. It is often an assumption that the energy crisis that occurred in the 1970’s which found consumers waiting in long lines just for gasoline, was what generated the movement towards solar energy. But this is simply not true. There had been a great deal of interest in developing solar energy for commercial use throughout the first part of the 20th century, the progress was simply slow and the technology not well understood. Upon further research, it is easy to see that the history of who discovered solar energy and its uses dates back thousands of years.

Satellite systems provided the initial practical application for photovoltaic solar cells. For its time, the photovoltaic solar cells were extraordinary, providing the necessary electrical energy for the Vanguard I satellite that operated successfully until the system was shut down in 1964. The first motor to run on solar energy was done by Mouchout, who discovered solar energy could also power a steam engine.

Solar Energy and Technological Developments

The two basic forms of solar energy used today include solar electric energy and solar thermal energy. Typically solar electric energy uses the sun’s rays to generate electricity with the use of photovoltaic solar cells. Solar thermal energy uses the energy of the sun to heat liquids such as water or even glycol.

Many believe solar technology to be one of the most exciting technologies being developed in the world and aren’t worried about who discovered solar energy. They want to know how solar energy can be used for commercial purposes. It is especially exciting when compared with the growing expense and falling suppliers of typical energy sources like fossil fuel. The incredible benefits of solar technology are limitless in developing worlds and modern societies.

The Future of Solar Energy

Solar Energy and Future Advancements

The original person who discovered solar energy probably did not imagine it would reach personal use to heat homes and generated enough electricity to power homes and cars. The impressive history of solar energy is only one step towards the incredibly bright future of this unique technology that will change the way every day consumers conduct their lives. The continuous advancements in solar technology research has only increased the interest in to making the newest technologies available to the general public. Even with today’s solar energy technology, homeowners have the ability to have solar energy systems installed with very little reliance on centralized power stations. The person who discovered solar energy could not have imagined the wide spread use of solar technology.

The use of solar energy has multiple benefits. A solar energy source saves consumers money after the initial investment in to the panel infrastructure. Money savings is a bigger driver for consumers than understanding who discovered solar energy or its technical details. Solar energy is also environmentally friendly, vastly reducing the amount of hazardous gases and fuels that are spilled in to the environment. This harmful pollution threatens the global climate. A consumer can benefit substantially by educating themselves on who discovered solar energy, its uses and technologies in today’s society and its availability for general public use.

What Is Solar Energy?

Solar energy has been topical for a long time, but there has been little and certainly not enough done to educate us and to help us understand what the different energy types are.

Solar energy comes in two forms.  The energy capacity is either ‘collected’ through photovoltaic or thin film cells or via thermal collectors.  The photovoltaic or thin film uses the suns energy into electricity.  Solar thermal energy is completely different.  This uses the heat of the sun to generate heat for us such as water heaters, pool heaters or general homes and buildings, it does not however, convert it into electricity for use on other appliances.

Why Do We Need To Change?

There are many theories about what is happening environmentally across the globe, but here are some of the facts which are worthy of respect:

  • Fossil fuels will run out
  • Fossil fuel prices are prone to fluctuation and with the current global economic situation as well as the social issues in come of the countries which control fossil fuels; the prices are more likely to rise than fall.
  • Fossil fuels produce pollutants, which affect our air quality.
  • Breathing related illness are increasing and more and more children are suffering with this.
  • We only have two options for the future; renewable or alternative energy sources.
  • Nuclear seems to be the most likely replacement of fossil fuels, but with Chernobyl still in our memories and watching the consequences of the Fukushima plant, there is clearly still progress needed.
  • Nuclear energy is an alternative energy and not a renewable.
  • Renewable energies will never run out, they are, as their name suggests, naturally renewed.

We cannot rely on the future of fossil fuels and at the moment the confidence in nuclear power has been undermined – so we need to understand our options and know that now is the time to act.

Understanding Your Energy Choices (solar power category)

As explained above there are different types of energy available to us in this time of change.  Below is a list of the different energy types:

  • Coal
  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Nuclear
  • Biomass
  • Hydroelectric
  • Solar heat/thermal
  • Wind power
  • Geothermal
  • Biofuel
  • Solar photovoltaic / thin film

This list is everything, renewable, alternative and fossil! Globally we will be dependent of a range of these; there is not one single source suitable.

But for your home your choices are limited to: solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and of course traditional fossil driven electricity from your local grid.

Swapping To Solar Panels (solar panels category)

Where is Solar Energy FoundPeople have built homes which are completely run from renewable energies.  Unfortunately these homes are expensive and the concepts work, but cannot be simply transferred to some of our current properties.

However, what we can all do is start to replace some of our usage with solar energy.  Solar panels for the home are very advanced and they are available to all of us now.

The original solar panel installation was a problem for many homes as the structures of some buildings was simply not suitable.  This issue has been resolved as we now have the third generation of solar panels available which are much more suitable for the average property.

The other area which has put lots of us off solar power was the hugely high costs involved in converting.  This has been over come in several ways.  Firstly, there is less adaption of our homes needed.  Secondly the development of the solar industry means that this technology is more efficient as specifically developed for the home.  The final change is that governments want us to change and there are now grants available in most areas to help the transition away from fossil fuels.

So how do you actually get your solar power working? (solar panel kits category)

There are three basic routes to converting some or all of your home usage to solar power.

Firstly you can DIY it – yup – you can actually get all the bits and Do It Yourself.  This is obviously the cheapest way.  (And I am sure that you could use the skills learnt afterwards to help those around you).

The second option is the half way one – you choose and buy your solar kit and then you choose from a list of registered installation companies and individuals to fit it all up for you.

The third and most expensive, but easiest route, is to chose a company and pay for them to review your home, work out the best system for your property and for them to install this.  Quite a lot of cents – but less grey hairs and general stress.

The Technical Bit – What Is Photovoltaic?  (photovoltaic category)

Photovoltaic is the technology behind converting solar heat into electricity.  When people refer to solar electricity is generated by the photovoltaic system.  Photovoltaic technology is used in more than 100 countries and is the fastest growing power generating technology.

When the sun hits a solar photovoltaic cell the photons of light activate the electrons and make them move, creating an energy which is converted into electricity. (A summary of years of research and billions of dollars – into one simple sentence!!!)

You will also hear and have read above about thin film panels.  These are also photovoltaic.  The silicon inside a thin film, essential for the photovoltaic solar energy success is main difference between the traditional panels and these.

The thin films are as the name suggests, thin.  This means that they are considerably lighter and therefore much more usable on the average building.

They are slightly less efficient and slightly more expensive, but in the 5 years leading up to 2009 solar power was averaging an annual increase of around 60 percent.  This increase is primarily due to the advances such as the thin film photovoltaic solar panels. So we now have a access to a technology which was previously unusable to the majority of us.

Solar Panel Kits Guide

The creation of solar panel kits means that we can all have solar power in our homes.

There was a time, not very long ago, when getting solar power was a long and drawn out business – and an expensive one as well.

One of the things which has brought this into line with the public requirements and budgets is the development of solar panel kits.

The solar panel kit is not the perfect solution if you are converting your entire property to solar energy.  If this is your aim then you may be best getting a more specific design.

But for most of us the solar panel kit is a great solution.

If you are going to do it yourself then you are best of specifically targeted DIY Solar Panel Kits.  These are more comprehensive and do not expect you to have an array of basic parts to drawn on in order to complete your installation.  There are a huge range of solar kits specifically designed for those who are new to solar power.  This is a good, cheap way to get you on the solar system.  The other advantage of the DIY solar kits is that they allow you to increase your solar usage as you understand more about it.  Perhaps you want to start with adding solar heating to your pool, solar power to your RV?  These are fairly simple and straight forward projects which are also a great introduction to solar power.  (If you have kids you can also get kits to make solar powered remote control cars – and there is nothing more fun than racing cars which you built yourself).

If you are not looking to do the work yourself then you have to consider your solar kit a little more carefully.  If you are paying for installation then the range of kits available is much greater.

It is worth considering the kit and the installation separately to start with.  I would suggest that you start by deciding which of the kits you think will best suit your needs.  Then take these ideas to the different manufacturers and sales offices in your area and see who can fit something similar and at what cost.  Remember that you will be speaking to salesmen.  These salesmen want you to buy their product – so you can negotiate – in fact you should negotiate.

If you are committed to spending money on a solar installation then it is in the interest of every solar outlet in your area to want your business and to get you to recommend them to your friends.

When there is a craze – for a car or a toy – the item will sell itself.  The problem with solar energy is that many people are still only just realizing quite how accessible solar power has become.  This means that anyone getting on the band wagon now is in a good position to negotiate a great deal.  There are a lot of resources being pumped into renewable energy sources and in many cases you are the target market for these funds.

So the solar panel kit is going to be your savior.  This is how you are going to get started with solar power.

OUTDOOR STRING LIGHTS

In order to give your backyard a sharp look and bring out a festive mood you must use outdoor string lights. The modern decorations are about being creative. You can place the outdoor string lighting on your door or on the outdoor plants close to your house. Your home will look like a paradise, with the shimmering lights and the Christmas carols from your stereo. This is the kind of fun that you cannot afford to lose. It gives your home an outstanding brightness. This is a great way to highlight a Christmas night and entertain your visitors outdoors in a stunning environment. outdoor string lights

The best thing is that you can use outdoor string lights independent of the weather conditions. You can have all the outdoor string lighting you want in a rainy weather without risking a power blackout. However, you should ensure that the cables and circuits are in good order. If you do not know how, call an electrician to do it for. To be able to put your outdoor string lights properly, here are some points to consider:

1. Get the strings right: You should easily be able to tell which end goes into the socket. You should ensure that it is in good condition and avoid bringing it into contact with elements that can damage it such as water or dirt. You should unroll your string lights carefully watching not to entangle it in the process. To make your work easier, you should be careful when storing the outdoor string lights after use.

2. Buy outdoor string lights: When shopping make sure that you specify to the sales associate that you need outdoor lights. This is good for safety reasons. Indoor lighting can be dangerous outside. When shopping, you should be specific and let the attendant know that you are going to use the lighting for outdoors. The chords and circuits are made to cope with the weather. You should be cautious when handling equipment not to break them; but the outdoor ones is much stronger. The outdoor string lights can withstand a little more abuse than the indoor lights.

3. Placing the cords inconspicuously: Do not leave the cords hanging. It works better if you hide them. When working on the flower bushes, you can insert them inside the bush gently. This can be a good step to prevent children from pulling the strings. You should not place the chord on the pathways. Your visitors might trip over them.

4. Do not make a bush of them: Just place the appropriate number of strings. This will make the place safer and neat. You can blur the good look of the decorations if you have too many strings in one place. In fact, you might overload your power source which can result to technical problems. The outdoor string lights are easy to fix. All you have to is know the basics of handling electric bulbs.

PATIO STRING LIGHTS

We have to acknowledge that patio string lights have made huge strides forward rising up from plastic lanterns around the porch railing to elegantly designed LED lights that provide just the right amount of outdoor string lighting, ambiance and style to your patio. In fact decorating your patio with lights will really give you a buzz – there’s such a variety to choose from. You can visit the stores or shop online and don’t forget the auction sites; you can get some really good buys.outdoor string lighting

You can do virtually anything you want to with your patio string lights; it all depends on the kind of budget you have and the outdoor string lighting effect you are seeking. Do you want something mild, toned down, not too bright, something that gives the effect of an over bright star studded sky? Or do you want your patio really lit up and happening? If you are looking for lighting that will be a permanent fixture for the evenings when you sit out or have your cookouts, or do you want something for a particular occasion, a party or something? Consider all of these factors before you go shopping. Read up on ideas online and check out magazines, there’s no shortage of ideas or patio outdoor string lights to be had!

You can choose to go with one type of lighting all the way, outline the roof, walls and doors. You can decorate your patio umbrella with lights, just run them along the spreaders and rim or wind them down the pole. Decorate the plants in your yard; if you have shrubs wind the lights round them or starting from the base of the trees wind upward as high as you want. String lights have the advantage of giving a nice mellow glow to the patio without being too intrusive or distracting.

Choose LED patio string lights, they don’t attract too many insects; they are very durable and consume a lot less electricity. The benefit in decorating your patio with string lights is that you simply cannot go wrong; if you feel it’s underdone, just add more lights; if it looks overdone just remove some of the strings. The clear mini lights are a good choice fitting well around anything from trees to roof to doorways. You always have the option of adding brighter lights for special occasions or should the need arise.

Patio string lights are available in several different themes; you can get special outdoor string lights depending on the event you are celebrating from Christmas to Independence Day, weddings, graduations or birthdays. If you want to decorate your patio in a beach or Hawaiian theme you can do so with ease; go Mexican if you want to spice up your patio a bit!

You may be quite caught up in planning your decorating ideas with patio string lights but don’t forget the safety factor. Buy the best lights you can with a guarantee for outdoor use, fire resistant and waterproof. Have many electrical outlets for your strings, don’t crowd one cable box, it will probably blow all the circuits in the house with the overload! If you are not electrical minded, call in a professional, safety is well worth the investment outlay.

PATIO UMBRELLA LIGHTS

If you are one those people who really love their backyard as I do, and enjoy sitting out there in the evenings after a long day, with the sun going down and a glass of something cold to sip on; read this article to find out how you can decorate with patio umbrella lights to make these special moments come alive like and be even more unique.

The addition of patio umbrella lights gives a very romantic feel to the night and will allow you to enjoy your sit outs well into the night. You can plan fun gatherings with friends or have a romantic dinner with your partner; do a happy family time cookout or just laze around looking at the outdoor string lights and enjoying some down time.

Patio umbrellas are of different types and come in wood, aluminum, heavy duty plastic, wind resistant and cantilever models. You can have anything you want in your backyard, the choice is entirely yours.

Now let’s get right down to some ideas for fixing your patio umbrella lights:

Buy LED lights for starters, they generate very little heat and do not consume much electricity. One big advantage in using LED lights is that insects don’t find them so attractive!

String style patio umbrella lights: you will run the outdoor string lights along the spreaders of the umbrella and even the rim if you want, the ones that hold the fabric taut at the top. You can even buy patio umbrellas with the light system built into the ribs. Either way you will get a nice ambient light for sitting out on your patio.

Globe style patio umbrella lights: the lights come housed in globes that can wrap around the pole and be adjusted to meet your lighting requirements. You can get them in white or clear globes with a metallic finish but choices are plentiful so take your time shopping for what suits you best. You can get a very fancy cordless cafe style, super bright LED globe array that clamps securely to the umbrella pole, is weather resistant and made of highly durable plastic.
led-string-lights.

Lamp patio umbrella lights: this type of lighting is of the brighter variety should you want brighter light to play games by or for dining. You can power them by electricity or solar power though they do take batteries. These lights wrap around the pole, grouped together in a housing that can be metallic or otherwise, rather than run along the ribs of the umbrella. Moving them closer to the table will provide you with more light and moving them up the pole away from the table will dim the lighting a bit.

Solar patio umbrella lights: when the sun goes down these lights automatically come on, having powered up all through the day on sunlight. The LED lights are embedded in the umbrella spreaders with one in the center. The umbrella itself is highly durable and sun, wind and rain resistant. You can manually switch off it you are not using your patio on any particular night; otherwise you will get 6-8 hours of light. Best of all no wires to be bothered with!

From the simple string lights to high tech cafe style globe LED lights you have a wide range of patio umbrella lights to choose from. Go shopping and turn your garden into your own personal paradise!

Outdoor Christmas Bubble Lights

When planning to decorate your home with outdoor Xmas lights you will need to determine the building style of your home first. Do you have a Duplex, Victorian, Ranch style, Tudor or just a basic box style home? Once you have determined the style you can move on to decorating it. Different construction styles look better with different decorating themes. For example your Victorian style home is all about elegance and you will have to use plenty of outdoor string lights, literally strings and strings to decorate the outside architectural features, to enhance the elegance of the house. Ranch style homes look better with lighting along the roof line, fencing and walkways.

Now that you have the basic idea of where to begin with your plan to put up outdoor Christmas bubble lights you can go ahead and bring out the outdoor string lights that you have, check them over, clean them up and plug them in to see what works and what doesn’t. Bulbs that don’t light up can easily be replaced with new ones.

Christmas is a festival of celebration, a happy time for all from both the religious and the traditional points of view. Go a splash on your outdoor lighting and give your home a stunning facade of lights this holiday season. You can buy lights in the shape of Santa and snowmen, Christmas trees and bells, angels and baubles; the choices really are endless it would seem and every year sees new offerings. The colors associated with Christmas are red and green mostly but you can use any colors you want, there’s no right and wrong when stringing up outdoor Christmas bubble lights! Buy weather proof outdoor string lights, most of them come in plain white and multicolored outdoor string light sets.

Some ideas on what to do with the outdoor Christmas bubble lights:

– You can, depending on your house style either cover the walls and other architectural features with the Christmas bubble lights or outline the whole house with outdoor string lights.
– Wrap them around pillars or wrap green garland around your pillars with the outdoor string lights strung out along the garlands; stick some artificial holly and poinsettia flowers to give it some color.
– You can wrap the lights around the trees in your garden, start at the base and go as high as you want; all the way to the top and some branches will really give the garden a grand look.
– You can put up a Santa and sleigh frame of lights on the roof near the chimney for added dramatic effect.
– Frame all your windows with lights.
– Wrap the outdoor string lights all along your shrubbery or string them along the fencing, depending on what you have.
– If your driveway does not have bushes lining it, never mind, make a border of stones, slightly biggish boulders, along the driveway leading up to the house, paint the stones white and then wrap your colored outdoor string lights all round the stones. The effect will be absolutely stunning.

We can go on an on with ideas for your outdoor Christmas bubble lights but we have to stop here. What it all comes down to is the kind of budget you have for decorating your house at Christmas time. You can spend an absolute fortune on outdoor string lighting or make do with a small amount; more is always better when it comes to lighting but string your outdoor Christmas bubble lights out artistically and tastefully and it really won’t matter.

What exactly is low voltage lighting?

Low Voltage Lighting is a way of illuminating your home, garden, office, etc, by means of lower voltages than mains voltage. It offers the advantages of smaller, more compact light sources (halogen bulbs and LED’s come to mind) as well as smaller electrical bills. What is not to like about that? Halogen has been around for a while as a serious and powerful light source, and many of us know both the powerful floodlights of several hundred watts and the small bulbs for use in domestic and office lighting. LED technology is not really new – it has been used for decades for indication lights in electronic equipment – but in the role of serious light sources for use in our homes and elsewhere, it is quite new – and still under development.

What can you use low voltage lighting for then? Basically everything. Anyplace where you use large, mains powered bulbs, you could replace it with smaller bulbs running off lower voltages. But why would you – if you are already using energy saving bulbs? The answer is that there are places where smaller – and sometimes less powerful – lights make sense. Also, especially with LED, the power requirements can be even less than that of energy savers. What you have to realize, is that light can be many things. How about low voltage landscape lighting? Have you ever wanted to spice up the way your property looks at night, but were reluctant to put up the power hungry bulbs of yore? Take something as simple as string lights, like the ones you put up around Christmas, Halloween, or the whole year round just for fun. Since LED started to take off as a real alternative to other technologies, LED string lights have exploded in popularity. Why not create an original low voltage garden lighting system of a more permanent kind – using LED’s as the light source? Remember, it doesn’t need to give so much light that you could read by it – it is not light to see by, but merely to be seen. Low voltage LED lighting also has the advantage of having extremely long life – 50.000 hours if designed properly – making it less important that it is easy to access and replace. Since it also uses electricity much more efficiently than other light sources, it emits less heat relative to the amount of light it produces – and, more importantly to most people – uses less electricity.

The compact nature of both halogen and LED means you have a new freedom in lighting design. Now even the smallest objects can become lamps. If you always wanted a desk lamp built into a bread stick, well, in theory you could do that with LED (but would you?). And the fact that the power consumption is less, means that you can now consider putting light in places where it would once have seemed excessive. Outdoor low voltage lighting is really taking off right now, and feasibility is definitely one of the reasons for it.

If you dream of more light or more creative lighting, but you don’t want to spend big bucks on your electrical bill, you owe it to yourself to look into low voltage lighting.

Low Voltage Lighting

How To Buy A Low Voltage Transformer

Here is a short guide on what to look for when you are shopping for a low voltage transformer. No matter if you need a low voltage lighting transformer or a transformer for some other purpose, there are some things you need to know a bit about. You don’t need to be a trained engineer to purchase or use a transformer – a little knowledge goes a long way.

Transformers explained
First we should get clear on what a transformer is. An electronic transformer is part of the family of what is known as passive electronic devices. Basically, it consists of two windings of copper wire around a core of ferrous material. These two windings are not in direct physical contact, but are separated by electrical insulation. They affect each others magnetic fields though, which is what makes the transformer work. The two coils (sometimes there are actually more than two) are called the primary and the secondary. The voltage that you wish to transform goes in on the primary, and out of the secondary comes a new – transformed – voltage. A transformer is sometimes referred to as a power supply, but this is not entirely correct; a power supply often contains a transformer – but also several other electronic components that perform various tasks. On the other hand, a transformer on its own can only process (and output) AC voltages, so if you see advertisements for a DC transformer, what it really is, is actually a power supply! Confusing? Yes, a little, but I will try to alleviate some of that with this article, so read on.

Low voltage transformers and their applications
The term “low voltage” happens to somewhat fuzzy – covering voltages up to 1000 volts in some cases! In our case though, we will say that anything under 50 VAC (volts of alternating current) qualifies as low voltage. A transformer for low voltage then, is one that outputs a voltage equal to, or below, 50 VAC. A lot of people looking for transformers these days need them to power a low voltage lighting system of some kind, usually with halogen bulbs or LED’s. Low voltage lighting transformers are often either 12v or 24v, with the majority possibly being 12v transformers. Other uses include practically every kind of electronic device bigger than portable consumer electronics like mp3 players, cell phones, etc – these use something called switching power supplies instead which we won’t cover here. But things like CD-players, hifi-amplifiers and such – use transformers.

How do you decide what to buy for your specific project? It depends on a number of factors, but let us say, for the sake of simplicity, that you want to make a low voltage lighting system consisting of 4 halogen bulbs. First things you do is decide on the voltage and power rating of those bulbs. If you want 12v bulbs at 35 watts each, it follows that your power requirements total are 140 watts at 12VAC. Halogen bulbs use AC voltage to run. This now means that you must find a transformer that will convert your local mains voltage (120, 220 or 240V, depending on where in the world you live) to 12 VAC. It must also be able to deliver at least 140 watts of power to the light bulbs. It is always a good idea to plan for a bit of surplus capacity when designing with electricity, as you can never be 100% sure that a power rating is correct, or that someone won’t by mistake replace your 35 watt bulbs with 50 watt ones, effectively overloading the transformer. I would probably double the capacity to 280 watts – just to be on the safe side.

I hope I have managed to raise the information level on this subject a little bit, and enable you to make a confident purchase of a low voltage transformers.

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