- By Amanda Pelligra
- Published 02/10/2012
Solar energy has been used by humans for thousands of years. For instance, primeval cultures used energy from the sun to keep warm by starting fires with it. They also kept their homes warm through passive solar energy designs. Buildings were designed so that walls and floors collected solar heat during the day that was released at night to keep them warm. If you have ever stood in the sun to get warm then you too have utilized solar thermal energy. The discovery of photovoltaics happened in 1839 when the French physicist Edmond Becquerel first showed photovoltaic activity. Edmond had found that electrical current in certain materials could be increased when exposed to light. The first long-term practical application of PV cells was in satellite systems. The solar power system was so successful that PV’s have been a part of world-wide satellite space programs ever since. The sun provides endless non polluting energy to the satellite power systems and demand for solar cells has risen as a result of the telecommunications revolution and need for satellites.
The energy crisis and oil embargos of the 1970’s made many nations aware of their dependency on controlled non-renewable energy sources and this fuelled exploration of alternative energy sources. This included further research into renewable sources such as solar power. Today the world is gripped with the ever increasing problem of pollution, green house effect,
changing climatic conditions, global warming and so on. Of course the cost will vary by a few thousand either way depending on various brand of panels and inverters each supplier uses, and their overheads, but if you feel that the current prices are beyond your expectations, then solar may not be for you right now. But if you add the system cost to your mortgage it can be surprisingly affordable. Also if you take rising electricity costs into account you can be assured of one thing that in a long term, you will be refunded with all your initial cost. There is a solar payback calculator here for you to make your own mind up. Australian government has introduced subsidy for homeowners, businesses and community groups by the name of “Solar Credits” to bring down the cost involved in installing solar panels. It was passed into law on 20th August 2009, but the policies keep changing the details of the rebate (usually reducing it with very small notice period!). Usually, typical cost of an installed 1.5kW solar system can be around $6,500 which can prove costly, but you get government Rebate of $3,000 making your actual cost to you for 1.5KW of solar power to Approx $3,500. This way you can actually bring down the cost of this alternative source of clean energy.
It is very important for every individual to contribute to the maximum and help in cleaning the environment for the betterment of our future. Being a part of the world responsible for clean environment makes me feel proud. I am sure you will also like to be one of them.