Solar power is not new and was in fact first discovered in the the 19th century.
Despite this, it is only during the last couple of years that advancements in technology and materials
have made it an economically viable position for everyday home-owners.
Contrary to popular opinion, solar panels are capable of generating electricity even when the sun doesn't shine. Rather, it works based on radiation from the sun -- and, they even generate when its raining. Light does not enter the equation -- although this is a common misconception.
These are panels that generate electricity by converting solar radiation from the sun,
by using semiconductors designed to exploit the photovoltaic effect.
It is possible to design photovoltaic systems using many different materials (including even human hair), but high quality panels are constructed using silicon metal.
Traditionally, it has been commercial interests that have invested in
renewable energy, but the cost of solar panels have fallen dramatically over
the last few years, to the point where it is now affordable in a domestic capacity.
With solar panels and renewable energy, you will cut your energy bills dramatically -- in many cases, people even remove their bills altogether. Can you imagine paying 7 pounds for 3 months on your electricity bill? 20 years ago, you would have been mad to think that this was feasible. It is no longer 1992.
There is an initial investment, but these panels will easily pay for themselves after a few years. Most home-owners could only dream of having free energy all the time, but dreaming is no longer needed -- it is possible, and feasible, at this time of writing.
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Traditionally, all energy has come from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the remains of dead plants and animals, from prehistoric times. In this sense, we are using energy from the past. Fossil fuels are thus a product of renewable energy, but they take millions of years to gather. Not so long ago, fossil fuel was relatively cheap, and easy to get. Our planet was rich with oil, but global industrial demands mean that this supply is running out rapidly. Companies are finding new ways to extract oil, but these methods are becoming more dangerous, and more expensive. It is said, that these reserves will run out in the next 200 years -- but before that even happens, the cost of non-renewable energy will become prohibitive, more so than it has recently become. Simply put, we have no choice -- renewable energy is the future. To thrive, we need to invest heavily in this type of energy now. By using renewable energy, you are using the main source of energy directly. Simply put, most if not all our energy comes from the sun. Renewable energy can also mean solar thermal heaters or wind turbines.