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Going green: Solar panels

By: Sara Allen

A solar panel system can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $72,000. Photo courtesy of Google images

One of the best ways, environmentally, to go green is to reduce the use of coal. A great way to not use coal is to use solar energy. Solar panels are becoming very common. Many people have solar powered lights in their garden, but now solar panels are being used to heat water and run air conditioning for houses.

Solar panels are an environmentally safe way to store and use energy. So, how do they work? In the case of a hot water heater, the solar panel has a part known as a collector. This part absorbs solar radiation and converts it to heat. The heat mixes with a “heat-conducting liquid” so it can travel to the hot water tank. The solar panel for an electricity-producing system has two silicon plates, one positively charged and the other negatively charged. The two plates create a field through which electric charges can pass. The sun’s rays form the electrical charge when they shine on the panel. A piece of conductive metal concentrates the charge so it can power electrical appliances.

A positive point for solar panels is that they do not produce greenhouse gasses or any other pollution. Solar panels also save you money in the long run. According to Guide4Home, a do-it-yourself remodeling site, it takes about five years for you to really see a difference in your energy bill after you install solar panels to power your home. At this point, you are probably wondering how much a solar panel system costs. The cost of a solar panel system varies depending on how much sunlight your home receives, how much electricity you use, the type of panel you install and the price of other forms of energy. Depending on those factors, a solar panel system can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $72,000. Some states encourage residents to put in solar panels. Wyoming gives $3,000, or half the price of the system, to any homeowner that puts in a solar panel system.

There are many alternatives to coal. Most of them are right outside your window. The sun, wind and even water are natural, pollution free options. Why should we continue to pollute the Earth when we have the sun shining down on us begging to be used to power our homes?

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