Solar energy: Why you need to switch now!

solar panels on red roofed house

Are you tired of costly electricity bills and unscheduled power blackouts that last for days? In this post, learn the benefits of off-grid solar energy systems. compared to the use of other non-renewable energy sources like diesel generators. In this simple guide, learn the benefits and uses of solar energy in homes and businesses.  The post is divided into two sections:

  • Why go solar? Benefits of using solar electricity and thermal heating
  • Uses of solar energy in businesses and at home;
    • use of concentrated solar power (CSP) for thermal heating
    • Use of photovoltaic solar panels to produce DC and AC electricity using sunlight photons

Read Next: Solar electricity systems-What you need to know

Why go solar?

Learn the benefits and reasons for using solar energy in your firm. The benefits vary from using it as a necessity in remote areas, investing in solar farms as a profitable business and going green goals for governments and NGOs to reduce carbon emissions and use clean energy.

Use of solar energy solar systems is a necessity in remote areas without electricity grid connectivity. In the sub-Saharan Africa region, its only 46.75% of her population that has access to electricity[i]. You can also consider installation if you keep getting power blackouts and interruptions affecting power reliability. As of 2018, the average annual duration of electrical outages was highest in Nigeria at 4,600 hours, 420 hours in Kenya and lowest at only 50 hours in South Africa.[ii]

Besides those two reasons why it’s a necessity, consider the following additional reasons and benefits you will get for converting to using solar energy. They include – save and make money, job creation, reduce carbon emissions.

By using solar you can eliminate your electric bill completely or reduce it to an extent that electricity costs are no longer a significant factor in your monthly budget. Since solar systems are durable for up to 25 years, you can save a lot of money beyond its installation budget. In its lifetime. A solar panel system can save you between $10,000 and $30,000 over its lifetime.

In some states, solar farming is a lucrative business. You will tap solar energy by installing many solar panels on your rooftops or ground. You can then channel the excess power to the national grid and earn income from it. Where this is not available, you can arrange with your neighbors to set up community solar power plants to produce energy for own use and sale. The average solar farm profit per acre lands somewhere between $21,250 and $42,500

solar farm of panels set up in a country side
solar farming involves harnessing solar electricity for sale

Electricity bills has been on the rise for the last decade. The situation is made worse with inflation in petroleum products and inflation of your local currency against the dollar. You can eliminate or significantly reduce these costs by going solar which will save you a lot of money in the long run. You will do this by protecting yourself against rising utility prices and making your monthly bills more predictable. With solar you produce your own energy, giving you peace of mind from anxiety associated with rising and fluctuating energy prices.

Installing solar energy in your property raises its value with around 4% percent compared to similar homes or property without solar. It is because people are interested in clean and renewable energy to protect against environment. If you are in the real estate industry, consider having solar power systems to add value to a property.

Another reason to go solar is to promote in job creation of our national and local economies. The clean energy economy creates opportunities and better pay for the skilled, low-and middle-skilled workers. Many solar companies are the micro, small and medium businesses, involved in consulting, export, installation and maintenance of solar systems.

Going green helps your business, government and development partners goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It does this in two ways. First the electricity power that solar panels produce is completely emissions free. Second, installing solar energy in your premises reduces your demand from the national grid. Many of them in many countries rely on fossil fuels like coal and petroleum, that produce metric tons of carbon pollution each year.

Uses of solar energy

uses of solar energy
uses of solar energy include solar electricity, outdoor lighting, and solar water heating.

Are you wondering how you can use solar energy in your home or business? You can harness solar light and heat for almost any use anywhere. Most of the exiting uses include solar electricity and solar heating.

Solar electricity uses photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight into DC electricity that has some minimal uses in businesses and homes like lighting and powering electronics like mobile phones and radio. To use it more, you need an inverter to convert DC to AC same energy form in national grid. You also need solar batteries for storing power at night.

Solar heating uses concentrated solar power (CSP) technology unlike solar electricity. A CSP uses special mirrors to reflect and concentrate the sun’s energy towards a tower or a receiver to generate heat that can be used for many uses like powering a turbine to create electricity, ventilation, heating swimming pools etc.

Having understood two methods how solar energy is used: solar electricity and solar heating, here is a list of 3 ways you can use solar energy in your business or home.

Solar electricity

Harness solar energy using solar panels and store in solar batteries to power DC and AC electronics at home or business. Today you can get many smart energy devices that uses low watts like daylight solar bulbs that are cheap and efficient. If you are wondering what you can power using solar power, here is a summarized list of solar items you can buy from Amazon.

  • Cell phones and Tablets
  • Music speakers
  • Watches
  • Thermostats and Air conditioning
  • Visor radios
  • Mini-Fridges and Freezers
  • Rechargeable flashlights

Solar lighting

 If you are looking for an affordable method to improve security and efficiency in your home or business premises, solar lighting is the best solution. The outdoor solar lighting systems are easy to install. Modern ones are wireless, on one side, the lamps have a solar panel that captures and converts sunlight. On the other side, the lamps are fitted with very efficient LED bulbs and thermostats. You will incur no electricity bill as you enjoy natural lighting. You can install solar outdoor lightings on driveways, home compound or livestock pens.

The best outdoor solar flood lights available in markets are motion sensitive only lighting when there is movement making them energy efficient, others are sold with a remote controls, cameras and automatic day light sensor to you go on or off even in your absence. You can shop for flood or security flood lights with sensors and camera from amazon.

Solar water heating

Solar energy in water heating system is an old application. Modern rooftop water heating systems are more efficient durable with a payback period of 5-10 years than early versions. You will install a rooftop water cell that absorbs sun heat energy to heat cold water running through it. It is pumped and stored in a solar water heater. You can use the hot water for all home uses like showering, laundry and housewarming.

Heating swimming pools using solar is the other major application by the real estate and hoteliers. Cold water runs through a CSP collector, gets warm and it is pumped back to the pool. A swimming pool heater costs between $3000-$4000. They have a pay back period of 1.5-7 years.

This article is an informational guide if you are looking at why you need to consider installing solar in your premises. It summarizes the economic, environmental and other benefits of harnessing light and heat energy from the sun. Its second part covers on various uses of solar electricity and concentrated solar power (CSP) power uses. These include outdoor lighting, heating shower water and swimming pools and powering business and home electronics and appliances like computers, fridges and tvs.


Samuel S.K.

S.K is the founder and senior agribusiness development consultant at Agcenture. He can be reached at info@agcenture.com

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1 Response

  1. May 29, 2021

    […] Related: Solar electricity: Why you need to switch now! […]

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