When we use energy from sources like oil, gas, coal, we are actually using the energy originally delivered by the sun. Oil, gas, coal and wood are simply energy transfer mediums. In order to release their solar energy, we have to burn them. The heat will feed a generator, and finally, we can send electricity into cables connected to our houses and businesses. The negative impacts on the environment doing this are well known; amongst them air pollution, global warming, oil spills and developing questionable methods, such as fracking, in order to quench the remains of these recourses out of Earth.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, on the other hand, are using the same energy that is stored in mediums like oil, gas, wood or coal. The main difference is that these panels are harvesting the infinite amount of energy sent by the sun to our planet without any negative side effects.
How Does Solar Work?
Solar energy is very simple. Some materials, like silica (an element that exists in such abundance that this resource cannot be depleted), have a very unique reaction: silica is cut into very thin layers, put onto a metal sheet and is connected with some cables to an electrical circuit, creating a photovoltaic panel made up of cells. When the panel is exposed to sunbeam, it instantly produces electricity. No fires, no generators or any other equipment is needed. It is a gift from nature to human beings to produce electricity and keep the show running without poisoning the planet.
Solar in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe, NM is one of the best places in the United States for solar energy. At about 7,000 feet above sea level, the cells in the solar panels stay cooler, allowing them to produce more energy than at lower elevations. This, along with the average of 310 sunny days a year, makes Santa Fe perfect for solar energy. Furthermore, Santa Fe falls within one of the highest solar radiation zones in the United States. This means that solar panels installed here will produce more energy per square foot than anywhere else. In 2009, the average New Mexico household consumed about 8,000 kWh of electricity. To eliminate their electric bills, they would need 16-24 solar panels. However, each household consumes energy differently. GO Solar will analyze your electric usage to design a solar PV system tailored to your specific energy needs.
What Does Solar Cost?
As any new technology, solar modules started out to be expensive and not cost effective. Now they have come to a range where producing electricity on your roof or in your backyard is not only affordable, but actually saves you money! Moreover, solar energy sets you free from the uncontrollable dictation of energy prices by the energy suppliers. The government supports solar energy installations with tax credits and attractive financing is available.
New Mexico and Santa Fe are one of the best hot spots in the world when it comes to solar radiation. Solar panels work at their maximum producing electricity and being cost effective here. Compared to other places in the U.S., only a fraction of modules are needed to cover the energy needs of a home and an installation will pay for itself within a few years. In Germany, the largest solar market in the world, it was actually the former opponents of solar who made the market grow when they discovered how well a solar installation contributes financially to a retirement plan.
Designing Installations with Solar Panels
Basically all residential solar installations in an area like Eldorado can be designed in a way that they are invisible or barely visible. In some cases, installations might be visible from public places or from a neighbor’s house. Nevertheless, there is always a way to keep the construction low and place the modules in ways to make them less visible.There is no need to make unnecessary statements to the public or to neighbors by exposing solar panels, as long as there are ways to place them in a way that makes them less visible.
Nevertheless, as time moves on, society will get more and more used to the look of solar panels. They will be more and more appreciated since they replace the need to build more nuclear, oil and coal plants and deal with their negative consequences, such as air pollution, nuclear radiation and waste.
Don't just take our word for it... See what our clients say!
Our clients are very happy with their solar PV system. Below is a graph made by our client which shows his 100% solar-electric powered home's solar PV system generation, consumption and cumulative credit with the electric company. He does not pay a penny to any utility company, saves a lot of money and generates all of his own electricity. He also determined that he is saving 9.50 tons of carbon dioxide per year- the equivalent of 29 Box Cars (Standard 50' Box Car). That is a lot!
*Graph and information from Michael Roach, Santa Fe, NM.