The map shows the average potential solar power in kWhr per sq meter flat collector surface (about 10 sq feet) per day in different parts of USA. Use this as a guide only to show relative availability of solar power conversion potential. Blue is lowest and red highest in terms of hours per day average.

Solar Power Benefits & Trends and Why Solar Powered Applications Are so important to the world

The use and application of solar power has been expanding at over 35% for more than 5 years (ref DOE). The size of the solar energy industry is measured in watts and it was estimated that world production of solar power would exceed 1 billion watts in 2004 which is ten times more than only 8 years earlier.

California state alone is estimated to be the 3rd largest consumer of solar powered applications in the world.

1.5 million US homes have installed solar powered water heating systems and in 2003 alone more than 35,000 solar heated swimming pool systems were installed.

The use of solar power has widespread public support because it is easy to see and feel the benefits. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California in a speech on February 28th 2005 said

Gov. Schwarzenegger Promises 1,000,000 solar roofs

"I promised the people of California during the campaign that as governor I would push for solar power. Today, I am keeping that promise to harness renewable solar energy with the help of my friends Senator Murray and Senator Campbell, to create one million solar roofs." - Gov. Schwarzenegger, February 28th, 2005

Million solar roofs benefits ...

  • When homeowners make their purchase of a solar roof, on average, they will receive a nearly 40 percent rebate, or $5,000 on the cost for a solar energy system.

  • Over the average 25-year life of the solar powered system, with electricity bill savings and mortgage interest tax savings, the solar power roof system would pay for itself.

  • More importantly, the consumer would realize consistent and ongoing monthly savings in energy cost reductions and tax savings during that time by using solar powered energy saving devices.

Advantages of solar power and Solar Powered Applications

Easy to install and easy to site ... solar power can be used almost anywhere. Homes, offices, factories, malls, crowded areas, sparse populated areas

Solar power and energy creates something like 5 times a many jobs as the equivalent conventional energy systems per unit of energy generated.

The price or running cost is virtually constant with the cost being for a capital installation. This is unlike conventional oil, coal or gas energy which will inevitably rise as these natural resources get consumed and become more scarce.

There is no greenhouse gas effect or air pollution created by solar powered installations. In these days of confirmed climate change this is critical. It has been estimated that a single solar powered home heating system saves the polluting equivalent of driving a car for about 4,000 miles.

In addition to saving the atmosphere from polluting gases solar powered applications have the effect of reducing by as much as 98% the water required (and blown away as steam) of a conventionally generated MWh of electricity

Consider other types of water heating and costs of heating water for the home



Glossary of solar power or solar energy terms

  • Absorbers: dark-colored objects that soak up heat in solar collectors.

  • Active solar heater: a solar water or space heating system that moves heated air or water using pumps or fans.

  • Covers: clear materials that allow sunlight to pass into solar collectors and trap heat inside the solar collectors.

  • Flat-plate solar collector: large, flat boxes with glass covers and dark-colored metal plates inside that absorb heat.

  • Insulation: materials that prevent or slow down the movement of heat and thus conserve energy.

  • Passive solar heater: a solar water heating or space heating system that moves heated air or water without using pumps or fans.

  • Passive solar home: a house that uses a room or another part of the building as a solar collector ... called sunspaces see below

  • Pipes: tubes that carry heated water from solar collectors to hot water tanks.

  • Solar collectors: boxes, frames, or rooms that trap the sun's rays to produce solar energy or heat.

  • Sunspace: a room that faces south (in northern hemisphere or north in southern hemisphere, or a small structure attached to the south side of a house).

  • Thermal mass: materials that store heat within a sunspace or solar collector.

  • Vents: tubes that carry heated air from solar collectors to other parts of a house.