Solar energy is one of the major sources of electric power nowadays. It is actually a step towards achieving renewable energy in the world. Based on this fact, California has required the use of solar energy for new homes which will kick in as from 1st January 2020. It is quite cheaper and affordable as compared to other sources of energy. There are so many sources of electric energy supply and they include;
Hydro power source is the source of energy that is derived from water pressure Generation stations. It has to do with water turning a turbine which in turn produces little voltage. This voltage is subsequently increased by a Step-up Transformer to thousands of voltage and distributed to various Transmission stations of the state where it is needed. At Transmission stations, they are reduced to the voltages that are carried by high tension wires seen or buried along our streets. This voltage is further step down to be used in our homes.
Nuclear power source is generated in our Generation stations by simple nuclear chain reaction. In this case, the radioactive material undergoes nuclear fission which is simply the breaking down of the material to other materials with lower atomic numbers. As a matter of fact, this source of energy is quite very expensive and also very dangerous as people working in nuclear companies must have to protect themselves well in order not to be exposed to its harm. Exposure to nuclear materials can be quite dangerous that can lead to instability as a result of artificial mutation.
Gas turbine uses gigantic generators to power a whole city. This makes use of petroleum gas. It is also another expensive source of energy that most countries cannot afford owing to the high cost of gas.
Solar energy can be seen as a natural energy that requires just solar panel for attraction. Solar panels are panels which can attract energy of the sunlight. Naturally, the energy from the sun is not quantifiable. This is why solar panel are carefully rated in order to attract a specified amount of solar energy according their respective ratings. There is also the presence of inverters which helps to convert this solar energy in form of voltage to a lower voltage which is equivalent to the needed voltage in our homes.
There are two different ways to get a city powered by solar energy. They include;
- Residential Rooftop Solar panels
- Larger and wind solar installations
Residential Rooftop Solar Panels
This is the installation of solar panels on top of the roofs of buildings. In this case, individual home owners decide on the capacity of solar panel to be installed in their homes. The capacity is dependent on the electric loads each home carries. The kind of installation is always accompanied by a small home inverter along with solar batteries. The expensive nature varies from one home to another. Sometimes, some home owners disconnect some home appliances from the solar energy source so as to save cost.
This is a central solar installation that supplies energy to every home within its jurisdiction. In this case, government does the installation and supply to every home, industries, factories, schools, hospitals, etc. This does not require installation fee except that the beneficiaries will always pay their usual monthly or annual utility bills. This kind of solar installation is quite very cheap on the side of the users but quite expensive on the side of government that actually installs and maintains it. This image shows larger and wind central solar panels installation that can be used to supply electricity to many buildings if not the entire city.
Solar Energy for All New Houses in California
California happens to be the very first state to grant the usage of solar energy for new homes. This is approved by the California Energy Commission and will commence on 1st January, 2020. However, this is actually a breakthrough as other states of America are believed to follow this step too. As a result of this awesome future development, homes built in recent time will be enjoying solar energy in California. This development is tagged, “2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards”.
As a matter of fact, homes built with solar energy installed will definitely cost more in construction but on the other hand, the cost of energy consumed will drastically reduce. This is why solar energy is preferred to other energy sources. The graph below shows the annual solar PV installed capacity as well as the revenue generated from it from 2011 to 2010 by Regions in world market.
California Energy Commission has given four (4) standards as a requisite for installation of solar energy for new homes in California and they include;
- Updated thermal envelope standards which simply require prevention of heat transfer from interior part of the house to exterior or the reverse of it.
- Residential ventilation requirements
- Nonresidential lighting requirements
- Nonresidential ventilation requirements
There are advantages of solar energy for new homes in California and they include;
- It will go a long way in reducing the cost of energy consumed
- It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- It will reduce the number of fossil fuel cars in California as most cars will be powered by solar energy
- It will help in preserving fossil fuel for other uses
- It provides stable voltage which will reduce the rate of damages of electrical appliances.
The table above shows an estimated cost of running electricity per month using other energy sources as compared to solar energy source as well as how much that can be saved per annum when using solar energy source.
California adopted the residential rooftop solar installations in place of larger and wind solar installation. However, quite a lot of economists condemn this policy owing to the fact that it will hit more hard on the residents in time to come. Most economists preferred the larger central solar source to rooftop. This is because; companies that already use other sources of energy will have to pay more when their energy source is replaced by rooftop solar panels especially during the recession periods.
On the other hand, the greater the load the greater the number of rooftop panels to be installed. Of course; the cost of installation and bills will also be on the high side too. This is why quite a lot of cooperate bodies as well as individual economists criticize this policy. As a matter of fact, low energy consumption of solar should not be underestimated but it is worthy to note that each critic is not to entirely remove the policy from California but to replace rooftop solar policy by larger central solar policy.
Impact of Solar Energy for New Homes on Green Buildings
It may interest you to not that everyone is going green these days. To some individuals, the issue of Green buildings is still very confusing and as a result cannot really say what impact it has in the society. Green buildings are buildings that permit preservation of almost all natural resources around the buildings. They are environmentally friendly. Most states are applying the Green construction policy. However, it is essential that every construction starting from the site selection to excavation, foundation, finishing and even deconstruction should all follow Green. The graph below represents the global renewable electricity production by region.
Thus; if any energy source is to be adopted, it should be Green friendly. California is adopting solar energy for new homes but the question is, does this policy support Green construction policy? Yes of course; it supports Green policy in the sense that gas emission will be drastically reduced. Gas emissions are never environmentally friendly. So, the change of energy source to solar energy for new homes will go a long way in reducing hazards caused by this gaseous pollution. Hence, whether California is adopting rooftop solar energy policy or larger central solar energy policy, we can be sure that they all support Green building construction policy.
Report from, “Green Outlook 2011: Green Trends Driving Growth”, we could discover that Green buildings took 25% of newly constructed homes in 2010. The cost of all these constructions was 50% of the total cost from 2008 to 2010. The cost accelerated from $42 billion to $71 billion. As at 2015, it has increased to $135 billion. From the analysis above, it is observed that the cost of establishing Green policy all over California is quite on the increasing side. As a result of this, it is not advisable to hamper the progress by using a wrong energy source. This is exactly why California goes for solar energy for new homes to enable Green construction work perfectly without any gas emission hazards.
In nutshell, as California is about to implement this solar energy for new homes policy in 2020, it will be important other states in US follow the same. Nevertheless, it will be more efficient if they apply the larger central solar energy policy instead of the rooftop solar energy policy California is adopting. This will go a long way to partially or completely eradicate many disadvantages that are attached to other energy sources. It is no doubt from this piece of work that solar energy remains the best source of energy for our homes. Possibly, let California apply this same policy to even old homes to completely take care of high utility bills from other energy sources.