Introducing Your Family to Solar Energy
One of the difficulties that solar and renewable energy have faced in the past is that it requires people to learn about it. People are busy and they are also reluctant to change and learn. It is much easier to get energy from traditional sources that seem to “magically” transfer power and electricity to homes through the wires of the electricity grid. However, we are becoming increasingly aware of problems with this entrenched attitude. We seem to hear almost daily about power blackouts and brownouts, along with warnings about dwindling energy supplies.
One way to begin to educate yourself and your children about energy and electricity is to purchase one of many different kinds of small solar energy systems. From solar toys to solar lights to portable solar panels, small solar electric systems make it easy to learn some of the basics of energy. You can learn about the generation of energy and get an idea of how it is limited by certain factors. Your kids can use a small solar toy or solar energy kit to see directly the relationship between energy generation and availability. From your solar light, you will learn that a sunlit day will make the light shine powerfully that evening. Conversely, you will notice a relationship between cloudy days and dimness or lack of light from your solar light. While a small portable solar panel provides energy for your boat or RV, it can also teach the need for energy storage (the battery) and conservation. Even a solar light gives you a micro-version of all electricity systems: the panel generates energy, the wires transfer it, a battery stores it and the light bulb uses it.
One of the unfortunate effects of the convenience of the energy grid is that people remain largely unaware of aspects of energy production and the need for its proper management. When we plug into a wall and get instant energy, it’s easy to forget that that energy is finite and inhibited by circumstances.
The effect of holding a small solar electric system in your hands takes some of the mystery out of energy and power. Energy is no longer something “made” at a distant generating station or power plant. The effect is, well, empowering. It’s similar to the way that personal fitness and some styles of alternative health give you a measure of control over your own health. Build on the knowledge you get from a small solar electric system, learn about generating your own energy and you will have increased authority over your household power, a vital area of your life.
Purchasing a small solar electric system like those found in solar toys or other gadgets can be a simple and efficient way to introduce both you and your family to solar energy. This knowledge just may come in handy in the coming years, as solar energy and other kinds of renewable energy systems become a bigger part of grid generation and more popular as the publicly owned “power plants.”
About the Author: Jim Fritz has been researching the benefits of solar energy for several years and is a contributing writer for thesolarguide.com - a site that offers information about solar energy, solar panels, information about the costs of solar energy and much more.