Solar panels are one of the alternative energies we're starting to hear about. We're starting to see more solar panels on homes but solar power still only accounts for about 1% of alternative energy sources.
Solar Panels Power a Boat Around the World
Imagine my surprise when I read about this boat, the MS Turanor PlanetSolar, powered by the sun and more than 500 solar panels (more than 5,000 square feet). The catamaran stretches 75 feet across when fully deployed, and it's 115 feet long. The solar energy from the panels is stored in lithium-ion batteries found in the catamaran's twin hulls and yikes, they each weigh five tons.
The boat was created in 2010 to show the power of renewable energy resources. The ship sailed around the world for two years, on a route close to the equator (more than 37,000 miles) so it would capture the maximum sunlight. The boat's batteries can hold enough energy to power the boat for 3 days (72 hours) of bad weather. An interesting challenge for the boat's captain, he now has to pay attention to the sun in addition to monitoring the sea, wind and currents.
Learning How Solar Panels Can Power Your Home
There's a reason why this boat is getting so much publicity. It's the first boat to circumnavigate the globe on solar power. Given the cost (high), speed (relatively slow) and sensitivity of navigation to the weather (avoid clouds) of the boat, it's not really practical. At the same time, it is demonstrating what solar power is capable of delivering – enough energy to power a boat weighing almost 100 tons, around the world and without any carbon emissions!
There are lots of websites promoting solar energy use for our homes and the SolarEnergyFactsBlog.com is a great resources with state specific information. It's time to start reading and learning how you can adopt solar energy in your home (hint, solar hot water heaters are the first step many homeowners take).
How are you making your home more energy efficient?
… and when will you use solar panels for your home?
Photo credits to PlanetSolar.com.