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Whether you choose to build your own or buy a solar power system, it is a good move to switch to a clean and environment friendly energy source. In fact, renewable energy is the future trend of energy source as the world is moving toward this direction. If you plan to buy the solar power, then here are a few tips on what you should consider when making the purchases:

1. Types of solar power

Solar power can be divided into two categories: Solar thermal and solar electricity or also known as Photovoltaics. The key different between these 2 categories are: solar thermal use the heat from the sun to generate energy, while the Photovoltaics uses the light energy from the sun to generate electricity. Solar thermal is generally built into a house to reduce the use of commercial heating and cooling in order to cut down the cost.

Another common uses of solar thermal is in the hot water system, where it generates heat from the sun either in passive or active mode. The only different between the passive and active hot water system is the passive version uses convection to circulate the water; whereas, the active water heater involves a pump to circulate the water. There are many commercial companies selling hot water systems for households, but the prices can be varied in a wide range depending on it specifications. Therefore, you have to know if adding solar thermal water heating system is worth and cost effective in your situation.

2. Types of Solar Panels

Another way to use the energy from the sun is converting the sunlight into electricity to power home appliances. The conversion of light into electricity is done by a device called Photovaltaics. The Phtovaltaices are arranged into an array, called solar panel to input the sunlight and generate electricity. There are at least two types of solar panels commercially available in the market. One of them is called amorphous silicon or better known as thin film panels; another type of solar panel is made from crystalline silicon. Both types generate power from the sunlight, but crystalline silicon has 14% efficiency while amorphous silicon just has 6% of efficiency.

3. Types of solar electric system

The basic two types of solar electric systems are: stand-alone and grid-connected versions. The stand-alone solar electric system is usually being used in remote home, cabins, RVs and telecommunication systems. The system can be either operated with AC and DC power. Most home appliances operate in AC and telecommunication is run under DC mode. Different from the stand-alone system, grid-connected solar electric systems are always operated in AC. The system may or may not use batteries, but it will need to use a sine wave inverter if the incoming current is from batteries. However, solar electricity is still very expensive to average households in term of set-up and installation costs. But, fortunately there are many DIY guides available to teach those who are interested in building one by themselves on how to build a solar power system easily and with the minimum costs.


There are different solar power types that you should know if you plan to use it for any purpose. The above tips are about the differences on various types of solar power that you should take into consideration when deciding the right type for your needs.

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