The Solar Novice's Guide to Power and Energy

Let's take a quick tour of some basic concepts in home power. One aspect of solar energy that has kept it unpopular is that it seems too technical. Many of those who have adapted solar are in fact amateur electricians.

The Solar Guide has worked all along to try and make solar energy accessible to you, the end consumer. But if you are going to have an energy production plant on your property (after all, that's what a solar electric system is), you should know something about how it works. The powerful idea at the heart of the alternative energy 'revolution' is similar to the idea behind alternative medicine: you are taking more control over your own life.

It's in your best interest to let down your resistance to this idea.

Here's a simple truth: learning how your own home power works is empowering.

All alternative energy systems use an inverter to translate DC into AC. Power is measured in watts, and the energy you use is measured in kilowatt hours. This is what you pay for-- and what you'll save lots of-- once you install a full solar energy system.

First, you need to understand the basic difference between energy and power:

energy = power x time.

This applies to things of all natures:

For example, boxing is a sport where power is required. Long distance running is a sport that requires energy. Someone who is energetic can go for a long time; someone who is powerful is able to perform big tasks, in a very short time, if necessary.

In a fight between Mike Tyson and Jackie Chan, powerful Mike Tyson will hope to win with a knockout early, while energetic Jackie Chan will hope to tire Tyson and win mainly by outlasting him.

Here are some pages of the solar novice's guide to power and energy:

We also have information about energy usage in the United States

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