In the 1970s many homes began to use solar technologies to receive a bit of electricity or to supply the family with hot water. Today, solar powered homes can do far more than create electricity while the sun shines. They can charge entire banks of batteries that can operate refrigerators, lights and other devices entirely “off the grid”, they can have specially designed openings for incredible daytime lighting and they can have a range of exterior lighting options powered strictly and entirely by the sun.
The majority of modern, solar powered homes will have banks of collectors positioned to receive and absorb optimal solar radiation. While some homes remain on the grid, and subsequently feed the public utilities as they charge their own batteries, there are others that aim to live entirely free of the utility companies all together. Incredibly this is entirely possible as long as the home or structure has been optimized for such a design, and if it is in a geographic location that is not prone to cloud cover or lengthy periods of overcast weather. For example, though areas of New England do have solar powered homes and buildings, these tend to remain on the grid as the colder months can see many days without the type of brilliant sun required for solar power.
Any modern home with solar power is also going to have to consider the types of appliances installed in the building as well. Not only will they need to be energy efficient, but they may need to be designed especially to meet the capabilities of solar electricity. Are such items very difficult to acquire? Interestingly they are quite easy to find, and the major home improvement stores make many available.
The exterior of many homes can also be outfitted with a huge array of solar fixtures as well, and these are a far cry from the earliest days of solar lighting. Today’s lights come as lamp posts, wall-mounted units, motion sensor spot or flood lights and even as highly decorative lamps that can be easily moved from one area to another. There are also many styles of solar security lights, which are hugely popular, and used for gardens as well as walkways and are often installed for security as well as beauty.
It is exciting to imagine where solar technologies will be within the next thirty years, especially when one considers just how quickly the technology has advanced and then been implemented in many day to day ways in our modern era.