Sun's Energy, Used For Power?

What if I was to say that in a matter of hours, I could put in a system. which could have you, in time saving up to 50% of your energy bills? Would you think that it would be too expensive? Or maybe that it would be too complicated to care for? Once the initial purchase in a solar heating system, you will receive free energy (even though there is no such think as a free lunch) from the sun, year after year for the life of the panels! Even the system can pay for itself in seven to eight years from the savings off the energy bills.

Say you use oil to heat your home, here are some statistics to show the savings for both oil heated and electric heated homes. These averages are based on; 1. Average family of four

2. 15% increase in the price each year

3. 50% solar distribution

For oil:

Oil cost per gal. 1st yr. Savings 5 yr. Savings 15 yr. Savings

$ .90 $ 176 $ 1,189 $ 8,393
1.00 196 1,321 9,325
1.10 216 1,454 10,259
1.20 235 1,586 11,191

In order to gather this information we went to solar expert, Fredrick Martell, of Martell Solar in Tewksbury MA.. There we saw that his own house is run partially by solar power. There are numerous solar panels on the roof which heat bathing water, clothing water, the house and the indoor pool. The temperature of the pool itself can rise up to 80 degrees in the summer and 70 degrees in the winter, by using mostly the sun for power. Since these panels are being used year after year they can be considered renewable resources, which help cut down in the material use for new panels. It also helps cut down on the oil usage per family and in turn cuts down on the pollution on the environment. In a way this is a cycle because if many families keep on using solar as a major source of energy then this cycle will continue to run and help lessen pollution.

Martell Solar also addressed to us, the advantages and disadvantages of having solar panels. Tax credit was also a major factor for the buying of solar panels, there was a tax credit of a maximum $4,000. Therefore a $3,000 system will cost the homeowner $1,800. There is also added resale value of the home because the house offers free energy from the sun. There are only two disadvantages that we have been able to find. One is that the initial cost to get the system can be a lot for the 'average" homeowner. The other is the effectiveness of these panels in eastern New England, since there is not enough energy from the sun during the day to power anything and everything that we would wish to power with solar.

During this adventure through the world of solar we learned that solar is cheaper in the long-run, helpful to the environment, and is a resource that will always be there. All of the answers and inf. came from asking Fredrick Martell essential questions, researching our topic before the interview, and being able to present our findings publicly on our high school website.

Mark B.

Shayla G.

Bibliography: Martell Solar handouts, 107 Catamount Rd., Tewksbury MA 01876 Fredrick M.

Northeast Solar Energy Center, 470 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Mass. 02110