LEDs And Solar Powered Lights - Progress Still Needed

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Ways to adopt more energy efficient habits has been a top priority world wide, but one attraction in particular is drawing tourists for not only its ingenuity but for its amazing display of lights as well.

In Japan the Toki no Sumika Gotemba Kogen Resort has built a tunnel that is illuminated by 3.2 million light emitting diodes, or LEDs. The tunnel is then bathed in the glow of energy efficient light bulbs that casts a notably less yellowish or bright light than that from the more familiar, standard light bulbs.

While the tunnel is vastly more energy efficient than those lit by traditional bulbs it does point out the biggest drawback from LEDs. The quality of light from these bulbs is much less than standard lights and they are generally best for only downcast light fixtures or accent lighting.

In fact it would take more than 30 LED lights to provide the same level of brightness of just a single lamp with a 13-watt CFL bulb. While solar lighting systems are improving, there is still progress to be made in being able to supply ample energy to so many light bulbs from each square foot of panels from the Photo Voltaic material.

To improve the PV panels and make their production more cost effective, there has been the introduction of PV films. These films are much thinner and only need 1 percent of the amount of semiconductor material necessary for each panel. Each square foot of film is capable of generating an equal amount of energy as one square foot of paneling, but it is much less expensive to produce. This will then make it easier to adopt solar lighting systems and in turn cut back the amount of reliance upon nonrenewable sources of energy.

Still there is much work that needs to be done for PV panels and films to replace all current systems. This is because even under the best of conditions, equatorial noon at sea level, each square foot of PV paneling is only able to produce 30 watts of energy each hour despite the fact that there may be 100 watts incoming from the sun's light.

This makes it nearly impossible for a single solar unit to generate even 150 watts each day per one square foot. On average, the amount of energy used for solely lighting purposes in one home in America is about 20 percent of their total electric consumption, 250 kWh each month. This means that in order to provide that amount one would need nearly 280 square feet of PV panels.

Because the amount of sunlight will vary not only from day to day but hour to hour, solar power units must run with a battery that is able to store a reservoir of energy to be used in times of overcast skies and during the night. Once the rest of a household's energy necessities outside of lighting are added in, that would mean an increase in the amount of square feet of panels to 2,800. Should the home be heated from electric energy, the amount of paneling would increase by twice that amount.

Again remembering that a single LED is only able to provide a much lower level of light than a 60 watt standard bulb, in order to illuminate a single home in the manner, it would take significantly more light bulbs. Should the home have 30 of these standard bulbs, it would mean that there would be a need for much more than 1,000 LED light bulbs.

Still, solar energy systems are advancing and are an appealing source of renewable energy power. In keeping with such, over time they should become more practical and then become implemented for more uses and widespread markets. Even in its current state, solar units can be used in accordance with traditional energy sources to cut back on the amount of nonrenewable energy your home uses.

Residential Solar Power

Lower your electric bill and save the planet at the same time. Residential solar energy systems continue to fall in price and become more available to the average homeowner.

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